Great Places to Eat in Scotland
- Mono, King's Court, Glasgow
We all know that we should eat more healthily, give up fast food, fish and chips, burgers, cakes and ready-made meals. Isn't it strange how tasty, comfort eating meals are highly calorific and bad for the heart and waistline? If you are someone who thinks a vegetarian diet without a chunk of meat must be so dull and bland, think again. Mono is an exciting new venture in eating and offers a superb menu of vegan cuisine - tasty, healthy, fresh, imaginative, spicy home cooked dishes, which are completely meat, fish and dairy free. It is more than just a restaurant. Mono is a relaxing space to sit, eat, read, drink and listen to cool music. It's a café, bar and bistro, with a specialist Fairtrade food store, library and record shop all under the same roof. Mono also brews their own real ale, ginger beer and lemonade.
Make your way to the Trongate and then walk on towards the river Clyde down King Street. King's Court is a couple of blocks down on the left hand side, an open pedestrianised square surrounded by an eclectic range of ethnic clothes, jewellery and craft shops. This is where you'll find Mono.
It is like a huge circular warehouse with a glass cupola creating an airy light space. The front café area is full of sofas, basket chairs as well as a few pine kitchen tables and chairs. Beyond is the curving snake shaped bar and up a few steps to the left is the more "formal" restaurant section with rows of tables. High up above the café is a platform containing half a dozen giant chrome vats filled with home brewed Fraoch heather ale, ginger beer and lemonade.
You can be sure that everything on the menu and your plate is pure, organic, freshly prepared food. Start perhaps with a platter of bruschetta: organic sunflower seed bread toasted with a topping tomato, red onion, basil and garlic. The soups are meals in themselves, such as a thick aubergine and mushroom, or Hummous served with pitta bread and salad is a tasty, filling appetiser. A very popular dish is the sweet potato and courgette potato cakes, deliciously soft mashed vegetable and potato, with a crunchy coating. The chefs in the Mono kitchen can't make enough of these - arriving at around 5.30pm, one evening, I had to wait a few minutes before the next batch were ready to cook.
Main courses are healthy portions of savoury, spicy dishes such as Thai Curry with basmati rice, (meat eaters would surely not notice the lack of meat in this) or Vegetable stir fry with chilli, ginger and limejuice served with noodles. This was delicately seasoned, the quickly cooked vegetables preserving all vitamins and providing a very substantial healthy meal. Otherwise, Stuffed Peppers with creamy mushroom sauce served with baby roast potatoes and green beans, Chestnut and vegetable loaf or speciality pasta dishes of the day.
The Vegan diet does not mean it is low calorie or dietary. Eat as much as you wish, knowing it is all freshly cooked. The puddings are delicious - various cheesecakes, fruit crumble and custard or something different - hazelnut waffle with ice cream and raspberries.
Breakfast is served all day - so enjoy a healthy fry up with veggie sausages, veggie bacon, beans, and hash browns. For a light lunch and snacks there are veggie burgers, soup, tortilla wrap and bangers and mash.
Before or after your meal, take a browse around Monorail, the in-house independent record store where you'll be sure to find your favourite CDs and vinyls, especially featuring hit bands, Belle and Sebastian, Teenage fan club, James Orr Complex and Sebadoh amongst hundreds of other Indy bands and record labels.
See www.monocafebar.com for current menu and prices.
I loved my first (but it will not be my last) visit to Mono. Totally relaxing, friendly, laid back service - nothing is a problem and everyone is so enthusiastic about the food and home brewed drinks. This is a peaceful, chill out zone, perfect for a relaxing afternoon cup of tea, a pint of real ale with friends or a slap up healthy meal at any time. It's ideal for a pre theatre supper, as I experienced, as it is open for business all day and well into the night. Food served till 10pm with the bar open till midnight.
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