On branding

I have been most eager to see the result of the refurb of the old Ryan’s Bar in the west end of Edinburgh into the West End Brasserie. Because this is a tip-top location.

They have ostensibly done a cracking job by the alround decor with a lovely brass external facade and a most pristine and sophisticated chandeliered interior. It’s a real piece of parisienne boutique chic (Les Marmottes springs to mind), all with eager, starched-white preened garcons at the waiting.

But what was the menu like?

At first glance you see that this is not fine-dining but bringing some old favourites to the table with moules et frites and cullen skink, haggis of course for the tourists and then steak et frites etc. They have an ok wine list and have indeed included a veuve cliquot for your aspiring west-enders and the Edinburgh gentry crowd.

However I was dumbstruck at the end of my quick perusal of the menu when I glanced over the desserts. Because there it was for all to see.

After a tonne of investment in this iconic city centre site with all the fine finishings and french waiters and a hefty degree of pomp and panache and eclat and not so cheap brand consultants I would imagine. Yes, at the end came the ice cream.

Di Rollos!!

Sacre bleu! Ooh la la! Di Rollos! Quelle choix! What a faux pas.

Indeed what an own goal in the dying seconds of injury time. Who’s idea was that?

Up to that point it was all going fairly and even substantially swimmingly but then thud. Deary deary me. That’s like putting a Jacob Creek pinot grigio on the menu in the George V !

And I’m afraid that this doesn’t bode well for the establishment. It’s a careless and a grave error, for it undermines and puts a question mark over the whole thing.

I mean if they had just put a Luvian’s or a Jannetta’s on (or even a Luca’s for that mind) then it would have ended this enterprise off with some finesse, some class. And indeed I think the whole project deserves that.

Instead in the very last bar of this epic symphony of a refurb, the conductor has rather somewhat dropped his baton.


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