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Restaurant Review: Windows, Glasgow

Windows Rooftop Restaurant
Carlton George Hotel, 44 West George Street, Glasgow, Strathclyde, G2 1DH
Cuisine: Scottish
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Victoria McGilp: Windows offers rooftop views as its unique selling point, it is not the only one.

I’d always been curious about the rooftop restaurant atop the four star rated Carlton George Hotel in Glasgow’s City Centre. Located on the 7th floor of the hotel it advertises itself as Glasgow’s “only rooftop restaurant” offering views over the rooftops of the bustling city below.
 
Indeed upon entering the restaurant my gaze is immediately drawn to daylight streaming through the wall of windows which showcase a unique vantage point of the city. An eclectic expanse of Glaswegian architecture stretches to the horizon where on a clear evening like this I can see even the wind farms on the mountainous horizon. To my right I can see some of Buchanan Streets architectural gems and before desserts has reach me I find myself lured to the cosy corner patio to get a better view of the landscape and the bustling traffic below.
 
The pale wood chairs and tables and dark green flooring and upholstery give an impression of comfort and understated elegance. There are no ostentatious flourishes save for a single lily head in a decorative glass bowl.
 
Head Chef Colin Wardrobe has personally selected the wide selection of dishes which are a reflection of his love of American, French and Italian cuisine, using seasonal ingredients as often as possible. He says: “There’s a wide variety of flavours. All dishes are different in ways. You get hints of what I like to eat. It’s just generally good food, kind of homely style food.”
 
I decide to partake from the pre-theatre menu (£16.95 for 2 courses or £19.95 for 3 courses).  The soup of the day is French onion however I opt for the vegetable tatin as my starter. The tatin, beautifully presented is comprised of a delicate stack of buffalo mozzarella and slices of cooked aubergine, red pepper and courgette liberally dressed in olive oil and served with a rocket garnish. Its size and composition lends itself as a healthy and light starter before I proceed to the main dish of pressed pork belly accompanied by watercress, new potatoes and tomato jam.
 
Speaking of the range of meat dishes on offer, Head Chef Colin Wardrobe said: “It is cooked to order; we don’t cook them in advance. Steaks and chicken for example are cooked pretty much in front of the guests so our food is as fresh as we can make it.”
 
Indeed diners can confirm this themselves as the Head Chef’s kitchen is not hidden away from diners but stands proudly in the corner of the room. Yet though the kitchen is small and efficiently run, the menu is not restrictive when it comes to certain dietary requirements as Mr Wardrobe added: “There are also certain dishes we can make gluten free or we’ll create a dish for a guest there and then if we have the ingredients required for it. Generally though a lot of the dishes on our menu are gluten free. There are limitations to what we can do but we do try to accommodate people as much as we can.”
 
The pork belly is again beautifully presented and well cooked. The meat is tender and the skin well seasoned and full of flavour. Of course the baby new potatoes and rocket were a modern yet fitting accompaniment to the meat dish and the twist of tomato jam gave a subtle touch of sweetness to this filling meal.
 
Upon returning from the serenity of the corner patio, my most anticipated section of the dinner has arrived - pudding. The dessert menu on the pre-theatre menu offers a number of much loved favourites choices to tempt me from a lemon meringue to a sticky toffee pudding with. However I tempted to plump for the homemade apple pie with honeycomb ice cream. The single scoop of ice-cream is not homemade however it is evident that the pie is. I eagerly slip my dessert spoon through the delicate layer of golden pastry to the warm gooey apple centre and find myself not at all disappointed with my selection. The tanginess of the cooking apples works perfectly in proportion with the light pastry and ice-cream accompaniment and is finished mere minutes after it is presented to me by my engaging, attentive yet unobtrusive waiter.
 
Thus while Windows offers rooftop views as its unique selling point, it is not the only one. The varied menu, inviting setting and the chef’s creativity and passion for fresh meat and seasonal ingredients show that this restaurant has the right vision to ensure its continued success.
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13 December 2013
By: Victoria McGlip
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