The Busby Hotel re-opened just before Christmas after a complete refurbishment. We had never been before as the building looked quite sad and neglected. However, a revamp which included a large conservatory-type extensive and a whole new interior with craft beer stocked bar along with a new Italian-influened food menu signalled that it was time to finally check it out!
The hotel is a mere five-minute walk from Busby railway station on the Glasgow-East Kilbride and the number 6 Glasgow-East Kilbride First bus stops on the main road too. There's car parking to the right of the hotel and a decent amount of seating with parasols outside. It was a bit cold when we visited so inside we ventured...
There has been serious money spent on this refurb, everything glistens, looking squeaky clean and new. We were greeted at the door by the young staff member and taken past the impressive bar to our table. There is a marked contrast between the bright light and traditional seating in the new extension/dining area compared with the cosy booths and darkness on the other side of the bar (which is in the middle of the room) along with lots of quirky light fittings and hipster filament light bulbs (sadly none of our pics of them turned out).
We had just missed the £12.95/£15.95 menu for ⅔ courses which is only available from 12 - 5pm so had to order from the main Carters Menu where prices rise considerably. They have a pretty good beer selection (both draught and bottle) but for drinks we went with wine - a glasses of Orvieto at £3.50 for a 125ml glass, which was very sweet, honey-ish and easy to drink and a 125ml glass of the house red (Flagstone), which tasted like a cheap red to be honest! Here's what we ate:
We decided to share this starter, four calamari rings and four prawns lemon wedge with garlic mayo. Good chunky squid and prawn with a crunchy batter and a creamy strong garlic mayo on the side, all good but a tad costly.
A tasty fluffy fish in a crisp batter with the usual sides but perhaps not the most visually stunning. The mushy peas and tartare sauce were all good but the frozen chips weren't very exciting.
This was more like it, a really well-cooked sea bass, tender with a crisp skin and perfectly cooked boiled potatoes with olives, capers and green beans which were perhaps a little overdone. Really really tasty but west-end prices at £15.95, would I pay £15.95 for the same dish in a swanky restaurant? Well, yes probably so perhaps the price is justified.
An Italian cake that you don't see too often in Glasgow, this was lovely, sweet, moist, citrusy and moreish! Like sherbet lemons in cake-form with real raspberries and a tart raspberry coulis - I could go some of this right now!
Served in a clear coffee cup. Not the booziest but a pretty decent creamy tiramisu though the Torta della nonna wins this round!
Overall, Carters at the Busby features impressive modern decor with a mix of styles and friendly service from a very young-looking team, however the food while good doesn't quite live up to the price tag as our pre-theatre time meal with shared starter and glass of wine each cost £53.85 excluding tip, which considering the money spent on the modern surroundings is understandable but here's our gripe, there's no partition between restaurant and bar and we were sitting a few feet away from customers at the bar talking about sports which was punctuated with the occasional cuss word. Still, back to the positives, the kitchen looked quite busy but our food came out really quickly so we managed to eat 3 courses in about an hour and 15 minutes.
There's free WIFI and we were told there is also a Free ATM, they do a Malt of the month and the toilets were sparkling.
+ quirky modern interior with a range of seating/layouts
+ good food & beer selection
+ the young staff got slated on Tripadvisor but we found them pleasant & helpful
+ a 5 min walk from Busby train station if you want to venture outside Glasgow for something new
+ sparkling toilets
- expensive food & drink after 5PM
- bar and restaurant areas not segregated so if the bar is noisy the restaurant is too