Stephen Unwin: Listen, I went to Edinburgh Uni so I know how to talk to these people.
Simon Gage: But isn’t Edinburgh just full of posh English people?
SU: Oh, yeah.
Karek Krzanovich: I prefer Glasgow. Bernard Tavernier, the film director, said Edinburgh is beautiful but Glasgow is DRAMATIC.
SG: I could eat a whole meal of these sides. Seriously. That’s what vegetarians have to do sometimes, you know. The barley risotto is like savoury rice pudding. So creamy. Like a cross between macaroni cheese and porridge. I’m sorry but yours looks like a sachet of gourmet cat food. What is it?
SU: Venison Carpaccio. It tastes really fresh. It is really fresh! I can be a bit squeamish about raw meat, but not this. It’s so good I’ve already forgiven the ampersand.
It’s like if a kitten was food, it’s so fluffy. It’s fun and delicious
KK: And you’re right, the barley is amazing. It’s like if a kitten was food, it’s so fluffy. It’s fun and delicious.
SU: Karen, you need one more word to make it onto the poster. And how come there are, like, nine forks in here?
SG: I’m not sure about these photos of people standing gleefully over dead animals. It’s all a bit Myra Hindley for me.
[Man comes to explain that they kill the animals and bring them straight down. When he realises there’s a vegetarian, he assures us that they have no natural predators so when they get old their teeth fall out and they starve to death. So killing them and eating them is a kindness.]
SG: At least it doesn’t have that awful “I like meat, the bloodier the better” macho attitude a lot of these meat places have. Like you’re more of a man if it’s still doing a death rattle.
SU: Shall we share the chateaubriand, Karen? And Simon, it looks like you’re having the cauliflower. And the mash.
Isn’t this music amazing too? What is it about noise in restaurants these days?
KK: I don’t know why we’re writing this really. Fitzrovia is becoming such a great area for food. Bonnie Gull is just over there. And Portland. And Picture. And, if you want to remember what Fitzrovia was like six years ago, there’s Riding House Café. What’s unusual about this place is you can actually talk. Isn’t this music amazing too? What is it about noise in restaurants these days? And the guys are really sexy and everyone gets that same level of personal service.
SU: Wow, that looks good. And this is just a butter knife but you can cut right through the venison like it’s, well, butter.
SG: This mash is so smooth, it’s literally like ice-cream. You could serve that with a Flake in it.
KK: I don’t think I’ve ever seen you eat everything before, Simon! I’ve seen you put stuff in your mouth, but not like this.
SG: That was just right for me: simple and not too big. I’m not sure about that big reindeer standing outside, though. It feels a bit Santa’s Grotto.
SU: Who doesn’t love Santa’s Grotto?
SG: But it is quite Shoreditch-y in here. I like that East End atmosphere without actually having to go over there.
KK: I’ve just come back from Rio. I can’t eat much more of this. My camel toe has got really meaty. It’s hereditary.
SU: Is that a collection of whiskeys up the back?
KK: Yes, it’s the Scottish thing.
[More food arrives]
SG: I’m kind of horrified that someone would bring haggis to the table. It looks like square chicken nuggets.
SU: I think they look like the little mice from Bagpuss.
KK: Haggis gets a bad rap but it is completely and utterly delish.
SG: I thought it was just bumholes and bogeys bound together with egg.
KK: No! It’s not like sausages. It’s got proper meat in it.
SU: These guys are really good at having fun with people, aren’t they? They flirt with you almost like they mean it.
SG: Are you taking a picture of that photo, Stephen? Are you sharing Slaughtergrams? I do love this mousse, though. It’s so thick, thicker than that woman who presents The One Show. And I really like the lavender flavour. And this sherry is so sweet. Sweeter than that man who presents The One Show.
I’m going to have to use the word ‘ironically’ here because, ironically, this game restaurant is one of the best vegetarian experiences I’ve had in a long time.
Don’t be put off by the shotgun doorhandles, this place is all about proper real good food, not machismo. Service is personal. Careful not to wear expensive woollens or tights because the rough hewn tables can be a little *bitey*.
Probably the best meat I have ever had, and you’re talking to someone who’s bulking. It would’ve been five stars had any of the flirting come to full fruition.
Mac & Wild, 65 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 7PS UK
020-7637 0510; macandwild.com