Cocktails · food · Glasgow

Bill’s Summer Soirée

Bill’s is, apparently, a decent-sized chain of restaurants but I’m only aware of the Glasgow branch. They have branches all over the UK and the Glasgow one has been open in 2015 in the city centre. It’s one of those nice chains. The ones where you’ll get approximately the exact same menu in any branch, but it doesn’t feel too chain-y when you walk in.

Bill's summer soirée
Bill’s restaurant in Glasgow

They’ve just launched their new menu for summer and they invited an army of food bloggers, food critics and Yelpers (that’s me!) along to try out some nibbles and cocktails. Naturally enough, I went along. I realise this blog is increasingly sounding like I’m making a bid to be Glasgow’s leading cocktail critic, but this is genuinely coincidental.

Actually, I just Googled it and no one else is making that claim. Screw it. I am Glasgow’s leading cocktail critic. Tell your friends.

Anyway, as Glasgow’s leading cocktail critic, I of course had to go along. The staff at Bill’s were lovely. They had cordoned off a large section of the restaurant for us, including some seats outside (mercifully, because it was a very warm day). I was welcomed with the first cocktail, a Hedgerow fizz. It was light and fruity, a blend of prosecco and elderflower garnished with a frozen raspberry but I think it would have been too sweet to drink more than one of them.

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Hedgerow Fizz

Soon we were seated and I was catching up with a couple of friends. Bill’s was packed – far more people had turned up than were expected and the staff struggled to keep up. However, they managed to pass around a few more cocktails and some tasters from the new menu.

We tried Watermelon, Paprika and Sesame Crusted Feta cheese which was delicious and very more-ish, some little breaded cod bites which I thought were pleasant enough but maybe just a little bland and spicy Mojo Chicken skewers which were great.

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Summer Rum Punch

Cocktail-wise I also got to try the Summer Rum Punch (Duppy Share Rum, jasmine orange and hibiscus tea and watermelon juice). This looked amazing, garnished with a huge wedge of fresh watermelon and a delicate edible flower. Again, it was quite sweet, but the rum flavour came through, reminding me that I was drinking a real cocktail, not a pretty glass of fruit juice. It was still kind of sweet, but it was probably my favourite of the evening.

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The Bee’s Knees

Next up was The Bees Knees (London Dry Gin, honey, lemon juice, pink lemonade). Bonus points because for every one of this cocktail that Bill’s sell they’ll donate 25p to bees! Something they’re doing through Kew Gardens. How sweet. A bit too sweet for my taste (again) and the pink lemonade had a weird after taste but I can see it being very refreshing on a warm day.

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Bill’s Summer Cup

The fourth and final cocktail was the Bill’s Summer Cup (Gin and elderflower aperitif, elderflower pressé, summer fruits). Like the Summer Rum Punch this one looked amazing, stuffed with raspberries and cucumber ribbons. I do like a nice gin and cucumber cocktail although I was forced to wonder why they hadn’t just gone right ahead and used Hendricks (maybe they do and they just don’t say so, but I’m not convinced). Beautiful again, but too sweet again. Sorry, I’m fussy. Still, none of this would put me off trying other options on their cocktail list.

Towards the end of the evening we were pointed towards the “afternoon tea tables.” These were stacked with cake stands holding fudgy chocolate brownies, tiny adorable scone bites and really, really good Victoria sponge. To me, Victoria sponge is one of the more basic, simple, boring cakes you can make, so when I get a slice of one that’s really good it feels like a bit of a treat. I would never have considered coming to somewhere like Bill’s for afternoon tea but I definitely will in the future.

Finally we were handed goodie bags. I got a bottle of their elderflower pressé, a bottle of their IPA and a bar of their milk chocolate. Not bad (and there’s nothing left).

A night spent at Bill’s was a fun night. I think increasingly chainy restaurants like this struggle to stand out. There are so many great independent options and so many chains to compete against so there really needs to be a reason to choose one over the other. Now that I’ve been to Bill’s I’d definitely visit again.

 

4 thoughts on “Bill’s Summer Soirée

  1. I’m glad you took the bull by the horns and anointed yourself Glasgow’s leading cocktail critic. Sometimes we just have to push new frontiers. Blue hair and (what I will now say you are) world renowned cocktail critic, fun summer!

    Liked by 1 person

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