Wee Paree


TO the Crow Road then as the dust finally fully settles on the Chancellor’s meal deal madness and normality of a sort returns with tables once again available, dishes back to full fat prices and that familiar early week torpor in the air.

In here black-masked waiters fidget and flit in the sudden calm, tonight’s mainly female clientele chat and raise wine glasses and a door is pushed open to let a puff of kitchen smoke out and that September chill creeps back in.

We check this new place over. The clue, probably, is in the name. It’s French, Jim, but possibly not as we know it. In a tongue-in-cheek way, of course.

Debs likes the decor, the tiny tables, those cushions, panelled walls; that checked floor, the scores of black and white photos, and insists its chintzy vibe reminds her of that holiday with her mum and sister.

Considering the last time I was in Paris I didn’t actually get out the car, I can’t really demur. But somewhat cynically I’m also getting a whiff of theme pub central casting. Is that olive tree from Costco, are those vines outside real, and is this menu really a la mode? Or perhaps a pont too far? Croissant with cheesy baked beans; French-inspired mac and cheese and perhaps the Western world’s most enduring dish: chicken liver pate.

Anyway, we start with French onion soup – a dark, sweet and wet broth that could do with the addition of some stock for flavouring and disappointingly comes with two thin slices of baguette with melted cheese on an under-dish rather than floating them in the soup and grilling on a crust for that full ooh-la-la. Five pence short of six pounds. Oh well.

The steak frites are far more of a crowd pleaser. Thin fries in a tea-cupy thing, bearnaise in a boat – they do love putting plates and plates on plates in here – and a rump that’s seared, very well seasoned and displayed appetisingly cross-sectioned to show the chef can properly handle this kind of thing. It’s really very good. The salad, in yet another dish on the plate, is fresh and clean too.

Back on the flavour rollercoaster though for some French inspired mac and cheese at, you may want to sit down for this, £12.95.

I don’t care how many lardons they put in this, and it looks like it's made with Marshalls' macaroni, or how much leek and crumb there is on top, I find it dreary, chalky, tasteless almost cheese flavour-free, and silly-expensive. It's accompanied by two slices of bread that each have one dry side and one moist side. Meaning perhaps they’ve been sliced and left out far too long before serving?

To a pisalladiere now that’s like a thick bouncy focaccia rather than the Provencal flatness I was expecting. While it has caramelised onion, it has none of the anchovies that I think gives it its name.

Hey, there are a million versions and I don’t think we’re big on salted fish in Glasgow, not even in the west end, but this one also suffers, like the bread, from feeling like it’s been sitting in the air too long. Served with a couple of slices of ham and a ham and cheese dipping sauce it’s inoffensive if hardly inspiring.

Finally there’s this £12.95 Coq Au Vin with mash and a couple of those coloured heritage carrots that are all the rage draped on top. Hmm. Not sure about it either. It’s clearly been cooked in wine, the meat dark brown from the pot, onion softened smudgily by the process, yet it’s just not very big on flavour. Not bad, not good, just OK.

Not really that cheap either as most of these dishes manage to convey the impression that they’re super-snacks perhaps because of the tiny round tables, the wine-bar atmosphere and the general chittery-chattery air.

Wee Parree? Not good, not bad – just OK.

Wee Paree

240 Crow Road


0141 334 6171

Menu: It’s tongue in cheek French with mac and cheeses, poissons frites (fish and chips), stuffed croissants and coq au vins. 3/5

Atmosphere: It has a French cafe feel, a chintzy comfort and a relaxed air though many of those tables are very small. 4/5

Service: Behind that mask our waiter was bright and breezy, super attentive and very helpful. 5/5

Price: Uncomfortably in that no-man's land between full fat restaurant and cafe with soup at £6 and mac and cheese £12.95. 3/5

Food: Rollercoaster meal with a very good and professionally prepared and flavoured steak. Some dreary dishes that smacked of a lack of care to me. 5/10