The direction of movement at Cottiers’ new restaurant possibly says a lot about the journey of Scottish cuisine in recent years.
When we arrived in Glasgow in the early Noughties, this was a venue that excelled in Mexican and South American dishes.
But over time, the novelty wore off and – by Cottiers’ own admission – the venue changed its focus, catering instead for weddings and set-piece occasions.
Functions upset the continuity of what was once a distinct and exciting dining space.
And so the Four Acres Charitable Trust that runs this famous West End institution has sought to bring back the good times.
Like Scotland at large, the change mirrors a new-found confidence in showcasing home-grown flavours and produce.
And, so, Leiper’s Attic is very much steeped in the vernacular.
Dry-aged beef, game, seafish, whisky are some of the signature flavours of this new incarnation.
And, as a change of direction, a rebrand if you will, Cottiers appears to have achieved success.
Architect William Leiper who helped design Cottiers (it was Daniel Cottier who gave the building its international importance with his decorative scheme) also helped build hunting lodges.
And there is a distinct lodge feel about the new decor that even Daniel C would have been proud of.
The food is top quality. We had hand-dived scallops with lemon and baby capers to start. The mist of Bowmore whisky was a class touch.
The pigeon breast, puy lentils, red cabbage, smoked bacon and blackberries, was earthy and delicious.
For mains, the sirloin steak with whisky and Arran mustard sauce was full of flavour and cooked to perfection.
My partner enjoyed the roasted venison loin, with butternut squash, kale, wild mushrooms, honey and five-spice sauce.
Pretty much full after that, we shared a delicate and refreshing panna cotta with marinated apple, apple sorbet and apple crisps.
Staff were attentive and knowledgable about the menu, which suggests a high-level of organisation across the kitchen and front of house.
The West End doesn’t lack good restaurants, but it rightly has a genuine outlet now championing the best in Scottish food and cooking.
Food – 4.5/5 Tasty, well cooked and well presented
Service – 4.5/5 Attentive yet informal. Just right
Atmosphere – 4/5 Mellow bustle, relaxing and unobtrusive
Interiors – 4/5 A beautiful golden hue from the decor and candles. Mellow and classy
Value – 4/5 It’s not cheap, and three courses can be easily over £30. But if the quality stays high, people will pay it
Overall – 4.5/5 A place for a special occasion, something a little bit out of the ordinary
* For more information about Leiper’s Attic visit: www.leipersattic.com