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Absolute Roasters, Glasgow, restaurant review

A weekend brunch in Glasgow’s west end is quite the treat, finds Rosalind Erskine.

Scotsman Review
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Recently my boyfriend was asked to come up with a fantasy football name that sums up where he lives. He chose avocado on toast, which not only says a lot about Glasgow but also the millennial age bracket we fall into (although we are geriatric).

Our kin have been told their avocado-filled brunch spending habits are why they can’t afford property, which is clearly why we’re not currently living in a dream, five bed detached Victorian house.

Anyway politics on spending aside, Glasgow is full of cafes and coffee shops in which to while away a weekend and the west end is no expectation.

One of the newer ones sandwiched between Patrick and Hyndland is Absolute Roasters, which wins, hands down, the best name in the neighbourhood.

It was started by Sean Williams and Megan McFarlane and was originally a Piaggo coffee van located in an industrial estate in Firhill.

Living in Finnieston, a local spot made sense, and Megan’s dad had the van, which had been sitting in a field in Inverness. Two weeks after they initially set up, Covid happened.

Not to be deterred, a few months they set up on the canal, where people would be walking, and gained a following. Then, despite the uncertainty, Absolute Roasters opened a pop-up on Hyndland Road, next to Old Park Station, in the former Tabac newsagent which is now home to Nostrana pizzeria.

“We never expected to be so busy but during lockdown, coffee became an excuse to leave the house, it grew from there” Megan said. Stints at Dockyard Social street food bolstered their following and, after having to leave Hyndland, they found another pop-up opportunity on Dumbarton Road.

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In 2021 they finally found a permanent home for Absolute Roasters, at 70 Hyndland Street - the former location of Deli Zique and the sadly short lived Gather by Zique.

Absolute Roasters is a brunch spot you need to get to early, especially on a Saturday, as their small number of tables get snapped up quickly.

The weekend brunch menu is compact, with independent produce peppering classic dishes - such as Anna's Happy Trotters bacon.

absolute roasters

Drinks, if you fancy a (within reason) boozy brunch there’s beer from Up Front Brewing and cocktails that include espresso martinis.

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Complete with dog (Absolute Roaster is family and dog-friendly), we arrived early on a Sunday morning in November, ready to try some of the new dishes.

After a refreshing orange juice and strong but smooth flat white (it must be said that Megan and Sean set up ‘just’ to sell coffee and it’s extremely good coffee here - worth popping in for the caffeine hit alone), before deciding on the eggs benedict (£12) and Greek toast (£11) with a side of patatas bravas (£5).

My Greek toast consisted of seasonal Mediterranean vegetables topped with a fried egg on sourdough toast served with sun blushed tomato and walnut pesto and feta.

The dish has been showered with micro salad and jewel-like pomegranate seeds. The crisp bread (the staff thankfully bring a serrated knife, which makes tackling the sourdough much easier) is topped with aubergine and pepper, so soft they’re blended into one rich, earthy, slightly grassy tasting pate.

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The tomato and walnut pesto underneath brings a saltiness and slight crunch while the egg has a crispy halo but pleasingly runny yolk. The small chunks of feta add tangy while the pomegranate seeds bring a burst of sweetness. Overall this is a balanced and tasty way to start your day.

Over the table, the eggs benedict (which features the much lauded avocado), had thick and crispy bacon, alongside creamy and fresh smashed avocado.

While the lightly poached and runny eggs were soaked up by a very crispy, homemade potato rosti in place of traditional toast. Completing this dish was a zesty lemony hollandaise, which gave the required richness but also some bite.

Finally the not small portion of chipped potatoes, sprinkled with paprika and served with a creamy and (surprisingly) vegan aioli were moreish but could have been crispier.

Despite the delicious looking bakes, which include croissants, pastel de nata and cookies, we were far too full to indulge in anything sweet. 

Testament to their enduring commitment to diversifying, Megan and Sean are open for cocktails in the evenings and also give the cafe over to a host for a pub quiz on Friday nights.

They also recently collaborated with Beim for a pizza and cocktails night that was a sell out success.

It’s great to see such a young business not only moving forward but thriving at a time when hospitality has been hit with challenge after challenge. And for that, I’m glad we millennials are still enjoying avocado on toast at local, independent brunch spots like this.

Absolute Roasters, Hyndland Street, Partick, Glasgow, UK, G11 5PT
0141 737 6989
Absolute Roasters, Hyndland Street, Partick, Glasgow, UK
Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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