The Bowery, 35-41 Queen Street

Forgive me if it appears that I’ve only been targeting new restaurants – I’ll try to be kind. Having heard a lot about ‘The Bowery’ which has just opened on Queen Street I decided that it would be the perfect venue to review as I was meeting a friend in town. Located near Argyle Street it is in prime position for eating out after a day’s shopping or meeting for dinner after work.

On arrival it appears a lot has been invested in the interior with a whole new refit. Modern and fresh would describe the relaxing vibe of the restaurant. It was strangely quiet with more staff than customers but that was probably due to it being a Wednesday evening and to be honest the whole town seemed quiet.

After the review of Ranjit’s kitchen I’m going to try and take it easy on the staff at The Bowery. The restaurant has just opened so it’s likely there will be some teething problems. Having booked the table earlier in the day I arrived and gave the waitress my name. My friend had already arrived and we were both seated conveniently in what seemed like the dining area as opposed to the bar area -which was convenient and peaceful. When ordering drinks we were asked once then asked a second by another member of staff. From previous reviews you will know that these things can annoy me. Not about the staff themselves but the overall management of the place. Communication should be key throughout the whole system of service.

The menu was extremely good value considering the city centre location. Until 6.30pm all meals start at £4.95. The menu had a range of traditional burgers and fish and chips but also boasted interesting dishes of sea bass with sweet potato mash and lemon infused quinoa. I was particularly hungry so my friend and I ordered the homemade guacamole and tortilla chips. The tortilla chips were straight from a bag. However, the guacamole was really chunky and full of flavour served in 2 mini ramekins along with a third filled with pickled cabbage. Unfortunately, the ratio of tortilla chips did not match the portion of guacamole which was disappointing. Was it worth £4.95? – Definitely not!

Back to the staff: when they removed our plates from the table they didn’t seem to notice our glasses were empty. We had to call over to them to order more drinks. I’m of the belief waiting staff should automatically check for this regularly – especially if they’re at the table anyway.

Then to make matters worse the waiter came over to inform us that the sea bass I ordered, well, they didn’t actually have any left. They did offer hake instead – ok not so bad I guess, at least I didn’t have to order something completely different. Also, at the price of £6.95 it was still very reasonable.

When it arrived it was beautifully presented not to mention delicious. The Hake was cooked to perfection and was really soft. I was worried about this as I really don’t like dried out fish – but I couldn’t complain.  Two fillets of hake served on a bed of sweet potato mash, with a lovely citrus oil dressing. The balance of sweet potato with the acidic notes was perfect. You could be forgiven for thinking you were in an upmarket A la Carte restaurant. The burger my friend ordered also went down well with no issues. She removed the bun and it took some initiative from the waitress to inform us that you can actually order a ‘naked burger’ without the bun. Ideal if you’re limiting your carb intake.

It would’ve been impossible to eat dessert as we were so stuffed. However, the Bowery boasts a wide selection of dessert options and cocktails. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to order any of them with it being a week-night. I would look forward to returning to try them however. The Bowery food and drinks menu has a nice balance of pub prices meets bistro dishes and with that you may want to stay there for the whole evening!

Food – 4/5: Bistro food! However the tortilla chip starter could be moved to bar ‘nibbles’.

Service – 3/5: New staff all standing around looking awkward, unsure of the overall system. An extra mark for telling us about the ‘naked’ burger though!

Value for money – 4/5: Unfortunately lost a mark for starters. Overall, excellent value for the mains.

Décor – 3/5: New and fresh décor. Lots of space for bar and restaurant customers

Total – 14/20: A good start for the Bowery, slight teething problems with management etc. Great food ! Overall I’d like to experience the ‘social’ scene the Bowery has to offer at the weekend as well as the food.

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