The Hill, 94 Byres Road, Glasgow
TEL: 0141 339 8558
As a rule I don't usually mix business with pleasure, but I was on a tricky stakeout and a meal with The Moll was the perfect cover.
"Toots," I yelled up the stairs at Tec Towers. "Get your glad rags on."
Quick as a flash she teeters down, dressed to the nines and it's only midweek.
No need for the little lady to know the bill was on expenses, as I was getting Brownie points here. We jumped into the Buick and headed up west.
I picked the perfect spot - the newly-opened The Hill looked smart with long floor to ceiling windows where I could keep my eye on my mark.
It has had a few reincarnations at this spot, so I had high hopes for The Hill.
As as soon as we walked in we were given a warm welcome and an option of a table or two. We chose a cosy corner with full view of the street.
Word seemed to be spreading about this joint and there was already a few diners in.
We were shown to our table and ordered drinks straight away.
The Moll's peepers were drawn to the French rose wine, so we ordered up two of them, with water on the side.
It was a tight, little menu and I hoped it meant the dishes would be fresh and of good quality.
Plus it knocks five minutes off toots' indecision with less to choose from.
For me it had to be traditional fish and chips - I needed fuel in case I had to chase the mark.
It was toss up between beef bourguignon and chicken, with black pudding for toots, and she eventually opted for the chicken.
With our orders swiftly taken, our drinks arrived right on cue.
The wine went down a treat and at only £3.50 a glass it was a bargain by city standards.
But never mind the rose, the cool crisp water went down a treat after a day of thirsty work pounding the mean streets.
We soaked up the atmosphere, there seemed to be a few first-timers looking around the place. The decor was classy and stylish - bit like the old Tec himself and has a prime corner position in Byres Road.
Passing on starters, we had a little bit of a wait until our mains, but it only made the expectation greater. Soon our server was bringing our dishes.
And when our food arrived, I wasn't disappointed. Crisp, piping hot fish with plenty of chips. This tasty treat got my thumbs up.
There was tartare sauce on the side, but I am plain talking, and a plain eating kind of guy.
The Moll looked to be in her element. Succulent chicken stuffed with black pudding and a mustard cream sauce looked like fine dining.
And The Moll couldn't get enough of the crunchy green beans and sauted potatoes.
We had one happy lady.
"Just enough black pudding," Toots declared, adding that it was subtle without overpowering the dish.
I was beginning to think this stakeout was going to take longer than originally thought. So it would be rude not to linger on for pudding.
Watching our waistlines we opted to share the apple crumble and ice- cream washed down with two coffees.
There was a bit of a mix up with the coffees, but I hold my hands up to that one. It was my clumsy ordering which led to Toots ending up with a latte, rather than her usual strong black.
Pudding arrived. While the crumble seemed a little soggy, it certainly had a lot of flavour and it was another dish that bit the dust.
Mindful of making of move, I caught our servers eye for the bill.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it weighed in at just under £45.
And I reckon this is one hill, worth the climb - even if I didn't snare the intended targeted of the night - there's always the next time....
Roasted chicken - £9.95
Fish and chips - £9.95
Apple crumble - £4.95
Coffee x 2 - £4.40
Small rose x 4 - £14