Hybrid spaces have become something we’ve all become accustomed to in the last few years. I am writing this from my spare room/home office.
In hospitality, which has had an increasing number of challenges to overcome, many outlets have become multi-functional as a way to increase customers but also space.
In Glasgow alone there’s Mono - a vegan cafe/bar that shares a space with a record label and Cup tearooms, which transforms into a gin bar at night.
While an all day menu is nothing new, this changing of spaces is an agile way to survive and thrive. So it’s with some intrigue when a new coffee shop/restaurant opened in Glasgow in mid-March.
Seven21 is a Hinba coffee shop by day and a restaurant serving a seasonal, multi-dish tasting menu by night.
It’s from the same folks who have Eight Eight, Scamp and Hooligan (all of which have been favourably reviewed within these and The Scotsman pages).
The Hinba coffee shop is the second in the city from the Hebridean roastery, with the first located next door to Eighty Eight on Dumbarton Road in Glasgow’s west end. It doubles up as a cocktail bar in the evening.
Located on Pollokshaws Road, Seven21 (named for its street number) is headed up by chefs Adam Fell and David Cleary.
On opening Adam Fell said: “We wouldn't be able to provide our regularly changing five course tasting menu without the excellent relationship we have with our suppliers.
"McDuffs supply us with some of the best produce we have ever had the privilege of working with. The quality of our ingredients, paired with the brilliant work ethic of our team, leaves us very excited to welcome local diners and foodies from all around Glasgow.”
A small, also cafeteria-like interior awaits coffee lovers or diners, with stark white walls and simple wooden chairs, tables and banquet seating.
The menu is simply a meat or veggie four course affair for £30 and includes a range of seasonal ingredients. Paired wines can be added for an additional £30.
The coffee/restaurant opened with little fanfare, but is fully booked when we visit on a Friday night in early May. We’re the first seated, but it soon fills up - giving the space some life.
A refreshing gin cocktail kicks off the evening sweetly, and it doesn’t take long for our snack course to arrive.
For meat eaters these were thick slices of soft Wheatberry bakery sourdough, which had a crisp outside; Mimolette custard, which was sweetened by the addition of apple and tarragon oil; a soft and flavourful pork belly croquette served with Dijon and crisp tartlets filled with tortilla, corn, chilli and feta.
The veggie option was the same apart from the croquette was wild mushroom. These were all well balanced morsels - a good start.
Next up, from the meat menu, was mackerel served with golden beetroot gazpacho and walnut. For veggies it was a confit beef tomato with the same beetroot gazpacho and walnut.
I found the vegetarian option light and refreshing, with the char on the tomato and blobs of walnut emulsion adding a savoury bite. The meat eater didn’t have as good a report from the mackerel which was deemed far too gelatinous in texture. It was also served at room temperature which was off-putting.
The next course was pasta - burrata tortellini with basil, pancetta and peas. The veggie course was the same, just without the pancetta. Cooked nicely al dente, the vegetarian pasta was another light and fresh spring dish with a bright green, fragrant sauce. The meat dish had thick slices of pancetta, which was slightly overpowering.
The main dish for meat eaters was Macduffs Dexter beef served with asparagus, broad beans and butter vinaigrette.
This came with a side with crispy polenta topped with chorizo and a dish of carrots with orange and dill for the table to share.
While for the veggies, this dish was artichoke, asparagus, broad beans and butter vinaigrette. The side of crispy polenta was topped with king oyster mushroom tartare.
The artichoke halves were meaty-like but this dish overall was doused in too much oil, giving it a slick taste rather than a freshness you may have expected from seasonal vegetables.
The crispy polenta was a hit, with a fluffy interior encased in a crisp outside. Both the chorizo and mushroom toppings added to the flavour. The beef had a good texture (what you’d expect from Macduff) and was cooked well.
There’s an optional £7 cheese course on each menu - Pitchfork cheddar that comes with homemade branston pickle and digestive biscuits. We weren’t asked if we wanted this, and were served dessert in what felt like haste.
After checking it was available, we ordered and I’m glad we did as the creamy and full bodied cheese, which has veins like that of clue-cheese running through one third of it, paired perfectly with the tart pickle and short and not too sweet biscuits.
Dessert was swiftly served once we’d finished with the cheese, and was a pleasant plate of pink and green blobs of lime curd, creamy strawberry sorbet - with texture added from the granola and strawberries. A good mix of sweetness and tart flavours.
The idea here is a great one, if suffering a bit from the Nico effect. I fear tasting menus will become the new small plates and, if not executed well, may leave diners wishing they’d been able to order a la carte. While the menu looked promising, and some dishes were great, some weren’t and I left still feeling a bit hungry. The service too could have been more engaging. It’s still early days though, so it’ll be interesting to see what comes from this mash up.
721 Pollokshaws Road,