EAT­ING OUT AND DRINK

The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS -

HON­ESTLY, they’re pests with the drinks here. My glass of Diet Coke sits be­fore me al­most half full, not half empty, com­pletely in­no­cently, both­er­ing no­body, but the wait­ing staff don’t seem to see it like that.

To them it is flash­ing like a fire alarm. I see their eyes be­ing drawn to­wards it like mag­nets as they walk by, re­gard­less of which di­rec­tion they come from. No mat­ter which one of them it is. Their heads swivel. They lock on. And load. Half-full alert. Up-sell. Up-sell.

While I sit think­ing: here it comes again. Next minute they’re briskly chang­ing di­rec­tion and loom­ing up be­fore me – all con­cerned look­ing. “An­other drink sir?”

Nooooooo. I don’t want an­other bloody drink. For the umpteenth time. Still, it is quiet tonight, and I did choose to sit in the gloomy back area of this restau­rant on the ground floor of Princes Square in Glas­gow.

Not so much to get away from the chil­dren and the shop­pers, milling around out there in pizza-land, but be­cause no­body else on the ter­race area seems to be eat­ing this evening. Not, I’m think­ing, a great sign. So I’m here all alone and be­ing buzzed by wait­ers – no doubt only fol­low­ing man­age­ment or­ders – and frankly I’m re­gret­ting it in­tensely.

Take the decor. Well, is there any? Is this a restau­rant, or a bar, or sim­ply a large Princes Square unit that has been largely un­touched?

And take this menu. Not more small plates, you will be think­ing. Yes, more small plates is what you will be get­ting, with a warm-up se­lec­tion of snacks in­clud­ing sour­dough and rye bread from the Bavar­ian Bake­house at £3.50, Span­ish olives and al­monds at £4, and Ser­rano ham and Scot­tish cured meats at £6, what­ever Scot­tish cured meats are.

These sort of sub-starter things are pretty much par for the course in any up­mar­ket chain restau­rant these days and pi­o­neered, I think, by no less than Jamie Oliver.

This isn’t yet a chain, of course, but I pre­sume these dishes are aimed at the graz­ers that shop­ping cen­tres, par­tic­u­larly stylish ones like Princes Square, at­tract.

Hmm. I think it’s fair to say that right up to now it’s not look­ing promis­ing. Tonight’s

PHO­TO­GRAPH: JAMIE SIMP­SON

The stan­dard of cook­ing at Epoch is far higher than the am­bi­ence and menu would sug­gest

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