It’s not usually too difficult to find a colleague or partner for a restaurant review.
“Do you need to stay for the match?” asked one of my colleagues who hastily withdrew when the answer was yes. “I’ve got plans with my daughter,” said another. Chris McCall fled to London at the thought. Even Mrs Oliver tried to wriggle out with the “no babysitter excuse”.
I was almost taking my seven-year-old for chicken nuggets in the Brockville Lounge, but the main meal of pork and black pudding with cheese and apple mash was quite exquisite, and easily the highlight of my wife’s day.
See, I had eventually secured cover for my Bairns and it was Queen of the South for my princess in the luxury of The Falkirk Stadium’s hospitality lounges.
This wasn’t just a meal review, it was a whole afternoon out.
Things start at noon, when you are welcomed by club legend Alex Totten and given a tour of the ground. The history in the images on the walls and in the suites sets The Falkirk Stadium apart - and that’s without the food.
The club can’t control the quality of the game, or the weather, but they can influence the meal. And regardless of what’s dished up on the pitch, what was on the plate was a winner.
We took up a position at the back, defending the bar, and the terrific lunch was delivered by a team with individual footwork as good as Kevin McAllister, and who handled the plates with the assurance of Michael McGovern.
It all arrived in a neat stacked formation - medallions of pork complemented by the sharpness of apple and cheese mash on the wing then the delayed spicy hit from the black pudding left a finish Farid would’ve been proud of.
The team’s eventual victory tasted good as well, even if our table didn’t win the lounge quiz.
A lukewarm performance from the Bairns was livened up by the hot drinks and - the Scottish football staple - pies at half-time.
And being in hospitality gives you direct access to the players who answered questions and signed autographs afterwards. However, Mrs Oliver was disappointed they didn’t enter as ‘buff butlers’ as she’d seen on a recent Falkirk Herald back page. She’ll have to make do with me then, or visit on the club’s upcoming Ladies Day.
And after lunch and afternoon drinks (which weren’t too expensive I might add), I won’t have much problem persuading her to go again. Especially after seeing the Ladies Day advert she’s awfully keen... for the food, I hope.
The Falkirk Stadium