One of the great things about living in the West End of Glasgow is the sheer amount of independent and emerging businesses. From coffee shops to cheesemongers, there is ALWAYS something new to try – and even if it’s not necessarily new to the area, it will at least be new to you. Recently, we took a stroll along Dumbarton Road to Bibi’s Cantina – a local Mexican joint that we’d heard very good things about but just hadn’t got around to visiting yet.
I am a huge lover of Mexican flavours – even though I am a total wimp when it comes to spicy food (pass the sour cream por favor…), so having a place like Bibi’s Cantina a hop, skip and jump from our neighbourhood makes me really happy. Bibi’s actually opened back in 2007, and has built up a loyal following since then. We went along on a Monday afternoon for a late lunch/ early dinner and we were sat at a cosy corner table.
The first thing I noticed about Bibi’s was that it has a sense of local business at its very heart – everyone is greeted warmly, the staff chat openly and lovingly about the dishes and they are keen to help promote their neighbours. The relaxed interior has a mixture of Latin-inspired tiling and fairy lights with a fiesta feel.
We browsed the drinks menu, which includes all the popular beers, wines and spirits – but what caught my eye was that they stock Jarritos (Mexican soft drinks) in four fruity flavours and also offer non-alcoholic cocktails in addition to the usual cola and lemonade. Not too shabby! I ordered a faux-Margarita which was zesty and delicious – it was finished by the time our starters arrived! We ordered from the Early Bird dinner menu (£14 for 3 courses) which is available from 12pm-6:30pm daily.
Gary couldn’t wait to get stuck into his Mexican meatball sopa (soup) and I had ordered the vegetarian version which on that day was mushroom. Gary reported that Mexican meatball soup was hearty, with ‘just the right amount’ of kick. It looked amazing, but I knew that it was just too much for my sissy tastebuds to handle! The vegetarian soup, although milder was still tasty.
As we polished off our starters and waited for the mains to arrive, we remarked how nice it was to have a Mexican restaurant in close reach, without having to go into the city centre, where there are a few others to chose from. The mains arrived, with Gary’s fresh fajitas still sizzling away in their tequila, triple sec and lime juice marinade – the aroma was enough to make anyone’s mouth water! My tostada – generously layered with avocado (yum!), chicken and tomato – didn’t make quite as much noise but it was no less divine! I could eat it all over again…
Portion sizes are just right at Bibi’s – with filling ingredients like tortilla and rice, it’s easy to feel bloated after a meal, but somehow I didn’t feel like I’d had too much to eat (although I certainly didn’t feel underfed either!). There was just enough room for dessert which was possibly the toughest choice of all. I went with the Mexican dessert quesedilla – all chocolatey and nutty with a hint of coconut. It came served warm (as all good quesedillas do!) with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream on the side. Perfection!
Gary also took a walk on the dessert wild side and ordered the honey-drizzled cinnamon tortilla chips, which came with ice cream. It sounds like the kind of dish that shouldn’t work, but it was a sweet-and-salty delight. I helped finish it off, purely for research purposes you understand…
Its easy to see why Bibi’s Cantina is still going strong after being in the West End for seven years. They don’t have a huge space, they don’t have bells and whistles but what they DO have is a strong, well-priced menu with personality and heart. Its safe to say that we’ll be back, and it falls firmly into that ‘not new, but new to me’ category I mentioned earlier. Let’s call it a new favourite.
Have you ever been to Bibi’s Cantina? What’s your favourite Mexican meal? Are you a wimp like me when it comes to fiery food?
With sour cream and super-sized-sombreros,
Miss West End Girl x