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June 18, 2023

Haylynn Canteen, Glasgow, restaurant review - not your average weekend brunch

As Whiteinch welcomes more new cafes, Rosalind Erskine visits this breakfast and brunch spot, which opened during the pandemic.

There are a lot of things about Glasgow that surprise me still, despite living here on and off for almost 20 years. One of these things is that Whiteinch, part of Dumbarton Road that the Clydeside Expressway cuts over, was once an island. These days, it’s becoming the location du jour for new cafes, restaurants and bars.

The end of Dumbarton Road before Whiteinch has been on the up for some time, with new openings such as Gaga and Bru and plus the longstanding pub the Thornwood is in great health, meaning that those seeking a good meal, coffee or drink are well catered for. But many may not venture over the roundabout and into Whiteinch, but they should as this area is having a moment.

New cafe, Victoria Perk - an homage to Friends has recently opened and the Wee Lochan has made a return with the Wee Lochan Kitchen, serving epic looking cakes, has opened within the last two weeks. Jimmy Lee’s Salt and Chili Oriental opened here in the pandemic years, as did Haylynn Canteen, a breakfast and brunch joint inspired by the lazy weekend eating scene (with great coffee) in Australia.

While it may be sunnier climes that were on owner Robbie Morrow’s mind when he opened Haylynn Canteen, he has amassed experience in some of Glasgow’s best and most loved restaurants including Number 16 Byres Road and Catch 22, a seafood restaurant on Bath Street.

Morrow then made the move to Australia, and got a job working for Masterchef Australia judge George Calombaris at his restaurant, The Press Club. It was his time in Australia that inspired him to open Haylynn Canteen, as Morrow told the Glasgow Times : “The culinary scene out there is amazing, the standard of food and the cafe culture, that was the beginning of my idea to come back here and start a cafe.”

After a stint in the Swiss Alps, then back in Glasgow at Tabac, Alchimilla and Eighty Eight, Morrow made the leap into his own business, despite the ongoing pandemic.

Haylynn Canteen survived lockdown restrictions, and is now a thriving and very busy spot for breakfast and brunch, with a changing menu, minimalist decor (with pop art on the plain white walls and simple seating) and outdoor benches. Haylynn Canteen is on the site of The Cabin restaurant, which served generations in Whiteinch for 125 years before closing in 2015

We visited on a busy, sunny Saturday morning (I suspect the people on the outdoor tables were here for opening) for breakfast. The menu is on a large peg board, and includes meat, veggie and a vegan dish (a vegan surprise, which a friend highly recommended for those following a plant based diet). After ordering flat white coffees, we took some time on deciding as everything sounded so good.

Dishes included ‘BLAT’ bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado bagel, pancakes of the day, duck egg, hash brown with Stornoway black pudding and sage, and a pastrami, kraut Swiss pickle bagel.

There are some potential lunch options too - a chicken Caesar and French onion tart, plus sides of cheese and onion potatoes, pickles and a seasonal salad.

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We ordered the chorizo, corn and potato hash served with a poached egg and Manchego (£12) and smoked salmon with potato rosti (£15).

The impressive mound of salmon was served with tartare sauce, zingy pickled cabbage and a perfectly boiled egg with a yolk soft enough to dip but not too soft as to ooze everywhere.

Dominating the plate was the deeply golden rosti, which looked a bit like a giant fish finger. Beautifully crisp, it was the base for mouthfuls of subtle salmon and rich, creamy tartare sauce, which was punctuated with slices of gherkins.

This rich/tart combination continued with the cheerfully colourful pickled cabbage, which cut through the fattiness of the rosti and livened up the egg. With a sprinkling of horseradish and fronds of dill on top, this was a complex but delicious taste sensation.

Across the table, the chorizo dish (of which a side of Lorne sausage was ordered cos apparently you can’t have too much meat to start your weekend, apologies to the vegan surprise people) had chunks of crisp new potato throughout, with the odd hint of green from leaves of spinach.

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Yellow jewels of sweetcorn were found underneath this mix, which was topped with large shavings of the zesty Manchego and two perfectly poached eggs. Here the chorizo was not overpowering, as it sometimes can be, while the potato had a nice crunch and soaked up the spicy flavour.

Despite being full we took home a cinnamon bun (£2.50) to enjoy later on. The pastry swirl dusted with spice and sugar - a good if slightly dry pick me up come the afternoon.

While there may be mourning competition in the area, Haylynn Canteen is well worth a visit, which, given Morrow’s credentials, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

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Haylynn Canteen, Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, UK
Haylynn Canteen, Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, UK, G14 9UJ
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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