I now understand the suffering of cats who've met their demise after climbing into a tempting cubbyhole in the utility room, as travelling on Glasgow's "Clockwork Orange" is a little like being in a tumble dryer on a medium setting. Well, that's what Rolf and I thought, as we were shoogled along the tracks from St Enoch Street station, en route to this eatery which is, handily, just a few yards away from the Kelvinhall subway exit. Craving space (after being squashed into a cylindrical tin like sweaty sardines), the first thing that struck us about Number 16, which has recently come under the ownership of Joel Pomfret and Gerry Mulholland, was its titchyness. Rolf could easily reach up and press the flat of his hand against the wooden-beamed ceiling, while the kitchen is broom cupboard-sized, and front-of-house only wide enough to swing a cat who's shrunk in the wash. However, they have made the most of their (lack of) premised, with white-washed brick walls (decorated with a long stick of bleached driftwood), that keep it fresh-looking. During our visit they also left the front door open, letting a cooling breeze waft the smell of good strong coffee around the joint. After we'd perused the affordable lunch menu (three courses for £11.95), I ordered my started of squid and Rolf opted for Tuscan sausage, before the waitress presented us with a crusty granary roll each. This touch wouldn't normally be noteworthy - except for the fact that this was properly lovely, yeasty bread and the accompanying unsalted butter was creamy perfection. Nice to know that, from the start, they weren't cutting corners by offering Sunblest and Stork. While I was enjoying this offering, a money spider abseiled down from one of the beams onto my table - which I took as a good luck sign. It turned out that Incy Wincy was right about my fortune, too, as, unlike him, my delicious entree turned out to be a pile of leggy gorgeousness. It consisted of lavender -hued celaphod pieces that had been rolled in Chinese five-spice, drizzled with a chilli-speckled Vietnamese dressing and tossed amongst some gently steamed celery and spring greens. Lovely.
yummy, yet healthy, with a smidgeon of smugness.My dining partner's option was also going down well. He had been seduced by a helping of softly spiced puy lentils, a blob of soft polenta and three chunks of a garlicky, yet rather delicate, fennel-scented pork sausage. Although these three elements could have easily made for a stodge fest, thanks to measured helpings (and a restrained hand with the butter and cream), it was almost as light and breezy as my choice. Therefore, Rolf still had room for his main-pan-roast chicken breast, which was cooked on the bone and sprinkled with sesame seeds. I pinched a bit of the salad underneath and it reminded me of a sweetie shop, thanks to the aniseedy fennel, a crumbling hazelnut praline and the fruity tang of raspberry vinegar. Not that it was sickly, as all these flavours were actually very gentle. In fact, it reminded me of Californian cuisine, in that it was yummy, yet healthy, with a smidgeon of smugness. I wish I could say my own course was as worthy, but yours truly had been drawn to the braised pork belly, which came with a mound of choucroute and a stack of carrot batons. It was the latter veg that made this dish for me, as it was crunchy and glazed with a rich heather honey, which had seeped into the red wine spiked meaty jus. The pork itself was satisfyingly chewy, with a thick layer of flavourful bronzed fat. What an amazing Saturday feed. So, let's go out with a bang, I thought, before requesting the sticky toffee pudding that I'd spotted a woman digging into at a neighbouring table. It was a cracker, too - a tsunami (in sponge cake form) of molasses, butter-scotch, treacle and all things syrupy, topped with a quenelle or virginal clotted cream. It made certain that the goodness of anything vaguely healthy that I'd eaten so far was cancelled out - as is appropriate, when it comes to desserts. I think Rolf had gone along a similar route with his choice of a gooey-hearted meringue, which resembled a circus seal balancing a ball, when it arrived at our table with a perfect sphere of zingy strawberry sorbet attached to its peak. It was almost to pretty to demolish - although my other half didn't seem too tearful when it came to taking his spoon to it. After all that heavenly bistro food, we would have liked to have curled up under the wooden table for a nap, before waking up and eating those courses all over again. However, as we'd bought return tickets, it was time to cross the road, squeeze through the turnstiles (with greater difficulty than we'd pushed through them) and go underground. Next time, I'll ask for a single fare.