Monday 20 April 2009

Carnal with Carmen

Friends couldn't make the ballet and kindly gave us their tickets. I'm no aficionado and last time, actually the only other time I've been, I had to leave early. Back then Scottish Ballet weren't the lightest on their feet, and someone leant into my ear and whispered "Morecombe and Wise". It shouldn't have been so funny, but it was, and I couldn't stop. The more I tried to hold it in the more it built up until a bellowing roar burst out and I followed it through the exit.
So, this time, it seemed a smart idea to steady the nerves with a spot of food and wine first.

Michael Caines @ Abode on Bath Street have, what they call, 'An Amazing Grazing' menu. For £19.95 they'll give you three courses with matching wines. For £14.95 you can have the food on it's own. Both menus are £2 cheaper at lunch. Apologies in advance for this pun, but judging by the empty spaces, not a lot of people know that.
For starters we had a recession staple: terrine of ham hough with rhubarb. Very nice. Came with a glass of Malumbres Tinto, red wine from Navarra. Great pairing.

And, tartare of organic salmon. Even better. Paired with a Chilean take on the Oz classic Chardonnay Semillon. Worked well.

Pick of the mains was black bream. It came with what looked like road kill tomatoes and cat sick. Ugly as hell but it tasted great. Accompanied by a glass of rose. Ah, memories of lazy lunches on the Cote d'Azur.

Best desert was 'caramel thingy' with an amazing passion fruit sorbet. It came with a LBV port, something I don't normally like, this was exceptional. I could drink this by the thimble full... which is fortunate because that's exactly what they gave me.

The wines come in something called 'split 175ml servings'. Why don't they just say 87.5 mls? Anyway, it's a small amount of wine. Desert wines are even smaller. But it's also a small amount of food, so it works.
The food was good, sometimes very good, but don't eat from the 'amazing grazing menu' if you're hungry, or for that matter, if you want a drink. History teaches that innovators survive, even thrive, in recessions. Here they've invented a whole new meal, the pre-dinner dinner, brilliant, and perfect if you're going onto something afterwards, like dinner.
We went to the Theatre Royal and popped into the Cafe Royal for a proper sized drink. Despite the name, it must be a long time since anyone royal came here.

Extensive offerings included 2 types of bottled beer and 2 wines, one red one white. All the charm and appeal of a cross channel ferry.

By contrast the theatre itself is a belter.

Carmen was great, loved it. No laughter fits. Really exhilarating.
The second part of the evenings entertainment was a 'contemporary' piece. The orchestra started up...

The portentous chimes and electronic raspberry sounds let me know this would require total self control. Sure enough the flaming sofa, funny outfits and giant pointy towers were testing, but I had it under control. Until, suddenly, the pointy towers started to move. One by one they glided across the stage. It was the culmination, the camel's straw, suddenly transforming it all into ballet's very own Spinal Tap !

Luckily for me this turned out to be the finale. The curtain came down and I clapped like I'd never clapped before. Bravo.

ABode Glasgow
129 Bath Street
G2 2SZ

0141 221 6789

Michael Caines Restaurant at Abode Hotel on Urbanspoon

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