23 - 25 St Vincent Place, Glasgow G1 2DT
0131 248 5696 www.urbanbrasserie.co.uk
A la Carte
Starters: £5.00 - £13.00 | Mains: £13.00 - £32.00 | Desserts: £4.00 - £6.00
Cooking 5/10 | Service 3/5 | Flavour 3/5 | Value 3/5
It must be a good fifteen years since I first graced the elegant space that is Urban. A sometime bank, I guess. Certainly a fine conversion of a lovely Victorian building just off George Square. I’ve returned a few times over the years, and always had a good experience, the last visit about five years back. So, when a Very Long Lost Friend actually followed up on the this-must-be-the-year-we-meet-up-at-last message we all put on Christmas cards, this seemed a decent rendezvous point, handy for public transport from both east and south.
I arrived early. It hadn’t changed in fifteen years. Perhaps that’s why it was empty at quarter to one. A young man asked if he could take my coat and bag. Ten minutes later, the bag was still at the end of the bar. I retrieved it. VLLF arrived. Twenty years’ worth of history takes more than one aperitif. We did call for another. In a quiet bar, nothing appeared. Oh, sorry, thought someone else was getting it. I visited the facilities. Neither hand dryer was functioning. Are you getting a picture?
In fairness, no one complained when we went to table 45 minutes late, but I think they were just glad of the business – though by that stage it was up to 20% occupied. To the food. A crab cake was beautifully cooked, lightly golden, grease free. And also, as far as I could determine, 100% crab free. A potato cake can be lovely – this was – but not what I thought I had ordered. It’s a bit like my extreme naivety in New York City, when I thought that a dry martini might contain vermouth. You who have been there will know that the Noilly Prat label has been waved over the half pint of neat gin. In this case, a crab claw over the pan of tatties, perhaps? A chicken liver parfait was a very good example of the genre. But who serves that these days? Prawn cocktail is wonderfully retro – that parfait is just old fashioned.
Steak is never out of fashion. The ribeye was cooked medium rare as asked. A choice of sauces was declined. I can see why the servers were concerned about this. A £28 piece of beef was completely devoid of flavour. A lemon sole on the bone was good, but why do people find it odd when one asks for a side plate for the bone? Chips were pretty decent, and a side salad was OK.
There isn’t all that much to criticise here, but there’s certainly nothing much to applaud, either. Nice but...