THE black skies perfectly matched my mood.

I checked the wallet – it was emptier than a banker's dark heart.

Still, I had promised Blondie till debt do we part and decided on a nosebag at the newest joint in town.

I had booked ahead at Central Market, under a pseudonym – to avoid de-Tec-shun – and we were steered to a long table up the stairs.

It didn't look like the window view I was promised on the blower. And the seats were closer than two coats of paint.

"This looks like a group booking, Tec," said the Moll with Sherlock-like intuition.

So it was elementary when a head honcho appeared to reseat us at the window on the lower level.

By now, we had already ordered a couple of vinos, which he said he'd knock off the bill for the confusion.

Suddenly he was talking my lingo. And now it was time to see if Central Market's stock could rise further.

The Moll was hot to trot and decided to find out if little piggies do go to market by kicking off with the pork terrine.

It looked too good to eat – but that didn't stop her. The meat was deliciously tasty and tender and smacked of real freshness.

The pork was light on the tastebuds but still packed a wallop in the flavour stakes.

And the pickles and sourdough bread went a long way to making this a great starter for 10.

I was watching the pennies so the likes of the pricey hot smoked salmon and steak tartare would have made me nosedive off a fiscal cliff.

But the onion soup looked like my idea of a super bowl.

Unfortunately, this was far from a home run. It was a case of wall-to-wall onions, with the broth in short supply.

And, if you know your onions, you'll know too many can make you cry. And I hated the monster cheesy crouton.

So I got shot of the shallots pronto Tonto with most of my starter untouched.

Another couple of vinos – Balthazar Merlot for the Moll and a Chardonnay for the Tec – were thankfully plonked on the table to restore my tastebuds.

I was hoping the bottom hadn't fallen out of the Market, especially since it was the perfect place to cool my brogues. I liked its Big Apple deli-type vibe and it was doing a decent trade for a Sunday.

So the 6oz burger put me in a New York state of mind and soon had me in a Manhattan transfer.

It was absolutely delicious. It oozed rich meaty flavours and was right on the dollar signs when it came to the cooking.

My only gripe was that I really could have done with a bigger burger, since this one, tasty as it was, disappeared a little quicker than I would have liked.

The bacon was a tad crispier than I normally like but it still earned good pass marks.

The chips came in a separate cup and had been cut to a chunky size and were only a smidjin short of excellent.

And I loved the salad, which was drizzled in a spicy dressing.

Suddenly, the Market's forces were back on an even keel.

The Moll had decided to go the whole hog by sticking with the pork steak for her main.

Again, it was more piglet-sized than a fully-grown porker but that was a minor beef.

The first mouthful had the Moll swooning. The meat was perfectly grilled and delivered a top-notch smoky taste. But that doesn't tell the whole story.

The butter beans, cooked with tomatoes and flavoured with paprika, were melt-in-the-mouth magnificent.

And the fragments of ham hock could easily have made a meal on their own.

A side order of boiled tatties – curiously the menu said they were roasted – ticked the final box.

"That was brill, Tec," said the Moll, licking her lips.

The bill duly arrived and, as promised, our first two drinks had been deducted.

Good reason to put me in the mood to come back some day.


TEL: 0141 562 0902


Onion soup £4.50

Pork terrine with pickles and sourdough bread £4.50


Burger with bacon, chips & salad £9

Iberico pork shoulder steak with

ham hock and butter beans £12


Roast potatoes £2.50


One small Merlot £3.25

One Chardonnay £3.25

TOTAL: £39