Having lived in the West of Scotland for the majority of my life, I’m used to travel to Glasgow more often than not in order to find restaurants and food that I love. I come from a long line of big eaters and I’ve always been a fan of Asian and East-Asian cooking, enjoying take-away classics such as spare ribs, Peking duck, Madras curries and other tasty treats from a very young age – Two year old me wasn’t shy about eating! It can be difficult to navigate the vast culinary jungle Glasgow has to offer, but for once I have found a hidden gem a little bit closer to home: Bath Street Arches in Gourock.
My family and I have been eating here for years and have seen it change hands a few times. The team currently running the premises produce outstanding food, a varied, well selected menu and a welcoming atmosphere in a restaurant that probably isn’t much bigger than your living room. Every time I’ve ate there, it has been an absolute joy and it ticks every box of restaurant “must haves”: It is well decorated, the art and music have been carefully selected to create the perfect ambience to set the pace of the meal and the service is always warm, friendly and helpful – the staff are able to articulate the menu well, as well as recommending wine pairings.
My family and I recently ate there after booking at very short notice – the restaurant is well known for being extremely accommodating to customers despite its small size. Size certainly doesn’t have any impact on the quality of the menu or variety of drinks on offer: a bottle of Prosecco is well-priced at £14.50 with a range of popular lagers on offer, as well as a variety of spirits. A bottle of red starts at a refreshing £12.95 per bottle, which is a welcome change from the ridiculous Glasgow mark-ups I’ve encountered over the years. Bath Street Arches are also looking to introduce Gin pairings and widening their Gin repertoire, allowing them to successfully complete with popular Glasgow establishments such as Gin 71.
Having tried everything on the menu between us, I can confidently say that their menu is both varied and delicious. They usually offer a choice of around five starters and six mains, depending on the time of year and produce available. Produce is as locally sourced as possibly, allowing them to add special items at certain times of the year, and meat is procured from local butchers, giving the customer an organic experience which for a small business is neither a cheap nor easy thing to achieve. They also have a separate vegetarian menu that has a similar number of starter and main course options which again is impressive for such a small establishment. I have eaten in many popular – and expensive – Glasgow restaurants who only provided perhaps one veggie option, usually a “wild mushroom risotto” with Parmesan cheese (which is actually not veggie friendly, as Parmesan is made with calf rennet from a calf’s stomach. But that’s for another time).
I have to say that the Bath Street Arches are one of the few places where I will happily eat meat, as I know that it has been locally and responsibly sourced and that all parties have been fair to the animal. My favourite dish on the menu is the Beef Rendang which is currently made with Aberdeen Angus beef. It needs to be tasted to be believed; the meat is cooked to perfection and is as soft as butter, and the Rendang is as authentic as they come. Their haggis starter is also a family favourite, paired with a beautiful whisky sauce. I honestly have to stop myself from hoovering it into my face every time I order it. Each dish is crafted to perfection and the presentation is of the highest standard, from the pyramid of rice you receive with the mango chili rice and sesame vegetables, or the equally impressive triangular tower of pastry that comes with the steak pie. You know straight away that your meal has been constructed with care and passion, showing respect to each ingredient.
The dessert menu offers the perfect end to what I promise will be a wonderful meal. Their cinnamon and apple tart is a firm favourite in my household, but my favourite dessert-of-sorts is the cheese board and glass of Port. A selection of four cheeses, crackers and fruit are presented beautifully and paired well with the port, as well as coming with your own mini cheese knives that are super sweet! Usually, each table is booked with a 90 minute time slot, but I can’t say I have ever felt rushed whilst eating; Tables are cleared and food is brought out in a timely and efficient manner, but not so fast you think they’re practically throwing your food out the door. We are a bunch of fast eaters to be fair and that’s why I don’t have many photos of my food from the restaurant; I was far too busy enjoying it to waste time taking photos. However, I did manage to take a photo of the cheese board with the Port, so hopefully that tantalises your taste buds!
Bath Street Arches also offers a diverse lunch menu that includes “light-bites”, mains and a tapas selection of their favourite dishes, as well as a wide selection of teas, coffees and cakes available for a deilcious Afternoon Tea, offering more than just a fine dining evening experience. A new feature to the restaurant is the introduction of Thursday “tasting” sessions, where customers are invited to try a six course tasting menu, paired with wines, in order to help shape up-coming menus. They guarantee that the quality of the food will match that of a “normal” three-course meal whilst offering diners a new culinary experience.
Overall, Bath Street Arches gets a firm 5/5 from me. The atmosphere, friendly staff, well thought-out menu, presentation and taste hit every spot for me and I am yet to meet someone whose opinion differs. It is well worth the train ride down from Glasgow and I implore you to visit Gourock and this wonderful restaurant; you won’t be disappointed.
Bath Street Arches are on Facebook and Instagram, too! Check them out!