Buddy’s BBQ has certainly come a long way since opening it’s doors only just over a year ago. A small, unassuming takeaway in the heart of Glasgow’s South side quickly attracted visitors from all over the city, resulting in hour-long queues, food shortages and some of the best burgers we’ve ever had. Fast-forward one year later and it’s evident just how far Buddy’s has come, from the moment you walk through the doors of their new bar & grill on Pollokshaws Road.
If you’ve been to the takeaway shop on Skirving street, the new restaurant will certainly come as a surprise to you. As soon as we walked in, we were stunned at just how big it was. A massive bare-brick and red leather boothed bar area sits at the front of the venue and to the back, there’s a separate (massive) dining area which is set out over two levels. The photos here certainly don’t do the size of the place justice. It’s the biggest possible upgrade from the takeaway shop that you could imagine. The diner simply exudes cool, from the comfy leather booths, the bare-brick bar and the awesome jukebox – it certainly does feel like someone has taken a busy US bar & diner and dropped it in the heart of Glasgow. The place was absolutely packed during our visit and there were a few tables attempting the new hot wings challenge, so the atmosphere was buzzing.
We quickly walked through the bar and were shown to our table. I couldn’t help but look back the bar area, however. It’s certainly a bar that I’d love to order a few drinks at – one that you’ll definitely want to visit with a few mates, even if it is just while you wait for a table. There are no bookings at Buddy’s and the tables are available on a first come, first serve basis. We can imagine it being very busy on the weekends especially; however, I certainly wouldn’t mind a bit of a wait at the bar. At the time of writing this review, Buddy’s was still awaiting it’s license to sell alcohol and were operating a BYOB policy for the time being. We did notice some fantastic beers and taps at the bar though and from what we have read over on their Facebook page, it shouldn’t be long before it can all go on sale.
Before you begin to worry, the original takeaway on Skirving street will remain open as usual and you can also get all of the menu items plus a whole load more at the restaurant. Favourites such as the western burger, the wings and ribs are all here. The ‘secret’ menu items from the takeaway (the ‘Duke’ and the ‘Bubba’) are also here as part of the regular menu and well worth a try.
After browsing the menu, we decided to go for something a little different. We had spotted a new Indian burger on the menu and decided to try it out. Along with that, we went for a brisket sandwich to share along with some chipotle chicken wings and poutine. We’d never had the chance to sample the poutine from the takeaway, so we went for the Carolina and it was every bit as good as we imagined it to be. But we’ll get to that in a bit.
We’ve all had those moments, where you’re sitting across from your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/mum/dad/brother/friend or whoever it may be, in a restaurant and you take the first bite of your food, only to pause and look across the table with that ‘oh my god!’ stare. Well, that’s exactly what we did after our first bite of the brisket sandwich. Consisting of brisket, gravy, pickled red onion and dill pickle on a brioche bun, this was simply heavenly. Everything about this was perfect – the bun was soft, the brisket was tender and dripping with juices and the red onion and pickles finished it all off perfectly with a lovely, sharp crunch. The meat was rich and intensely smokey and it was so good that I didn’t care that all of the juices were dripping out of the bun and all over my hands. I wish I’d ordered a full one for myself, but there was plenty of other food waiting to be eaten.
The Indian burger was going to have to do a lot to live up to the brisket that we’d just eaten.
The Indian Burger consisted of a smashed, spiced lamb patty with shredded lettuce, coriander and chilli chutney and an onion bhaji on a lightly toasted bun. This was very different to anything we’ve had from Buddy’s before. The patty was well-cooked and reminded me of tikka lamb that you’d find on a kebab, with a slightly more mellow flavour. The bahji worked surprisingly well and wasn’t at all stodgy, as you might expect. The real star of this burger; however, was the chutney. It was spicy enough to let you know that it’s there without overpowering the meat or the other toppings. It really helped to lift the other flavours present and it was made this burger so unique.
As much as I enjoyed the Indian burger, I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re visiting Buddy’s for the first time – that moment should be reserved for the Bubba, which is my personal favourite burger from the menu and definitely what I’d advise any first time visitors to order. Of course, if you really want a lamb burger then you’ll be more than happy with the Indian burger, especially if you like it with a bit of an extra kick to it.
The bun was the same one that you’ll find in the takeaway and worked well here. It was lightly toasted, but still very soft and held everything together well. I enjoyed the Indian burger because it was fairly unique and offered a fresh new taste from your typical beef or chicken burger offerings; however, my award for the best burger on the Buddy’s menu still goes to the Bubba, which is still one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.
We also went for the chipotle chicken wings, which were served with celery sticks and a ranch dip. We opted for a portion of 6, but you can also go for a basket of 12 or 30, should you desire. They were beautifully crispy, sweet and spicy all at once. Any regular JVB readers will know that I’m a huge fan of pretty much anything that contains chipotle and I was quite surprised at just how sweet these wings were as I took my first bite. Quickly following the sweet flavour; however, is a burst of heat, which works tremendously well when combined with the celery sticks and the cooling ranch dip.
We spotted a few other chicken wing options on the menu that we already want to go back and try. Rum & Mango chicken wings anyone? How about Cherry Coke & bourbon wings?
Finally, we ordered the Carolina poutine. Yes, we did eat a lot of food and may have gotten a tad carried away with the new menu, but we wanted to at least sample as many things as possible. The Carolina consists of fries, cheese curds, pulled pork, gravy, bacon and spring onions in a basket. Unhealthy? Absolutely. Worth it? Most definitely. If you’re expecting chips, cheese and gravy that you’d pick up from a takeaway at 2am on a Saturday night then think again – this is something completely different. The pulled pork is the highlight here, layered through the fries and deliciously smokey. It combines with the gravy and spring onion so well and this was without a doubt our favourite thing that we had to eat, alongside the brisket sandwich. What I’ve always loved about the pulled pork served at Buddy’s is that it’s not swimming in barbecue sauce. They’re not trying to hide anything here, this is quality pork and it certainly shows. I did feel that the portion size was particularly big and I think that one person would struggle to eat a basket of poutine to themeslves alongside a burger, so I’d definitely recommend sharing with others – unless you’re particularly hungry, that is!
Overall, we were super-impressed with everything that Buddy’s had to offer. High quality food, a great atmosphere and lots of potential. We already want to go back and try the ribs, different types of wings, more brisket and find out if there are new secret menu burgers on offer (if you find out first, let us know!). It’s a pity that they can’t sell alcohol yet, although we’re sure it’ll be sorted soon – it’s definitely a place you’d stop for a drink in, before and after your food. The Indian burger was unique, but wouldn’t be my choice for a first-time Buddy’s visit and the rest of the food that we ate was simply stunning. Buddy’s has come a long way from it’s days as an unassuming little walk-in takeaway joint that could barely hold 5 people and we can’t wait to see what’s next.
Price: Burger £7 / Poutine £5.95 / Brisket £6.50 / Wings £5.95
+ Burger was very unique
+ Outstanding brisket.
+ Poutine & wings were excellent.
+ Good bun.
+ Great atmosphere.
– Burger was very good, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a first-time Buddy’s visit. For that, you need the Bubba.
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Buddy’s Bar, Diner & Grill
677-681 Pollokshaws Road
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