Venturing out from the Southside this week the venue of choice was Maggie May’s located at the Trongate.
Previously I had only visited it as a bar for music and drinks and never had the opportunity to experience the food. I would consider it a ‘cool’ place to hang out as I personally enjoy the laid-back atmosphere. The theme of the bar is certainly ‘rock’ as the name gives way to rock legend Rod Stewart’s hit of an older woman he desires. Throughout the interior of the venue the bar pays homage to various other class acts of the rock/indie genre. What always stands outs for me are the toilet signs: mens – John Lennon, ladies – Yoko Ono.
This is not a bar for the mini-dress clad or spiky haired. The fashion is buttoned up polo shirts and Paul Weller hair styling.The atmosphere is certainly relaxing and enjoyable you could easily pop in for a drink in your pyjamas and feel a good grunge vibe. There’s also plenty of seating with couches, tables and even window seats. Good lighting with big windows for natural light also create fresh ambience. The music ranges from classic rock hits to modern rock beats without one song to complain about.
Time to move on to the food.
On arrival we were met by a smiley waitress who got us seated right away. We didn’t know if we wanted food yet so Alex ordered drinks at the bar first. Alex decided we would order and asked the bar maid if we could see the menu. She came out form behind the bar immediately to bring it over. After previous posts on my blog I have always commented on service or lack of it and it’s definitely what Maggie May’s excels in. I really dislike when being served in a restaurant and staff shun the customer as they’re ‘not serving food, they’re only serving drinks’ then go and find someone else to serve. This can hinder the customers experience overall – but not at Maggie May’s. They couldn’t do enough to help and they were all competent in all areas of bar service an food service. They all seemed ‘switched on’ which was new for the service industry in Glasgow.
The menu had a good range and wan’t just full of old favourites. There was a selection of pastas and burgers but also lamb and steak dishes too. I couldn’t make up my mind between a nacho burger or lasagne but I opted for lasagne in the end. Alex ordered the Piri Piri prawns, we noticed it was the same supplement charge for chicken, beef or king prawns which seemed reasonable as usually prawns can be priced out of other meats. We also ordered a bottle of the house red and some garlic bread. The prices stood out at under 9 pounds for lasagne and under 12 pounds (including supplement charge) for piri piri prawns but then there were sides of garlic bread too which all added up.
The food arrived fast which was pleasant. My plate arrived with a large dish of lasagne and salad. The dressing on the salad was a great accompaniment – once again McMillan Chop House take note. The garlic bread was just toast with garlic butter spread on but OK. The lasagne was nice but an Italian masterpiece it wasn’t! In fact I don’t think it resembled any kind of Italian dish. The sauce was more orange then tomato red, no herbs were visible and could have been baked a good 10 to 15 minutes longer. OK, I suppose if I wanted Italian I should go to an Italian restaurant but I think everyone likes to see a bit of cheese bubbling brown where it has baked on the top of the pasta.
Alex loved his Piri Piri prawns and I have to admit there were loads of prawns – king prawns. Nothing worse when ordering a prawn dish and you get 4/5 prawns. This certainly wasn’t the case. He said it was just spicy enough for him, OK but I like really spicy and I don’t think that was the case. Overall, I would say the dishes were a bit boring and some extra sides on the plate would have livened it up a bit. Maybe some coleslaw or a bit of orange on the salad, a bit of yoghurt with the Piri Piri perhaps. There is a lot of scope for Maggie May’s to be more creative with their dishes. Don’t get me wrong the food is all home-made and the menu has potential, but a bit more love and creativity would go a long way to make people dine out there.
In my opinion the menu at Maggie May’s is for people who are out for drinks for the day/night and are looking for a bite to eat before they start off. This was evident on the Saturday afternoon we visited with groups of men and women all out to socialise. In which case the menu does work but with a bit more love and care in the kitchen there is certainly the potential to make people opt here as a restaurant.
Overall Maggie May’s is a great bar, the decor, music and staff certainly make it. The wide selection of drinks are also very appealing. I would certainly go again in the context of going with friends before a pub crawl ensues or even as a part of a pub crawl and in need of food fuel. An enjoyable bar that is certainly not boring but stylish and chilled.
Food: 2/5 – Needs more imagination in the kitchen
Service: 4/5 – friendly, fresh and cool
Value for money: 3/5 – 40 pounds for wine and 2 mains – loads of king prawns.
Decor: 4/5 – hip and indie style with the same vibe
Total: 13/20 – Line your stomach here before going out on the lash!
Suitable for: groups, pub crawls, drinks, cocktails, weekend afternoons
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