Scotsman Review
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  • 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. 
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June 11, 2023

Websters, Glasgow, restaurant review - a slice of Vienna in the west end

This former church in Glasgow’s west end recently introduced a new menu, which Rosalind Erskine went along to try on a sunny Sunday.

It's official picky bits for dinner weather. By this I mean a time when you eat whatever bits and pieces you can find in the fridge so that you don’t need to spend any time in a hot kitchen.

Picky bits can range from cheese and cold meats to olives, mini pork pies and salad. As I write this, we're on day 10 of continuous sunny weather in Scotland, hence the lack of a meaningful dinner.

This time of the year, and weather, usually coincides with my annual trawl of Right Move, just in case a three to four bedroom house with garden in the west end comes on the market for less than half a mill. Strangely, my Euromillions spending goes up during summer.

Luckily for me, and my bank balance, Glasgow isn't short of a beer garden, and thankfully there's plenty of those in the west end.

One that has recently reopened is Websters, the former church turned theatre and events space on Great Western road. Websters Sunday name is Lansdowne Parish Church, which was built in 1863 by John Honeyman.

It’s now known as Websters thanks to its stained glass windows, which were created by Alf Webster, who was sadly killed at Ypres in 1915. The bar has been closed for a refurbishment, and reopened in late May with a new look bar and menu, based around a 19th century Viennese art movement, Secession (not to be confused with the hit HBO TV programme Succession which was airing around the same time). 

The interior of the existing bar has been reinvented, inspired by the historic art movement - the Vienna Secession - where artists such as Gustav Klimt forged a new decorative approach to painting and interior design at the beginning of the last century.

While the look is inspired by Vienna, there’s a local link too. Many coffee house and bar interiors in Vienna as well as other east European cities such as Budapest and Prague were inspired by the Vienna Secession, and Glasgow artists and designers including Mackintosh and his associates were prominent exhibitors at Secessionist Exhibitions. 

This new, European via Glasgow look, also extends to the menu, which has been given a continental spin which makes for ideal picky bits during this current warm weather.

You’ll find charcuterie boards as well as pates and cheeses with a pickled onion or two included in the platter. Drinks include classic cocktails and coffee which can be enjoyed in the sun-facing beer garden. Plus on weekends there’s a small pizza menu available from lunchtime onwards.

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It’s this menu we come to try when we visit on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Finding it surprisingly easy to bag a picnic bench in the sun, we ordered a couple of cocktails - a blood orange negroni (£9) and a Hemingway daiquiri (£10) - both of which were well balanced and, in the case of the daiquiri, a sharp and cool way to pretend you’re on holiday while at home.

Pizzas were being freshly made in the garden via a fired up pizza oven. There’s only five available, two of which are veggie, but we still struggled in deciding so went for one each (£11 each) and had half and half.

The Chistorra, which was topped with cured sausage, roasted onion and olives and The Verdura, which had mushrooms, onions and olives on top. Both were piping hot and served when ready (giving us time to sip on the cocktails) and were of the thin base but thick, doughy crust variety.

Websters Glasgow
Inside the new look bar at Websters

The base of each was nicely smoky thanks to the pizza oven, while the cheese was in abundance and pulled thickly (for all those #cheesepull posts). Toppings were a bit sparse but combined well, especially the sausage and olive. We made light of the pizza and were happy to hang about for the rest of the afternoon.

The staff were friendly and, inside the west entrance where you order food and drinks, the historic features have been brought to life by the revamp. I can see this being a popular cooler weather hangout due to the style and location.

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But for now, here's hoping the good weather continues so picky bits for dinner, and weekend pizza can continue al fresco at Websters. It may just mean my house hunting, and lottery plays aren't as prolific this month.

Websters Theatre

416 Great Western Road


G4 9HZ

0141 357 0151

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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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