We all know, from watching them on TV, that top chefs can be a bit unpredictable, a bit temperamental, even a bit rude. Gordon Ramsay, famous for his ability to reduce the most stoical underlings to quivering, weeping emotional wrecks with his bombastic tirades, is arguably the rudest of them all. One other chef however managed to reduce Ramsay to tears – Marco Pierre White. It’s what happens when two massive egos collide, someone has got to come off second best. The reason for their emotional outbursts, of course, is their constant search for perfection, so we don’t think it is unreasonable to expect that the winner between these two would produce nothing but the most exquisite food … maybe even a exquisite scone? However, he is of course French and while we all know these continental types do great croissants … but what about scones? Ooh la la, would this be where the mighty Marco finally meets his Waterloo … the restaurant is in Glasgow’s Waterloo Street after all? Walking the relatively short distance from Queen Street station to the restaurant brings home to you just what a pathetic state the UK is in. Not only are we bombarded with urgent tv and radio appeals for toys to give to the millions of children who won’t have any this Christmas … or for money or food for food banks, but we also get the tragedies of Aleppo, Sana’a and the NHS thrown at us constantly. Why does this walk give rise to such a rant? Because, on this cold wet day, we had to virtually step over eight beggars to get to our rather swish restaurant. How can this situation exist in the 4th richest nation in the world? Could it be that most of the riches in the UK are held by the top 1% … the Lords and Knights of this precious realm … the ones who continually kowtow to the House of Saud and anyone else who will cut them a deal? Years after Thatcher’s death it is amazing that her shadow still stretches so far … just as well there is no such thing as ‘society’! We were here for afternoon tea and being greeted with a glass of champagne helped wash away memories of the wretched poor and readied us for our sandwiches, cakes … and scones! Our middle tier consisted of two rather large scones, some chantilly cream and a pot of raspberry jam. Now we had the answer to whether a frenchman, a french chef of Marco Pierre White’s international standing no less, could bake a lowly scone! Now we are not silly, we know that he probably did not personally bake these particular scones but, since the whole place trades on his name, we are treating it as if he did. Sadly the answer has to be, no, he couldn’t … beyond his ken! Admittedly he made a pretty good stab at it but it was a million miles away from ‘exquisite’ and by no means what you might expect in such an establishment. Too big for a start. An afternoon tea should really consist of petite delicacies suitable for ‘ladies’, not great clodhopping things like this! They tasted okay, if a bit sweet and cakey in flavour and texture. Also for a place like this you would not expect jam to come as these supermarket off-the-shelf pots … standards Marco, standards! In spite of the slightly disappointing scones we thoroughly enjoyed our visit … very relaxing and looked after beautifully. We just hope that Marco, unlike fellow frenchman André Roux whose establishments don’t pass on any of the 15% service charge, does the decent thing by his staff. Not sharing the service charge with the people it is intended for is just sooo ‘money-grabbing modern’. Oh dear, out amongst the rain and the beggars again!
G2 7DA tel: 0141 226 7726 Marco Pierre White Steakhouse
ps It’s that time of year again when people see all sorts of strange images in everyday things …. e.g. Jesus on a slice of toast! Last weekend we attended a soiree at our local Dobbie Hall. It was great fun and we met lots of friends we had not seen in ages. One such friend informed me that he had a picture of a teddy bear scone he had come across in St Andrews. Obviously I was intrigued … but he refused to let me see it until I danced with him. It was only after a vibrant and steamy Argentine Tango that he finally coughed up and sent it to my phone. I had to admit that it did have something of a teddy bear about it though obviously it would have been better without its body chopped in half … you can be the judge. Okay, I lied about the Argentine Tango … it wasn’t that vibrant … or steamy! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.