Scottish National Portrait Gallery Café

Sunday 21 January – at least two seasons in one day. Down at the beach with the hoond in the morning – a crisp, clear day where you could see the snow-covered peaks of the Kingdom of Fife across the Forth, which was attested to be a sea state zero by my beloved. Jive forward a couple of hours and we are driving into the capital in a blizzard; we were in that ‘will we keep going and risk  performing an impromptu Bambi on Ice excerpt on the slushy pavements, or will we call it quits and go home now?’ dilemma. We pushed on (streets are gritted, aren’t they?) and spent a good hour wandering around the BP Portrait Competition in the Queen Street gallery. Worth a look – if only to confirm that Scotland does indeed spend its arts money well. The gallery itself is housed in a fabulous red sandstone gothic building, and it’s worth it to go inside just to see the entrance hall with its beautifully-painted friezes.


Onto the scones. So – no plain scones left and the alternative was chocolate and apricot. CHOCOLATE AND BLOODY APRICOT? Whatever next? I mean – I’m all for mashups  (hell, I even smoosh my peanut butter into my banana these days) but there’s a very definite line and chocolate and apricot is so far over it, it’s a mere dot in the distance.

Cheese it is then. Look promising – is that a wee bit of melted cheddar I see on the top there? Think so – and it’s a healthy dark-orange which means there’s maybe even a wee bit of paprika in there. Great size too – all good so far. On balance, however, it was another case of form over fancy – we agreed the scones were a bit doughy and had an overriding wholemeal flavour which stood out where it shouldn’t have.  Might have been okay to dunk in soup as it was a sturdy ol’ thing, but on its own it was tooth-stickingly moist.

There are worse things in the world than a slightly-moist scone, however, so I shall return. Let’s just hope they have plain ones the next time, cos I aint eating chocolate and apricot ones.


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