A fortnightly cook‘s tour of hot stuff— and cold — to be found in Edinburgh and Glasgow eateries.
Prices in brackets are the approximate cost of a
three-course meal lor two with a bottle oi house wine.
0 Maison Bourbon atthe Louisiana Ropeworks Company 39—43 Ropeworks Lane. 552 0048. Closed Sun. Last orders midnight. Ultra
THIS CHARMING MAN
Ihad arranged to meet Keith Floyd after a book-signing session in John Smith's. There he was, signing away, at the end of the most disparate crowd of people: chaps in greasy overalls, ladies coified to the eyeballs, scruffy, bookish boys who probably hadn't seen more state-of-the-art culinary equipment than a Baby Belling, all clutching their copies of 'Floyd on France’. His appeal certainly crosses
Had he any idea where he wanted to goto lunch? ‘Eitherthe Rogano, orthe Horseshoe Bar,’ l was told by his press agent. No difference at all. Fond as I am of the Horseshoe, having just forked out for a TV licence I decided that the BBC could afford the Bogano.
When he arrived at the restaurant, there was a small shuffle oi recognition even among the besuited business-account lunchtime clientele. Floyd is much taller than he appears on screen (and slimmer), with an incandescent smile that lends a boyish, almost mischievous cast to his otherwise slightly jowly ieatures.
Obviously not a member of the health-conscious brigade, he lit up a Marlboro and ordered a large whisky. The poor man looked exhausted — it was the last day oi a two-week whistle-stop promotional tour, sol
mentioned that i wouldn’t interrogate him until the whisky had gone down. ‘See, I said that the Scots were a sensible race,’ he told his girlfriend press agent who had joined us. The girliriend, 206, was amazing: a chaln-store-mannequln-blonde who
l new - Scotland‘s first ; (‘ajun restaurant. Eh? i Remember ‘Jambalaya. crawfish pie. filet gumbo.".’ That‘s Cajun. i and if you‘re none the 1 wiser. this pretty little 1 pink and blue restaurant I hopesto change all that. i ()ysters. lobsters. steaks. i
r all given the Louisiana
0 0. Henry's 3 (‘aledonia (‘resenL Kelvinbridgc. 339 1275. Last orders: food 7.30pmzdrink 11pm. ()pen Sun. Delightful new tunnel-shaped bar on the river at the Kelvin Walkway. Lasagnes. chillis. burgers and the like served all day. Nothing fantastically i innovative but what a spot for a balmy summer evening (one lives in
nope) wrtn domed glass doors opening onto the water. (£10)
0 Circle Bistro 50—60 King Street. 552 0734. Last orders 1am. Airy and tastefully decorated bistro in the (over?) hyped Merchant City. Offers daily bar menu with a la carte available in the evenings. featuring mussels Provencale. trout with almonds and more. (£20—£25)
0 Fazzi Brothers 67 (‘ambridge Street. 332 0941. Last orders 5.30pm. (‘losed Sun. The nearest Glasgow will get to a local ltalian cafe/bar. Not yet licensed. but already a success. Menu features staples like ravioli and minestrone. but everything in the delicatessen is also on offer. Sip an expresso or have a full meal. tutro va belie. (£10. unlicensed)
0 ll Pescatore 148 Woodlands Road. 333 9239. Last orders 11pm. (‘losed Sun. As the name
suggests. seatooo a speciality. Fortes: unusual fish simply presented — skewered monkfish. scampi wrapped in bacon. Failures: cream sauces (too much be'chamel. not enough cream). Busy and cosy. with a mixed clientele. (£30)
0 Di Maggios 1038 Pollokshaws Road. 632 4194. Last orders midnight weekdays; 1am Fri/Sat. midnight Sun. Sister to the West End restaurant and phenomenally busy. Nice. crisp pizzas with huge variety of toppings — they‘ll create specials for you as well. Good cannelloni and indifferent bolognese. Ideal for families: children‘s portions. and a happy. buzzy atmosphere. (£16) 0 La Capannina 72 l lope Street. 221 0245. Last orders 11—11.30pm. ()pen Sun. Archetypal ltalian genre. giving customers what they want: large portions of well-cooked. well presented. unintimidating pastas.
ioumeoos. etc. More adventurous blackboard menu offers a selection of fresh fish. obligingly cooked to taste. No
l ecstatic peaks. but certainly no complaints either. (£30)
: Mon—Sunnoon—midnight. Friendly staff and decor give this small relaxed restaurant a cafe-style ambience. Drop in just for ; cappuccino or a delicious well-priced meal. and pick up local gossip from the waiters while you're at it. Ahabit-formingstop-off. ' (£18)
O Kavios 1 Commercial
} 11.30pm; Fri/SaL"Sun
i noon—11.30pm. Bright
1 and breezy service and a
real breath of Italy in their wide selection of
1 cheese. fruit and deserts.
journalism, antique dealing and ‘eleven or so' restaurants, in France, Spain and Britain. ‘l've never had any kind of plan in my head, I've just been following a river.’ Which river? I ask stupidly. Oh, I see, an internal, spiritual sort of river, silly oi me. ‘My restaurants always pleased my customers enormously, but didn’t have quite the same effect on my bank managers. The antique-dealing was a measure of expediency when I lived in Provence -I had to do it in order to survive. Basically, I sold a lot oi English brlc-a-brac that the French loved. Eventually I returned to Britain because I was missing my son.’
And the programme? ‘That came about because my producer, a regular in my Bristol restaurant and a iriend, decided that we both could have some fun. Fun's the essence oi it.’ I had
consumption of ‘little brandies' on his customers’ bills that he ielt sure he could capitalize on Keith’s only too
Is he rich? ‘I don’t think about it.’ That means he is, but anyway, hard times have never been allowed to interfere with his sartorial style - he talks oi peeling mountains oi spuds in his first hotel job after leaving the army, ‘dressed in a three-piece suit and Chelsea boots.’ The look is now pure Jermyn Street, with hand-made shoes by Lobbs (about £400 a pair), although he insists that he often picks up ‘cheap' pairs that have been ordered and
While seeming to be the epitome oi the ex-public schoolboy, his background is solidly working-class. “My parents sent me to a public school -a|beit a minor one—simply because I
and do-it-yourself pizza bar. Great place to take kids. parents. and plenty oftime. (£24)
0 Bar Roma 39a Queensferry Street. 226 2977. Mon—Sun noon—2am. A traditional range of appetising dishes is served ullegrLs'simo, with good humour and panache. Bright and busy. this restaurant givesa
atmosphere — not the choice for an intimate soiree. but excellent people-watching. Book to avoid queueing. (£20)
0 Tinelli 139 Easter Road.
‘- 031652 1932. Mon—Sat
12.30—2.30pm and 630—1 1pm. Small. and slightly offthe beaten track. this restaurant‘s interesting menu is culled
exclusively from northern
Italy. Delicacies include mushrooms filled with paleggio cheese/smoked salmon and veal escalopcs with parma ham. and real ltalian mushrooms. Also boasts an excellent wine
With anotherthree books in the pipeline, including one on America, it looks as if the hard times are long past. He maintains, however, that the Floyd phenomenon has been an uncontrolled one. ‘I really wanted to be a DJ. I own every Atlantic record pressed since 1947, but I find it much easierto express myself in print rather than the spoken word.’ Indeed, his books show a skill with, and a love ior language. ‘l’d like to express myself better, but I’m a very sensitive and romantic chap, which sometimes gets in the way.‘ ‘Soppy old iool,’ interrupts his
The chef, Stephen Smith, then arrives to speak to us and blushes sweetly as Keith heaps compliments on his fresh langoustines and steamed ginger pudding with marsala cream. Are restaurants generally intimidated by his arrival? ‘li they are, I never go back. i enjoy good iood, well presented, with a minimum oi fuss. I hate it when they fly off at a tangent and dish up meals that become a joke—a travesty— a heap of disgusting stuii. . .’ says Keith, who goes on to name one well-known Glasgow restaurant deserving oi this last spot oi invective. Unfortunately, it will have to remain
Apart from the commissioned work that keeps pouring his way, does he have any personal goals? ‘Oh yes, there’s the Floyd consultancy service. Its aim would be to help trendy couples who fancy opening their own upmarket restaurants. I’d charge them £15,000 in advance and then take them round the best restaurants in Europe for a week to show them how it should be
grabbed Keith every time his attention seemed to be wandering.
Floyd’s career has been remarkably chequered, encompassing the army,
heard a vaguely different account of the fateful meeting. Apparently his producer, while dining, had been so astonished by his patron’s
wasn’t nearly as smart as my sister and they thought it was the only way I was likely to succeed. It was a struggle for them. lwouldn’t do it, believe me.’
done. Then, at the end of the week, I’d tell them not to bother their arses.’ (Marina McLaughlin)
52 The List 13 — 26 November 1987