Hayley Matthews: My Michelin-starred wardrobe malfunction

Paul Kitching's creations at 21212 are works of art. Picture: Lesley Martin
Paul Kitching's creations at 21212 are works of art. Picture: Lesley Martin
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The story of how I came to have a massive wardrobe malfunction in one of Edinburgh’s Michelin star restaurants is one I’ll try to forget quickly. It all started with a very sore neck and me deciding to sit on a chair with the heated ball attachment that massages your back. The problem was, I sat for three hours whilst waiting on an ­Indian take-out delivery (that never arrived) and on standing up my partner screeched “you’re back is bright red and bruised!”

The story of how I came to have a massive wardrobe malfunction in one of Edinburgh’s Michelin star restaurants is one I’ll try to forget quickly. It all started with a very sore neck and me deciding to sit on the chair with the heated ball attachment that massages your back. The problem was, I sat for three hours whilst waiting on an Indian take-out delivery (that never arrived) and on standing up my partner screeched “you’re back is bright red and bruised!”

I had given myself a massive bruise and a friction burn only to be followed the next day with peeling skin. I was in agony. A few days on and things were still bad. However, the excitement of my partner’s birthday night kept me going. He’s a hard man to please, and still being upset about not getting his Indian take-out, I wanted to book somewhere really special for us. I’d heard lots of excellent reviews from friends about Paul Kitching’s 21212 so decided this would be wonderful for dinner. Now to explain, I was in agony, couldn’t wear a bra and had done numerous trips to the shops and school runs, no one apparently noticing the unsupported cherries flapping over my shoulders like two jellies in the wind. However, I’d been so used to not wearing a bra all week that I didn’t realise until in the taxi on the way to 21212 that I had a wardrobe malfunction on the highest scale!

READ MORE: Restaurant review: 21212, Edinburgh

We arrived at Royal Terrace and instantly we felt like we were in a palace. The staff were just incredibly attentive and the birthday boy was blown away. To say there is a wow factor is a complete understatement. After the best gin and tonic in my life came food that can only be described as magical works of art. The menu changes weekly which felt special too as you’re having something quite unique. I think it’s the first date in 10 years where we’ve just sat and smiled in awe with cheeky wee grins on our faces. I chatted with Paul’s wife while we watched the kitchen in action. She compared it to an operating theatre where everything is so seamless and quiet and people all gather round. There was hardly a peep of noise! If only my kitchen operated as smoothly, I’d be able to watch Netflix uninterrupted while Mr Hayley does the cooking (kidding obviously).

READ MORE: Restaurant 21212 wins Michelin star award

In my merriment, I’d completely forgotten about my bra-less situation and asked if I could have a picture taken with Paul, he came over and I could have chatted to him all night. What a down to earth, grounded and amazing human being. I thanked him for a super night and complimented him dearly. Despite having a very successful restaurant in Edinburgh, I could see complacency was not an option for him. He’s a grafter and a diamond and I reckon will be in that kitchen running the show until he’s very old and grey. He chatted with us for a good 30 minutes in his soft Geordie tones, talking food, football and roe deer, all topped off with a great big hug and a lovely photo.

Needless to say I’m glad that he didn’t notice my wardrobe malfunction – one of those jellies made an appearance – although he did say to my partner “your Mrs is all right”. Best compliment I’ve had in a long time which left me blushing and trust me, that’s not easy done. I do promise you Paul, if you’re reading this, next time I’m in your restaurant, I’ll get the over-shoulder-boulder-holder on.