Perhaps the best way to begin discussing Two Fat Ladies’ The Buttery (or just “The Buttery” as locals call it) is to describe what it is not. First, it was not actually created by two chubby women, and certainly not the hosts of the BBC cooking show “Two Fat Ladies,” which many visitors assume. The name comes from the slang name for the number 88, which was the address of the original Two Fat Ladies restaurant in Glasgow’s West End (88 Dumbarton Road, where it is still located), which is 88 and when scrawled by giving the bottom half a wider circle than the top, looks like to little heads on two chubby bodies.
Approaching the restaurant from Argyle Street, the area hardly looks like the place you would expect to find some of the best food in Scotland. Set near the M8 motorway, it’s near large apartment complexes and nondescript homes.
But stepping inside, all expectations quickly melt away. The bar and lounge area one first enters is beautifully appointed with plush seats and couches and perhaps even more well-appointed visitors (I regretted leaving the tie at the hotel, but the welcoming server and comfortable atmosphere quickly dispelled any concerns). My date ordered a glass of wine from their extensive menu while I went with Belhaven’s Best, a favorite Scottish beer (wine could wait).
We were shown into the main dining room, elegantly appointed with rich reds and greens and tartan designs on the carpet and chairs and framed photographs and pictures. Inspired by the feeling of classic luxury with a Scottish twist, I started with the cullen skink, a traditional Scottish smoked haddock chowder. It encapsulated the feel of the restaurant perfectly—with rich and complex flavors in a soup that felt like homemade comfort food. It paired perfectly with the bottle of pinot noir we ordered.
I followed up this satisfying starter with the filet of scotch beef. The tender meat fell off instantly at the fork’s touch, soaking up the rioja and basil jus for a wonderful combination of flavor and texture. The ratatouille on the side complimented the filet very well.
But when it came to texture, my date’s dish may have had mine beat. She ordered the seared scallops, which came set atop a chunk of stornoway black pudding, drizzled with a delicious smoky dressing. The buttery texture of the scallops and bready feel of the pudding was so well matched, I could not believe I had never had a similar dish before.
For dessert, we shared the lemon curd cream meringue crush, which was as cool and tart as it sounds. We were regretfully too full to order the two fats grand dessert, a platter of all five of The Buttery’s desserts, including dark chocolate mousse mille feuille, crème brulee and red wine poached pear with stilton ice cream.
The main dining area was ideal for the pair of us, and several other couples sat in the main dining restaurant, ranging in age. But for larger parties and groups, The Buttery offers a private side room off the main dining area. For those looking for something even more memorable, the restaurant has a VIP space upstairs where guests literally walk through the kitchen to get to their private room, which includes a window directly into the kitchen. A visit from the chef is not unusual for those who enjoy a meal in this room.
For something more casual, visitors can go a floor below The Buttery, to The Shandon Belles, a new restaurant Two Fat Ladies recently opened. Emphasizing homestyle Scottish cooking, it is a less expensive, but no less delicious, option for visitors looking for the best of Scottish cooking.
Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery
652-654 Argyle Street, G3 8UF
0141 221 8188