Scotsman Review
Our criteria 
  • Ambience - It's important that a restaurant is inviting. We rate the decor, comfort and atmosphere.
  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
  • Food - We judge dishes on flavour, but also use of produce, cooking skill and presentation
  • Service - The staff and pace of a meal can make or break a meal out.
  • Value - From the food on the plate to service and surroundings, we check that you get what you're paying for.
Ambiance
8/10
Food
7/10
Total
0%
March 16, 2024

Hazel, Glasgow, review - the four-star AC Hotel by Marriott hotel restaurant isn't quite up to scratch

This destination is part of the city’s new Love Loan development

“There’s the tree that never grew, there’s the bird that never flew, there’s the fish that never swam, there’s the bell that never rang”.

That well-kent rhyme is associated with Glasgow’s coat of arms, which features all the St Mungo-related paraphernalia that’s mentioned.

On my last visit to the Dear Green Place, I was just hoping that I wouldn’t be the restaurant reviewer that never chewed.

It was way past our usual dinner time and we were ravenous, as we engaged our glutes and power-walked to the new four-star AC Hotel by Marriott Glasgow, which is part of the £100m Love Loan property development project in George Square.

In this smart corner-spot of a restaurant, the interior design focus is a faux hazel tree, in reference to the city’s symbol. These days, it’s usually depicted as an oak, but, apparently, it was originally a branch from every squirrel’s favourite nutty shrub.

We sat under its plastic boughs, at one of their tables-pour-deux, each of which was topped with a space-age take on a Wee Willie Winkie candle.

In fact, the whole space is like a branch of BoConcept. It’s very fancy, pristine white, and, if you pretend to go to the loos so you can creep about and explore, absolutely huge.

The food list, which is created by head chef, Zoltan Szabo, features Scottish ingredients with a Mediterranean vibe.

From the All Day Menu, which is served from midday until 10pm, I went for the priciest Small Plates option of seared Scottish king scallops (£14.50), and he chose the cheapest, with the tempura cauliflower (£7.50).

Now, I guess I’m spoiled in Scotland, in that I’m always fed gigantic mutant-sized scallops.

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Sadly, this trio were teensy tiny runts, each about the size of a mini marshmallow. They were the king on a coin or a stamp, rather than in real life. At least they were sweet, and came with a couple of chunks of Iberico black pudding, terracotta-coloured romesco sauce and a salsa verde. Four bites and it was all gone.

My other half enjoyed his larger helping - a meat-free kick of crunchy light veggie, with hoops of fizzingly hot red chilli, a pool of sticky sweet chilli sauce and a couple of pieces of pickled cucumber. It ticked the boxes, though I feel he should have ordered something more exciting, like the merguez sausage and Campbells haggis croquettes (£8) or the duck and pork terrine (£8.50).

For mains, I went for the roast haunch of venison (£24), which was decent, though required a bit more chewing than I’d hoped. It came with a brick of buttery potato gratin, a ladleful of puy lentils, baby beetroot, frills of crispy kale, and mahogany-hued rosemary jus. Well, it’s not spring yet, so I’ll tuck into the hearty and wintery dishes while I can.

We did feel a bit confused by our busy option of pan-roasted hake (£22).

As well as the halved crispy-skinned fish, which was topped with pomegranate-seed-studded salsa verde, there was a comparatively large pot of lemon Hollandaise, a portion of charred and smokey hispi cabbage, and a helping of biscuit-y and crunchy tempura samphire.

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The ratios were slightly off, and it seemed like a dish of nibbly leftovers, rather than a cohesive main course.

Also, although the staff are wonderful here, the service was pretty slow (they gave us free and very delicious cocktails as an apology) and, at the start, we’d had to ask three times to move from our wobbly table by the drafty door. In the end, we just upped and moved by ourselves, since my other half’s long-stemmed wine glass was threatening to topple on the floor.

Thus, we were running late, and pudding was eaten as if we were in Stand By Me’s pie-eating competition. I left greedy guts alone to lick the plate, while I found someone to wrangle our coats and give me the card machine.

That’s a shame, as the chocolate and orange tart (£8) was pretty lush, with a thick ganache and buttery base, plus coffee liqueur sauce on the side, pistachio crumb and some ever-decreasing puddles of creme Anglaise.

At least we made it to the nearby station on time, so I didn’t have to be the reviewer that never choo-choo. Sorry, that was tenuous.

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Still, though it has bags of potential, I don’t think Hazel is quite a destination restaurant that’s worthy of getting the last train home.

65 John Street, Glasgow, UK
65 John Street, Glasgow, UK, G1 1JP
0141 726 0344
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.
Scotsman Review
Our criteria 
  • Ambience - It's important that a restaurant is inviting. We rate the decor, comfort and atmosphere.
  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
  • Food - We judge dishes on flavour, but also use of produce, cooking skill and presentation
  • Service - The staff and pace of a meal can make or break a meal out.
  • Value - From the food on the plate to service and surroundings, we check that you get what you're paying for.
Ambiance
8/10
Drinks
8/10
Food
7/10
Service
7/10
Value
7/10
Total
0%
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