scotland 17.520

Ubiquitous Chip (Upstairs Brasserie)

Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow was one of Anthony Bourdain’s favourite cities in Europe and I can see why.

The mix of old and new architecture, the grey, industrial cityscape, and the kind, diverse, hardworking Glaswegians radiate an aura similar to New York City – something I haven’t felt even in London. Add Glasgow’s lush parks and Botanic Gardens, the pedestrian-friendly streets and overall grit of this city, and you have your own Big Apple in little Scotland. No wonder Bourdain felt at home, and as someone who moved to the UK from New York, so did I.

Before my train to Scotland, I rewatched the Glasgow episode of Bourdan’s Parts Unknown and researched where to find the best Scottish fare. But on my train ride back, as I reflected on my wonderful trip and all the food I shoved in my face, a question popped into my head. “Why the hell did Bourdain not visit The Ubiquitous Chip?”

The Chip”, as it’s known to locals, has been a Glaswegian staple since 1971. Opened by Ronnie Clydesdale, his idea was to serve food we always crave to eat, but never desire to cook – a simple but effective mission given this family-run restaurant has withstood the test of time (and COVID) for well over 50 years. When Ronnie died, The Chip passed to his son, Colin, who ran the joint until 2022, when he sold it to the Greene King pub chain. Luckily, no changes were made after the acquisition. The Chip continues to thrive as a local hub for hungry Glaswegians under chef Doug Lindsay.

Plants ubiquitously adorn the restaurant’s courtyard and mezzanine, almost as if you’re dining in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens, just a short walk from the restaurant. Cobblestone covers the ground floor of the main area, but on this visit we dined above in the more casual upstairs brasserie.

While The Chip has been recognised for its extensive wine list, the summery weather called for something citrusy and fresh. First up, a spicy margarita – peachy pink in colour, beautifully presented with salt and chilli peppers on the rim. Could the tequila have been stronger? Honestly, yes, but that doesn’t mean it lacked flavour.

Alongside the marg came a deep bowl of Shetland mussels (£12), piled high like a glorious shellfish mountain. You won’t find the typical white wine and garlic here. Instead, a bright yellow coconut and tamarind broth floods the shells and into their orange-gold, flesh. Delicious. The coriander and onions gave the dish extra texture and flavour, along with the two fresh slices of sourdough bread and creamy butter served on the side. If you’re not dipping that bread in the coconut broth, you’re doing it wrong. I was already getting full, and it took all the willpower to finish this not-so-small plate.

Next up, The Chip’s signature mint margarita (£11). While the mint added an extra sense of refreshment, it still tasted weak. It didn’t help that the glass was filled more with giant ice cubes than with the drink, itself. I’ll stick with the spicy.

For the main, crispy pork T-bone (£22) with charred corn and corn puree, kohlrabi slaw, leek oil, a dense and delicious piece of cornbread, and a perfect medallion of chili and honey butter, topped with bits of red chilli. Am I allowed to be this excited out in public? Watching the butter melt and run down the pork felt like watching a smut film. Cutting a piece and watching the meat peak out of the crispy skin was for(k)eplay. Biting into it, tender, crispy and juicy all at once, sealed the deal.

The food coma was taking over. I dared not order a heavy dessert, fearing I’d collapse on my way out. I asked for the affogato (£8). A sweet, simple and refreshing caffeinated pick-me-up. I watched as the smoking-hot espresso melted and swirled around the ice cream glass. Yes, this was the perfect finale to one hell of a meal served by friendly staff. Though next time, I’ll order the wine. But this time, I could only walk to the Botanic Gardens, bask in the sun and take a post-lunch nap.

Ubiquitous Chip
Food & Drink56
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12 Ashton Lane
G12 8SJ

June 2024


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