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Creedence

Creedence

48a West Regent Street,
Glasgow,
G22RA

0141 353 1301

Price Rating: 2

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Price Ratings

£ – inexpensive
££ – mid-price
£££ – expensive
££££ – very expensive

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Reviews

Squat’s the story

Review published on 14/05/2012 © Sunday Herald

And so to the latest of my occasional dining adventures with Guerino. We once went all the way to Edinburgh, you know. He didn’t like it. Too far. Tonight? I can see a flicker of stress on the big man’s face as we descend a dark, narrow staircase leading deep into the bowels of West Regent Street in Glasgow.

I can tell you right now what we’re both thinking: uh-oh. This place is almost impossible to spot. And even then it has all the presence of a 1980s sex shop. What the hell is it going to be like inside on a quiet Thursday night? Dead? Weird? Even more terrifying, dead expensive? Well, there are holes in the tables. I can tell you that. And little buckets under them for tipping our squat lobster shells into.

There’s also some sort of ass-kicking southern music playing on the stereo. That’s yee-ha southern US ass-kicking and not oo-ya southern Glasgow ass kicking, incidentally. Though they’re playing it at oo-ya-that’s-too-bloody-loud levels. So loud, in fact, we have to do that toe-curlingly embarrassing thing and ask them to bloody turn it down. Please.

Most surprising of all is the fact it’s busy – really quite busy. Mainly young couples dotted about the place, a table of four women with the obligatory bottle of wine over there. I’m surprised because I looked Creedence up on the internet earlier and the minimum prices I saw are ludicrously, dangerously high. And also wrong. As we will discover.

Yet, after we settle into our table, gawp at the hole in it, mutter about the odd art on the walls and check out the other customers, our eyes settle on the blackboard. Does it really say almost £30 for a steak and seafood main course? Guerino is giving me that where-have-you-taken-me-this-time look. It’s understandable – he’s paying.

The business mystery is solved when we notice various customers brandishing bits of A4 paper. A-ha. We’re in internet deal-land. Does nobody pay full price in restaurants any more? It’s great for us customers but it’s killing the industry. We don’t have a coupon with us but I did look at their Facebook page. And just saying that is enough to get a three-tapas-for-a-tenner deal.

Suddenly the table is full of seafood – extremely good-value seafood at that. Squat lobsters come whole, fat, squishy, sweet and lovely, and there’s a lot of them. Mussels too from Loch Fyne, plump, delicious and served in a very good winey sauce. There’s a reasonable spiced soup with even more seafood in it, though this time the types of seafood are hard to discern.

We’ve so many terracotta dishes with little squidgy prawns in them I forget which is which. Let’s just say they’re the paper-shelled pink ones that are so footery you’re as well just eating the shells too.

There are crab cakes and squid rings dusted, I think, in salt and pepper. And the whole lot comes to a tad over £50 including drinks. That’s great value. Though, as restaurants have become like Ryanair flights, myself and Guerino do spend some time wondering what everybody else is paying.

Brilliant, then? Um, not completely. The waitresses are pleasant and the feel of the place – though a bit dark and inexplicably southern – is not unpleasant. It’s the cooking. At times it’s slapdash.

Take the squid rings, which are clearly prepared and battered in the kitchen right here, then dumped in the fryer en masse, making some of them stick together while others remain gluey with uncooked batter. Quite a few of them are too dark, as in burnt. As for the little prawn dishes, overcooked shellfish – no matter how much of it you get and how good value it is – is still, ahem, overcooked. The crab cakes? Yuk. Change the recipe. They’re gooey, pasty and utterly tasteless.

A mixed bag overall, then. Yes, these are early days for Creedence. Bringing shellfish to the masses, even internet masses, is a good thing. But it all needs to be right on the night.

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