Outlier, Glasgow

The city’s hippest new bakery, Outlier is a rustic, communal space filled with a constantly changing selection of treats

Feature by Peter Simpson | 25 Mar 2022
  • Outlier

A muted pink paint job framed by old tenement brick, and one easy-to-miss piece of signage well below eye level; from the outside, Outlier is all ready to receive its ‘understated cool’ badge. Once you get in the door at the new bakery, between the end of the Trongate and the start of the Barras, things take on a much more communal air.

The space itself is a big factor. It’s decked out in warm, earthy tiles, worn concrete and festoon lights, but Outlier is currently one big room for everyone to share. There’s the counter and the coffee machine as you walk in, bread ovens on the far wall, two enormous tables staffed by bakers working on a constant rotation of sweets and savouries, and the rest of us are dotted around the room trying to work out where to look first.

First thing on a Sunday morning, six weeks after its opening, the place is stowed out; folk by the window hoping the sun stays out, food nerds like us near the back, glued to the process in the back. At one point we’re watching a baker put together some enormous sausage rolls, when a toddler at the next table sticks his entire hand in his dad’s (now-cold) coffee, and a small wave of pathos catches half the room. It’s a lot like a great pub; there’s always some action going on, but there’s also a pleasant background buzz and the reassuring feeling of community.

Anyway, to the counter. In the name of journalism, we tried a whole bunch of stuff, all of which came in at between £2 and £3. As we were leaving, a glance back at the counter revealed that two new items had come online while we were sat down, so take these tips as a general guide. That said, if there are any of the cardamom and custard buns on offer, snap them up. Sweet, light, fragrant, and covered in a crystalline wall of sugar, they’re great and very deserving of your time and subsequent sticky fingers.

Good pastry – robust, flavourful and flecked with grain when you rip it apart – is a common theme at Outlier. Our broccoli and courgette galette is simultaneously crumbly and puffy, and piled up with roasted veg and a shitload of cheese. Away from the pastry, the wholemeal chocolate chip cookie is a chewy, salty treat, but soon enough we’re back at it with a many-layered and extremely crunchy rhubarb Danish. We’re huge fans of that thing that sometimes happens with good pastry where the edges and corners end up basically frying under the weight of all the butter, and that’s on display a couple of times here. The enormous plop of stewed rhubarb on the top does a noble job of balancing things out.

Outlier is a great bakery, an extremely welcoming space, and an object lesson in how to make a cafe or venue feel like a home away from home. It can be chaotic, or noisy, and you can even worry that you’re missing out on something (those sausage rolls!), but the sense of shared space and air of community is what we want when we head off into the world. Combine that energy with some brilliant baking, and Outlier will be getting plenty more badges and plaudits before too long.

38 London Road, Glasgow, G1 5NB
Thu-Sat, 8am-4pm; Sun, from 10am
IG: @outlier.gla