REVIEW: The Spanish Butcher in Glasgow

over 1 year AGOAdministrator Restaurant Reviews

What I like about the Rusk & Rusk restaurants is that they are all very different, but all equally brilliant! Every little detail is carefully considered, the interior, the lighting, the layout, the staffing, the produce, the delivery and the way they identify with the people of Glasgow. They get it, and that  cannot be said of every restaurant!


The Spanish Butcher on Miller Street is at present the most recent of the Rusk & Rusk restaurants to open its doors, and I have eaten there three times to date. Most recently we had been in Glasgow for the Style Awards, at which The Spanish Butcher won ‘Most Stylish Restaurant’ (obviously), and before heading home to Edinburgh, we popped in for lunch.


It should be noted that the meat cooked in The Spanish Butcher, as you would expect is sourced from Galicia in Spain. This is a very bold and brave move, especially as so much emphasis is placed on provenance just now, and there is huge pressure on restaurants to be serving local Scottish produce. I am all for that, however I am not going to judge any restaurant negatively because of where they buy their beef, as long as they deliver a good dining experience. Well, The Spanish Butcher do that and more!


I love the interior of the restaurant, it oozes class and style and is very Glasgow. The lighting is perfect, and the seating is very comfortable. The plan was to sample a few light bites but focus on the mains, and that is what we did. Padron Peppers, Galician Sourdough Bread, Gordal Olives and Boquerones as appetisers, Smoked Bone Marrow and Smoked & Confit Ox Cheek to start, 200g Galician Blond Fillet and Secreto Iberico de Bellota with Truffle Fries and Manchego Mac & Cheese on the side as a main, and to finish, Spanish Trifle and Café con Leche. It was going to be a long lunch!


I can’t possibly go though everything, but I will say that all the appetisers were just plain greed and a little naughty. All damn good, but very naughty! Having lived in Spain for 6 years, I can assure you the boquerones in particular were divine!


Smoked Bone Marrow and Smoked & Confit Ox Cheek were both dishes that immediately caught the eye on the menu. I must admit, I have never had bone marrow before and I was very much looking forward to trying it. Of course as is the norm these days, we shared, and whilst the Ox Cheek was beautifully rich and full of flavour, the bone marrow really stole the show. Such a strange texture, but once you get through the initial surprise, the gelatinous marrow was delicious. The marrow is serve with garlic & parsley sautéed snails and the combination of textures, coupled with the perfect seasoning was a triumph. I am now seeking out marrow wherever I go, but may have been spoiled by this experience, time will tell!


The Galician Blond Fillet and Secreto Iberico de Bellota with Truffle Fries and Manchego Mac & Cheese were up next. I have eaten the pork dish before and so knew how good it was, this time it was all about the Galician beef. The steak was cooked just right, medium rare is my preference, and it was exactly how I like it. The meat is wonderfully tender and the flavour is a little sweeter than Scottish beef. There are subtle differences, but it is impossible to say which is better. If you are buying your beef from say John Gilmour in Haddington, or Henderson’s in Glenrothes, then you know you are getting the best Scotland has to offer, well I will put my hands up and say the beef from Galicia is on a par. Of course the chef has to cook it well and at The Spanish Butcher, the chef hits the mark in execution and delivery. Oh, by the way, Natalie LOVED the pork. No surprises there! The truffle fries and the mac and cheese were perhaps a bit ambitious on our part, don’t get me wrong, they are simply heavenly, just a side too far!


That does not mean we did not tackle the desserts with gusto! Absolutely not, we embraced the gluttony and marched on. For me, the Spanish trifle, yes ok it’s a trifle, a bit boring you may be murmuring? Ah… but it had Pedro Ximenez jelly! The beautifully sweet crema Catalan, the orange blossom cream the crunch of the toasted almonds that brought every mouthful together, sorry, I am having a moment… I’m back! It would not be trifle for me to say this was the best trifle I have ever had. Apologies.


In summary, The Spanish Butcher is one of my favourite restaurants I have ever been to, it delivers every time, and I challenge anyone who has been to tell me any different. Bravo, magnifico, increible! Volveremos pronto!  The Spanish Butcher:


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