I love finding a hidden gem! These discoveries almost always come when we are out with our buddies Austen, Trudie and Rocco, who are forever on a quest to find the most authentic delicious food they can. Of course this can lead to trying out a few…erm….interesting places??? But more often than not we discover someplace brilliant that no one else is talking about.
Which leads me to my latest discovery – Ladle Inn in Partick. Now I have to confess when Austen suggested a Sunday family dinner here I didn’t exactly have high hopes. The name Ladle Inn didn’t really inspire me….but that just shows you never judge a book by its cover – or a restaurant by its name!
Located on Hyndland Street in Partick, Ladle Inn is a fairly pleasant restaurant. It’s not going to blow your socks off in terms of decor, but it is perfectly nice. It’s not stylish in the way that Lychee Oriental, Opium or Sichuan House are but I would say that it is a nicer spot than KaKa Lok and Asima. It sits somewhere in the middle as a comfortable and casual environment to enjoy a meal with friends.
Our waiter was so lovely and helpful – he was happy to talk us through any dishes we were unsure about, and made a few recommendations of things we may like to try. Both the owner and the waiter checked on us regularly, but weren’t in our face all the time which in my opinion is just as bad as ignoring a table.
However I do have to mention that we were less than impressed when informed after the bill arrived that Ladle Inn only accepts cash, despite there being no sign saying cash only – in fact there was a sticker saying all major credit cards were accepted…very annoying since it lead to us having to leave the restaurant to get cash after dinner!
As always when we eat out as a group at a chinese restaurant we got lots of food to share – so I will just give you a brief description of what we ordered.
We kicked off with a few starters…because you know – dumplings!
Quarter Aromatic Duck – This is pretty self-explanatory really. There was plenty of wonderfully aromatic duck for us to share, lots of pancakes (is there anything worse than only getting 5 pancakes for half a duck?) and a nice amount of spring onion, cucumber and hoisin sauce.
Salt and Chilli Chicken – dear god how I love salt and chilli anything. This was quite an unusual version in that it was a whole chicken breast which has been chopped up, rather than the little nuggets that are often served. It was still lovely, just a little unusual – most importantly the salt and chilli flavours were well-balanced with a gentle kick of heat. Although I think it must have been more salty that we thought because I did chug three can’t of diet irn bru in 90 minutes 😛
Steamed Prawn Dumplings – These gluttonous little dumplings were fantastic, they were a nice size and filled with good-sized chunks of prawn rather than a paste, which I always prefer – I like to be able to see actual pieces of meat/fish/veg in things like dumplings.
Siu Mai – Probably my least favourite starter, not because these pork dumpling weren’t nice – I just liked the other dishes better. They were packed full of well seasoned juicy pork and were yummy, just not as yummy as the prawn ones in my opinion.
So that concludes the starter portion of proceedings, next we moved on to the main event. As always we went with a couple of ‘safe’ dishes that we knew we would love, but we also decided to thrown a few mystery dishes into the mix too…we’re just cray cray like that.
Salt and Chilli Squid – This is my must order dish in any chinese restaurant. In fact it’s now at the point where the guys don’t even ask anymore what I am going to pick as my dish when we order, it’s just taken as read that I am ordering this. And this squid was a particularly fantastic version – it was a big portion of tender squid, covered in a light crispy batter and busting with salt and chilli flavour. Fantastic dish!
Stew Beef with Potato – This was one of my stand out dishes of the day. It wasn’t a million miles away from a traditional Scottish stew….just more fragrant. It wasn’t a particularly generous portion, however the small bowl was full with large flaky pieces of melt in the mouth beef and soft buttery potato, which was all coated in a thick glossy gravy with a luscious meaty flavour. This is the kind of dish that makes me believe in the goodness of the human race, because no species which is truly awful could produce such a lovely thing.
Xinjiang Style Lamb – This was one of our mystery dishes, and as with all potluck dishes sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. This particular dish worked out spectacularly well and was another of my favourite dishes. I need to be honest I am not even really sure how to describe it – there was no sauce so it was a dry dish, the small nuggets of very very lightly battered lamb were still tender, and seasoned with cumin (I think) so a little spice but I wouldn’t describe it as a hot dish. That is the best description I can give you, but what I can assure you is that everyone at the table was nuts over it.
Thousand Chilli Pork – Our second mystery dish. After MrG, who is a mega heat fan tried some and said it was hot I have to admit I was too scared to go near it. Everyone assures me though it was excellent – I am 100% happy to take their word for that!
Kung Po Chicken – As you can probably tell this was one of our ‘safe’ dishes. I actually only had a tiny bit of this dish because the squid, beef and lamb was so scrumptious. Compared to the other dishes I found it a bit boring, but the chicken was nice big juicy pieces and the sauce was sweet, sticky and tangy…. a good kung po – just a bit meh compared to the flavour bombs that a few of our other dishes gave us.
So including drinks and a few sides of rice etc our bill for 5 came to £126.90 – which works out to £25.38 per person. I would say that we thought the price was fair….I wouldn’t say it was especially excellent value, but it was a fine price for the great food we got.
It was a fun dinner with my squad – great menu, delicious food and good staff. A great new addition to the Glasgow food scene.