Restaurant Review: fine Scottish fare under fairy light

Mussels in a smoked cheese and leek broth
Mussels in a smoked cheese and leek broth

THEY say opposites attract — and if so, then the Scottish-inspired Arisaig menu is perfect for bringing couples together.

The Merchant City eatery’s a la carte menu divides into two sections, land and sea, as well as offering the usual Scottish staples — perfect for a fish fan and her meat-loving companion.

Arisaig's celebration of pork; a meat lover's dream

Arisaig's celebration of pork; a meat lover's dream

Valentine’s Day may have been and gone on a wet Monday night, but the other half and I headed to Arisaig for a spot of dinner under the twinkling lights of Merchant Square.

Bars and restaurants in this part of town are forever changing name — however, it seems that Arisaig remains a staple.

Settling into a table out on the cobbled square (perfect for people watching), I started with Shetland mussels in a smoked cheese and leek sauce.

Mussels may be a fairly common starter, but Arisaig’s broth is the star attraction here; eschewing the usual garlic or white wine for a smokier, more fulfilling dish, complemented by tangled leeks spread like seaweed over plump, juicy mussels.

The OH opted for the soup of the day — lentil and veg — and was also pleased.

It was a good job he’d opted for a light starter, as his main — celebration of pork — was more of an all-out meat party than a polite soirée. The dish arrived loaded with roast pork loin, belly, Stornoway black pudding and crispy bacon, as well as apple and carrot purees.

It was by far the best of the meal — the rich, sticky belly meat in particular — and it’s easy to see why it can be ordered for either one or two to share.

My king prawn and pea risotto was pleasant; fresh and zingy, with plump shellfish.

And, having honed in on the same dessert — banana and nut sponge — we decided to split one. It was more a bread than a sponge, served with caramelised bananas and ice cream — but a tasty end to a satisfying meal.

The verdict: Arisaig’s land-meets-sea and Scottish-meets-everwhere-else menu works very well, and is even better enjoyed amidst the Candleriggs hustle and bustle.

Rating: 8/10

Arisaig

1 Merchant Square

Candleriggs

Merchant City

G1 1LE

Tel: 0141 553 1010