Family herds new pub to west end

An image of Glasgow’s Yorkhill Quay in the 1950s provides a focal point in The Grumpy Goat.
An image of Glasgow’s Yorkhill Quay in the 1950s provides a focal point in The Grumpy Goat.

Old meets new at The Grumpy Goat

IT may be one of the newest venues to open in Glasgow’s west end, but The Grumpy Goat features more than a few nods to the past.
The gastropub, which opened in the former Stirling Castle pub on Dumbarton Road earlier this month, is the brainchild of husband and wife team Tony and Carolyn Matteo, whose own family history – as well as that of the city – found its way into the venue’s design.
“We wanted to go for a Glasgow feel,” said Tony. “Most of the bric-a-brac is from my parents’ loft.”
Refurbished over a seven-week period ahead of its launch on July 7, The Grumpy Goat – which takes its name from a term of endearment in the Matteo household as well as the goats that once roamed the banks of the Kelvin – has an interior which combines comfort, nostalgia and local history with a modern twist.
Black and white photographs of Glasgow from days gone by are dotted throughout the space, the largest of which is a landscape shot of Yorkhill Quay in the 1950s viewed from the south bank of the River Clyde.
An assorted collection of curios, including old children’s boots, vintage furniture and a carved wooden goat’s head, has been used to dress the space, while the wallpapered ceiling, a feature suggested by DBD Interior Design, is intended to add to the ‘homely’ feel.
The combination of old and new extends to The Grumpy Goat’s menu, which goes beyond standard pub fare to include dishes such as slow-cooked Cairnhill Farm ox cheek, pan roasted day boat rock cod and Clyde Valley cauliflower fritters.
Getting the menu right was crucial to the new business, according to Tony and Carolyn; and so the pair recruited chef Christopher Dougan, who has 20 years of kitchen experience including stints in kitchens in London, Lancashire and Singapore.
“When it came to the second interview I asked for a sample menu and Christopher came up with the best menu,” said Tony.
Dougan said the menu’s main focus is on provenance, “letting the ingredients speak for themselves”.
To achieve this, produce is sourced from a number of suppliers, including Bernard Corrigans, Chestnut Meats, Green City Whole Goods, Cairnhill Farms and Tapa Organics.
Dougan said maintaining high standards is key for the venue.
“Everything has got to match – food, decor and drinks offer,” he said.
When it came to compiling the drinks offer at The Grumpy Goat, Tony drew on his family’s trade background. His father, also Tony, and mother Linda previously owned a number of Glasgow venues, including The Duke of Touraine restaurant, Oceans Seafood Lounge (now The 78) and the City Merchant restaurant in Candleriggs.
So when it came to working with drinks suppliers for The Grumpy Goat, Tony and Carolyn made the most of the on-trade relationships that have been built up by the Matteo family over the years.
For beers and spirits, The Grumpy Goat uses Belhaven, making the most of the family’s “long standing” relationship with Belhaven rep Fergus Drennon; the wine range is sourced from Alliance Wine, allowing the Matteos to work with Christian Boutellier who supplied wine for Tony’s father for 35 years.
But although the family connection has its advantages, Tony is determined to give The Grumpy Goat its own identity.
“It’s good to have the association with my parents’ background but I want to go my own path and do it myself,” he said.