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Fat Lobster, Glasgow, review

Published: September 24, 2022

Lobsters are strange creatures.

Not only do they continue growing throughout their lives and chew with their stomach, they taste with their feet.

Imagine if I had that skill. Restaurant reviewing would become a challenge. Tacos would be near impossible, as would eating ramen and using chopsticks. The concept of sharing plates would be repulsive, especially if your dining partner had ingrown toenails, and the trend might soon die out. Some people would be VERY happy about that.

Paddling would be too salty, and the taste of socks would matter. I’d start a business, selling minty stockings.

Maybe I have over-thought this.

I kept my trainers on when we visited this double-level restaurant, which opened earlier in the summer. It offers a menu of seafood, sourced from Glasgow expert John Vallance, and organic wine, and is owned by the team behind cocktail bar Tabac on nearby Mitchell Lane. They’ve gone for a similar saloon-like vibe, with tobacco-coloured furniture and a low key relaxed feel.

It’s in the spot formerly occupied by Mussel Inn, and they’ve kept the gorgeous stained glass window, featuring mussels in a bright red bowl on a checked tablecloth. The daylight isn’t streaming through this feature quite as much as usual though, as the building is currently clad in scaffolding, like a lobster’s exoskeleton.

We ordered a couple of cocktails, since this place is related to Tabac.

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The Green Tea Hibiscus Daisy (£9.50) was taste bud CPR, with a smoky and zingy blend of tequila, green tea, hibiscus and a wedge of lime on the side of the Margarita glass.My dining partner went for the Falernum Ricky (£9.50), which was a longer drink, and contained a measure of the alcoholic version of Caribbean liqueur, falernum, as well as lime, sugar, bitters and a plume of mint leaves. All but one of the five cocktails on their list is citrusy, which is totally my favourite scurvy-beating seaman genre.

I dipped my little piggies right in, so I could really savour the flavours.

From the pair of Small Plates we’d ordered, the first to arrive was the octopus (£12). We’d heard and smelled some Maillard reaction related shenanigans in the open kitchen, and it must’ve been them working on this beautifully bronzed tentacle. It was tender but frizzy edged, and came with a pool of bright turmeric yellow and thick satay sauce, which was nuttier than an angry squirrel.

Then we had the fish tacos (£10) - a pair, one each. They contained chunks of lightly battered monkfish, as well as a large measure of herbal and fibrous jalapeno paste, which tasted a bit minty and coriander-y, before you were bludgeoned by chilli heat. There were also a few slices of jalapeno in there, as well as a smudge of lemon aioli and a tangle of pea shoots. We were happy.

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As far as large plates go, you can choose from a short list that includes lobster mac and cheese (£16), fish and chips (£18), a full (£6) or half lobster (£30), or try one of their lobster rolls - hot (£21) or cold (£18).

We shared the hottie, and it was a long, soft and spongy brioche finger, which had shredded bits of sweet coral-coloured lobby and chives in its middle, plus more frisee and pea shoots. Not bad, though we would’ve liked a bit more of the moisture providing elements of garlic butter and Cajun mayo that were listed on the menu. This option came with a side of skinny and well salted fries.

This main course was enjoyable, but with hindsight, I think we might have preferred to sample a couple more of their small plates. I especially like the sound of their baked mussels with aioli and chives (£9) or the mackerel, toast, apple, fennel and pickle (£10).

Apart from a cheese option, there's just one thing for dessert - the chocolate ganache, raspberry sorbet and chocolate soil (£7), but we abstained since we’d already blown the budget on cocktails. Oops.

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This is a decent addition to Glasgow’s seafood restaurant scene, which must be one of the best in Scotland, with places like Crabshakk, Gamba and Gandolfi Fish.

I give it a toes up.

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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