Eat out, drink up ,
'A year of eating out
At The List, the culinary calendar culminates with the publication of our annual Eating & Drinking Guide. Barry Shelby looks at some highs and lows of the last 12 months.
Amaryllis, RIP o doubt the decision by (iordort Ramsay to close his (ilasgow restaurant only a couple ol‘ years alter a much-anticipated and loudly trumpeted launch was the biggest news. Ramsay. never one to miss a beat. appeared to blame his failure on the city. Its people weren‘t ready for a top-end. pricey restaurant. Pants.
()ther restaurants essentially as expensive as Arnaryllis. whether the (‘hip or Buttery. appear to be pulling in enough punters. Amaryllis‘ location was also cited as a reason for its demise. But for several years. One [)evonshire (iardens. under the direction of chel’ Andrew I‘airlic. traded successfully on the very premises that Ramsay hastily vacated - and its meals were more expensive.
Price wasn‘t the problem. nor was the site. Too many guests found dining at Anraryllis to be a stilling. lunereal al‘l‘air. Ramsay is no dummy far from it. Ile did his homework and knew the limitations ol‘ the market. But he got it wrong and surely it was no coincidence that he closed the doors only days bel‘ore the Michelin guide was published. Amaryllis was losing its coveted star.
The readers’ revenge . . .
The List tends to celebrate what’s best and it our readers think we got it wrong they let trs know. Alter taking our advice on a certain trendy southside lidinburgh restaurant. one wrote: ‘I)espite haying an excellent and delicious meal it lwasl very much an experience that we would like to forget. l’rom the start ol’our evening we found the waitress to be very rude. We asked for two portions ol~ garlicky lines to share land were] abruptly told that we had ordered too much and would end up leaving waste. At the end ol‘ the evening. against our better judgement we lel‘t a small tip. "Is that it?" was the comment made. "We expect a ll)‘} tip." In the end we reclaimed the tip money in pr'otcst.’ (iootl going.
Then there was the missive about a popular place just off Bytes Road in (ilasgow's W’est Iilttl. ()rte tlislt ~so ltztilctl in ’I'lrv List. apparently had a ‘gruel-likc. just-out-ollthe-can texture‘. the punter inl‘ormed us. Service ranked a whopping two out of ten. ‘Waiting stall were over-attentive at the start (asking l‘our times what we wanted to drink before giving us a chance. lirstly. to sit down and then to read the menu). ()n the other hand. stall seemed uninterested and passionless about the food or the customer.~ Sound l‘amiliar‘.’
. . . and the restaurants’ revenge.
The sales manager for a chain ol‘ pubs thought buying advertising was going to reap kindly treatment from us. ‘I would assume that there would be some bias in our favour on the part of the review team.’ he wrote. "I‘he negative points in question are not serious . . . and it is extremely disappointing that the team could not locus on the positive aspectls).‘
(ilttsgow perhaps has had the better turn since last spring. (‘onran proved to be something more than just a well-kent British brand as its ‘destinatiorr restaurant etain (at the back of the city‘s Princes Square) l‘ound many admirers with its stylish dining space and chef (ieol‘l'rey Smeddlc‘s cooking. Another corporate operation. Wagamama. put its ﬁrst Scottish branch ol~ the Japanese-style noodle bar in (ilasgow. As lor' locally owned and operated ventures. I’anny 'I‘rollopes and. more recently Roastit Bubbly Jocks. ol'l'er moderately priced home-style cooking in unpretentious surroundings. while Mark (ioldingcr's Bunker in Bath Street has shown that there is interest in good bar l'ood. Mother India's (‘ale ot‘l‘spring ol‘ Mother India‘s restaurant provided another outlet for subcontinental cuisine: this time with a very al‘l'ordable thali- style menu. Across town .in Dennistoun. 'I’apa (‘ol'l‘ee & Bakehouse introduced organic baking and vegetarian cale litre to the city's increasingly eclectic neighbourhoth
Intriguing developments in Iidinburgh tend to happen in the run-up to the Festival. This year. many eyes will be on George Street and the soon-to-open (‘entotre Owned by Victor and (‘arina (‘ontini. it is an independent offspring of Valvona & (‘rolla (which itsell‘ will open another cale near Harvey Nicks in the autumn). By moving from south of the Meadows to Bristo Place. Namaste and its north Indian cuisine — one ol~ otrr favourites — will have a higher proﬁle. And. ol’ course. no doubt the local broadsheet is bound report that (iordon Ramsay is soon to open in the capital. We‘ll see.
‘IS THAT IT?’ SHE ASKED. ‘WE EXPECT A 10% TIP'
Gordon Ramsay, Tapa, and Mother India’s Café (clockwise from top) provided some of the biggest stories of the foodie year.
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