Ox and Finch confirm plans for second Glasgow restaurant

Owner and Chef Jonathan MacDonald with Directors Daniel Spurr and Andy MacSween

THE COMPANY behind the hugely popular Kelvingrove restaurant Ox and Finch have today announced the scheduled opening of a second restaurant in January 2020. The new restaurant – named Ka Pao – will open within the historic, Category A-listed Botanic Gardens Garage on Vinicombe Street, which is located off Byres Road in the heart of Glasgow’s West End.

Housed in the basement of the distinctive white and green tiled, West End landmark, Ka Pao – the name derives from the Thai word for Holy Basil – will offer a menu influenced by the cooking of South East Asia.   Accommodating 120 covers and with a separate bar area, the restaurant has been designed by Stuart Black: Head of Interior Design at Mosaic, who was also responsible for the interiors of Ox and Finch.   

The new restaurant and bar features the same core management team who opened Ox and Finch in 2014.  Headed by Jonathan MacDonald, Daniel Spurr will oversee the operation of the open kitchens at Ka Pao and Ox and Finch, whilst Andy MacSween will manage the front of house and bar teams at both locations.  

Twelve senior chef and restaurant management roles at Ka Pao and Ox and Finch have been fulfilled via promotion through the ranks of the business, underlining the company’s firm commitment towards staff development and progression. The opening of Ka Pao will create 35 full-time roles.

The team have already introduced Glasgow diners to a preview of Ka Pao’s style, with a residency in the Acid Bar at SWG3 during 2018 and several pop-up dinners.  It is a style of cooking that is a real passion amongst the Ka Pao team.  Whilst Jonathan has lived and worked in South East Asia in the past, several chefs from the restaurant have travelled throughout the region and gained practical experience working in stages in notable kitchens in Thailand in preparation for the opening of Ka Pao.

Jonathan MacDonald, owner and chef, said “I have had an enormous amount of respect for the approach to food in South East Asia for as long as I have been cooking. The fascination was really ignited when I spent a lot of time working and travelling in that part of the world in my twenties. Living and working in Melbourne was also a big inspiration, as South East Asian flavours and influences are uniquely interwoven in Australian cooking.

Some of my most memorable cooking and eating experiences have been in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand; sometimes in impressive restaurants, but more often on plastic stools by the side of the road” 

The restaurant will announce their menu at the beginning of January, with the dishes listed likely to include messy prawns, orange, tamarind and palm sugar caramel; squash and potato curry, cardamom, cumin and coconut; slow-cooked pork cheeks, shiitake mushrooms, star anise and galangal.  They will also open the bookings system for Ka Pao then.

“Ka Pao is not about trying to be authentic or replicating the food of any particular region or country.  The guiding principle will be more about taking inspiration from dishes, ingredients and flavour combinations that we have encountered, that have influenced us and combining them with our own local produce.” – Daniel Spurr.

In the meantime, they are currently recruiting for several roles within Ka Pao, including chefs and kitchen assistants, bar and front of house staff.  Applications can be made via the restaurant’s website holding page or to hello@kapaogla.com

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