I wrote a few months ago about how rife brunches are in the west end of Glasgow. It was around about the same time as Bru, a new South-African inspired restaurant and brunch spot was gearing up to open.
It is located at the end of Dumbarton Road, just past Thornwood - an area of Glasgow that’s becoming more and more popular as it also includes Gaga and Wino wine bar.
Broken Pony, a short lived cafe, which also served, you guessed it, brunch was located in the same unit for a few months. Before then it was St Louis Cafe, which has been billed as a ‘west end institution.’
Bru is open for brunch and dinner, and serves small plates and pizzas with local produce and seasonal ingredients, with elements of the food taking inspiration from South African-born owner Bradley Potteron’s motherland.
Potteron has spent time working in bars and restaurants in Australia, London and Glasgow (he was the assistant manager at Ziques) has opened Bru, the term used to describe a close friend in South Africa, as his first solo venture.
At the time of opening, Bradley said: “We want to bring the industry together and support the best of Glasgow’s incredible food and drink scene.I want this to be the community’s third place, a home away from home.
"There’s home, there’s work, and then there’s Bru. The support from the industry and public has been amazing. From connecting with local suppliers the minute we decided to open, to getting to know the characters of Thornwood and beyond.
"People have been asking what we’re up to: there’s a genuine interest and people want to support any way they can. We’re excited we can now, finally, welcome everyone in.”
We ventured along on a Saturday in January to see if some South African scran would help us enjoy some rare sunshine. Inside there are still elements of Broken Pony’s Mackintosh theme, with the familiar interwoven rose pattern on mirrors at the back of the restaurant, and small details above the bar.
But Bru’s laid back vibe is present in the simple wooden tables and Eames style chairs. It’s busy when we arrive, but we get a table no problem and order a juice, coffee and two bloody marys to toast not doing dry January.
The bloody Marys were well balanced with just the right amount of spice (your desired spice level is asked when ordering) and the orange juice is nice and fresh but sadly the coffee tastes a bit stale, like the machine needs a clear out.
On to the food, which is a good mix of meat and veggie. We went for the bunnychow, which I’ve also written about as part of my review of Mowgli.
This dish is usually a hollowed out loaf of bread that’s usually filled with curry. Here it’s a sweet potato curry served in a Mortons morning roll with a fried egg on top (£8.50). We also chose the Boerewors stack (£10.50).
The bunnychow curry was warming and sweet with enough spice to give it a kick, but not too much. The soft roll, with the crispy top, was ideal for soaking up the excess curry sauce.
For the meat eaters, the Boerewors stack was another well balanced dish, with lean beef sausages, chopped up, mixed with chakalaka, a spicy tomato sauce topped with sweet, sliced peppers and a fried Corrie Mains egg - all of this is on top of a crispy slice of toasted sourdough.
We didn’t have room for any sweet treats, but there’s a selection of home baking available that includes scones, muffins, brownies and millionaire shortbread.
Bru does have a relaxed atmosphere, sometimes a bit too much too for the speed of the service which was friendly but quite slow. In leaning into the South African offering, Bradley has created something that seems fresh and new in an over saturated market, and it’s being done well.
The signature dishes were packed full of flavour, and moreish. Bru definitely offers a welcome change to avocado on toast in the ever changing brunch scene of the city.
It’ll be interesting to visit in the evening (Bru has a licence and sells beers from Overtone brewery and Williams Brothers as well as wines and more cocktails) to try their pizzas and to see how these stand up to the Glasgow Paesano test but for now, we’ll be back for brunch and a (hopefully better) coffee.
734 Dumbarton Road
0141 264 2022