Motherwell's Hidden Gem - The Wide Mouth Frog, Dalziel Park, Motherwell

After a stint in Bulgaria where they didn't understand the concept of a starter and a main meal, it was refreshing to come home and have food served in the appropriate order.

The Wide Mouth Frog is a restaurant tucked away at the back of the Dalziel Park, Motherwell.  Owned by the Lisini company, this restaurant is one of five in the Greater Glasgow area.  If you've tried Angels or the Parkville, then you will know that The Wide Mouth Frog has to meet very high standards!

Interior wise, the eclectic use of blacks, pinks and splashed wallpaper create a comfortable atmosphere.  The booths are cosy, with attentive details such as plump cushions and pink flower centre pieces.  The décor is very funky and unique, with a Parisian chic feel to it.

The interior, courtesy of lisini.co.uk


The menu for The Wide Mouth Frog is packed with mouthwatering dishes.  They also offer mid-week lunch and supper menus - two courses for £9.95 - which I am sure will be an excellent value for money considering the calibre of the food!  Some patrons in the restaurant went for the traditional tea package, which did look lovely and is a unique idea for somewhere that isn't located city centre.

I am usually quick to choose what I want, however today's lunch involved many a game of 'eeny-meeny-miney-mo' to try and help me decide.  Starter-wise, I chose the smoked mackerel pate, with bruschetta and pickles.  Ryan, my dining partner, chose the haggis hash brown with Parma ham, fried egg and hollandaise.  Following this, fate led me to the chicken and grilled courgette risotto with tomato confit; Ryan went with a classic favourite of chicken fajitas.  Of course, my obsession with onion rings meant that a cheeky side order was added to our main.

Smoked mackerel pate with bruschetta and pickles

The pate was outstanding.  It was creamy and soft and easily spreadable on the thinly sliced crunchy bread.  Mackerel is slightly fishy, but this was met by the strong smoky taste blended in to the light mixture.  My only recommendation would be to serve thick toasted bread, which I think would compliment the smoothness of the pate, and the bitter crunch of the mixed pickles.  Nevertheless, I cleared my plate and truly enjoyed my starter.  The menu also offers chicken liver parfait, which I would definitely be willing to try if this pate was anything to go by!


Haggis hash brown with Parma ham, fried egg and hollandaise

I barely got to speak to Ryan once he tucked into his starter.  I asked him to use some descriptive words for this starter, to which he replied "wow".  Thanks, dear.  I managed to scrounge a bite from him, and I can confirm that "wow" was indeed the perfect adjective for this meal.  The fried egg was soft and sweet, the hash brown was warm and savoury and the haggis was crumbly and meaty.  I quite like my haggis to have a hint of spice, however this dish was actually nicer with a mellow after taste.  Two plates cleared, and we were ready for round two.


Chicken and grilled courgette risotto with tomato confit

My work colleague is a worshipper of risotto, and urged me to try it.  I felt that it was fate when 'eeny-meeny-miney-mo' ended up eliminating my other choices, leaving the chicken and grilled courgette risotto as the winner.  Garnished with rocket and shavings of parmesan, I was elated when this dish was placed in front of me.  The risotto rice was gooey (in a good way!) but firm in the middle, making it enjoyable to eat.  The chunks of chicken were seasoned with pepper, giving it an inviting kick amongst the thick and creamy cheese sauce enveloping the dish.  The tomatoes tucked in throughout the dish were sweet and juicy, which was nicely paired with the mild yet distinctive taste of the grilled courgettes.  Overall, I would definitely recommend this dish, even though I couldn't finish it.  It's stodgy, warm, and generally very comforting (especially when Scotland suffers it's usual tempestuous weather!)


Onion rings with tomato & chilli dip and a garlic aoili.

As mentioned above, I am a major fanatic of onion rings, especially beer battered.  The onion rings were served on a lovely thin slate in a stack of seven, with a tomato chilli dip and a garlic aioli.  They were crunchy, light and ever so slightly greasy.  A recommendation rather than a criticism is this: I am not a fan of salt, and was a bit disheartened when I could taste that they had been salted before being served.  Perhaps the salting should be left to the patrons in the restaurant?  Apart from this, they were delicious and very much enjoyed!


Barbecue chicken, for the fajitas
Red onions, cheese, salsa, sour cream and flour wraps

The sizzling chicken for the fajitas was served in strips, coated in a thick, sticky barbecue sauce.  I love that fajita chicken is served in a hot griddle, and The Wide Mouth Frog didn't fail to impress.  Once constructed, the fajitas were phenomenal.  The smoky barbecue sauce was rich and tangy, which was complimented by bitter salsa and the coolness of the sour cream.  The flour tortillas were soft and spongy, and certainly tasted home made.  Ryan's only setback was that the portions were smaller than he had expected, however he cleared his plate and was comfortably full.

For two starters, two main courses, one side and three pints of juice, the bill came to just over £37.  The menu is very well priced, and I think if they had to take my suggestion on board for different bread with the mackerel pate, I would be happy to pay for it again.  The waitress did inform me after the meal that they offer a half portion of the risotto, so I would be willing to order it again!

The staff are friendly, smiley and genuinely happy to chat away, which I thought was a nice touch.  It is refreshing to know that there is somewhere offering delicious food at decent prices in Motherwell, which is not well known for anything apart from questionable takeaways and drunken football fanatics.

I can guarantee I will be back to the Wide Mouth Frog, and I hope it's sooner rather than later!



Contact Details:

The Wide Mouth Frog
100 Hagen Drive
Motherwell,
ML1 5RZ

Tel: 01698 862 862


Website: http://www.lisini.co.uk/pages/the-dalziel-park-hotel/about.html

Wheelchair access? Yes

Un lujo española sabrosa! La Tasca, Silverburn Glasgow

I had promised myself to always review new and not too well known restaraunts, to make sure that my blog got people thinking and trying new things.  However, on a lunch outing today to a well known franchise, I decided to write about it - purely because it was so fantastic, and I don't think many people would choose to go here over somewhere safe, such as Nando's or Frankie and Benny's.

La Tasca have restaurants all over the UK, and serve delicious tapas foods.  I can be very funny when it comes to themed restaurants that guarantee authentic food, however La Tasca has not disappointed me yet.

La Tasca Silverburn


The interior of the restaurant is Spanish themed, with big old fashioned mirrors and paintings.  Based at one of the many entrances to the Silverburn shopping centre, it has a large glass wall which welcomes plenty of light to the room.

Our waitress was friendly and willing - as you will have learned by now, service is very important!  We were served drinks within our first five minutes of sitting, and provided with a big menu.

If you aren't sure of how tapas works, you choose as many dishes as you want.  The general rule of thumb is to order three - one 'from the sea', one 'from the vegetable garden' and one 'from the field'.  They have a huge array of delicious and exciting dishes, to cater for both the timid and the adventurous with food.

My sister Sharon and I choose three each, but share all six together.  My three were:

1)  Pescado Blanco Frito - white fish fillets in a crispy batter
2)  Berejenas Gratinadas - Aubergine served in a tomato sauce topped with cheese
3)  Spanish Style Lemon Chicken & Vegetables

Sharon decided for the following:

1)  Pescado Blanco Frito (They really are that good)
2)  Croquetas De Manchego - Cheese and spinach bites
3)  Gambas Al Ajillo - Prawns in a chilli and garlic sauce

Please do not be afraid of the Spanish titles, as there is a lovely blurb in English giving you the low-down on everything on the menu.  Plus, the staff are lovely and would be happy to assist you with any questions!

The food arrived piping hot, beautifully presented and with the most enticing smell to a hungry girl such as myself!

The fish fillets are coated in a light crispy batter, and a portion of their original paprika and roasted garlic mayonnaise.  There are four fish fillets to a portion of tapas.  There is no horrible grease from the batter, and the fish is flakey and perfectly light.  A perfect fish dish indeed!

Pescado Blanco Frito
I ordered the aubergine dish after actually trying it for the first time in Mallorca.  Aubergine doesn't actually carry a taste, but it absorbs all the flavours from the ingredients it is cooked with.  A tomato based sauce and a thick layer of melted cheese could not have been more ideal!  Aubergine is very soft and juicy, and the perfect companion for a tomato sauce, especially a sauce as rich and thick as that served in La Tasca.  The cheese was strong, but not overpowering, and perfected an already mouth watering tapas dish.  Aubergine is a fantastic vegetable, and I would urge you to give it a try!

Berejenas Gratinadas

I ordered the lemon chicken as I enjoy it as a main meal from Chinese restaurants.  Considering how delicious Spanish food is, it was tempting to see how they put their own cultural spin on the dish.  The smoky chicken was tender and juicy, and mixed into some delicious soft vegetables: sliced courgette, yellow and green peppers and red onion.  There was also some small chunks of lemon mixed in, creating the most mouth watering citrus coating over the dish.  This was probably my favourite dish, as it was so full of flavour and colour.  I would definitely recommend it!

Spanish Lemon Chicken

The cheese and spinach croquettes were something Sharon had chosen, but something I will choose on my next return.  The manchego cheese was very mellow, and was beautifully warm and melted.  The spinach was also tasty and not slimy, which can be quite common if not prepared properly.  The cripsy breadcumb coating was crunchy and sweet, making it the perfect companion for the chicken in the above dish.


Croquetas De Manchego

Prawns are something that I can be rather funny with, especially if they are served in the shell.  Although these were in the shell, the meat came away easily and didn't put me off.  The prawns were juicy, firm and doused in a sweet chilli and garlic sauce.  We had also tried dipping the white fillets of fish into the oily residue at the bottom of the prawn dish, which was fantastic.  The great thing about tapas is that you can mix and match the variety of flavours available to you, and find something that works.


Gambas Al Ajillo

After our delicious Spanish pic'n'mix, we were both full and content.  For the six dishes and four drinks, the bill came to a fantastic £30.  Plus, we received a loyalty card, giving us 20% off the next visit.

Hopefully, if you haven't tried La Tasca before you would like to now.  It's a good safe start to Spanish food, before you try somewhere truly authentic where there is little room for error!



Contact Details:

La Tasca
Silverburn Shopping Centre
 Barrhead Road
Glasgow
G53 6QR

http://www.latascakitchen.co.uk/bookatable/

Wheelchair access: Yes