The Dogs

*Impromptu midweek dinner date*

I’m not an assertive person.

I find complaining very uncomfortable (although recently congratulated myself on politely reminding a waitress that we’d been waiting 20 minutes for our drinks) but shy away from certain behaviour which most people wouldn’t even consider as being assertive.

For example: at the end of my haircut my hairdresser always asks ‘Do you want it dried straight, yeah?’ To which I always respond ‘…yeah.’

But in fact I love curly hair and really want her to give me a bouncy blow dry, the likes of which I can never achieve myself.

At my last appointment I finally steeled myself, anticipated the ‘Do you want it dried straight, yeah?’, and bravely responded ‘Actually, would you mind… it might be nice if… for a change… maybe it could be a bit bouncy?’ she replied ‘Of course’ without hesitation (as of course I knew she would – although it was 5 minutes before closing and I’d already told her I was just going home to watch Pointless and get an early night so she knew that I didn’t want it done nicely for any particular occasion. Double ballsy points to me). Anyway, I left with a very lovely glamorous bouncy hairdo.

Partly to celebrate my victory at finally being brave enough to ask my hairdresser to style my hair the way I want (yes, I probably have some issues) and partly to assuage my guilt at wasting her handiwork, I called Him and he eagerly agreed to meet in town for an impromptu dinner.

We didn’t want anything fancy but have overdone our favourite casual dining venues recently, so decided on The Dogs. Nice, not over-the-top, and neither of us had been for a long time.


The greeting was slightly strange: we were told there wasn’t a table for around half an hour. Actually maybe 15 minutes. Actually we could sit at that table over there and order drinks but there would be NO FOOD for around 20 minutes. Which is really the same as seating someone and taking a drinks order and mentioning that the kitchen is very busy and food might be around a 20 minute wait. But I don’t want to be too mean about that as I’ve worked as a waitress before and I can sympathise with trying to stay sensible during a busy service.

I was ready to order the sardines on toast for starter but at the last minute the waitress remembered the mackerel special with pomegranate and mandarin. Nice.

He went for the haggis bites. Haggis bites sound more like a bar snack to me, but I thought that the name probably masked something bigger or better or more surprising. However it was what we probably should have expected: three haggis bon bons with some salad. It was fine but we’ve had better from places where it is actually a bar snack (see in particular Bon Vivant, where we actually had a drink before dinner, perhaps we should have stayed there).

Mains: He went for liver and onions and I had the ox cheek with ox tongue. On the plus side the sauces had a lovely sheen. After that it was all a bit disappointing.

The liver and the tongue with both overcooked which is obviously fatal with those kinds of meat. My ox cheek tasted alright but was somehow a bit dry despite being slow cooked and covered in sauce.

Having spoken to friends it seems that most have had mixed experiences at The Dogs and some people still swear by it. Personally it isn’t what I would expect from a restaurant featured in the Michelin Guide 2017. It wasn’t classic dishes done perfectly; it wasn’t exciting or adventurous; it wasn’t particularly comfortable or comforting. I won’t be hurrying back.

Did I tell them any of this? No, of course not. I smiled and said everything was nice. But that’s a separate issue and I’m working on it.


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