One of the newest restaurants on the Paisley scene is Pendulum Bar and Grill. Occupying the ground floor of the B-listed building that was formerly the home of Arnotts Department Store, development of Pendulum was part of an ambitious regeneration project that also included the transformation of upper floors in to apartments. The restaurant features giant windows giving diners a breathtaking view of the magnificent Paisley Abbey just across the street. Pendulum is owned by the Cardosi family, as much of a Paisley institution as the building itself. They already own a restaurant, chip shop and cafe at the opposite end of the High Street.
I’d been to the restaurant before when they hadn’t been open too long and they were a bit unprepared in finding out the gluten free options for me. They change their menu regularly in Pendulum so don’t have a printed GF menu. On this visit they handed me an early evening menu that had already been highlighted to show the gluten free options.
The manager stopped by the table to go over it with me which was really helpful as I had questions about things like bread and chips. I decided to go with the steak frites as the manager informed me the chips are fried in a separate fryer – my favourite kind of information! I started my evening off with a Pendulum Passion which had Passoa in it and was, therefore, a winner for me!
I had the soup of the day to start which was sweet potato and chilli. It was quite spicy, and also really filling so I didn’t manage to finish it all. I really enjoyed the bread they had but I forgot to ask which brand it was. Then we began the wait for our main course. We waited. And waited. And waited some more. Eventually we got our mains just over half an hour after our starter plates were cleared. This felt like quite a long time. We were in a rush to eat as we were attending a show at Paisley Town Hall and spent most of that half hour checking our watches. The table next to us actually got their mains before us even though our plates had been cleared first.
My steak frites was delicious. The steak was really nicely cooked and the fries were perfect. I was also delighted to get some gravy with it as all the sauces in Pendulum are made with corn flour (for more information on how much I like gravy, see my review of Miller & Carter)! They advertise it on the menu as peppercorn sauce, but honestly it was just like gravy with some peppercorns in it.
Unfortunately we didn’t have time for dessert as by this point we were running late. Based on the quality of food we had, I think the early evening is really well priced for two courses. It is a shame however that we were unable to enjoy a third. Our reservation was at 5:30pm and we didn’t expect to be running late for a 7:30pm show that is only across the road.
I’ve been to Pendulum again for lunch since and again, felt the service was painfully slow, to the point we had to cancel our pre-ordered desserts as we didn’t have time for them. I don’t know whether they are trying to keep their guests relaxed and not rush them, but really at lunch time or for an early evening menu things should be slightly speedier. It must be losing them money if people are having to rush off after two courses instead of staying for three.
Overall I do feel Pendulum is a huge asset to Paisley’s already packed food and drink scene. There isn’t really another restaurant of this style and caliber as the majority are Italian restaurants and the location is just excellent – ideal for events at Paisley Abbey, Paisley Town Hall, and many other venues in the area. I would be prepared to spend at minimum an hour and a half there for two courses so make sure you leave plenty of time. If you want the pasta dish gluten free you have to allow extra cooking time so that’s another thing to consider.
For more information about Pendulum and to view their current menus, you can follow them on Facebook here.