From the bits and pieces of internet research I've done I couldn't quite figure out if Saramago was run by the same people who had been very effectively serving my vegetarian dining needs in Glasgow. Based in the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Saramago has a pleasant courtyard and a cosy bar area and would work either as a place for drinks and snacks or somewhere for a proper sit-down meal. There's a music venue through a side door and the walls are dotted with posters for upcoming gigs. Whether or not it's run by the same people as the other three venues, it's clearly going for a very similar schtick.
The menu also follows a similar format to places like Stereo - there's a diverse array of tapas, some sandwiches and salads plus a selection of mains. There are a variety of specials - at lunch time you can get two courses for £9.50 (~AU$16.15), a three-course early dinner will set you back £12.95 (~AU$22.10) or you can grab four tapas for £10 (~AU$17) after 7pm.
The menu is very, very compelling. Some examples: asparagus with sesame oil, ginger, orange and cashew nuts (£3.95~AU$6.75), harissa potatoes with red onion and black olives (£3.95~AU$6.75), curly kale with soy, ginger and garlic (£2.95~AU$5.00), felafel, beetroot tatziki, spring onion and mixed leaf sandwich (£5.00~AU$8.50) and paella with roast red peppers, porcini mushrooms, and artichoke hearts (£8.50~AU$14.50)... look - just go and read the menu yourself, to save me typing all these out.
My first visit was for dinner - after some discussion with the staff I decided I'd probably struggle to work my way through four tapas on my own and decided to just order one of the mains. The pizzas tempted me, but in the end I went for something a bit different - Moroccan squash, chickpea and puy lentil tagine with pomegranate tabouleh, flatbread and shaved fennel salad (£8.50~AU$14.50).
This was an excellent dish - the tangy fennel salad and the pomegranate tabouleh were great sides, and the tagine was a textural delight. The flavours were pretty mild, but it was a very satisfying meal - lots of protein, warm herbiness and the combo of soft pumpkin and crispy toasted almond flakes.
I was so impressed with my dinner that I returned to Saramago the next day for lunch. The weather had warmed up enough for me to enjoy the courtyard, but I was really there for the sandwiches. In particular, the tofu sausage sandwich with tomato and chilli jam and mixed leaves on toasted bread. For £6 (~AU$10.25) you can combine a sandwich with a soup, so I added in a bowl of the hearty-sounding mushroom and ale soup.
The soup was okay - rich and filling, but maybe a smidgen under-seasoned. The sandwich was bang-on though - the sweet and spicy chilli/tomato jam adding flavour to the slightly salty chunky tofu sausages. It's possible the sausages were straight out of a packet, but they were unlike anything I'd had in Australia - very much tofu-based, with a decent skin that the Saramago peeps had managed to fry up into a lightly browned crisp. Yummo.
I feel like I'm being ridiculously positive with my Glasgow reviews, but the approach taken by Glasgow's vegan restaurants (great music, hipster vibes, good booze range, awesome food) is just utterly up my alley. Saramago was another gem - the staff were helpful, the menu incredible and the dishes I sampled were top notch.
I could only find only two blog reviews of Saramago - both girl-e glasgow and East Meets West Veg were fans.
350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow (the cafe entry is up the side on Scott Street)
0141 352 4920
0141 352 4920
starters and sides £2.50-3.9~AU$4.25-6.75, sandwiches, salads and mains £5.00-8.50 ~AU$8.50-14.50http://www.cca-glasgow.com/saramago-caf/saramago-caf-bar
Accessibility: The side entry is up a small flight of stairs, but there's elevator access if you enter via the main CCA entryway on Sauchiehall Street. Things are quite spacious inside and ordering and payment takes place at the bar. I didn't check out the toilets. Full accessibility information is available here.