Bread Meats Bread

701 Great Western Road, Glasgow

0141 648 0399

Lunch/Dinner: £6-£15

Food rating: 7/10

BREAD Meats Bread on Glasgow’s Great Western Road is this mini-chain’s most attractive restaurant yet. Walls are more glass than stone, imparting a glowing luminosity that borrows leafy greenness from outside. Banquettes in Dijon mustard yellow supply a golden glow, pearly grey Moorish-style floor tiles add Alhambra-esque tranquillity. This isn’t the Meat Loaf, Bat out Of Hell darkness of your usual burger bar.

Having dumped the Gothic, BMB looks good. It also smells much lighter and fresher. We are greeted by a waft of butter gently browning, not the customary odour of singeing animal flesh and deep-frying.

I wouldn’t go to BMB in an indecisive mood. The menu, as the name suggests, is all about meat in bread but it constitutes a global family tree of variations on the theme that interlaces with abandon repeat ingredients from diverse cooking traditions. So they slip smoky Italian Scamorza cheese into your bacon burger along with bone marrow butter. "Red label" burgers feature Calabrese fiery, fatty chilli sausage, 'Nduja, which would seem to be a restaurant fashion at the moment. My latest interaction with it was in Calabria where I had to call out a doctor for a friend with acute stomach pains. First question she asked was whether he had eaten 'Nduja, which we had. Ah, that explains it, she said, explaining that this regional speciality is “pesante” (heavy). So now I’m happy to leave it out. But BMB no doubt knows how to use just a lick of it to add smoky kick to a burger, or tamed in the 'Nduja mayo that moistens a "red label" burger on a supposedly Caribbean theme (candied bacon/caramelised sweet fries/crispy fried onions). Give me Jamaican Scotch Bonnet in preference any day. Kimchi, another sine qua non of fashion victim restaurants stamps its piquant footprint all over the menu, in the Kim Yong Burger, the KimCheese burger, the Bacon Kimchi "poutine" (the latter a grizzly Quebecois assembly of chips, cheese, and brown gravy). Its appeal is entirely lost on me. Brazenly, the "Raspoutine" – chips, fresh cheese curds, chopped bacon, grated cheddar, beefy gravy – is marketed as "the healer". Ubiquitous Sriracha, here incorporated into mayonnaise, is another BMB menu leitmotif. If 'Nduja, Kimchi, and Sriracha don’t appeal you can fall back on harissa, another repeat presence.

"Green label" denotes veggie and vegan options, such as Radical Reuben (that’s "vegan Pastramheat" topped with "vegan Gouda cheese" and sauerkraut, finished with "vegenaise"), and vegan fried "Chick’n", the latter made with seitan and "vegan buttermilk". These rank so high in the faux stakes that we’re keeping a wide berth. There’s even a "vegan poutine" with "fresh vegan cheese curds", whatever that’s supposed to be. Shudder.

Our more conservative choices are not scintillating. The basic beef burger in our "Lamburghini" is cooked to a 1950s British greyness, but I’ll blame that on the insistence of the food police that burgers must not be pink in the middle. Its pulled lamb topping is rescued from dullness by its pomegranate molasses dressing. A sandwich of slow-cooked beef brisket, "pulled" then dipped in a faintly gingery, sweet barbecue sauce, with slices of cucumber pickle, a dust that’s crispy fried onions apparently, and more spicy mayo, is another of these dishes that we tackle with initial gusto, rapidly cooling to a dutiful, mustn’t-waste-it chew. The free-range chicken in its peppery, garlicky crunchy buttermilk crust is far superior to any of the meat options, with a succulence that complements the brittle batter.

Of the standard adjuncts, floury chips, skin-on, are fine. Creamy coleslaw, pungent with mustardy brassica heat, cries out for assistance. It needs more than red cabbage. Caramelised sweet potato fries, spiced with Cayenne pepper and anointed with maple syrup and trendy coconut oil, have a candy-floss sweetness to them. BMB doesn’t do desserts but these could easily fill that slot.

I see the appeal of BMB. It offers better than average sourcing of ingredients: there’s a guarantee of Scottish grass-fed beef; they bother to have free-range chicken; you get the Errington Cheese Company’s artisan Lanark Blue cheese, not some cheap, industrial Euro-blue. Portions are massive, prices low. You could do worse.