A Greggs Drive-Thru – A surprise in Clydebank, Scotland

They must be doing something right here, as it seems that Greggs is going from strength to strength.

Right now, there are about 14 of these in the UK, and they no doubt have intentions to open more. They, to me surprisingly, started 80 years ago in Gosforth, near Newcastle; and now have over 2,000 restaurants in the UK.

My partner in crime suggested that it would be new to go here, and so we did. The menu is the same, the shops though, being purpose-built, are more spacious and seem brighter and fresher than those you would find on the High Street.

Not that it was important, but I chose a chicken baguette that was simply fine and at a much cheaper price in a “normal” sit-in restaurant.

And though we parked and sat outside, the number of cars / trucks that used the drive-thru in the 20+minutes that we were there, was astounding.



Tips in Restaurants? Is it out of control now?

I had a recent journey to a mid-level café / restaurant in the West End of Glasgow, and immediately noticed that the prices had increased significantly (above).

It seems like the days of having a lunch for under £10 are simply over with, but it just wasn’t that; they also had a tip added to my bill, whether you liked it or not (as I saw no disclaimer indicating that it was voluntary?). It was ONLY 10%, but it seems that the precedent has now been set and I eagerly await when the 10% becomes 15%, and so on, and so on, etc. Something that has happened across the pond in America the last few decades.

In addition, during a trip to my local gym recently, I came across the video below whilst on the treadmill:

This, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_fMkXHYh6c, was a very fine critique of this phenomena and how some, if not many, are now simply fed up with this tradition. As well they should be(!) with now takeaway workers at a your local drive-in fast-food joint in America, now demanding them!

In addition, it’s not just the above video, but I ask you to go to YouTube and do a search for information on this topic; your results will come up with a myriad of different videos relating to this very theme.

My own opinion that has served me for a long time, is that tips should ONLY be optional, and the new system of adding these to your bill automatically, especially when they have not told you before, is simply outrageous and should be immediately banned by parliament.

I don’t make tips on my online job and neither do I expect them.


Tomintoul, Highlands, Scotland – A quick hot chocolate

I’ve been here in Tomintoul before several times; one after seeing a cheap deal on Wowcher or Groupon, and the second time, when I did the Speyside Way with friends, and used the youth hostel here for several nights accommodation. Well worth it!

Whilst there in the youth hostel, I was told that not only did the village have many more people years ago, but that it was a Gaelic speaking one. He also noted that the pronunciation should be, “DAW men dowl”. Finally, he stated that many of the existing houses are now AirBnBs, and the village tends to come to life in the summer when more people are living there.

It’s an interesting place, with not only a distillery for Tomintoul whisky just before the village, but it also has a very basic, grid street system.

We came here for a quick hot chocolate after seeing that the hotel we had stayed at years ago, the Richmond Arms, was not only open, but was advertising their wares with a street sign.

I noted that the village square is still there, and has a “designer” hotel, a village shop, pub restaurant / hotel, The Glenavon, and a tourist info / museum building, that provides much needed info on this area.

For those interested, there is the nearby Glenlivet Estate (yes, the same name as the whisky!), where a myriad of activities take place.


3 alternative hates in a café / restaurant in the UK –

1) Doors that are left open –

This is infuriating, it seems that this always happens; even when it is cold outside.   The owner simply always has to get up (usually from behind the register or serving counter), if a polite and gullible customer hasn’t, in order to shut the damn thing! 

You hear the noise from outside, and most definitely feel the cold weather (especially if there is a cold wind); this makes me furious!   Please, either make a better door or fix the one you that you have – this is all totally uncalled for.

The picture above, shows one such door in the Scottish Highlands, where during a recent visit of about 30 minutes had to be attended to at least a half a dozen times – this is just not on.

2) Butter packets that are as hard as a rock!

This is another one that I hate, as you’ve just been handed a great British fry up, and when you try to spread this stuff on your toast, it disintegrates as if a bomb went off!

Why do they do this?  It is just SO easy for them (the café) to have this pre-warmed so that it’s actually possible to use it!

My remedy is that the tea pot that I’ve ordered with my breakfast is where I usually place the butter on or against, so the butter is at least manageable to use.

3) Filthy Salt and Pepper Shakers:

I regularly use both the salt and pepper, but first of all, I always look to see if their lids are closed, and then normally clean the tops.

They’re simply always disgusting!  And yet another reason to think just what the café owners / restaurateurs are doing during the day?  It does NOT take that much time to do this; to make sure that the tops of these are tight and that they have been cleaned in the last decade – exasperating!


This month, many old trips, just got back from Budapest and its New York Cafe

Lately I’ve been ill, tired, busy with other things, and watching far too much football – but now feel energised and will start to blog a wee bit more.

Last month, I had a week’s travel on some European trains, and ended up in Hungary. A place where I will go again. The above shot is, I believe, of a Budapest post box, or something along those lines? My Hungarian is not what it once was so I simply had no idea what the writing said!

Whilst there, with a “recommendation” from a friend, I just had to go to the New York Café. Really? The “New York Café” in Budapest (Ed; NOT Bucharest!). And even (above) after 9.00pm, there were still queues there. Apparently it’s the go to place in Budapest and I’ll show you what it looks like later in the month.

This month, I will definitely write of this recent trip to Europe, that saw us also in London and Paris (Why have I not been there for 30 years?) In addition, I still want to show some fotos from America, some places in Scotland, more from Germany and a voyage a month ago to Porto.


Glasgow; various eateries; Nostrana & the Finnieston Fez

So I finally tried, after it was only open a few weeks, Nostrana, a new Italian place in Hyndland (just north of Soul Space in the link), Glasgow.

Nostrana, Hyndland, Glasgow

It was nice, very friendly service (my date spilled their coffee, and they were just SO helpful with them, even giving a new one FOC!), with food that at first seemed “small”, but was huge.

As usual, I felt that a normal dish would not be enough, wrong again! I ordered some bread, whilst the plus 1 chose their salad; both ample enough.

Well worth it, but no doubt during the winter, it’d be desirable to sit inside.


This brings us to the Finnieston Fez, located on the eastern edge of Finnieston, in the West End of Glasgow.

To be honest, this was a surprise, though I had walked past before and always had a hankering to sit in the window seat. I shall return.

While inside, I was literally the only one there (later there were more people and it became packed), and was confronted with several very lovely people. What a joy, they WANTED me to be there! Isn’t that a good feeling, that I never felt that I was intruding. There are MANY times, when I’ve gone to cafes, where the service was shocking, as in a “Why are you here?”. Well, it’s because “I’m a customer!”.

The menu is a Moroccan type of Mediterranean thing, and I opted for something simple – a Falafel Panini, and I just had to have the sweet, traditional, Moroccan tea – glad I did.

Traditional Tea

As for the Panini, it was flavourable and not overbearing. The tee-pee type of container contained slightly chillied olives.

I will return.



Cavavin, Hyndland – Cafe’ish & Wine Shop – Wonderful surprise

Cavavin – Street Wine Bar with nibbles

Cavavin has been here at the junction of Hyndland Road and Clarence Drive, only for about two years plus? Not too sure, but recently, or the last few months, they’ve offered a street service, though this may have been here longer (they also have a very small seated area inside, near the beer section in the back)?

Equally, it’s possible to have small side plates with your obscur’ish wine; the usual ones though quite delicious – humous, olives, etc. I had the hummus and pitta bread, which fitted perfectly (some portion!)

I hardly think this is bandwagon jumping, as there are simply not enough wine bars / wine and snacks type of places here; Lord, do we really need more cafes?

Though naturally, it is possible to get a coffee, tea and even a hot chocolate here as well.

I certainly look forward to the winter, when I’ll definitely be here on the odd mid-week evenings.


Jordanhill, Glasgow – the Prancing Stag – Restaurant

Nice touch with a business card

Have you ever walked, biked, carred, etc, by a place, and still never have gone there? This happened to me with the “Stag“, so after needing car repairs, we finally decided to pop in here; a place that has had numerous name changes over the years – I’ll be back.

As the name indicates, it has a Scottish / Scottish Highlands type of vibe going here, with food to match. We were brought out a free Aperitif that was a delight, particularly the butter, if that is what it was. I then ordered the Venison to share – a perfect mixture of meat and fruit.

The menu had a variety of meaty, fishy, and even non-meat dishes, that all were true to this theme and also to many other, “modern” restaurants in Scotland, particularly in the West of Scotland / Highlands.

Pork Belly & Chorizo and the Fish (x3) special on the evening

For the mains, we chose the crispy pork belly, that was perfect; crispy but at the same time, the meat melted from itself. My partner in crime simply loved the fish, it was also devoured.

This was both classical stuff and modern. They pulled it off perfectly, and a quick glance at the numerous reviews on TripAdvisor, will only confirm this.

The dessert was perfect, a parfait, with that new thing called “soil” – merely a crispy bit of crumbs, in this case chocolate.

In addition, the knives are this new type of design, where they can stay “standing up”, if laid on a flat surface.



Nowita Ice Cream – Hyndland Street, Partick, Glasgow

Part of Hyndland Street, Partick, Glasgow

What a cool little street this is. Maybe it’s the true diversity of the shops / businesses / cafes here; or maybe it’s that there are no chains?

Hey, I LOVE big chains, but at times, I’ve no time for them; the monotony, the sameness, etc; though I do love the prices.

For example, we will have another new business here (above), Nowita Ice Cream, that will be an ice cream shop / parlour – a welcome addition. Considering we have two on the nearby Byres Road, that have seemed to stay in business during the pandemic; here’s hoping this one can as well.

A new Nowita Ice Cream café

I’ve not heard of them before, so maybe they are a local business? We wish them luck.


Rickshaw & Co, West End, just off Byres Road, Glasgow – Different

The first thing that I had noticed when I was here a few weeks later, just to do a reckie, was that the menu was slightly different, and though there were familiar faves, it said on the label that this was a Bengali restaurant. If so, it must be a first for Glasgow? Though I’m not sure.

Rickshaw & Co, Partick Bridge Street, West End, Glasgow – Complete with Balcony

What really appealed, was that it is again, one of those type of “tapas” places, where the servings are allegedly smaller, and are brought to your table as and when they are prepared.

Believe me, the three of us had about two to three each, and it (along with some bread / nans) was more than enough.

Mural just outside the Restaurant

I had a hamburgy type of thing, that was similarish to American Sloppy Joes, though this was not as sweet, and had more of a slight kick to it. More of this please.

In addition, there seemed to be a multitude of spice bowls, where they certainly did not skimp on the portions.

This combined with a very attentive and knowledgeable service means I will return to check out the rest of the menu.