Monday, 28 March 2016

Glasgow day trip: Stereo, The Tenament House, Willow Tearooms

Sylvia and I had a day trip to Glasgow yesterday and enjoyed ourselves despite the rain.  We got home late last night and then discovered that the clocks go forward for daylight savings today.  Hence today was a bit of a wipeout and I left E to make dinner for Easter Sunday (more about that later).  Meanwhile in Glasgow, we ate well at vegan restaurant, Stereo, and Glasgow icon, The Willow Tearooms.  Sightseeing was mostly the Tenament House Museum.

It is not ideal to be finding our way about an unfamiliar city in the rain, clutching map and umbrella.  Even worse, when we arrived at Stereo, I found that the lane was closed.  We had to walk around to the other side of the lane to get to the doorway to the restaurant.

Stereo was pretty quiet when we arrived early for lunch but by the time we left it was full with very few vacant tables.  We started with a soy hot chocolate and a Fentiman's Curiosity Cola.  I ordered hummus with flatbread and vegies for Sylvia because she has had so many less vegies than usual on our trip.  Curiosity drove my own ordering.  I ordered buffalo cauliflower and pizza with haggis, caramelised onions, roast potato and cheese.  All amazing.

Sylvia turned up her nose at seeing the oil drizzled over the hummus.  I stirred it in but first impressions were powerful and she mostly ate the flatbread and a little vegies.  The hummus was really nice with a generous amount of tahini while the flatbread was warm and lovely.  The buffalo cauliflower were nice but a bit spicy for me.

I was also surprised that the haggis pizza was also spicy.  I kept wondering if I had ordered the spicy sauce on it but I am sure I didn't.  Despite the spiciness I loved the pizza.  It will take an amazing vegan pizza to beat this one.  It was huge, perhaps too big.  Everything was nicely presented but even so I think it would have been better not to have the pizza hanging over the edge of the plate and to serve the salad in a separate bowl.  But I loved the soft onions, the slightly crispy edges to the haggis and the creamy stringy cheese.  I asked about the cheese and was just told it was from Austria.

We took a taxi to the Tenament House Museum in Buccleuch Street.  It is a 4 room tenament flat that was lived in continuously by a family for 54 years during the 20th Century.  The period detail is really lovely.  Sadly my camera battery gave out before I reached the kitchen.

The flat only had one bedroom but three beds.  Two of these beds were in little closets with curtains.  (They are like Perks bed in the Railway Children if you have seen the 1970s film.)  I love the ingenious use of space.  It was fascinating to look at a model of how 3 traditional bedtime flats had been changed into 2 modern flats.

The Tenament House is closed over winter and was only opened for the year the day before.  As it was the Easter weekend there were kids activities.  Every room had Easter eggs with letters beside them and kids had to collect the letters and make a word to receive an Easter egg prize.  Then there was craft activities in a room where Sylvia made a paper plate bunny and did some colouring in.

Then we walked to Sauchiehall Street to have afternoon tea at the Willow Tearooms.  The tearooms were designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who is famed for his beautiful art nouveau designs.  This photo was taken just as we were leaving and the place was closing.  When we arrived we had to wait for a table because it was so busy.

Sylvia was given a kids menu with a colouring in picture of Maisie the Cat at the Willow Tearooms.

I wasn't starving after Stereo but I wasn't about to pass up the opportunity to have afternoon tea on a posh three tier plate.  As with Stereo, we didn't eat everything.  We couldn't!  The bottom plate was sandwiches.  Vegetarian and vegan options were offered for these so I had a mix.  Cheese and chutney, tomato and avocado, cream cheese and cucumber, and spinach and hummus.  The next layer was scones and the top was a cake of our choosing.

I think my favourite was the scones with jam and cream.  The raspberry jam was lovely and the cream was the thick clotted kind.  I would have liked the scones to be warm but I guess the logistics of this in a busy tearooms is tricky.  The staff were constantly on the go.  Sylvia noted how fancy they looked in the old fashioned black dresses and white aprons.

Then we checked out a few shops in Sauchiehall Street and collapsed onto the train to go home.  It was lovely to spend time in Glasgow.  Sylvia's impression was of a cold wet and windy city.  I felt we had just scratched the surface and would love to spend more time there.

22-28 Renfield Lane, Glasgow, G2 6PH
0141 2222254

Tenament house museum
145 Buccleuch St, Glasgow G3 6QN
0141 333 0183

Willow Tearooms
217 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3EX
0141 332 0521


  1. So glad you got to the Williw Tea Rooms this time. I have only been once many years ago, but the genius of Charles Rennie McIntosh cannot be denied.

  2. that pizza looks fabulous, even pushed off the plate a bit. Wow! I also got a giggle out of the 'draw your server' prompt-- my kids would like that! So would by sister's partner, he's great at drawing people so I daresay the server would love it too :)

  3. The Willow Tearoom has always been one of my favorites in photos but I've never seen it, only occasional objects from it that have made their way into museum collections. It's nice that something survives so intact from the Art Deco movement. And that you showed us what there is to eat there now.
    best... mae at

  4. You did the things we didn't do in Glasgow :-) It's nice seeing them through you and am glad you enjoyed your day despite the rain. I am very grateful we have a bank holiday after the clocks moved as it would have been tough getting up for work today otherwise!

  5. Ah if only I lived in Glasgow I would have taken you to the 13th Note. I was never a fan of Stereo, I had been there twice and disappointed in it - perhaps they have improved. That lane to Stereo is always having some sort of work done to it, so no change there. We also checked out the Willow Tearooms, often with friends and family who wanted the Rennie MacIntosh experience. Glad you got to spend some time there and it wouldn't have been Glasgow had it not rained.

  6. All of the food looks so good. You were adventurous with the haggis pizza.
    The tearoom looks nice.
    And the museum, it's nice that you managed to see so many things while on your trip =)


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