Review: Saramago café, Glasgow

Since my first visit to the CCA only 14 days ago, I’ve squeezed another two visits in. I tend to do that: when I find something new, I’ll return to it repeatedly until I know it inside out. Whether restaurants, books, or walking routes… I’m a routine obsessive.

Recently I met a close family member in Glasgow city centre for a swift afternoon of shopping. We had an agenda to meet, contracts to sign; the solemnity of our impending To Do list was a bit oppressive.

I met her at Buchanan Street subway. ‘Have you eaten?’

‘No’, she answered. ‘I was thinking of going to the CCA to try that chocolate cake you raved on about… but it started pouring just as I set off, so I ditched that plan.’

It was hard for me not to immediately perk up. The skies were grey, threatening but currently safe; tummies were rumbling and we were both game.

It was her first time in the majestically modern CCA building, the almost festive coloured bulbs stretched above the length of the café. As a diner who has an extreme aversion to garlic, we were informed that the soup (coconut, sweet potato and ginger) was off limits, as were the dips. That left us both to select a roast beetroot and avocado salad with broad beans and sherry vinegar dressing.

The bowl’s diameter was misleading; the depth hiding pearls of hazelnut and beans. Served with two sponges of homemade bread (a delicious saltiness, proper crust winning over a blasé-bread-eater like myself) the vinegar, reddened from the still-warm roasted beetroot was mopped up at the end. My fellow diner picked out the red onion. I didn’t, though it occasionally shot a sharp bitterness into the flavours. Perhaps there was logic in my fussy neighbour’s madness.

Of course though, the crescendo was the chocolate cake. I’d hyped it up so much it had to deliver; the slice was even larger and gooier than the last time. Honestly, I cannot recommend this enough (especially after a salad, it’s deserved!) Over the past year, I’ve realised that eating healthily is not about punishment. You are entitled to a treat from time to time! 

So, welcome to Saramago. Life’s too short, will you start with a dessert?

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