Review: Gnom

Street food heroes Chompsky have officially opened Gnom, their new permanent home on Pollokshaws Road, adding another incredible brunch spot to this Southside stretch. Having always loved Chompsky’s street food, and after drooling over their menu, I decided to head along first thing Saturday morning – and it’s a good thing I did!

With around 30 seats, the space is small but beautifully designed, with a simple, modern look and a colourful feature mural on the main wall that is representative of Chompsky’s style. We were lucky that there were a couple of tables free when we arrived, so we were seated immediately and given menus, but there were people piling in behind us constantly and it didn’t take long for the space to fill up.

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Gnom/Facebook

The menu focusses on brunch dishes inspired by different countries and culinary styles, from Turkish eggs to Thai peanut salad. Being a huge lover of bao, I couldn’t resist the sound of the Breakfast Bao filled with crispy pork belly, soy glaze, gochujang ketchup and a fried egg. This dish is a nod to their street food roots, but if you want something different, there are plenty of other delicious options.

Given that it was their opening weekend, it’s not surprising that service was a little on the slow side. It was around 20 minutes before anyone took our order, and another 30 before our food arrived, but the staff were apologetic and attentive, making sure we had drinks and apologising for the delay.

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When our food finally arrived, I knew just from looking at it that it would be worth the wait. My bao were served in a bamboo steamer, topped with crispy onion and fresh spring onion, and looking so damn inviting. On the other side of the table, both the Ham Hock and the Turkish Eggs were beautifully presented, full of colour and smelled incredible.

The bao itself was lovely and light, but sturdy enough for me to pick it up and eat with my hands. The pork inside was soft and flavoursome, the soy glaze adding sweetness and the gochujang ketchup adding a little heat. The fried egg was perfectly cooked, with a runny golden yolk, and the mixture of fresh and crispy onions added crunch. My only criticism, if you can call it that, was that the ketchup could have done with a bit more heat, but that’s personal preference more than anything else.

Having devoured my bao, I immediately asked to order a French toast ice cream sandwich. This may sound greedy, but given how busy the place was getting, I knew it’d be a while before I’d be able to get in again, plus, they come in handy half-portions, so why the hell not?!

 

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I opted for the cacao ice cream option, with hazelnuts, blowtorched banana and dark chocolate. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a mix up in the kitchen and they forgot my order, so we were waiting quite a while once again, but the staff apologised profusely and kept me updated, and with only two chefs in the kitchen and an ever-expanding queue outside, it was clear the staff were feeling the heat!

By the time it arrived, my pudding stomach was ready and waiting, and I wolfed the whole thing down rather shamelessly. The French toast was lovely; soft and eggy, but still sturdy enough to hold up like an actual sandwich. The banana was perfectly caramelised, with a crisp shell on top, and the dark chocolate sauce was rich and inviting. The ice cream was studded with cacao nibs for a subtle flavour that really complimented the dark chocolate and banana. It was epic. I definitely want to try the lemon sherbert version next time, and I have no regrets about ordering a two-course breakfast!

For my two courses, plus a massive pot of peppermint tea, my bill came to just £16, which I thought was incredibly good value for money. Yes, the service was a little slow, but this was their opening weekend, so I’m happy to put it down to teething problems, especially given the fact that they ended up closing two hours early later that day due to such high demand.

 

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I can only assume that the reason they named their restaurant ‘Gnom‘ is because they knew it was the sound their customers would be making as they tucked into their food, because it really is nom.

Despite the food taking its time, the staff were friendly and quick to apologise for the delay. If you can get along during the week, do so, the food is incredible and there are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options on the menu as well. If you do decide to brave a weekend visit, make sure you get there early to avoid disappointment, cause this place is going to be packed for what I hope is a very long time!

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