Bilson Eleven opened in 2016 in a townhouse building that dates to the 1800’s. It was set up like a house on a quiet street, utilizing several small rooms over a couple floors to seat less than 30. The name is representative of Chef/Owner Nick Rietz’s 2 children and the number of tables originally. He, with the help of his father did much of the renovation of the building. Small bare wood pedestal tables are set fairly close and appointed with large cloth napkins and padded arm and armless chairs. Windows to the street are along the front of one room and the floors are a wide panel wood. Ceilings have ornate detailing and the fireplaces in the room are covered with decorative items. Minimal art is on the walls, music plays in the background and there are no flowers on the table. They serve only a tasting menu and you chose how many courses you want when you make your reservation. We chose the largest, eight course and had the wine pairings to go with it. Our server was nice enough to line up all the bottles at the end of the meal for one “group” photo. The staff spoke great English and were super friendly. Pacing of the meal was good as was the portion control.
We started the meal with a glass of prosecco.
An amuse bouche was housemade cheese curd with tomatoes and balsamic that was topped with some freeze dried balsamic flecks and fennel pollen. The tomatoes had tons of flavor which was well accented with the balsamic. The crispy bits of balsamic were really tasty and a good contrast with the creamy curd. This was a small bite with big flavor.
Bread service was sour dough rolls and a heritage grain bread. The bread had a dense interior with a wonderful crisp crust. The sour dough rolls were warm with a crisp exterior and doughy interior and a crisp textured bottom. Both were served with a malted butter with toasted oats and sea salt. It was rich and great.
The tasting started with Mungos Miracles which was a reference to Mungo, who was important in Glasgow’s history and was said to perform 4 miracles that are now referenced on Glasgow’s coat of arms. Foie gras was mixed with chicken liver and stuffed in a cocoa butter shell that represented the bell that never rang stuffed with the bird that never flew. Inside was some fig jam that represented the tree that never grew. Alongside was a hazelnut cracker that held salmon and caper mousse topped with salmon eggs, or the fish never swam. The bell was totally delicious and the salmon was quite nice.
Salt cod was served with truffle and edamame. The salt cod was stuffed into a locally harvested squash blossom and decorated with Australian truffle. That was set on the edamame which was a perfect paring with the salted cod mixture. It was nice to have a squash blossom that wasn’t fried. The truffle was cut a little thicker than usual and added a texture to the dish as well as a wonderful aroma. It was early in the truffle season but it did have a mild flavor. The dish overall was mildly flavored but quite good.
Trout was plated with leeks and nasturtium. The brown trout was cured and placed on creme fraiche mixed with wild leek bulbs and surrounded by nasturtium oil mixed with nasturtium flowers. The fish was tender with a very pleasant taste that mixed well with the oil and sauces. The plate had a good mix of textures and nice flavors that were fairly mild.
Beef cheeks were plated with sea herbs, garlic and lemon purée and seaweed, wild garlic herbs and mustard seed sauce. The meat was really tender, well caramelized and juicy and wonderful with the tasty sauce. The mustard seed added some fun texture to this great, savory plate of food.
Venison was served with curry, wild garlic and chicken skin. Some onion ash coated the exterior of the red deer loin meat. The plate also had some radish, raisins, seeds and onion purée. The plate had lots of textures with the tender, juicy and nicely rare venison. It went perfectly with the curry paste and crunchy, chewy garnishes. A potato alongside was a tender and perfect choice to accompany the lovely meat. A wonderful plate.
A palate cleanser of limoncello jam and lemon ice cream was topped with bay leaf. It was a coated ice cream to be eaten by hand and tasty.
Yuzu was combined with strawberry and elderflower in the first dessert. The yuzu jam was more like a custard and topped with strawberries and shortbread that was meringue like in texture. It was tart and smooth with crisp bits of fun. It felt light yet refreshing.
Chocolate was with cherry in the final dessert. Some tempered Dutch chocolate ganache was surrounded by fresh cherry compote. On top was a marshmallow like substance and underneath was chocolate crumble. This one had tons of texture and some hard core chocolate along with serious sweet, fruity cherry flavor. The ganache was smooth and rich for a delightful ending to a delicious meal.