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  1. Re: Glasgow You really ought to take Gus's advice and get yourself a copy of Pete Irvine's Scotland the Best, it is the definitive guide to all the best things in Scotland from best chippies, to best beaches, best rivers, romantic walks, castles, highland hotels etc. I would reconsider Malmaison, it is a chain, though the Glasgow one is the original, but it has been bought out by larger conglomerate and I think the service shabby. My friend had her wedding there and it was pretty poor. there are more characterful places, like the Babbity Bowster, or Lang's hotel which is a Glasgow take on a trendy hotel but has suites at a good price where you can lie in bed and control the blinds with a remote control, opening up or closing down the view of the city beyond. Other friends swear by the Art House, though i found the rooms a little small. at least have a glass of champagne in the beautiful Rogano and don't opt for the downstairs cafe because it's cheaper than the upstairs restaurant, the food isn't anywhere near as good. and if you want to see the really rough side of life, a pint of shammy [a toxic cidery/rocket fuel type of beverage] in the Saracen Head would help you on your way, an the various singing drunks gathered there will tell you of more good haunts. the cafe gandolfi is always wonderful for scottish specialities as well as other dishes. smoked venison, redcurrant jelly with pommes dauphinoise [a glance back to the auld alliance] is wonderful and worth returning for! some of the previously recommended places you can take a peek at on www.bestglasgowrestaurants.com though not all of these are the best. awra best [from someone who has been away too long]
  2. The Pride of Spitalfields will open again on either Thursday or friday of this week. Most likely thursday at which there will be a party. It was a group of Asian kids who threw petrol bombs directly at the barmaid and her boyfriend as they left the bar at around 1am. Whilst it is being investigated as a racially-motivated incident this is because the landlady claims it as such. The police and other locals - Asian and otherwise - do not see any real racial tensions in the area and are surprised by the attack. Anyway, it looks like it will be the same old pub - no modernisation, just a lick of paint – with the same old codgers asleep in the corner.
  3. Their attitude to booking is very casual. I booked a large table for my birthday and in spite of phoning three times to double check, it wasn't booked when we got there. But you never really have to wait that long and it's always worth it - and if your guests are people who have never eaten there before it's fun to watch them getting more and more excited as the food passes them on its way to the tables.
  4. Last night we had a wonderful light repast at St John Bread and Wine. We filled our table with brawn and picallili, [a slice of all things pork, including the sow's ear, not too much jelly, sharp and crispy picallili], langoustines with mayonnaise, hunks of smoked mackerel with a horseradish cream and a wonderful bowl of fresh, uncooked vegetables with their own dish of thick vinaigrette. Slices of bread and olives finished it off. All of it was light, incredibly tasty and a refreshing delight for an area overwraught with pink curries. We shared two desserts, lemon posset with shortbread and a ginger pudding with butterscotch sauce, together with a bottle of Sauternes. The room was light and bright in that St John way, and was full of people, including the restaurant's neighbour Tracy Emin. Today, we popped in to buy a loaf which had just been turned out of the oven. A light sour dough with a majestic crust, for just 2.40. We had been guessing they would have asked for 4 and were delighted not to be ripped off. I glanced up at the chalkboard menu and saw some of the dishes from last night but some had been replaced by a mutton dish and the lobster we saw people tucking into looked ... well, pink and lobstery and lovely. Again, it was busy. As a local, I can only say this is the best thing since sliced bread.
  5. There's a very good night on a thursday at the cafe de paris called kitschloungeriot where they get stars of the west end shows to turn up in sequin dresses and belt out their favourite numbers in the big band stylie. sounds awful on paper but is really very good, dancing etc plus you can dine there beforehand. can''t attest to quality of the food, though, since i have turned up after the dining and just drank lots.
  6. I don't mid other people picking them up when they are going to be pooled but i saw the pound coins sneaked into the waiter's hand then pocket and the smash left on the plate. It's also that the little guy with spikey hair and moustache - Ali I think - is always brilliant with me when I am there and it is annoying when his tips are knicked. Ax
  7. What to do when you see a waiter stealing the tip you left, leaving just 90p on the wee silver dish, as my Tayyab trip last week? Especially when he didn't serve you and when you asked him mid-meal for an extra dhal, failed to bring it? Having shirked confronting him, should I finger him next time?
  8. I believe Gilbert & George now take the bus up to Dalston, to the original Mangal, the tiny one on Arcola Street. Before that, it was the Market Cafe which they ended up buying for the owners so that they could eat there every day. But eventually the owners got too old and decided enough G&G we want G&T. Maybe G&G should do S&M which has just opened up round the corner from them. Ax
  9. Dear Scottish chef, From an expat scot. Please tell me the name of the finely situated hotel so i can take my mammy and daddy the next time I go home. And the chef? And the New Tayyab is where I take them when they come down and they say each time "that's the best curry we have ever had hen" and like many Scots, they have been eating curry for 30 years.
  10. I have now learned that Oscar at the Charlotte Street Hotel is also open on Christmas day, five courses and coffee and mince pies for £65. Has anyone eaten here? Cheers
  11. Vanessa, A Gold is a lovely, old fashioned British delicatessen that stocks just British produce [they do concede to the French on the wine]. They have a wide range of tinned goods, toffees, British cheeses, meats, sausages, black pudding, smokies, breads, biscuits etc and the owners are lovely. In food terms, much like Spitalfields market itself, it's not worth the pilgrimmage and it is certainly nothing like Borough. But Spitalfields is not a flea market as some described, instead it is probably London's best market, with crafts and great fashion. Young designers often make their start there and there are great bargains to be had. There are no really great places to eat there though there are places in abundance. But the market, combined with an earlier walk down Columbia Road flower market, wending your way to Spitalfields through Brick Lane market, and finishing off with a pint at the Golden Heart [a much nicer pub than the Ten Bells], is a great way to spend a Sunday. x
  12. Can anyone recommend a place for Christmas lunch on Christmas day? I have parents coming down from Glasgow and a small flat with hardly enough room to swing a turkey. I'd like to take them out but am balking at the £180 a head I have been quoted by Gordon Ramsay at Claridges. Any ideas. Cheers.
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