Steakhouse opens its doors in vaults beneath Glasgow’s Central Station
GOOD steak is more than just a job for the aptly-named Matthew Mustard; it’s something he has in his blood.
As the son of a beef and lamb farmer, the 25 year old general manager of Glasgow bar and steakhouse Alston Bar & Beef – which opened its doors at the end of last month – was raised around Scottish produce.
Since then he has worked at several restaurants around Glasgow, most recently honing his knowledge of steaks at established Glasgow steakhouse The Butchershop.
It was this knowledge that Mustard reckons helped him secure the job at Alston, which is part of Glendola Leisure Group.
In a steakhouse, the steaks are the one thing you should be training your staff on.
“If you look at the training [at some other steakhouses] as an example; they focus on the dishes, what the sauces are and every little ingredient,” Mustard told SLTN.
“Yes, you should know the basis for a sauce, but customers won’t say to you ‘what is every single ingredient in that sauce?’
“For a steakhouse, the steaks are the one thing you should be training [front of house] staff on – where the cut comes from, the best way it should be cooked, and what makes that different.
“Our main philosophy at The Butchershop was to know as much as possible about the product you were selling.
“That maybe swung it in my favour.”
At Alston, starters range from soup of the day at £5 to a half dozen oysters at £12, while main courses run from a pea and Roquefort risotto for £11 through to a 300g rib-eye steak for £24 and the 700g assiette of steak (for sharing) at £40. Customers can also choose from a two-course set menu costing £12 or three courses for £15.
Located in the arches beneath Central Station, Alston Bar & Beef combines a range of steak cuts (as well as a selection of other dishes) with a strong drinks selection that has a particular focus on gin.
Compiled under the eye of bar manager Chris Sproule, there are more than 50 gins on the back-bar, with ten different signature serves that pair various brands with garnishes such as orange, apple, cinnamon and even black pepper.
This is in addition to a gin-based cocktail list that includes a barrel-aged Martinez as well as originals and twists on classics such as the Martini and Gin Fizz.
The wine list has more of an emphasis on reds, with 17 compared to six whites, and the draught beer selection, sourced from Belhaven, includes Innis & Gunn, Double Hop Monster and Twisted Thistle in addition to Tennent’s Lager and Guinness.
Other suppliers include Speciality Drinks, Master of Malt and Justerini & Brooks.
But despite the robust drinks offer, Alston is a food-led outlet, and Mustard is keen to establish the venue as “one of the best restaurants in Glasgow”.
“I aspire for that to be the case,” he said.
“If, down the line, we’re well known in Scotland as a place to come and try Scottish beef we’d be very happy with that. At The Butchershop there was a guy that travelled up from Milton Keynes just to visit the restaurant.
“So I’d love to be that kind of place. I’d love to be highly regarded within the dining scene in Glasgow.”
In addition to the range of food and drink on offer, Mustard is confident the unique location will also be a draw for customers.
“I don’t think there’s anywhere else in Scotland quite like it,” he said.
“It has a little bit of speakeasy, a little bit of London cool, but very warm.
“It’s a unique feel.”