‘Dry cakes not befitting Parliament’: MPS food woes

Scottish Parliament: MSPs food complaints. Picture: Contributed
Scottish Parliament: MSPs food complaints. Picture: Contributed
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FOOD served at the Scottish Parliament has come in for a roasting, with diners complaining of dry scones, tiny portions, oddly-shaped haggis, undercooked sausages and small canapés.

The gripes about the food in the parliament canteen, the members’ restaurant, the public cafe and at events held in the building were revealed in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Other complaints made in the past year included cling film found in a salad, curry sauce in a prawn cocktail, raw potato on a cottage pie, and one diner even complained they suffered a splinter from wooden cutlery.

However, Independent
Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald today defended the standard of food in the parliament. She said: “I have always found the catering in the parliament to be excellent – and everyone I have taken to lunch or dinner has said the same.

“The staff restaurant is very good indeed and the catering staff are absolutely great. There are always people willing to help. I have absolutely no complaints at all.”

Complaints recorded about the garden-level restaurant, which is open to all staff in the building, included one which said: “Can you make the sausages look like they are cooked? Why can’t they be browned properly?”

Another said: “Found cling film in my salad.” A third commented: “Could not eat the prawn cocktail as I did not expect to find curry in it.”

One person who attended an event at the parliament complained that portions of haggis were served up as “balls” rather than the traditional pudding shape. Another wrote: “Some guests commented that the canapés were very small.”

There were four complaints about the parliament’s public cafe serving “too dry scones” and five about wooden cutlery, with one saying: “I had a splinter in the finger of my right hand from wooden fork I used to eat my salad“.

An unnamed MSP said that after dining at the parliament, he and his guests left hungry: “Food, overall very tasty, but all three courses were very small portions.”

Other comments included “Cauliflower was badly overcooked”; “Raw potato on the cottage pie” and “No cream in cream of mushroom soup”.

However, despite the string of complaints, many guests praised the parliament’s food. There were lots of compliments for “good service” by friendly staff, and enthusiastic reviews of dishes of BBQ pork belly, lamb burgers and rump steaks.

One customer wrote: “Thursday’s haggis, neeps and mashed potato the best yet – Well done, clean platters all round.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Parliament said: “All comments received are logged anonymously.”

Grouses of Parliament

Staff restaurant

“Cauliflower was badly overcooked”

“BBQ sauce was too spicy with meatballs”

“Raw potato on the cottage pie.”

“Food was great . . . the tables were a bit wobbly.”

Event catering

“The sausages looked undercooked and both meat items had pork in them.”

“The bhajis and samosas would be better served warm.”

Public cafe

“Cakes were dry and not befitting the Scottish Parliament.”

“£4.25 for a sandwich is a joke. Recommend decrease the price.”

MSP restaurant

“I don’t like sundried tomatoes and did expect a little more variety in my salad.”