The Perfect Outdoor-Indoor Brasserie - The Chophouse, Glasgow

The festive season is always one where I go absolutely nuts with my bank card.  Due to my itching to spend money, my reviews had sadly taken a backseat.  Now the cobwebs have been blown from my dusty little blog, I am pleased to be writing about a marvellous meal that I had this evening.

Steak is my favourite, hands down.  From my posts on Kyloe and John Carrigans you should know that it does take a lot to impress me on the red meat front.  Needless to say, my carnivorous tendencies had also been put on the back burner in aid of funding Christmas.  Not anymore.

My friend Stevie and I ventured into Glasgow city centre to The Chophouse.  Formerly known as Sizzlers, The Chophouse is one of the restaurants that inhabits the beautiful Merchant Square.  The website states that there is a 1920's feel to the restaurant - with the cobbled interior of Merchant Square, it's not difficult to imagine Gene Kelly dancing around to the chorus of 'Singin' In The Rain'.

The Chophouse in Merchant Square

Merchant Square is a beautiful collaboration of bars and restaurants.  Themed like a market square, yet cosily based indoors, it makes the perfect place to eat and drink without getting weather-beaten between eating and drinking.  You can find out more about Merchant Square here.

Stevie and I were seated in the 'outdoor' seating area, which was great as they had set up the main area of the square for New Years Eve.  There were Ariel silk acrobats practicing, a big net of balloons set up and the Christmas lights were like stars covering the sky.  It was almost like being outside on a Summer's night - just what you need in the middle of a December monsoon!

The menu offers a wide variety of favourites to start - mussels, pate, prawns and the like - and it really was a difficult choice.  Resorting to 'eeny meeny miney mo', my choice was made by the gods: smoked haddock and bacon fishcakes.  Stevie went slightly exotic on me, and opted for the Cajun marinated chicken skewer.

Cajun marinated chicken skewers

The chicken on these skewers was cooked to perfection.  It tore away from the skewer with ease, and the meat was mouth-wateringly succulent.  The smokey marinade had a slight kick to it, but not so hot that it would cause any discomfort (even to the most tender of palates).  Garnished with a side salad of crispy fresh leaves, plump cherry tomatoes, shredded carrot and sliced red onion, it really was an enticing dish.  It was big enough to satisfy our aching stomachs, but small enough to be a warm up for the main course.

Smoked haddock and bacon fishcakes
Well wasn't this a treat.  The fishcakes were served piping hot, and also with a dressing of sweet chilli sauce. The smoked haddock was very distinctive, however didn't overpower the whole dish.  The bacon pieces added their own unique flavouring, plus the fluffiness of the potato, laced with spring onion, really made these fishcakes delicious and different to what I have experienced before.  The sweet chilli sauce added that extra heat and bite that I really enjoy, and complimented the fish perfectly.  The side salad was the same as above, and added some extra freshness and juiciness to the dry texture of the fishcakes.

Medium rare fillet steak with mash potato
Stevie's chips
On to the main event! After watching the Ariel dancers twirl to what appeared to be false deaths, we tucked into a medium rare fillet steak each.  I'm not a huge fan of chips, but the waiter happily swapped the chips which come as part of the meal with some creamy, buttery mashed potatoes.  Stevie's chips came in a lovely miniature fry basket - super cute and also handy for keeping those pesky chips away from your sauce!  The steaks were absolutely perfect - seared on the outside with beautiful charcoal lines from the grill, then a stunning red centre.  We weren't given steak knives, however we didn't even need them;  The table knife slid through the steak like butter.  It was phenomenal.

  My favourite thing with steaks these days is the roasted cherry tomatoes - sweet, juicy and absolutely divine with steak.  Do beware though, those rascals tend to burst when you spear it with your fork - nobody wants a tomato juice burn...

Fried Onions
Pepper sauce & Coleslaw

Stevie and I decided that we would order a couple of sides to share, as we like to go hard when it comes to eating out.  The fried onions were served in a rice bowl, in their own glorious juices.  They were sweet and packed with flavour, which went amazingly with the meat and the strong pepper sauce.  The sauce was really peppery, which I really liked.  A lot of sauces tend to be cream based which can take away that kick of pepper, however The Chophouse have really got themselves a winner here.  The only downside is that they charge for sauce separately - £2 isn't a lot, but I prefer when the sauce is complimentary!  What I did not, and will not, stop raving about is their coleslaw.  I have honestly never enjoyed coleslaw more in my whole life.  It was perfectly shredded, and coated in a fantastic homemade mayonnaise that left a beautiful creamy yet sweet aftertaste in your mouth.  If you do visit The Chophouse, please order coleslaw.  You will not regret it!

Feeling full, satisfied and grinning like Cheshire cats, we felt like a glance at the sweet menu.  Well...

Chocolate brownie with mint ice cream

Stevie read that the brownie came with mint ice cream and was instantly sold.  The brownie was served warm, and the mint ice cream was melting, slowing infusing into the middle of the brownie.  Garnished with a physalis and fresh cream, the brownie was light yet rich, refreshed with the cold mint ice cream and the exotic edge from the physalis.  It went down a treat, and Stevie has confirmed that this has been our best meal of 2012!

Oreo Chocolate Sundae

Oreo ice cream, layered on top of fresh cream and brownie pieces, coated in warm chocolate sauce.  I absolutely adored this, and it was really light and cool to eat.  My only criticism is that there were barely any brownie pieces!  After having snaffled a piece of Stevie's brownie, I was so looking forward to chunks of my own - but to no avail.  The ice cream was sweet and there was plenty of the sauce (plus a physalis, which was a unique fruity change to the chocolate and vanilla combo) which soothed my disappointment.

The staff were polite and courteous, however not overly friendly and they didn't flutter around your table to check how you were getting on.  They were quick to serve, clear dishes and provide drinks, so no complaints there!

For four soft drinks (lemonade and lime, to cleanse the palate), two starters, two steak dinners, and two desserts, the bill came to just under £90.  I found this amazing value for money, especially due to the calibre of the food and the quality of the steaks we had.  The portion sizes were in no way modest, and I really feel like we got our money's worth.

If you fancy seeing a nicer side of Glasgow, I would definitely recommend a visit to Merchant Square and getting a steak from The Chophouse.  You will probably find me sitting out the front of the restaurant with the meat sweats, happy as Larry.

Contact Details:

The Chophouse
Merchant Square
71 Albion Street
G1 1NY

Tel: 0141 552 4200


Wheelchair access: Yes