It was the autumn of 2015, when Mackie invited Mike Press, myself and Taylor Stillie for lunch in the D’Arcy Thomson to talk about a new venture he was working on. I still worked at the University at the time, Mike was still Head of Design Policy at DJCAD, and Taylor was the SIE intern. Mackie had plans to take over the old Westport Gallery shop and turn it into a Tapas bar and art gallery.
After a most enjoyable, and delicious, lunch we walked down the road and stepped into the shell of the old shop. Mackie had a vision for what he wanted to do with the space. Keep it clean, minimal, white walls so that most types of art will work. As he showed us around, it was as though he was seeing the finished article in his minds-eye, such was the clarity with which he described it.
Fast forward 18 months and Gallery 48 is now firmly established on Dundee’s culinary map. It’s a favourite of ours, the chilled vibe, friendly staff and amazing food combining to make it a wonderful experience. Not only does it serve amazing food, but under the watchful eye of DJCAD graduate Kristen Neillie, Gallery 48 also has its own program of events including Spanish lessons for kids and jewelry classes (there’s one on Mothers Day).
Today we parked the car at the Uni and wandered down Westport. Andy hadn’t been before, and after having a damn good start to the year, we decided that we’d celebrate with lunch before he caught the train back to Glasgow. We were met by Julian, who runs the front of house, and shown to our table. Julian remembered me from previous visits, which is always a nice touch. We’d also spoken on Saturday as I was making my way back to the car having spent a couple of hours in town. He was standing outside the entrance with a tray of Serrano ham and homemade bread, tempting passers-by. I crossed the street to say hi, and sample the amazing food.
Andy loves his food and is a great cook himself, so he was in food heaven. Julian took us through some of the new dishes on the menu, all of which sounded amazing. One day I need to go in with enough people that we can order everything on the menu and sample it all! But I digress.
We asked about a couple of dishes – it’s not your typical British tapas. These are delicacies from different parts of Spain, old family recipies. We know this because Julian told us about a few of them, which are his mum’s recipe! His parents run a restaurant in Madrid, and these are Mama’s dishes. We ordered half a dozen, but it was so hard to choose.
The food arrived, and as expected it was amazing. Bursting with flavour! At one point Andy said that this was possibly the best food he had ever tasted. Coming from him, that’s pretty amazing!
We were driving today, so couldn’t sample the wines. Mackie and his team have curated a fantastic collection of Spanish wines, beers, and spirits, so when Andy and Becca move to Dundee in a couple of months we’ll definitely be back to make up for it.
As you know, I spend my life helping people to design great customer experiences. Well, there’s absolutely no need for my services at Gallery 48. Every time we’ve dined it’s been a wonderful experience. It’s not forced, it just feels right. There’s a family feel – you could easily be in Mama’s restaurant in Madrid. I always leave wanting to go back again soon. Which I’ll be doing.
These days it’s rare to have a good experience in a restaurant in the UK. We really noticed the difference when we were in New York last year – the standard of service there was unlike anything we’re used to in the UK. However Gallery 48 is right up there, every time.
If you’ve not been before, then you really should go. And if you do, try the Migas, and the Tenderstem broccoli, and the Chorizo. Ah shit, just try everything, it’s all delicious!