Restaurant Review: god bless American hospitality

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IN MY formative years, a trip to the Hard Rock Cafe was the highlight of any holiday.

This was a distant past when, as my fuzzy memory recollects, Glasgow’s restaurant trade amounted to a few Italian restaurants and a curry house.

Then, a visit to the Hard Rock Cafe — whether in Edinburgh, Dublin or any of the 175 incarnations of the popular chain restaurant — was like entering a portal to America.

Now, you can’t move for burger joints and there’s barely a restaurant in Glasgow without pulled pork on the menu.

While these restaurants aim to encaptulate Brooklyn dive bars or Austin diners, none of them capture the sheer calculated commercialisation and nauseating cheesy approach that really is far more representative of corporate America.

With me — the type of person who stays up till 4am to watch the Superbowl on a school night and would probably prefer a can of Coors Light to a pint of Bellhaven Best — HRC is preaching to the converted.

The Hard Rock Cafe is probably not going to win any awards for its food — but it ticks a lot of boxes for those with big appetites who like their burgers with Bon Jovi blaring in the background.

Starters include a massive sharing platter, which my ‘server’ (that’s American for waiter) talked me out of having; this was the one distinctly un-American part of my experience.

Food arrived worryingly fast, as if from a factory line, while my Bar-B-Q combo came without the listed pulled pork or corn muffin and was fairly tough.

Throughout, the sunny disposition of my server was indefatigable. At one point I thought he was going to pull up a chair and sit down.

My night was topped off with an apple cobbler, which was still frozen in parts — but tasty.

You know what you’re getting with the Hard Rock Cafe, and by the two hour wait for a table on a cold Wednesday night in February, it seems that plenty people are pretty happy with that.

It’s not Michelin star, but I like it.

Rating: 6/10

Hard Rock Cafe

179 Buchanan St

Glasgow

G1 2JZ

Tel: 0141 353 8790