The Partick food scene has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, but there are some spaces that have become an institution. One of those places is CafeZique, straddling that fuzzy border with Hyndland and known for providing one of the best brunches in the west end. So, when it was announced that they were turning their deli next door into an upscale restaurant, it was bound to cause a stir.
And cause a stir it did. When Gather by Zique first opened earlier this year the positive reviews flooded in, so when I made my way there one dreary Friday evening, my hopes were high.
The interior is immediately inviting, with soft grey tones, plush cushions and cosy window seats. The staff were welcoming and attentive, quickly showing us to our seats and explaining their modern European menu.
The food at Gather is designed to be shared, as the name suggests, the ethos of the restaurant is about creating a space where friends, family or colleagues can ‘gather’ to enjoy each others company while dining on a range of seasonal dishes.
Inspired by fellow food blogger Lauren’s Cravings, the husband and I had booked our table armed with an itison deal that got us a platter of canapés, four small plates and a cocktail each. The menus change regularly but our canapés included pickled gurnard, butternut squash crostini, pulled pork crostini and sage and anchovy fritters.
For our four small plates, we went for the crispy pigs head with potato terrine, butternut squash and almond cappelletti, venison ravioli with Jerusalem artichoke puree and chicken jus, and cider braised crispy pork belly with fresh apple and roast fennel.
The highlight was definitely the butternut squash and almond cappelletti (‘little hat’ shaped stuffed pasta), with cider and apple brown butter and parmesan. It was beautifully nutty and heavy with the distinct flavour of parmesan. One thing I did notice though was that every dish we ordered came adorned with crispy sage leaves, which is not exactly a problem, but it did become a tad repetitive.
Every dish we tried was delicately plated and it was abundantly clear that this was an autumn/winter menu, filled with seasonal produce and rich, warming flavours. My only issue was the crispy pigs head was a little on the fatty side, but the pork belly dish was beautifully tender and delicious. The real magic came though with our final course.
Based on recommendations from our knowledgeable server, we ordered the chocolate fondant tart with peanut butter ice cream and the doughnuts with coffee cream and chocolate sauce for dessert and they were by far the stand out dishes of the night. These were not included in our voucher but we were still hungry and they sounded so damn good.
To put a chocolate fondant inside a buttery tart case is surely a stroke of genius, and no small feat considering how perfectly gooey the centre of this dessert hybrid was. The doughnuts too were beautifully soft on the outside and coated in cinnamon sugar. Dipped in the accompanying chocolate sauce and coffee cream, they were nothing short of heavenly.