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Cottonrake Cafe, Glasgow, restaurant review - sit-in brunch at new cafe from popular bakery

Rosalind Erskine visits this newly opened cafe in Glasgow’s west end.

Published: August 27, 2023

I think it’s fair to say that we all have either a sweet or savoury tooth (apparently known as a salt tooth), with our preferences leaning more towards a cake or packet of crisps as a treat.

I fall firmly in the sweet tooth camp, with biscuits being my real weakness. My kryptonite is the chocolate and walnut cookie from Cottonrake bakery, a small independent business on Great Western Road in Glasgow.

The bakery has been running for 10 years, and is well known (and loved) for its stacked sandwiches, freshly baked bread, pastries, cakes, macarons and cookies.

In 2020 the team applied for planning for a vacant unit just down the street in order to open a cafe, due to the popularity of the bakery, which only has a small number of seats.

To some surprise, this was rejected due to concerns that the ‘fumes’ from baking bread, cakes and bakes, would affect those living in the flats above (personally I can’t see the problem).

Thankfully for all of us with both and sweet and savoury weaknesses, the business appealed and the decision was overturned in 2021.

Things then, understandably, went silent with covid restrictions in place. The cafe, which seats about 40 and was billed as serving plated versions of the popular bakery items, opened earlier this month and, without much of a fanfare, has attracted queues out the door since.

We visited early on a Saturday morning to try the brunch options, and were faced with such a queue and a very busy cafe.

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After a short wait we (plus Archie, as the cafe is dog-friendly) were seated. Inside there’s a chiller with cakes and bakes and a small food prep area along with simple seating.

It’s a pared-back. scandi-style look, with light wood and white the main accents. The menu too is pared-back, but even so it’s hard to know what to choose.

Dishes when we visited included: eggs benedict, granola and a bacon roll as well as a morning plate.

We decided to try the Loch Fyne smoked salmon on rye (£12) and tomato, harissa baked beans (£9.50) washed down with Cottonrake’s excellent coffee, two flat whites to be precise and an orange juice each.

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The beans, a sea of deep orange punctuated with vibrant green spinach, arrived in a large bowl. In the middle was a perfectly fried egg, with runny yolk, topped with walnut dukkah, chilli paste.

This was accompanied by a small plate of two, doorstep thick, slices of brown sourdough bread and a thick portion of salted butter.

The beans had a deep, earthy flavour, with crunch from the dukkha and kick from the paste. All of this was easily scooped up by the soft, thickly buttered bread.

For something so simple - beans and bread - the flavour here was well balanced and utterly delicious.

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Across the table the Loch Fyne Salmon cut a more neat figure, with pale pink slices of fish placed on a rectangle piece of rye bread, spread thickly with horseradish creme fraiche and topped with thin circles of pickled cucumber.

A fresher dish than the beans, which would keep you warm in the winter, the delicate flavour from the salmon was complemented by the sharpness from the pickles and cool creme fraiche, which could have had more of a kick from the horseradish.

Cottonrake Cafe review

Although nicely full from brunch, it’d be rude not to come here and not try a cake or pastry.

My boyfriend can’t see past Cottonrake’s carrot cake (£5), and my disappointment at their lack of chocolate chip and walnut cookie was fleeting as I spotted an almond and greengage tart (£3.50). With more coffees ordered, we tucked into the sweets.

My tart was well structured (no soggy bottom here) with a crisp and buttery pastry shell, filled with a delicate ground almond filling and a centre of stewed, tart fruit.

More sweetness came from the dusting of icing sugar, and texture from some toasted flaked almonds. The carrot cake got a thumbs up (as expected) and was a cinnamon spiced slab, (topped with cream cheese frosting), of total extravagance.

I couldn’t leave without buying a cookie to try at home (there’s hazelnut and apricot, chocolate chip, double chocolate and caramelised white chocolate and pistachio) and I’m happy to report it was just as delicious. I may have found a new favourite place to indulge my sweet tooth.

Cottonrake Cafe

717 Great Western Road


G12 8QX

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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