TO BE frank the two cakes we have to finish off are ordered more out of sympathy and gratitude than need. This is because the waiter has revealed that the pancakes I have just asked for are not made on the premises. They're bought in. Now, buying in cakes from specialists is not a problem. It can be a good idea, sometimes. Buying in pancakes, though? Eh?

“Even I could make a pancake,” says Stephen, momentarily looking up over his horn-rimmed, tri-focal Gant specs from the other side of the table. That’s coming from an Italian-Scots male. Hmm.

Faced with this shock news there’s only one thing to do. And it falls upon my puny shoulders to do it. The pancakes with honey cream and stewed autumn fruits at, ahem, £6.50 are immediately cancelled, in as nice a way as possible in the circumstances, of course. Still, there’s clear consternation on the waiter’s face at this unexpected reward for his honesty. So by way of compensation we order instead a carrot and pistachio cake and a raspberry and lime one at £7.90 for the two. Who says honesty isn’t the best policy? They’re billed as Monty’s baking though they are bought in, and will turn out to be fairly average.

Not that this meal hasn’t had its moments. That Arnold Bennet omelette with Corrie Mains free-range eggs (don’t they sell them in the supermarket?), smoked haddock and cheese was pretty lively. Though you’re no doubt asking yourself right now: if you can make an omelette how come you can’t make a pancake. Anyway the omelette is a tad salty, Stephen says, but that’ll be the haddock. And that is also from a man who doesn’t ever add salt to any of his food. I take a fishy forkful or two and it has a bit of life to it, punch even. I could have eaten more. And that’s from a man who does add salt.

I quite liked the corned beef hash too – fried egg, strangely cubed potatoes, corned beef and a sprinkle of green stuff, possibly parsley. Pretty well seasoned. Not by any means bad. And then there was yesterday’s curry – that’s how they vogueishly describe it on the menu – which turns out to be a mutton curry, dopiaza, I believe. How many times a week do they have mutton dopiaza in here, I wonder, having a chum who had exactly the same thing a while ago. And how much is it? It says merely “market pricing” on the menu. Curry? In an expensively restored cafe with bare brick walls and a currently completely empty but still arty mezzanine floor that’s not even slightly Asian. But why not? We are on the fringe of the famous Finnieston strip, Glasgow’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan restaurant area.

I, incidentally, have a soft spot for Radnor Street and this area, my sisters and I having spent a lot of time upstairs eating timbale – or spaghetti pie as we called it then – and gazing out at Glasgow University from the windows of our Italian godparents Silvio and Maria’s elegant flat. They had a fruit and veg shop around here somewhere. Back then, to a little kid anyway, this part of Glasgow was full of noise and buses and fumes and lots of little corner shops. Was there a cafe here? Probably. With its high ceilings and ornate cornicing this place has the feel of having once been a Lyons tea-room.

Anyway, the curry is not bad. It's pleasantly rich with some dry and rather sad flatbread accompanying it. The rice looks a bit tired but the meat has tenderness, flavour and spicing. It’s only when I look at the receipt much later and see I was charged £12.95 that I have to re-evaluate it. Overpriced, in my view.

Much of what we have had seems, on reflection, a bit overpriced for lunch. But then Monty’s giant menu seems to be focused mainly on all-day breakfasty brunches which start at around £9. Maybe that’s where there strength lies.


9 Radnor Street, Glasgow (, 0141 357 1666)

Menu: We ate from the all-day brunch menu – Arnold Bennet omelette, yesterday’s curry, corned beef hash and lots of all-day breakfast items. 3/5

Atmosphere: A fairly stylish bare-brick refurbishment just off the Finnieston strip. Pleasant enough. 3/5

Service: Relaxed, friendly and honest, which may have lost them a pancake sale but gets them an extra point or two. 5/5

Price: Pretty expensive for lunch especially given the otherwise ordinariness of what we received. 2/5

Food: Nothing special. Fashionable dishes executed in a fairly ordinary and forgettable fashion though yesterday’s curry would have been good at half the price. 5/10

Total: 18/30