Once upon a time in my slightly younger years, I had the pleasure of living in Glasgow. Each night the city could entice you to drink in all its pleasures with its bars, restaurants, cafes, its people and gallus humour.
A lot has passed since those halcyon days. I’m no longer convinced my anti-wrinkle moisturiser is working, I relish the thought of naps, and my body goes into shock if I stay up later than 10 p.m.
However, as I find myself driving through to Glasgow on a late Thursday evening, my mind drifts back to those days that I thought would never end, and my excitement is palpable as I make my way to the Canadian steakhouse, Chop, for a preview evening ahead of its official opening. Not even Storm Babet, which continues to unleash its fury can distract me from the thought of well-done Rib Eye.
Walking into Chop, I’m greeted by our attentive and polite host Summer, who walks me to my colleague Greg, sitting patiently at our table. He gives a beaming smile and takes great delight in showing me that he has ordered a Mexican Bulldog. “I haven’t had this since Santa Monica in 2018.” It is clear to anybody witnessing our interaction, that we have both not been out in some time.
As the rain thunders down outside and the charcoal-black sky grows darker, I relish the warmth of the restaurant and feel right at home. Conversation echoes throughout and the smell of steak drifts pleasurably towards our table, as I take in the interior and decor, which has been carved into three stylish and distinct areas, including an industrial-chic bar area complete with a margarita Slushy Machine no less.
Guests will also find a more intimate restaurant area at the rear with cosy booths and floor-to-ceiling windows, and set away from the main bar is a private dining room for special occasions.
We’re presented with our set menu which offers an incredible array of dishes and I opt for the chicken wings, glazed with ‘Irn Bru Editon’ as a nod to the city’s favourite tipple (which by the way is an absolute revelation.) It is one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes back on Candian Shores, served with a Jack Daniels-spiked sauce. Greg decides upon the sauted garlic prawns and his eyes bulge with excitement as they are brought to the table.
The wonderful, Claire Morrison, Head of Public Relations at creative and brand agency MadeBrave stops by our table and insists that we have to sample the Chop Sour, a delightful concoction of whisky, amaretto and maple syrup. As it transpires, it is the perfect compliment to a fantastic starter and I am convinced after several sips that I feel somewhat tipsy. I embrace the feeling.
Chop is a completely brand new concept to Glasgow, which is particularly exciting, and what makes it so unique is that it offers a luxury environment for steak and sports lovers to come together to ‘eat, drink and watch.’ For me, it really is something different to anything that Glasgow currently has to offer.
The bar and restaurant is situated in the iconic Pegasus building on the west side of the city centre – a stone’s throw from the King’s Theatre, and it serves as a perfect location for an area of the city that is continuing to develop. It’s the food though that will keep people coming back and meat lovers are seriously well catered for here thanks to the restaurant’s partnership with Donald Russell, Scotland’s champion of traditional butchery and supplier to His Majesty the King.
Chop’s ‘signature’ is its premium selection of hand-cut steaks. Every cut is cooked on the Montague Steakhouse Broiler searing the meat at 900° to create the ultimate ‘must-have’ crust. From premium steaks aged between 21 and 35 days to BBQ smoked ribs, blackened burgers and succulent beef bowls, meat is at the heart of Chop’s food offering; each dish is skilfully cooked to perfection by the 15-strong team of Chefs working within the state-of-the-art kitchen. It should also be noted though, that beyond its forte of steaks and grilled meats, Chop caters for vegans and vegetarians too.
Tonight though, I plan feasting on a well-done Smoked Rib Eye with Hickory Wood oozing with a garlic butter sauce. For a moment I consider not having fries as an accompaniment. I once more look outside to see the arctic conditions that await me and decide to stock up on nourishment. I order the fries with enthusiasm and Greg opts for the Flat Iron Steak with garlic butter sauce and a side of Fries.
Dinner is served and it is an absolute treat. I think much of what makes a great restaurant is the atmosphere, the staff and the overall feeling you get from a place. I’m not sure if it’s the Chop Sour speaking, but I get that in abundance from Chop. The team clearly take pride in their craft, and it shows in every aspect of the dining experience. They’re knowledgeable about the menu, attentive to your needs, and passionate about ensuring you have a memorable meal. I order another Chop Sour.
We’re soon joined at our table by Pat Farrell, Operations Director for the UK and Ireland, who has relocated from Canada to bring the Chop brand to Scotland. He is an absolute gentleman and regales us with tales of his homeland and his 104-year-old mother-in-law! His enthusiasm for the brand shines through and he explains how excited the team is to bring Chop to Glasgow. “Not only are we investing in the city at a time that it really needs it, but we also feel that we are introducing something truly unique – synergising great food and drink with sports viewing in a premium environment.
“At Chop, guests can enjoy an incredible steak with the very best curated wines – or a perfectly stirred Martini, all while catching a game on one of our thirteen HD screens. Right now, that’s not something that exists in Glasgow, so we’re incredibly excited.”
This of course isn’t Chop’s first venture into Scotland. The brand is building upon the resounding success of its first establishment in Aberdeen. In what is an extremely competitive and challenging industry it’s a challenge that Chop is relishing. What they are bringing to Glasgow is an accessible city-centre venue for both locals and visitors alike — combining attentive service, with exceptional food and an extensive drink list.
It is Chop’s beautifully curated drinks list that perfectly complements the meat-centric food menu, – in addition to its Martini focus, they also offer a wide array of handpicked wines, champagnes, cocktails and beers. Beyond the food and drink, Chop’s attention to detail is evident in every aspect; from the statement hanging gantry to the nod to local phonetics with its ‘Gie it Laldy’ lighting.
The slogan of ‘Gie it Laldy’ is very apt as we are presented with a selection of delectable desserts, which we both fully intend on finishing. we are served up a white chocolate brownie, sticky toffee pudding, dark chocolate delice and a gin and elderflower cheesecake. I look at each with a feeling of unrequited love and sample them all with an unyielding passion.
The white chocolate brownie was as comforting as a warm hug on a winter’s day. In regard to the sticky toffee pudding, imagine if you will, sinking your fork into a warm, moist sponge cake, oozing with a luscious toffee sauce that cascades over the dessert-like liquid gold. The dark chocolate delice was the epitome of decadence, and the elderflower cheesecake was a delightful fusion of sophistication and sweetness.
Each course was better than the next and as we say our goodbyes and walk out into the bitterly cold evening, I am kept warm by thoughts of an evening of delightful company and excellent food.
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