In the pink
A new gay restaurant has opened in Glasgow. In fact it’s the only gay restaurant in Glasgow.
Jonathan Trew investigates.
One of the national newspapers recently ran a review on a gay restaurant during which the critic pondered. somewhat withen'ngly, what exactly a gay restaurant was and what needs did it serve that other restaurants couldn’t address. It‘s not a question that requires a great deal of thought or a zealous belief in gay rights. The answer is simple: a gay restaurant allows its customers to have the freedoms which straight society takes for granted. A couple clasping hands over a dinner table is so natural that it doesn't merit mention. Unless of course the couple should happen to be of the same sex; then they run the risk of being crushed under the approbn'um of a homophobia that is still alarmingly healthy. Just a place where gay people can enjoy a meal and feel comfortable. It's not too
much to ask.
But enough lecturing. eating out
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la Cage: Catering to Glasgow’s flourishing gay scene
Cage. the restaurant at the Madame Gillespies complex in Glasgow. Upstairs from the bar. nightclub and ﬂoorshow, is a pleasantly spacious area that seats up to 80 although it is arranged for a more relaxed 56 at present. Large mirrors forrn the central design feature complemented by hanging plants and elegant, high-set tall windows. White linen table-cloths. sparkling glasses and candles underline the serious intent of the kitchen. After all. fun times don't have to equal frivolous food.
La Cage started out with quite an elaborate and meat-heavy menu. designed around Scottish produce and using a lot of rich sauces. At the time of writing. plans are afoot to introduce a lighter menu with quicker dishes for
should be fun and that‘s the ethos at La [ those Who (10".! fancy the fun Sit-down
- and eat all evening experience. Along
with the menu change. the proprietors hope to induce more of a cafe/bar type atmosphere encouraging people to move between the entertainment ﬂoor downstairs and the restaurant. Another popular idea is to offer specially priced package deals of three-course meals along with entry to musical events downstairs for a complete evening's entertainment.
The real signiﬁcance of La Cage lies in its uniqueness — it is the one and only restaurant in Glasgow speciﬁcally dedicated to a gay clientele. The similarly inclined GHQ restaurant did a roaring trade fora while until the management was forced to move and subsequently set up Eat Out in the Gay and Lesbian Centre in Edinburgh. The
We're all acquainted with the mundane end of the culinary Spectrum which involves eating battered cod. haddock or plaice from the chippie. At the more outrageous end of the chip shop's culinary spectrum this column has carped on often enough about the barbarism inherent in encouraging the deep-frying of Mars bars. However a new development looks set to merge the exotic with the everyday in the nation's grease-laden diet.
A large and hungry pike-like ﬁsh known as the zander is wreaking havoc on Britain's freshwater ﬁn wobblers. and British Waterways, who are responsible for our watery highways and byways. is trying to stop the slaughter by encouraging chippies to start serving up the beast along with fries.
The zander was brought to Britain last century and kept in private reservoirs for the hunting. shooting and ﬁshing brigade. Unfortunately. some over- zealous anglers smuggled stocks of the ﬁsh out and
introduced them to the rivers at large in the 1960s. The zander took to its new home like a ﬁsh to water, surprisingly. and ﬂourishes there to this day; much to the detriment of less vociferous indigenous ﬁsh.
The French consider the zander as something of a delicacy. thanks to its ﬁrm flesh and distinctive ﬂavour. Whether or not it will replace the more traditional ﬁsh species which sate Scotland’s beer munchies of a Saturday night remains to be seen. (Jonathan Trew)
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owners of the GHQ premises set up their own operation and promptly saw their customer base disappear before their eyes.
The only surprise here is that it took someone so long to take a gamble and come up with La Cage. Glasgow supports a relatively healthy gay night- life in terms of clubs and bars. The gap was glaring.
The opposite would seem to hold true in Edinburgh where the scene is both bigger and more established. Broughton Street and the top of Leith Walk have seen a proliferation of new, gay restaurants and cafes. Last year Cafe Kudos opened its doors as did Over The Rainbow, a restaurant which deserves some sort of prize for having the flair to hang a huge fairy in its front window as well as ﬁlling Broughton Street with soap bubbles on a few occasions. The Blue Moon also expanded its operation and Opened up the Buzz Bar.
Diversity is always welcome but whether there are sufﬁcient clients to keep all the establishments open remains to be seen. Although, ifthis town ain't big enough for all concerned, then prospective restaurateurs could do worse than heed the advice of the 19th century writer John Babsone Lane Soule: ‘Go West
young man. Go West!’
La Cage. Madame Gillespies. Clreapside Street, 221 7078.
e 3 rant
7 Old Fishmarket Close Edinburgh lunch and dinner Monday to Thursday all day htday and Saturday Sundays dinner only telephone 0131 225 5428
12 ASHTON LANE
This superb Scottish restaurant has been the recipient of many awards for excellence since being established in 1971. The newest award is a Michelin Red M, an award never before bestowed on a Glasgow restaurant.
MICHELIN RED M, 1995
£1 £3 E MUM toas Chip
Tol 0141-334 5007
opentng times 9am to 28!
Lnternet @ uuu-edtn easunet co uk/Lguana
The List 26 Jan-8 Feb I996 87