The Living Room kindly invited us along to try out their intriguing new menu which has a few original twists. We were sad to discover that the wonderful pork and chorizo burger is no more, ah well out with the old and in with the new...
To get us on our way we had a carafe of Argentinian Tilia Malbec (£12) which was, as Argentinian Malbecs tend to be, pretty fruity and flavoursome. Good choice!
And so onto the food...
Plant Pot Crudités (£6)
Pickled baby veg - carrot, asparagus, radish and fennel in a goats cheese dip covered in dehydrated olives that have been ground down to look like soil served in a little plant pot! We opted for this because it looked so odd and yes it was quite bizarre, not only looks-wise, but taste-wise too as it's an unusual assortment of veg dipped in thick goat's cheese that resembles dirt! A bit difficult to get your head around that one, but if you like goats cheese and raw veg or are feeling healthy then it's worth a try.
Bury Black Pudding Donuts with celeriac remoulade (£5.50)
We love black pudding but we're not usually fans of Bury black pudding as it can be quite fatty compared to the Scottish variants but these "donuts" were pretty damn good, no obvious chunks of fat, just flavoursome black pudding and no holes about them either but certainly a sweet spongey doughnut batter, a bit overly doughy perhaps but then can you have undoughy donuts? So a bit like black pudding pakora in a sweet doughy batter. The celeriac remoulade was like a tangy colesalw and it also came with a fresh tube of tomato relish. We could see ourselves ordering a few of these with beer and it was our favourite dish on the night!
Slider TLR classic burger (£4)
Slider's (small burgers or sandwiches) are all the rage at the moment and there's a choice of 4 on the new menu: Classic beef burger, Pulled Pork with apple chutney, Seared Tuna with wasabi mayo and papaya salad or Devon Brown Crab with chilli and avocado. All are priced at £4 each or you can order 4 for £14, you can also pick and mix the burgers which is perfect for groups, though we could safely devour 4 each...anyway, the classic had a thin beefy patty with pickled gherkin on a brioche bun which was sweet but not as sweet as brioche can be so it was a bit different but not too out of place. This was pretty tasty and we plan to come back soon to sample the others.
TLR Scampi (£7.50)
The scampi came neatly packaged up with some lemon tartare sauce on the side...
Let's be clear, this isn't the plain old regular 70's favourite but something far more interesting - little ball shaped croquettes filled with a combination of meaty monkfish and prawn apparently coated with beer drinkers favourite scampi fries! Sadly we couldn't really taste the pungent artificial scampi taste we had prepared ourselves for but it was a nice light batter and the centre was thick and meaty. Another good beer snack! The lemon tartare reminded us of the Russian salad that Lidl sell (which isn't a criticism as you can get some pretty good stuff in Lidl, the Russian salad being one such example!)
Blacksticks blue salad (£3.50)
Blacksticks cheese is certainly becoming popular these days, and this was a really good use of the noticeably bright and rather strong blue cheese,which contrasted against a sweet and mellow but crisp and refreshing Chinese pear with tatsoi and beet leaves. A really nice fruity salad for summer (it should be noted that Blacksticks Blue is pasteurised and vegetarian. Yay!).
The main course - Fishbowl (£50)
This is the one we were waiting for...a fishbowl between 2 and we were honoured to discover that we were the first people to order it in the Glasgow restaurant!
Quite literally a fishbowl for seafood lovers, we couldn't fault the presentation. The bowl is stuffed with Devon brown crab claws, langoustines, mussels, clams and prawns on a bed of savoury samphire and ice. If you love seafood then this is the obvious main course! At £50 it might seem a bit steep but it is fresh seafood and it's for sharing between 2 (or more) people. Also included is Tabasco sauce, fresh lemon wedges and more of the little tubes of tomato relish from earlier.
Samphire is becoming more readily available so it was good to see it here as it's one of the few occasions we've had it in a restaurant. It was really tasty; firm and (sea) salty.
Grande Dessert (£8)
4 of the full-prices desserts in miniature: ‘'Basil Grande' Eton Mess, Chocolate Pave with Peanut powder and salted caramel ice cream, Cherry Bakewell Parfait with Bakewell granola and sticky cherrie, sand Sticky Toffee Pudding with clotted cream ice cream. Phew! All great and gobbled up in silence!
In conclusion, the new menu at the Living Room is worth checking out, it's more daring than their last so won't appeal to everyone for sure, but there's a lot to choose from with some really good stuff, interesting combinations and the quality of produce is all still there. Our favourite dish was definitely the Black Pudding Donuts - the closest we've tasted anything like it is black pudding pakora, but this was different, sweeter and spongier. The novelty dishes are good fun but we only sampled a few of them so will have to go back to try the others, such as the sashimi served in a tin! Watch this space, getting hungry looking at the menu again...