THE nights had started getting darker, and the Moll and I had both been missing a bit of summer sun.
The pair of us had been strung out for the past month – I with a few tricky cases that left me scratching my head; the Moll with shopping, lunching with the girls and planning our next holiday.
We were craving a good bit of R&R, and I knew just the place to get it.
"Where are you taking me?!" demanded Toots, as we jumped in the Buick.
"It's a surprise, doll face. You'll like it though, I'm, sure."
She scowled at me, but as we drove closer to the city centre, her mood seemed to lighten and she was practically beaming as we parked on Blythswood square.
"Ohhh, very fancy! You've really outdone yourself this time, Tec." she said.
We headed for a few cocktails nearby – Mojito for her, Whisky sour for me – then for Malmaison and down the spiralling staircase inside the hotel, which opened up to a huge bar and restaurant on the ground floor.
It was warm, dimly-lit and comfortable – just what we needed for a relaxing night.
A friendly waiter led us to a table in the main dining area, and Toots was even more delighted when we were seated at a huge, cushioned, round booth which was big enough for six.
Immediately she threw her newest fur coat across the seats, stretched out her legs and scanned the cocktail list before surprisingly deciding on sparkling water.
I decided to join her, not wanting to drink alone, and we flicked through the tantalising food menu as our stomachs rumbled.
There was a good range for all tastes, but not for all budgets unfortunately and some of the items did seem a bit over priced.
I settled on the buffalo wings for a starter, which came with a delicious blue cheese dip and were smothered with spicy sauce. I wolfed them down in minutes.
Toots had a more delicate prawn cocktail,which was loaded with seafood, crisp lettuce and zingy Marie Rose sauce. It was quite hefty for a starter but Toots made light work of it. I think if we hadn't been in such a glamorous location, she'd have been licking the bowl clean.
Main courses however, were a different affair. Despite looking fantastic,
I was left feeling disappointed with my rather drab offering. Toots, on the other hand, seemed satisfied with hers – and at £28 I should hope so too!
My less extortionate monkfish curry was vibrant, with fresh whole prawns, spices and vegetables, accompanied by perfectly steamed basmati rice. I tucked in immediately, desperate to find out if it tasted as good as it looked. I was sorely disappointed.
The mustard-yellow sauce was watery, and didn't pack much punch. It was not what I'd expect from a curry. The fish too was a bit bland, and the prawns tasted grainy.
Toots had ordered a steak with chips and peppercorn sauce, which can't really go wrong. The chips were to die for – soft, fluffy and crispy – while the steak was perfectly cooked and melted in the mouth. At least I think that's what she was trying to tell me between mouthfuls, and she certainly seemed to be enjoying it.
There was barely room to get back in the car, let alone space for dessert, so we settled up and headed back to Tec Towers.
"Ahhh, that was blissful" Toots crooned, as she sidled up to me in front of the fire.
I was still feeling a bit peckish after my disappointing curry, but tucked in
to a few more whiskies and I was right as rain.

Chez Mal Brasserie at Malmaison Glasgow, 278 West George Street, G2 4LL. 0141 378 0384

Water - free
Buffalo Wings - £8
Prawn Cocktail - £9.50
Steak with peppercorn sauce - £28.50
Monkfish curry - £18.00
Total: £64

Food - 3
Atmosphere 4
Service 4