THE Moll's words hit me smack between the peepers.
"Tec, you're looking a bit portly round the middle. Maybe you should cut down on the scran."
That's rich coming from someone who's a light eater. As soon as it's light she starts to eat.
I've always said a diet is your punishment for exceeding the feed limit, so I filed Blondie's words under wishful shrinking.
"Why don't we discuss it over a lunchtime nosebag?" I said.
From the minute we arrived at The Bothwell Brasserie, I felt I had to check my threads – it's a real swanky joint. Right away, though, I felt it was the staff who needed a dressing down.
A couple of waitresses gave us the cold shoulder before someone eventually asked if we wanted a table. We were spoilt for choice. The joint reminded me of the Moon – empty, with no atmosphere.
Eventually, we opted for a seat in the conservatory.
Meanwhile, the points against column was filling up as a full five minutes passed before I caught the eye of someone who looked like the head honcho.
"Haven't you ordered yet?" she said with all the subtlety of a jackhammer. "No, but we'd like to," replied Blondie.
By now, I'd sussed the posh nosh in the a la carte was a bit too rich for my wallet, but the price was right with the lunchtime menu, which looked good value at £13 for three courses.
The deal included a house wine for an extra £1.95, so I ordered a white and a red for The Moll.
By now I was feeling chilled, which was more than could be said for my wine. I'm not wild about vino served at room temperature.
Neither was I impressed at the time it took for our starters to arrive. We had almost finished our drinks before the first course made contact with our table.
I kicked off with the soup to try and heat up my old bones and the piping broccoli and blue cheese turned up the Tec's temperature.
It was a fair-sized helping and the toasted bread was delicious, but the cheese was a little overdone for my taste and didn't have me in a garden of Edam.
The Moll looked to have been dealt a better hand with the haggis spring roll, which was perfectly crisp and spicy. The neeps and tatties ticked Blondie's tastebud box and the Drambuie dipping sauce gave it an even nippier frisson.
The only problem was the sudden appearance of our mains before the last piece of haggis had left The Moll's plate. Blondie's best icy stare ensured a swift return to the kitchen, but it was another sign of being slightly brassed off at the Brasserie.
My little gala queen has always enjoyed the odd steak-out so it was no surprise she went for the rib-eye job. It looked like the real deal, even allowing for the £2.95 supplement. coming with a wonderful array of baby carrots, tomato fondue on a bed of truffle mash.
It was all very grand but The Moll quickly had a beef. The meat still contained a touch of crimson tide, even though she wanted it pretty much cremated.
But it was borderline well done so a diplomatic incident was avoided. The steak was tasty enough, but still well short of a high-five finish. In fact, the real flavour came from the peppercorn sauce. Brownie points were also awarded for the mash, which was excellent, as was the cheesy flavours of the tomato fondue.
I had decided to go on poultry patrol with the breast of chicken and black pudding. Not just any old black pudding, mind you, a Ramsey's black pudding.
I asked the waitress if that meant it was a present from Gordon, but my attempt at humour was met with a stony silence -
As it turned out, I was beginning to think the Brasserie was having its own kitchen nightmare.
The chicken unfortunately hit my bland spot. The meat was lacking in any real flavour and tasted as if it had been boiled rather than cooked.
On the plus side, the bacon was crispily scrumptious and the sweet potatos fondant drizzled in pancetta jus lived up to its A-list billing.
Overall, The Brasserie had not done enough to convince me to part with my own hard brass for dessert. I paid the bill, which no one could reasonably gripe about.
But in terms of food and service, this was really the thin edge of the wedge.
Two courses for £11.95, plus £1.95 for one house wine.
Scotch broth with toasted bread.
Haggis, neeps and tattie spring roll with Drambuie sauce.
Rib eye steak with truffle mash, baby carrots, tomato fondue & pepper corn sauce (£2.95 supplement).
Breast of chicken with Ramsey's black pudding wrapped in bacon with sweet potato fondant in smoked pancetta jus.
One glass house white.
One glass house red.