Posts Tagged ‘Broken Records’

MacKenzie’s, 2-4 Bridge Road, Colinton, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH13 0LF

I recently went to Edinburgh, Scotland to visit my Mother. It was lovely to have a few days relaxing, chatting and Mackenzie's outsidecatching up with her. During the visit she hosted a Sunday lunch for us to be joined by friends and family. She chose MacKenzie’s, located in Colinton to the southwest of Edinburgh’s city centre, for the occasion. MacKenzie’s is on Bridge Road and is an intimate cottage-style pub and restaurant serving traditional Scottish cuisine that my Mother found as being very nice. She had been there previously with friends. None of her guests had been there before. I enjoy going to new restaurants to review them, so I was thrilled.

MacKenzie’s looks quaint outside and smart inside. It is named after Henry MacKenzie, an Edinburgh lawyer and writer, who lived in the cottage adjacent to the restaurant in the eighteenth century. He is best known for his novel The Man of Feeling. MacKenzie, was editor of a magazine, The Lounger for a while and wrote an article praising Robert Burns poems in 1786. This enhanced Robert Burns’s reputation in literary circles.

macKenzies insideThe restaurant claims to be child-friendly, although there were no children there during our visit. It is certainly accessible to wheelchair users: that was important to us as my Mother is disabled and has mobility issues. MacKenzie’s also claims to be able to cater for vegetarians and those with gluten-free requirements. I cannot speak to the gluten-free claims, but I have a lot to say about their vegetarian catering. The restaurant specifically boasts a vegetarian selection. That was not true. The vegetarian choice of main course was take it or leave it. This was singularly inadequate and very embarrassing to my mother.

MacKenzie’s had been advised in advance that all my mother’s five guests were vegetarian, including a member of the nationally acclaimed band Broken Records. The Sunday lunch menu, the only menu offered to us, included three vegetarian choices of starter amongst the offerings. They included tomato and red pepper soup. Apparently this was very tasty. The melon fan and tomato and mozzarella salad were also very fresh, but all were singularly broken recordsunimaginative. My mother had a black pudding starter and she did enjoy that.

The entrees were the real issue. There were 8 on the menu. Only one, a roast vegetable tart was suitable for vegetarians. This, not withstanding that the restaurant had been advised of the number of vegetarians in my Mother’s party and its advertisements claim that it caters for vegetarians. The claims do not match my experience. The tart was perfectly pleasant, but again it was a choice that lacked both flair and imagination. My mother had the lamb. She said she enjoyed it, but she ate less than half. The selection of vegetables and potatoes offered was varied, but not plentiful for 6 people. I was still hungry at the end of two courses. That is very unusual for me.

So, five of us had desserts. These are homemade and, apparently, change daily. I had the chocolate and black cherry macKenzies tablecheesecake. It was delicious. Others amongst us had the lemon tart and the creme brulee. We all enjoyed our puddings but some of the portions were very small. We finished the meal with coffee or tea and mints.

Service at MacKenzie’s was very poor. Something was overlooked or forgotten at each course. I also got the impression that some tables contained regular customers. There was clearly more attention paid to these other tables and more pleasantries exchanged. MacKenzie’s will not extend its bank of regular customers if they treat first time guests with the disdain our table received.

While we all really enjoyed the company and the occasion, my Mother did not feel that MacKenzie’s offered her value for money. The menu and service also fell far short of my expectations. I cannot recommend this restaurant. There are too many other restaurants in Edinburgh in this price bracket that offer a more varied menu and better service.

Valerie Penny

 

The Salisbury Arms, 58 Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh EH16 5AD, Scotland

Many years ago, when I attended the  University of Edinburgh, this pub traded as The Gold Medal because it is near the swimming pool salisburythat was built for the Commonwealth Games when they first came to Scotland, to Edinburgh in 1970. The front of the building faces Queen’s Park. There is outside seating for the smokers in the pub.

Recently, the building has been thoroughly renovated and it serves not only a wide variety of drinks, but also meals. It looks very smart both inside and out. There is ample parking and access is easy for the disabled and those who have mobility problems.

My mother discovered The Salisbury Arms when her friend invited her there for lunch around the time of her birthday. She enjoyed the meal and the company. It is always nice to find a new haunt to visit. So, Mum booked Sunday lunch for herself, me, my sister and my nephew, (who had a few hours off from rehearsing with his band, Broken Records).

On Sundays, the pub serves a variety of Sunday roasts including nut roast for the vegetarians amongst us. The usual menu is also served. My sister and I are vegetarians. The choice for us was not wide and rather uninspired: it revolved largely around cheese, particularly goats cheese. My mother chose the roast pork and my nephew had fish and chips. All the portions were large and we enjoyed our meals well enough, although the vegetables served to my mother looked very dry and the crackling she was under-cooked. The service is courteous, but thoughtless. However, we booked the table ten days in advance and were told we could get a table for no more than 4 people at noon or 3pm. We chose the earlier time but had to vacate the table by 2.30pm.

We arrived promptly at noon, before the doors of the premises had opened. There was one other patron going in atthesalisburyarmsedinburgh-int-content-1 that time. There were no other diners. We were shown to a table for 4 where the sun shone into the eyes of two of our party. While it is lovely to enjoy the sunshine in February in Edinburgh, there were many other tables where we could have enjoyed the sun without it adversely affecting our table. When we left only another 3 tables were in use. I still do not understand the restrictions on booking or the lack of thoughtfulness when we were shown to that particular table.

I was my mother’s guest, therefore I did not complain about the inadequacies of the meal or the service: had I been the hostess, it would have been different. The Salisbury Arms has been beautifully restored. Unfortunately, neither the food nor the service met that beauty. I would not return to this venue by choice, nor can I recommend it.

Valerie Penny

Kama Sutra, 331 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, Scotland

I was in Glasgow recently for the Glasgow leg of the tour of Broken Records, my nephew’s band. My sister suggested we all go for a meal before the show and, there are many excellent Indian restaurants in Glasgow, so I suggested we go for a curry.  As my niece’s flat is in Sauchiehall Street, she suggested Kama Sutra.  it was only after we were seated she admitted that, although she lives near the restaurant, she had never actually been there!

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The restaurant is warm and welcoming and the staff are very kind and helpful. The restaurant has good access for disabled people and also does a very good value early evening meal. Two courses for only £9.95. The choices on the early menu include traditional British fare like a prawn cocktail starter and a fish and chip main. It also includes vegetarian starters and mains too. All are served with a choice of naan bread or rice (even the fish and chips)! Although we were right at the limit of time for the early meals the staff were happy to ensure that we could all choose from this menu. It was a nice touch and done with good grace.

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The starters were all quite tasty and the meat eaters enjoyed their mains. However, the fish served in the fish and chips main was quite mean. It was also not well filleted so my friend did not eat all of this. She was laughing though at the idea she would want to eat a naan bread to accompany her chips! The vegetarian main dishes were seasoned so similarly that those that tasted both could not tell the difference. The vegetarian meals were hot and spicy but not very tasty.

I quite liked the ambiance of the restaurant and the staff were very nice. However, as I am vegetarian and the veggie mains were not amazing, I would not seek out this restaurant again. There are many Indian restaurants in Glasgow. I will try another next time.

Valerie Penny

Jury’s Inn, 80 Jamaica Street, Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and there is much to see and do.  Most recently I visited the city because my nephew’s band, Broken Records were playing a gig at King Tut’s as part of their UK tour. I traveled to the city to join my sister, brother-in-law, niece and some friends for the concert.  When I stay in Glasgow, I usually stay at the Glasgow Hilton however, on this occasion, as I was in the city and staying over for a specific event, I decided to stay in a hotel close to Glasgow Central Train Station.  It was convenient and my friend Josephine had stayed in the hotel and said it suited her and her sister well.

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I had never stayed in this hotel chain before and was looking forward to my visit.  When I arrived, reception was busy but I was unimpressed by the young lady at the desk telling me how tired she was and that she was looking forward to the end of her shift.  My room, 423 was at the far end of the corridor, tucked away in a corner.  The room was much larger than average with a double and a single bed in it.  It was spotlessly clean with a generous supply of teas and coffees. The en-suite bathroom was equally clean and there was a supply of additional towels.  I was surprised there was no bath mat and that the floor of the en-suite by the sink was quite wet.

I wanted to check the news on the tv and have a bath before I went out to meet my friends but I had trouble getting the tv to work. I tried every button on the set and the remote – I even resorted to reading the instruction pamphlet!  As a last resort I called reception and they arranged to send up somebody to help me. While waiting for the assistance, I decided to run my bath. The light in the bathroom did not respond to the switch. It was then I noticed the point that I was meant to put my card into this to make an electricity connection. I had no sooner put my card into the slot when the bathroom light came on, the tv worked and the maintenance man knocked at my door. I felt very stupid at not having worked that out earlier but did feel reception could have told me about the connection.  The maintenance man had arrived very quickly to my door and was very kind and polite.

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Anyway, I ran my bath. The water pressure was good and the water was hot but there were no bars of soap nor any shower gel or shampoo.  There was liquid soap and moisturiser attached to the wall.  I could not reach these from the bath so I had to stand up and reach the liquid soap and then sit down in the bath to rinse it off again. Obviously management prefer you to shower rather than bathe!  When I was cleaning my teeth and putting my make-up on I noticed the sink in the bathroom was chipped in two places around the rim and the sink had no plug: this was disappointing.

Nevertheless, the hotel was very conveniently situated and I was able to meet my friends and family for dinner easily. We then went to the Broken Records gig at King Tut’s, St. Vincent Street, Glasgow. It was excellent. Support artist Stevie Milne from Little Kicks was terrific too and we all had a great evening. It was easy to get back to the hotel from the concert.

However, back at the hotel, the bed was very comfortable but not made properly and was that irritating. Then in the morning a member of staff served me coffee in a cracked mug: the newspaper I was given by the staff, The Metro, which is a free paper, was previously read by somebody who had ripped a bit out of it. It’s a free paper, people – give me a new one!

So, would I recommend this hotel? No. Would I want to stay there again? No. There are many central hotels in Glasgow. The convenience of the situation of the Jury’s Inn would not be enough to entice me back.

Valerie Penny