Scotsman Review
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July 1, 2023

Cafe Source Too, Glasgow, restaurant review - family-friendly alfresco dining to enjoy all summer long

This long-standing west end restaurant is an ideal spot for a summer dinner.

As Shakespeare wrote ‘what’s in a name?’ and, as with his star crossed lovers, the answer ‘quite a lot’ also applies to our much loved and brand new restaurants.

Good ones will stick and get their own abbreviations, or - if they were really iconic - still be used long after the business has changed or closed down.

Glasgow’s Cafe Source Too is one of those names. It was owner and head chef Paul Laurie’s second restaurant in the city, the original Cafe Source was opened in 2000, with Cafe Source Too opening in 2011. The ‘too’ refers to it being the sequel but also that it’s found within the Hillhead Sports Club just off Hughenden Road in the west end.

Paul’s cooking credentials come from training at the city’s famed the Buttery restaurant before working in Paris. His first restaurant, Cafe Source, sadly closed in 2019 when St Andrew’s in the Square, where it was located, was shut down.

At the time, Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, which owned St Andrew’s in the Square, said it had been left with “no option” but to terminate the lease. He opened Nivens in Strathbungo in 2018, but it has since shut too. So it’s Cafe Source Too that’s stood the test of time.

Cafe Source Too is the kind of place that’s filled with families, with kids either tucking into a meal after a football game, or gearing up for rugby practice. Before Covid, it was also home to the hugely popular West End Beer Festival, created by Conor McGeady (who now works as the restaurant manager in Bar Brett) and Jehad Hatu owner of Grunting Growler.

Paul’s cooking credentials come from training at the city’s famed the Buttery restaurant before working in Paris.

Paul’s first restaurant, Cafe Source, sadly closed in 2019 when St Andrew’s in the Square, where it was located, was shut down.

At the time, Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, which owned St Andrew’s in the Square, said it had been left with “no option” but to terminate the lease. He opened Nivens in Strathbungo in 2018, but it has since shut too. So it’s Cafe Source Too that’s stood the test of time.

It’s also a bit of a hidden gem on a sunny day, as it has a large number of outdoor picnic benches, which overlook the huge playing field.

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While most other restaurants with smaller terraces are packed out when the sun is shining, you can usually find a seat here. It’s also very kid and dog-friendly, and you can book for outside, which isn’t always available elsewhere.

It’s with this in mind when we visit on a very sunny Friday evening in early June. Not having a garden doesn’t bother me much for about nine months of the year, but this long stretch of nice weather calls for a bite to eat and a cold glass of wine to toast the end of the week.

We arrive just as kids rugby is kicking off, and the place is busy with groups of families and friends watching the games as well as catching up.

The menu is as relaxed as the conversation, with a few exceptions. Sandwiches which would be at home in a pub sit next to mains that include beer battered fish and chips, slow braised daube of beef Bourguignon and Pasta Al’Arrabiata while the specials are a mix of crispy squid rings, a tuna melt on sourdough and a Tandoori chicken flatbread.

After ordering a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a beer, we decided to split our dinner between main menu items and specials.

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I went for the 70s spectacular of prawns, marie rose, baby gem and a bread roll (£8) while across the table the salmon, prawn, avo tian (£8) was ordered.

The prawn dish was essentially a deconstructed prawn cocktail, with the prawns and Marie rose mix served in a large baby gem lettuce leaf and topped with half moons of red onion and chunks or red pepper, and sprinkled with brick red paprika.

Cafe Source Too

Light and creamy with maybe just a bit too much of flavour from the spice, it was perfectly nice though I felt the bread roll was superfluous but I guess you could make it into a small sandwich if you so desired.

The salmon and prawn was a tower of fish, on top of potato salad topped with creamy avocado. A drizzle of sweet chilli dressing dressed the rest of the plate, giving a sweet hit of heat. Another light start to the meal, ideal for a hot day.

For mains the special of chicken Tandoori flatbread served with spiced onions, hummus, pickled peppers, garlic and lemon aioli (£14) was chosen while I opted for a classic I’ve not seen for a while - a pan fried fillet of seabass (£16).

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Cafe Source Too

The skin on the thin piece of seabass was as crispy as advertised, but with flaky moist flesh. The fish sat on top of crispy new potatoes, lemon zest flecked roasted broccoli, little spoonfuls of puy ,lentils, dots of basil pesto and capers.

This dish, with its combination of flavours and textures, was a showcase of seasonal produce and something I wish I could conjure up on a sunny Friday night (al fresco of course). While the Tandoori chicken was deemed flavourful, especially the aioli.

Sometimes it’s not what’s in a name that’s important (as Romeo and Juliet found out), but what a place brings to a community and at Cafe Source Too, it’s evident this is a hub of activities for families, friends and neighbours, making it a lovely spot to enjoy even when the sun turns to rain.

Cafe Source Too, Hughenden Road, Glasgow, UK
Cafe Source Too, Hughenden Road, Glasgow, UK, G12 9XP
0141 357 6437
Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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