Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Rio Cafe

I always want to do a review on the different cafes and such I go to. Living where I do, there's a wealth of experience right on my doorstep.

Today, I went to the Rio Cafe for the first time. I've always wanted to go and check it out, and to be honest I've no idea why it's taken me as long as it has to.

The Where -
 The Rio CafĂ©
27 Hyndland Street,
GlasgowG11 5QF

The When - 
Sunday 27th March, around 3pm

The Why -
Hangover Brunch!

The Who -
Me, Gof and Jaime Leigh

The What -
Me - Black Coffee, Stornoway Black Pudding, Bacon and Poached Egg
Gof - Pot of tea, Stornoway Black Pudding, Bacon and Poached Egg, side of toast
Jaime Leigh - Can of Irn Bru, Full Breakfast

 Inside, it was fairly busy, and we were seated at a very small table and gave our drink orders. I went outside to put a poster up for Ooh La la (shameless plug, I know!) and within minutes our drinks were on the table. After we ordered our food (eventually, thanks Jaime Leigh!) Gof noted the his tea cup wasn't exactly clean.I thought it was more stained than actually dirty, and he still used it, so I guess it wasn't a huge deal. My coffee cup though, had a dried in spill on the outside of the mug, so maybe a quick check before mugs go out is in order. The actual coffee had very little crema, and tasted slightly burned, but was still drinkable, and still better than Starbucks! As we waited on our food, we chatted about the decor of the place. It has a definite 50's diner feel about it, lived in and authentic rather than the sterile atmosphere you get in the sort of place that's trying too hard to be perfect.  Like I said, the place was fairly busy and I get the feeling we were the only "new people" there. Just before our food arrived, a booth opened up and our waitress offered to move us, which we did!

I was 3 bites (read, scoffs) in when I thought to take a picture of my dish. It was absolutely DELISH, and Gof, having ordered the same thing, concurred. Jaime Leigh's breakfast look well made and lovely, her only
complaint was her sausage "looked like cheap basic sausages" although it tasted "ok". The toast that Gof and Jaime Leigh had was browned perfectly, I was quite jealous! But my dish was enough on it's own, great portion and every bit tasty. Over all, the food impressed me, it was much better quality than I anticipated.

Again, we chatted about the cafe, Gof expressed surprise over the the great food, but wasn't too sure on the over all "feel" of the place. He conceded that somewhere that busy was popular for a reason, but he wasn't sure if he'd choose to go back. His main concern was the "grubbiness" of the cups, the high chairs that were stack up out of use were dusty and needed a good wipe down, and the staining on my cutlery. Jaime Leigh enjoyed her breakfast, but didn't like that the waitress didn't ask her if she wanted ice for her Irn Bru (she didn't) and filled her glass with it anyway. I thought she was just being too fussy! Her first choice of eats, a mozzarella, tomato and basil panini, would have been perfect for her with the inclusion of bacon, but she didn't want to ask the waitress if it was possible so I don't know if they would have done that for her, but I believe they wouldn't have had a problem fixing it for her. Still, that's a question for another trip! Otherwise, our waitress was attentive and lovely, without being intrusive. 

Food ate and drinks drunk, we got the bill, around £23 all in. I was happy with both the service and the food, I understood Gof and Jaime Leigh's complaints but in general I wasn't fussed. Sure the place could have been a little cleaner but as far as I can see it wasn't at cockroach level, and I'm saw more than my fair share of those sort of places! I'd happily go back, even though, as is typical, my choice is seriously restricted since I can't eat wheat. Still, that isn't a unique problem to the Rio Cafe, but nowadays a lot of places are starting to wise up to the dietary requirements of people, especially in terms of dairy and wheat, so maybe the Rio Cafe could explore their options in that area. Even for people who don't have a medical reason for avoiding certain foods, there is a growing demand for something other than the usual sandwiches and wheat based main courses like pasta and pizza. I for one would be happy to pay a little extra for the convenience of wheat free pasta, for instance.

 The Basics
Open - Mon to Sun, 9am to 12am
Food served 9am to 9pm
Licensed - Yes
Dietary options - not apparent from menu
Child friendly - Yes, high chairs and a box of toys available
Outdoor area - Yes, chairs and tables available
Value for money - Yes
Overall - 7/10, would go back, needs improving on cleanliness and coffee skillz, but 
food and service excelled expectation.  

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