Bó Kantina has just arrived in Glasgow city centre (a five minute walk from central station), bringing with it a diverse mixture of Korean influenced cuisine with a Western and Mexican twist. Situated in an intimate basement restaurant, the venue very much gives the sense of casual street dining.
The décor has been carefully designed to look non-existent; exposed chipboard and metal pillars are accompanied by graffiti on tiles, metal stools and wooden chairs are set in amongst floral flecks and subtle crocker nuances. The venue is warm and inviting however, and when I arrived on a weekday evening it was packed full, which speaks for itself. Word has clearly spread fast about this novel delight due to the number of bums on seats.
Food and Drink
The drinks menu had everything you could fancy, from Prosecco to Bourbon and everything in between. Cocktails dominated the menu however; the list included Bó’s speciality cocktails which all contained the popular Korean liqueur Soju, as well as some recognisable oldies. The Mexican influence was obvious here too as there was also a list of Margaritas, Tequilas and Mezcal based cocktails. I decided to stay casual with a Happy Chappy Pale Ale which came in a 500ml tankard at £5.50.
The best part was by far the food. The dishes themselves on the menu were very much Mexican; nachos, tostadas, tacos and Bórritos (see what they did there?), but the fillings and toppings were mixture of Asian, Western and traditional Mexican, and it worked together wonderfully. The first page consists of sharing street food, and the best part about this is that you can treat these dishes as a starter, or order a multitude of items and dine in a tapas style. In true street fashion, it arrives as and when it’s ready rather than in a formal manner. Being rather hungry however, I decided to go for a rice bowl from the “make your meal” section, with Bulgogi Pork, which was pulled Ramsay’s pork, gochujang, garlic, soy & sesame. For a topping I chose turnip noodles and kimchi puree. All of this was £8, and a hearty and generous size with plenty of pork, without being overwhelming. I even had room for a little dessert, which was a Bó Bar – “peanut butter crunch, sriracha ganache, denjang caramel, caramelised peanuts”, basically a delicious bar of chocolate drenched in dark chocolate and covered in peanuts, with a teeny hint of spice - £5.
Ambience and Clientele
The main diners at Bó Kantina were groups of two’s or three’s. Most tables are small and so the venue invites particularly couples or friends having a natter. That’s not to say large groups not welcome however, and reservations can be made online for parties up to 12. The restaurant is bright and the music upbeat, and the staff are down to earth and have no problem explaining the menu or chipping in to give you a hand to decide. This is especially important if you’re one to shy away from the unknown, the staff make you feel fully comfortable to ask what something is.
Bó Kantina seems to brings a fresh taste to Glasgow but accompanied with a comfortable familiarity in the basis of many of its dishes. Bringing together sour, sweet and spicy, there is something for any palate. This place was and is perfect for a casual lunch or dinner, or even just to pop in for quiet drinks from their extensive bar menu.