There’s so much to love about Finnieston. It’s one of my favourite parts of Glasgow and is forever expanding with great new bars and restaurants. The Kelvingrove Café isn’t new, but it’s been on the James vs. Burger hit-list for a while. After this visit, I can happily report that it’s already become a firm Finnieston favourite!
On the outside, the bar retains its original, faded sign from previous Kelvingrove Cafe days. On the inside, it sports quite a bare, stripped back look which feels like 1930s Glasgow meets modern day Brooklyn. Yet, somehow it feels warm and welcoming. It’s got quite a fair bit of charm about it and there was lively chatter and a good atmosphere throughout the bar. Definitely a bar I’d want to visit again, based on the initial vibe alone.
We went along on a Sunday afternoon. Surprisingly, I wanted a burger. Pamela; on the other hand, wanted brunch. Kelvingrove Café’s brunch selection; fortunately, had the solution.
The brunch menu consists of everything you’d expect and more including eggs benedict (which are some of the best I’ve had in Glasgow), steak & eggs, smoked salmon pancakes and smashed eggs with chorizo & fried bread. The sliders; which are the only burgers on the Kelvingrove Cafe menu, are also available as part of the brunch menu.
For £10 you get three sliders and there’s a few options to choose from. We ended up going for the mac & cheese, beef and lamb options. I also added a portion of skinny fries for an extra £3.
Before getting into the sliders, we felt compelled to order a couple of drinks from the float menu. We ordered the Coney Island and Bumblebee floats. If you ever had an ice cream float as a kid, then get ready to be transported right back to your childhood – with added alcohol, of course! The Coney Island consists of Diplomatico Anejo rum, root beer, bitters, syrup and ice cream and was absolutely delicious. The Bumblebee was made up of Chairmans Spiced Rum, honey & ginger syrup, orange bitters, lemon juice and ice cream. This was sharp, sweet and perfect for Summer. I couldn’t recommend these floats enough – I want to go back and try the rest of them!
When the sliders arrived, the first thing that we noticed was how big they were. I had initially thought that ordering fries with them would have been a good idea as I expected to demolish a few tiny sliders in next to no time! After eating the three, I was ready to burst!*
The lamb slider was perfectly cooked, juicy and tender with not a single hint of mint! (why do people still insist on minted lamb burgers anyway?). It was topped with goats cheese and an aubergine compote, which worked very well together. The cheese was soft and light, but I’d have preferred it to have been a bit more melted than it was. It was more like a small block of cheese, but it was soft enough that it wasn’t really an issue. This was a great slider.
The beef patty (above) was also well-cooked with ever so slight hints of pink throughout; however, I felt that a bit of extra seasoning or even a touch of salt would have enhanced the flavour of the patty itself that little bit more. It was topped with cheddar, gherkin and relish, which definitely helped with the slightly under-seasoned patty. As with the lamb slider, I’d have preferred the cheddar to have been melted more than it was as it appeared as if it had been put on top after the meat had been cooked and placed on the bun.
I saved the ‘crispy mac’ slider until the end and I was glad that I did! Consisting of a breadcrumbed, three cheese macaroni patty and relish on a mini brioche, this was my favourite of the three! This mac & cheese was gooey, cheesy, not overly-heavy and the breadcrumb coating was extremely light and crunchy. It was finished with a tomato and spring onion relish, which I didn’t expect to work as well as it did. The relish provided a nice tang which cut through the cheesiness and really lifted the flavour.
As mentioned, all three sliders were served on small brioche buns, which were lightly toasted, had a nice sear on the inside and stayed together.
The fries were pretty much the standard skinny fries that you’ll have tasted in loads of other places throughout Glasgow, but they were still pretty good nonetheless.
Oh, and they also have Sam Adams on tap, which is a reason to visit on its own!
Our entire food bill came to £38, which was for three sliders, fries, eggs benedict, two alcoholic floats, a rum with coke and a pint of Sam Adams beer. All in, a pretty good value brunch.
Aside from a small issue with a lack of seasoning in the beef patty, these were probably the best sliders that I’ve had in Glasgow. They were a good size and I was struggling by the time I got to the last one. Sliders can often feel like an afterthought on some menus, especially those that are already packed full of burgers. You won’t find any other burgers on the menu here, but these are good enough that I’m not so sure you’d need to add any. I’d rather see the Kelvingrove Cafe become the place to go for great sliders and perhaps even add more slider options, rather than expand the menu with any other burgers. There’s still a very good selection available, including fish and chicken options so there will be something to satisfy just about any taste buds. Make sure you wash them down with one (or three) of those alcoholic floats too!
(*I still finished the fries.)
Price: £10 (3 sliders, fries £3 extra)
+ Well cooked.
+ Lamb patty was flavourful and worked well with the goats cheese.
+ Crispy Mac patty delicious.
+ Good selection of sliders to choose from.
+ Good size.
+ Not burger-related but the alcoholic ice cream floats are a must.
– Beef slider patty could have been seasoned a little better.
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1163 Argyle Street
Telephone: 0141 221 8988
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