DINERTEC @ The Tudor Hotel, Airdrie

I WAS running short on readies.

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And with good reason. The Moll was in retail therapy mode, which meant that everything she touched turned to sold.

At this rate, luxury nosh would be a prairie sandwich - two slices of bread with wide open spaces between them.

So I decided it was time to take the low road away from the High Street for a proper nosebag.

We headed out of town and hit the anchors at the regal-sounding Tudor Hotel in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire.

Right away, Blondie's brains went to her head.

"Is this joint any relation to Queenie?' she trilled.

I let that one slide as a gum-chewing waitress pointed us in the direction of a window seat.

It was a bit on the tatty side and not exactly palatial ... old Henry VIII would have put the owners in the tower.

But it was still bucking the economic trend by being pretty damn busy.

I kept my head to order up a Bacardi and Coke and a gin and tonic for lady blueblood.

By now I was famisto so we didn't waste time on the usual menu bartering.

I ran the numbers over the alphabet soup and stopped at Scotch broth.

It turned out to be a pretty good choice.

The vegetables were packed together tighter than an Aberdonian's wallet and hit the bullseye on my startboard.

And – a rarity these days for me – it was lipsmacking hot.

My only gripe was someone had decided to go overboard on the salt.

And for me that added up to silly seasoning.

The Moll wouldn't know the difference between a condiment and a compliment.But I had to hand it to her for her choice of starter - the nachos had her dreaming of a tequila sunrise.

I've been in places where the nachos are just a gloopy mess.

But these babies were the perfect cure for the munchies.

The chilli topping was salsa spicy and left the fire-breathing old dragon gulping for water.

In the meantime, the Bacardi had left my liver all a quiver and it was time for a refill before I sharpened my knife for the main event.

I had decided to hold a mental bake-off between the chicken stroganoff and the pricier medallions of steak. In the end, I decided not to go over the fiscal cliff and opted for the stroganoff.

But I might have been better forking out a few extra shekels for my original choice.

The pieces of chicken were too tough for my delicate taste but they gave my molars a decent workout.

Not even the cognac sauce softened things up enough.

And the whole dish was swimming in a bland sea of onions, tomatoes and mushrooms which drowned out all taste.

Only the paprika sauce and the delicately-textured rice prevented me from dishing out some home truths to the waitress. The Moll quickly sussed I had a grouse with the house of Tudor.

But she was too busy cutting a path through her Guinness steak pie to bother.

It should have been meat and drink for my little gala queen.

The bill was less than a king's ransom but, on the whole, the Tudor fell short of being a jewel in the culinary crown.

THE TUDOR HOTEL, 39 ALEXANDER STREET, AIRDRIE CALL: 01236 764144

STARTERS

Scotch broth £3.45

Mexican nachos with chilli topping £5.95

MAINS

Chicken stroganoff £12.45

Guinness steak pie £9.45

DESSERT

Vanilla ice cream £3.25

DRINKS

Two Bacardis and Coke £5.90

Two gin and tonics £6.50

One cappuccino £1.95

TOTAL £48.90

I WAS running short on readies. And with good reason. The Moll was in retail therapy mode, which meant that everything she touched turned to sold.

At this rate, luxury nosh would be a prairie sandwich - two slices of bread with wide open spaces between them.

So I decided it was time to take the low road away from the High Street for a proper nosebag.

We headed out of town and hit the anchors at the regal-sounding Tudor Hotel in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire.

Right away, Blondie's brains went to her head.

"Is this joint any relation to Queenie?' she trilled.

I let that one slide as a gum-chewing waitress pointed us in the direction of a window seat.

It was a bit on the tatty side and not exactly palatial ... old Henry VIII would have put the owners in the tower.

But it was still bucking the economic trend by being pretty damn busy.

I kept my head to order up a Bacardi and Coke and a gin and tonic for lady blueblood.

By now I was famisto so we didn't waste time on the usual menu bartering.

I ran the numbers over the alphabet soup and stopped at Scotch broth.

It turned out to be a pretty good choice.

The vegetables were packed together tighter than an Aberdonian's wallet and hit the bullseye on my startboard.

And – a rarity these days for me – it was lipsmacking hot.

My only gripe was someone had decided to go overboard on the salt.

And for me that added up to silly seasoning.

The Moll wouldn't know the difference between a condiment and a compliment.But I had to hand it to her for her choice of starter - the nachos had her dreaming of a tequila sunrise.

I've been in places where the nachos are just a gloopy mess.

But these babies were the perfect cure for the munchies.

The chilli topping was salsa spicy and left the fire-breathing old dragon gulping for water.

In the meantime, the Bacardi had left my liver all a quiver and it was time for a refill before I sharpened my knife for the main event.

I had decided to hold a mental bake-off between the chicken stroganoff and the pricier medallions of steak. In the end, I decided not to go over the fiscal cliff and opted for the stroganoff.

But I might have been better forking out a few extra shekels for my original choice.

The pieces of chicken were too tough for my delicate taste but they gave my molars a decent workout.

Not even the cognac sauce softened things up enough.

And the whole dish was swimming in a bland sea of onions, tomatoes and mushrooms which drowned out all taste.

Only the paprika sauce and the delicately-textured rice prevented me from dishing out some home truths to the waitress. The Moll quickly sussed I had a grouse with the house of Tudor.

But she was too busy cutting a path through her Guinness steak pie to bother.

It should have been meat and drink for my little gala queen.

The bill was less than a king's ransom but, on the whole, the Tudor fell short of being a jewel in the culinary crown.

THE TUDOR HOTEL, 39 ALEXANDER STREET, AIRDRIE CALL: 01236 764144

Food ** Atmosphere ** Service **

STARTERS

Scotch broth £3.45

Mexican nachos with chilli topping £5.95

MAINS

Chicken stroganoff £12.45

Guinness steak pie £9.45

DESSERT

Vanilla ice cream £3.25

DRINKS

Two Bacardis and Coke £5.90

Two gin and tonics £6.50

One cappuccino £1.95

TOTAL £48.90

Food and drink

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