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Staff favourites in Glasgow City Centre

5pm HQ is based in Glasgow City Centre so we've got plenty of options! We asked around the office to see if the staff had any favourites.

Angela, Customer Care Manager

Urban Bar & Brasserie

“Urban Bar & Brasserie is my favourite restaurant in Glasgow City Centre. The service is first class, the food in tasty, I love the basil marinated breast of chicken with fettucine and sunblushed tomato cream. Also, it’s quite spacious so no one sits too close to your table! “

£14.95 for 2 courses on pre-theatre menu + glass of wine at Urban Bar & Brasserie

jenJen, Head Creative

“Slouch is great. It's just a good pub with nice staff and good music. It’s comfortable place to chill out in and the food is just good pub stuff. There are two menus so you can get something more substantial or just some snacks depending on how hungry you are. I eat gluten and dairy free and they have a good few options; decent salads, chicken wings, etc. Sometimes getting gluten/dairy free bar food can be tough.”

20% discount on main or sandwiches & dogs menu at Slouch


maureenMaureen, Marketing Executive

"I honestly could be here all day talking about why I love the Arches. Let's start with the food; every time I have eaten there it has been excellent and the regularly changing menu always throws up imaginative dishes. Recently, I tried the ‘veggie fish and chips’ - battered halloumi! Amazing idea and it tasted fantastic. My partner always goes for the burger which he says is the best in Glasgow. Next let's talk about the ambience. I absolutely love the decor in the Arches; it's so disctintive, with the curved ceiling, industrial lights and flying saucer lampshades hanging from the ceiling. Last but not least, the value for money. £10.95 for two courses and a glass of wine. In my opinion, the portion sizes and quality of food make this the best value dining deal in Glasgow. And did I mention the milkshakes and cocktail menu? Like I said, I could be here all day...”

£10.95 for 2 courses on pre-theatre menu + glass of wine at Arches Café Bar

Stevie, Sales Coordinator

La Boca

“La Boca is a fantastic new Spanish tapas restaurant and I love that it has Spanish chefs so you know you’re getting authentic tapas. It has a laid back atmosphere and lovely staff. It’s a great place to dine in the city centre.”

50% a la carte discount at La Boca

Michelle, Customer Care Advisormichelle

"Charcoals Indian restaurant on Renfield Street is a top choice in a perfect central location. You can expect exceptional service, the staff are very friendly without being intrusive. The food is great; its all freshly made to order, I really like the prawn poori. Plus they're Halal, so I know I can recommend it to my Muslim friends."

£6.95 for 2 courses on lunch menu at Charcoals Glasgow.


1780697_10152175405322324_381161792_nNikki, Business Development Manager

“I love Rogano, it’s got such a unique atmosphere and history. I’m a big seafood fan and I’ve never been disappointed by any of their dishes. I particularly love the provincial mussels.”

£16.50 for 2 courses on lunch menu at Rogano


The past & the future of Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel

Glasgow's Grand Central Hotel has hosted some very prestigious guests over the years.

JFK stayed in the hotel when he was giving a speech in the city as a Harvard Student. Carey Grant, Winston Churchill, and Frank Sinatra were all guests in the hotel, along with many stars from the golden age of Hollywood.


Grand Central Hotel

John Logie Baird transmitted the first ever television signal on the hotel's fourth floor in 1927.

Back in in the first decades of the 20th century, Grand Central was the epitome of glamour, with its marble floors, grand ballroom and trio of musicians who entertained the dinner guests every evening.

In 1983 the hotel was sold and after being passed around a number of different private operators, its glory days become a thing of the past and the building fell intro disrepair.


In 2009 Grand Central was bought by the Principal Haley Group and a year later it reopened after a £20m refurbishment.

Four years later, Grand Central has re-established itself as one of the most stylish hotels in the city, boasting sleek, modern rooms while retaining the feel of a bye-gone era.

Champagne Central2

Champagne Central

"Grand Central really is a mix of the old and the new," Clare Fairfield, Grand Central's Sales Executive said. "It was "the" hotel in Glasgow, especially in the 1940s and 1950s. When Hollywood stars came to Glasgow, this is where they would stay and it was our aspiration to get back to that point."

"When the building was closed for that short time it could have become anything so the fact we have taken it over and brought it back almost to its former glory is something we are very proud of."

Original features

During the refurbishment process, builders got to work destroying the changes that had been made by the previous hotel group, knocking down walls and peeling back carpets to discover the original fixtures and fittings.

"The marble floor of the champagne bar was under some carpets," Clare said. "Of course it didn't look like it did now, it took some time to see if we could save it and do something with it, but luckily we have been able to."

'In the 1970s the ceiling in the ballroom had been lowered and the tops of the pillars had been hidden away with all the lovely gold coving that was around the top of them."

"There is a room on the corner where they found another space above the ceiling with gorgeous gold coving and another set of windows."

"Everything in the hotel is listed. The iron work is one of the best examples of iron work in the UK today, especially above the entrance of the front door."


Grand Central isn't just a relic of the past however. The decor is sleek and sophisticated and the hotel continues to upgrade with a recently refurbished reception area and several bedroom, the newest of which boast high tech mirrors with televisions integrated inside.

Champagne Bar lounge

Champagne Central Lounge

The restaurant, along with Tempus Bar, offers dining option in stylish surroundings with menus focused on modern imaginative dishes made with the Scottish produce.

Tempus Bar focuses on classics such as pizzas, burgers, steak and fish and chips.

"I think the haggis bon bons are the most popular dish in the restaurant," Tempus manager Barry Van Den Berg said. "The pork belly is very popular as well. It is brought over to the table on a wooden board and carved in front of you so it is very official."

“My favourite dish is the lemon sole," Clare added. "The hollandaise sauce has whole grapes and comes with the fish and gives a fresh citrus taste to it as you eat the fish."

"The balcony in Tempus is still Malmasion, where they used to perform and entertain people when they were eating in the restaurant. It is one of the few places in Glasgow where you can eat in a place with heritage attached."

Glasgow institution

However, despite the grand plans and London influence, Grand Central very much remains a Glasgow institution.

"A lot of our staff have been here since we opened which really comes across," Clare said.

"We have been here since hotels have been in Glasgow. We consider ourself a Glasgow hotel and we are here for the people of Glasgow. We are really proud we have that Glasgow personality."

30% a la carte discount + glass of wine at Tempus or  £15 2 person offer - 2 pizzas or 2 burgers + beer or glass of house wine at Tempus Bar in Grand Central when booking on 5pm.


Gary Goldie forages new role in Borders

Gary Goldie is hunting the hedgerows of the Borders.

Gary Goldie is hunting the hedgerows of the Borders. Pic by Paul Dodds.

The last time that the 5pm Dining blog talked about Gary Goldie, the chef had just launched his own restaurant in Oban.

He has now popped up in the kitchens at the new Born in the Borders Visitor Centre near Jedburgh.

Showcase Borders products

The £500,000 centre is at Lanton Mill Farm and has been built by the Scottish Borders Brewery. Designed to be a showcase of Borders products, it features over 70 local suppliers.

The café is also focused on Borders produce, combined with ingredients foraged locally by Gary and his sous chef Paolo Balbinot.

Formerly head chef at the Highland hotel Ardanaiseig, Gary has been an enthusiastic forager since his childhood.

This passion developed further following his time at Noma in Copenhagen, currently ranked as Best Restaurant in the World, and at the Michelin-starred In de Wulf in Belgium.

Mash and nettles

Dishes currently on the menu at Born in the Borders include Jedburgh Aberdeen Angus braised in Scottish Borders Brewery Dark Horse ale with mash and nettles; Eyemouth crab with foraged salad, and Scottish strawberries and elderflower.

Gary Goldie said; ‘I am passionate about quality ingredients and wild produce. Born in the Borders presented me with the most amazing venue and location in which to establish what I hope will be a really successful new approach to visitor centre café food.

‘We are offering a menu that showcases exceptional natural produce and perfectly complements the centre’s aim to highlight the amazing diversity of products that originate in this part of Scotland.’

Brewery tours

Born in the Borders is open seven days a week from 10am – 5pm.  In addition to the food and drink shop, goods and gifts and café, the centre also features brewery tours, outdoor walks and a picnic area.

Take a #ChefSelfie for a chance to win a £50 voucher!

5pm is taking over the streets!

Over the course of this week, our 5pm chefs will be out on the streets letting Glaswegians and tourists know just how great 5pm is.

And we're encouraging our loyal customers to join in the fun by running a #ChefSelfie competition - where you could win a £50 voucher for 5pm!

5pm Chefs

Keep your eyes peeled for our 5pm chefs in Glasgow City Centre around George Square and Central Station as well as Finnieston.

Go up, say hello, and ask them to pose for a selfie, like this one below.


Post the selfie to our 5pm.co.uk Facebook page, tweet it to @5pm, or e mail it to marketing@5pm.co.uk.

£50 voucher

We'll be picking a favourite selfie every day - and each daily winner will win a £50 voucher for 5pm!

So what are you waiting for? Head into Glasgow City Centre and see if you can see our 5pm chefs' hats bobbing around in the distance.

And make sure it's a good selfie!


One Ten Bar and Grill tries on a new number

Our old friend, the deep-fried Mars Bar.

Our old friend, the deep-fried Mars Bar.

Being observant sorts, it has not escaped the attention of the 5pm Dining blog that Many a Glasgow bar and restaurant has used the Commonwealth Games as a sound reason to have a bit of a facelift.

The One Ten Bar and Grill is no different.

The Bath Street venue has just launched a new look along with new menus and a new food and beverage team, headed up by James Anderson, formerly of the Grand Central Hotel and Cameron House.

Scottish flavours

Alongside the cosy booths and snazzy light fittings, the new menus have a definite Scottish flavour. The Wee Taste of Scotland starter is a mix of Scottish-style tapas such as a haggis fritter, mini Scotch pie and smoked salmon with Arran mustard.

Main courses on offer include Lathallan haggis, neeps and tatties with a whisky cream sauce or the venison sausages with a creamy mash.

Parfait or Mars Bar?

The desserts are just as Caledonian. Diners can opt for the classy option of Drambuie parfait with raspberry compote or the more earthy choice of deep-fried Mars Bar with a raspberry sorbet.

Rated a very tasty 4.1/5 by some 400 or so 5pm customers, it seems as though One Ten is already half way towards a podium place on Glasgow's dining scene.

110 Bar and Grill is looking good.

One Ten Bar and Grill is looking good.

Loadsa new openings in Aberdeen

Continuing our catch-up on all the new restaurant/bar openings in the last couple of weeks, the good people of Aberdeenshire have seen their dining choices widen considerably of late.

This week, Thaikhun opened in the city's Union Square. Thaikhun is an offshoot of the popular Chaophraya brand which already has branches in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Thai street food is the bedrock of the Thaikhun menu.

Thai street food is the bedrock of the Thaikhun menu.

While Chaophraya is a bit dressed up, likes to party and tends towards more formal dining, Thaikhun is inspired by Thai street food and is that little bit more laidback; not to mention cheaper.

You can see the menu here.

What's the yap on the DogTap?

Meanwhile, in Ellon, the ever industrious BrewDog boys have opened the doors to DogTap, the tap-room in their headquarters.

The new opening is their 15th UK bar and the 20th which the firm have opened worldwide.

As well as having ten BrewDog beers on tap, the DogTap will also incorporate a BottleDog where customers can buy BrewDog beers fresh off the bottling line.

DogTap's chandelier is made from BrewDog bottles.

DogTap's chandelier is made from BrewDog bottles.

The visitor centre will operate brewery tours on a booking system. Visitors will need to email dogtap@brewdog.com to book a brewery tour or beer tasting session.

Hot on the heels of DogTap, the brewery is already looking at a second bar location in Glasgow as well as in Brighton, Liverpool and Cardiff. Outside of the UK, BrewDog has plans for bars in Rome, Bologna, Helsinki and Berlin.

Bottlecap Bar and Brewery

Finally, we're keeping an eye on the Bottlecap Bar and Brewery which is taking shape on Aberdeen's Littlejohn Street. A new bar with a working brewery under the same roof, the new venture is scheduled to open officially in August.

More news as we have it.

Loadsa new restaurants

This 5pm Dining blog scribbler has been elsewhere for the last couple of weeks.

One result of this is that we have an inbox stuffed with new openings and other exciting developments which will pique the appetite of those who live to scoff.

Over the next couple of days, we'll do a quick run through of all the newbies.

Marco Pierre White: soon to be making an appearance in Glasgow.

Marco Pierre White: soon to be making an appearance in Glasgow.

First up, Marco Pierre white is to open one of his steakhouses in Glasgow’s Hotel Indigo in late August.

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill will be situated on the ground floor of the hotel and will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Marco Pierre White said: ‘It’s been a long time in the planning, but I’m absolutely delighted to open my first city centre restaurant in Glasgow – a city that I love.

Vibrant dining scene

‘Glasgow has a vibrant dining scene and I look forward to offering Glaswegians a taste of something a little bit different; my recipe for “affordable glamour” which is all about serving quality food at affordable prices. It isn’t about Michelin standard food, which for most is experienced as a one-off or for a very special occasion.

‘The Steakhouse Bar & Grill will cater for different budgets with a very reasonably set-priced menu to our delicious steaks which will sit at the higher price range of the menu. I truly hope the restaurant will be a place for restaurant goers to return again and again.’

Paradise Palms is a new venue that aims to light up Edinburgh's nights.

Paradise Palms is a new venue that aims to light up Edinburgh's nights.

In other news, the blog is kicking itself at missing last week's launch party for The Paradise Palms on Edinburgh's Lothian Street.

Late night kicks

Located opposite Bristo Square, the new venture bills itself as a 'dive bar', diner and cabaret-led events venue.

Tacos, ribs, burgers and cocktails will keep the body and soul together while DJs such as Frankie Sumatra, Tall Paul and Trendy Wendy will be wrangling the decks from 9pm each evening.

Paradise Palms: the owners aren't big on minimalism.

Paradise Palms: the owners aren't big on minimalism.


New openings in Glasgow

Glasgow is about to get Mess-y.

Glasgow is about to get Mess-y.

Thanks to the eagle eyes of the contributors to Yelp's excellent new places thread, we can tell you that Mess Cantina is expanding from its original base in East Kilbride and opening a branch on Glasgow's Otago Street.

As the name suggests, Tex Mex is on the menu here with chilli con carne, nachos and pulled pork fighting for attention with wings and slow cooked ribs.

The new branch is taking shape in the former Skinny's site.

Scotland's first Bill's?

We're much less certain about this one but we hear rumours that Scotland is going to get its first Bill's on West Nile Street.

Named after its founder Bill Collison, Bill's is a chain of rather quirky cafe restaurants and shops selling everything from Bill's Red Wine to Bill's Red Onion Chutney.

Open from 'breakfast to bedtime', the menus range from porridge to 28-day aged sirloin steaks.

We also see that Giraffe have opened a new branch in the massive Tesco at Silverburn.

Topolobamba takes off

Mezcal and tequila will be on the menu at Topolobamba.

Mezcal and tequila will be on the menu at Topolobamba.

All being well, the highly anticipated Topolobamba on Glasgow’s St Vincent Street should open to the public this Wednesday.

Rather than being a vaguely Tex Mex joint, Topolobamba is aiming to serve genuine Mexican street food with recipes taken from the country’s four main culinary regions.

Canteen and bar

Billed as a canteen and bar, the venture is aiming to be as authentic as possible and will be importing key ingredients from the North American country.

A sneak peek at the menu shows that it is certainly a long way from a box standard Mexican.

Tequila-basted prawns

Dishes which jump out include the tamales stuffed with barbacoa beef or Yucatan pork; grilled prawns basted in Agave tequila and chilli; taquitos filled with tangy cactus and marinated chicken plus a baked fish of the day served with a chilli red mole.

While not a tapas restaurant, Topolobamba will be serving smaller portions so that diners can try two or three dishes a visit.

Topolobamba has been taking shape over the last few months.

Topolobamba has been taking shape over the last few months.

Amber gambler?

A fun touch is the traffic light system on the bar which will indicate how hot the chilli is on that particular day.

Customers will be welcome to pop in for a margarita, tequila or Mexican beer. Tortilla chips and bowls of salsa on the bar will help encourage drinkers through the door.

Given the boom in authentic Latin American restaurants in London, it is interesting to see a team try to develop a similar concept in Glasgow.

With the Commonwealth Games just around the corner, Topolobamba couldn’t have picked a better time to launch a new venture.

Caffe Contini sneak peek

Plans for the third floor restaurant at Contini Caffe.

Plans for Contini Caffe are taking shape.

As we noted on the 5pm Dining blog back in June, Victor and Carina Contini are planning to extend their Edinburgh empire with the opening of a third outlet towards the end of July.

Contini Caffe is taking shape in Cannonball House on the Royal Mile. The new venture will join Contini Ristorante on George Street and The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant at the Scottish National Gallery on The Mound.

The exact details have still to be worked out but these sneak peek images give a reasonable indication of what the final manifestation of Contini Caffe will look like.

An ice cream counter features in the plans for Contini Caffe.

An ice cream counter features in the plans for Contini Caffe.

Spread over three floors, the new venture will include a porridge bar and Italian gelateria, or ice cream bar, on the ground floor.

A cafe/takeaway serving light bites and gourmet sarnies is being set up on the first floor.

On the third floor, diners can look forward to a top notch restaurant. Apparently, the views to Edinburgh castle are superb.

A possible version of the third floor restaurant.

A possible version of the third floor restaurant.



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