Tam Cowan, 24/12/2011
by Tam Cowan
The Corinthian: 191 Ingram St, Glasgow, G1 1DA
Dec 24 2011 by Tam Cowan
WHEN this place opened again in August 2010, after a major makeover, I remember hearing a rumour they’d spent £10 million on the place.
Aye right! In this climate? Don’t you know that there’s a recession on? Surely someone was pulling my plonker?
Honestly, folks, take one step inside this amazing restaurant/bar/casino complex in Glasgow city centre and I reckon you’llsee every single penny of that huge investment.
Simply put, The Corinthian is absolutely stunning.
In fact, stick a turnstile on the front door and I reckon the tourists who flock to the city would pay an entrance fee just to gaze in amazement at the truly jaw-dropping interior.
Well, there’s only so long they can wonder round Buchanan Galleries or stare at the statue with the traffic cone on its head in Royal Exchange Square.
Glitzy doesn’t even begin to describe it.
The Corinthian must be the snazziest, most stylish venue in Glasgow, perhaps even Scotland?
And, according to another rumour I heard, it may have played host to the wrap party when Brad Pitt & Co finished filming their zombie flick in Glasgow during the summer.
Just like a zombie, The Corinthian is up all night.
The five floors of dining, drinking and dancing stay open 24/7, and the breakfast menu, for example, is served from 3-6am and then 8-11am.
We put our sensible heads on and went along on a quiet Wednesday afternoon for lunch.
And you know what? I’d have to say this was the best £36 I’ve spent for years.
Considering the owners must be keen to get their £10m investment back asap (and you can hardly blame them) I feared the worst in terms of prices.
However, on this evidence, the two-course £11.95 lunch menu (served Monday to Friday, 12noon-5pm) might just be the best deal in Glasgow.
Particularly in these extremely stylish surroundings.
We dined in the spectacular main bar (The Tellers Bar & Brasserie), with its incredibly ornate, high ceiling.
And we were served by thevery chirpy Alannah – a lassie who clearly loves working atThe Corinthian.
The food was fantastic and, taking all the other plus points into account, The Corinthian is now a short-priced favourite for my next Hot Plate Award.
It was my mate Phil who sampled the fixed-price deal.
He started with a silky smooth chicken liver pate that was full of flavour and served – ya beauty – with crunchy Arran oatcakes (the king of oatcakes, in my opinion).
“The best pate I’ve ever tasted,” he concluded.
Next, a fabulous Cumberland sausage with a heap of hot horseradish mash and an excellent onion gravy.
Yep, comfort food at its very best. Across the table, I checked out a couple of dishes from the a la carte lunch menu.
Usually something I’d only ever order in a Chinese restaurant (actually, where else would you see it?), the prawn toast (£5.25)was exceptional.
In fact, it was much better than any Cantonese version I’ve had.
The toasts were very crisp and dry and, here’s the clincher, they were served with four plump prawns that had been deep fried in a particularly crunchy coating.
I’d hazard a guess that the chef used those posh Japanese breadcrumbs that my favourite TV cook, Rick Stein, is always raving about.
Just one minor quibble that I feel should be addressed.
The toasts and the prawns were crying out for some sort of dipping sauce. Trust me, chef.
To follow, I continued with the Chinese theme and enjoyeda hefty plateful of crispy duck salad (£10.95).
Served with spring onion, cucumber, hoisin sauce and warm pancakes, it was the same idea as the famous crispy duck we’ve all enjoyed in our favourite Chinese restaurant.
Again, though, The Corinthian’s take on this classic dish was exceptional.
The smoky, barbecued duck (a real mountain of the stuff) was amazing and, to be honest, there was no need for the pancakes on the side – particularly as I’d also ordered a bowl of hand-cut chips.
Overall verdict? A really terrific lunch in the sort of five-star setting that almost made it impossible to keep our eyes onthe food.
But don’t just take my word for it. Get yourself along to the wonderful Corinthian and try it out.
Seeing really is believing.
Address: 191 Ingram St, Glasgow, G1 1DA; Telephone: 0141 552 1101; Open: 24 hours; Wheelchair access: Yes; Bill: £36
Food: 5/5 - A faultless, first-class lunch; Service: 4/5 - Cheerful and friendly; Decor: 5/5 - Truly stunning; Toilets: 5/5 - Spotless and sparkling; Value: 5/5 - Don't miss the £11.95 lunch