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