Cafe Gandolfi

About a month ago, I was in Glasgow unexpectedly (for a funeral). The time put aside for that and the resulting scramble to catch up at work is part of the reason I ended up taking a break from blogging. The rest of the reason is mostly laziness and getting out of the habit of it…

So, Glasgow. It’s where half of my family are from, but I’ve spent little time there, mostly in family homes (rather than out and about in town). Which is why, upon finding ourselves with a (dry enough) Sunday morning spare before our flight home, we decided to mostly just stroll around, have a look at the architecture and get brunch somewhere. We had a couple of other half-baked plans that didn’t come to full fruition, but I’ll cover those in another post.

Armed with some search results and a vague understanding of the city map, we made our way to Cafe Gandolfi in the Merchant City area. Open for more than 30 years, it actually feels very modern inside, despite the fact that I believe a lot of the features are original – the unusual furniture, for example, was commissioned at the time of opening (the photo linked there is actually the corner that we sat in when I went there! W sat in the throne-like chair and found it very comfortable). Very little inside is not made of wood (down to a large clock whose very mechanism looks to be made of driftwood) and the overall feel is suitably cosy, and surprisingly light and bright for the colour of the paneled walls.

The name was inspired by a camera company, and photography gets a special mention in this review. The photography display at Cafe Gandolfi is lovely. Innumerable small, tasteful, black and white photos of cafes across Europe grace the walls, all mounted uniformly and hung gallery-style. A few postcard type colour images are dotted around, but they don’t do much to break up the continuous line of classic photographs.

And now to the food. Well, it’s a pretty standard menu (for brunch, anyway) of eggs, eggs and more eggs. Full Scottish breakfast, avocado toast (with poached egg), French toast, pancakes, Eggs Benedict (plus variants), eggs scrambled, poached or fried on toast, and porridge covers most of what they do at breakfast time, and most options reference the provenance of at least one of the ingredients. I went for Eggs Florentine and W had a Full Scottish, and we both felt that our meal had been simply, but carefully prepared, with “honest” ingredients – nothing too pretentious, but all good quality.

The coffee was very good (hardly surprising for the home of Glasgow’s first cappuccino machine!) and everything was served quickly, with a friendly smile but little to no “service patter” – just what I hoped for in a proper Scottish Breakfast Experience.

Cafe Gandolfi is a five minute walk from Argyle Street, so it’s easy to get to and a convenient stop when you’re shopping. It wasn’t too busy at 9:30am on a Sunday, but I can only assume that it gets jam packed on a Saturday lunchtime. I’d still recommend it – good food, good vibes and independent trading are all worth a queue.


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