Regular readers might remember me talking last December about the Two Fat Ladies West End restaurant, good enough to join a shortlist of my 4 favourite restaurants. Two of those restaurants are local oriental eateries serving authentic Malaysian cuisine which makes a pleasant change from the all-too-familiar generic Chinese fare that is very common here. The quality of these 2 places can be seen in the fact that they're always full of local Chinese people.
The other restaurant in that shortlist is Gordon's, of Inverkeillor. I was there again last week, while visiting my family in Arbroath. Quaint little fishing village it might be, but Arbroath's a really bad place for quality restaurants. There used to be one that was pretty good, but it just wasn't quite good enough to survive as the premium establishment it was styling itself. Then there was the passable Italian place that came under new management, but the less said about that the better really. Faced therefore with an utter dearth of local eateries for an Arbroath night out to celebrate our birthdays a couple of years ago, my mum opted for a visit to Gordon's.
I was bowled over, exactly as I was later to be at Two Fat Ladies. In all my 30-odd years as a restaurant-goer, I'd never enjoyed fare quite like what the father-and-son team at Gordon's were serving up. In fact, I'm sure some of my readers will have shared my experience of ranting at 'poncy over-fiddly food' when watching TV cooks and chefs prepare the sort of dishes you can find on Gordon's sample menu. The part of me that is a cook still reacts like that, but the eater in me has long since stopped needing excuses to go to Gordon's.
It's not just the food either. Maria, who runs front of house, is a natural at making you feel welcome. Attentive without being intrusive, and with a knack for relating to the character of each table, she makes dining at Gordon's feel like being part of some kind of, well, some kind of extended family. Take my previous visit for example, last December. Just wearing a shirt, I commented that I'd make a special effort the next time, and wear a tie. Last week I duly did, and Maria commented on this, reminding me of my promise. It's the little touches like this which make the experience of a night out at Gordon's just the best.
And don't people know this. Local farmers are regular customers, and surely they'd have no appetite for over-priced rubbish. Others travel - by taxi mark you - from miles and miles around. Luxury dining is one of those things whose prospects can never be 100% certain in straitened economic times like the present world crisis. I, for one, am hoping that Gordon's quality will continue to inspire loyalty among its customers, because I plan on eating there for years to come! ;)