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Summer drinks in Edinburgh

Bar GandV

Naturally, the Commonwealth Games mean that the 5pm Dining blog has focused a lot on Glasgow recently.

But fear not, Edinburghers, we are keeping a weather eye on developments at the other end of the M8.

As you may have noticed, the weather has been scorchio of late; a fact which has made us spend most of yesterday dreaming of long, cool drinks.

Preferably with a kick.

Happily, help is at hand.

The eye-catching bar (pictured) in the G&V Royal Mile Hotel has just relaunched their Aperitivo Hour with a brand new cocktail menu.

The menu offers a selection of signature serves accompanied by complimentary Italian appetisers every Monday to Wednesday evening from 6pm to 8pm.

Aperitivo trolley

The cocktails are served from the bar’s rather snazzy Aperitivo trolley which is trundled up to each table. Customers then order their own bespoke take on six cocktails ranging from a classic Martini to a Smoked Ice Tea Margarita.

A cheeky aperitivo is the ideal prelude to dinner in the hotel’s award-winning Cucina restaurant.

You can check out Cucina’s 5pm offers here.

A hop, skip and a jump away, another venue with a distinct Italian flavour is making waves with its new cocktail menu.

Old Town Italian

Tucked away in the heart of the Old Town, the Italian restaurant and wine bar Divino Enoteca has unveiled a new selection of classic and freshly concocted cocktails.

We liked the look of the Basil Grande which mixes Absolut, Aurum, Chambord, strawberries, basil and cranberry.

To be honest, we don’t even know what Aurum is but that is not going to stop us from having a snifter or two.

Divino Enoteca’s 5pm offers and menus can be perused from here.

Hidden gem

Incidentally, in the evenings, when lit up with candles, fairy lights and lanterns, Divino Enoteca’s little courtyard is one of Edinburgh’s hidden gems.

Divino Enoteca has been rustling up some new cocktail recipes.

Divino Enoteca has been rustling up some new cocktail recipes.

Bon Vivant wins international recognition

Finally, huge congratulations are due to The Bon Vivant. The Edinburgh bar scooped the Best International Restaurant Bar award at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans earlier this week.

The Thistle Street bar was up against Moscow’s Delicatessen and the Spitalsfield Bar at Hawksmoor and the Blind Pig at Social Eating House, both of which are in London.

Chairman of the International Judging Committee and Global Trade Advocacy Director for Bacardi, Jacob Briars said:

‘The Spirited Awards are regarded as the pinnacle of the industry. Fifty well-travelled industry veterans voted on the top bars around the world, with nominations from more than 40 countries.

‘This is the first year an international restaurant bar will be recognised, and the four finalists range from new openings to old favourites, and from Michelin-starred venues to relaxed (but no less excellent) eateries, all combining great food with some of the best drinks on earth in a seamless, professional manner.

Hard work and passion

‘The Bon Vivant’s recognition is a testament both to the amazing vitality of the Edinburgh hospitality scene, and to the hard work and passion of Stuart and his team. It is known around the world for its combination of high standards and relaxed atmosphere; I never visit Edinburgh without stopping here.’

The Bon Vivant is no stranger to industry recognition. It received a Scottish Style Award for Most Stylish Bar in 2011, won the 2013 Food & Travel Magazine Bar of the Year award, and has been recommended in the Michelin Guide in 2013 and 2014.

The Bon Vivant has been rocking New Orleans with its cocktails.

The Bon Vivant has been rocking New Orleans with its cocktails.

 



5pm Dining guide to Glasgow City Centre restaurants

With the Commonwealth Games launching tomorrow, this is the perfect time to cast an eye over the huge diversity of restaurants in Glasgow city centre. We can’t claim to have restaurants from all 71 of the Commonwealth countries but you can eat out in Glasgow restaurants which take their cue from the four corners of the globe.

Eat global

Nippon Kitchen

In the mood for some sushi or tempura? Make tracks for Nippon Kitchen where the sea bass is always sparkling and the soft shell crab is always crunchy. Prefer to sip a top notch tequila while chowing down on chipotle-basted rib-eye? Our amigos at Juan Chihuahua will sort you out.

Perhaps you would rather go Greek? Then Elia Greek Restaurant on George Square has a slow-cooked lamb kleftiko with your name on it. Sailing across the Aegean from Greece, we come to Turkey; a country whose cuisine is ably represented by Alla Turca Turkish Restaurant. Their starter selection of meze, or mini-dishes, such as stuffed vine leaves, filo pastries and humus, is always popular.

Tiki Bar & Kitsch Inn

If Greek or Turkish isn’t quite exotic enough to tickle your taste buds then book a table at Cafe Cossachok where the borscht and blinis are often accompanied by Russian folk or Klezmer performances.

Alternatively, you could mix it up at the Tiki Bar & Kitsch Inn, a Bath Street venue where tasty Thai dishes are served alongside Hawaiian-themed decor and tiki cocktails.

Italian faves

While Glasgow’s city centre has plenty of opportunities for culinary adventure, the most popular cuisines are, drum roll... Italian and Indian. Since 1997, Antipasti has been making friends on Sauchiehall Street. With a tremendous 5pm rating of 4.3/5, this friendly Italian serves plenty of old favourites but also spices up the selection with less familiar dishes such as linguine tossed with Scottish crab and hot 'Nduja sausage.

The Di Maggio’s on Royal Exchange Square is another city centre Italian with a very firm grasp on what the dining public wants. Family-run and family-friendly, its Italian American menus attract everyone from business lunchers to celebrating groups. The sun terrace is a big draw here during the warmer months.

Amarone is the sister operation to Di Maggio’s and if the Royal Exchange Square restaurant offers casual dining then Amarone is that little bit smarter. If Di Maggio’s feels like a friendly trattoria, then the award-winning Amarone is more like a contemporary Milanese ristorante. Of course, pizza and pasta feature but so do more complex dishes like the pan-seared duck breast, served pink with an Amarone wine sauce, braised Savoy cabbage, pancetta and a confit of figs.

Viva

Naturally, there are other Italians in Glasgow city centre with their own loyal following. Featuring a cosy, traditional interior, Viva on Bothwell Street was awarded the Best Pasta prize at last year’s Scottish Italian Awards. At the same ceremony, Ristorante Piccolo Mondo on Argyle Street scooped the overall Best Italian award. A second-generation, family-run business, Piccolo Mondo is also very highly rated by 5pm customers who give it an outstanding 4.6/5 rating.

As well as a handy central location on George Square, La Vita is also a hit with 5pm customers who cite its generous portions and friendly service. For the full Scots Italian dining experience, you could try their penne pasta with Stornoway black pudding and pepperoni. Alternatively, push the boat out with the handmade lobster ravioli.

Fancy a Ruby?

Kama Sutra

Kama Sutra

As we noted earlier, Indian restaurants have always hit the sweet spot with Glaswegian diners. Although it is named after the famous Indian erotic text, and has demure pictures from the book on the walls, the Kama Sutra on Sauchiehall Street focuses more on the pleasures of the table. Lots of diners love the kebabi khazana – a medley of BBQ chicken, lamb, king prawns, lamb chops and mince kebab. Among the regional specialities are the spicy Himalayan hotpot and an authentic Bengali fish curry.

Charcoals Restaurant on Renfield Street and the more casual Charcoals Cafe on the Trongate merit a mention for their freshly prepared dishes. The restaurant, in particular, has a gleaming reputation for friendly, welcoming service and has won multiple awards to back up the claims. We suggest the mango chicken tikka – proof that there is life beyond the tikka masala.

While some restaurants try to push the boundaries of Indian cooking, Rawalpindi Tandoori on Sauchiehall Street sticks with a more tried and tested formula. A hit with Glasgow curry lovers since 1979, they dish up times-served favourites such as the king prawn bhoona, lamb dopiaza and a wide range of gorgeous tandoori dishes. Sometimes, old school is best.

A further city centre option is the Indian Gallery, again on Sauchiehall Street. As well as a smart, contemporary interior, the restaurant offers trad and modern Indian dishes. The chef recommends the tandoori scallops.

Tapas time

Cafe Andaluz City Centre

Cafe Andaluz City Centre

While Italian and Indian restaurants have long enjoyed a warm place in the affections of Glasgow’s diners, other cuisines have started to stake a claim in more recent years. Spanish tapas have proved particularly popular and Cafe Andaluz on St Vincent Place has, in many ways, led the charge.

One of two Cafe Andaluz branches in the city, it offers an inviting Andalucian decor and classic tapas such as roasted padron peppers; Spanish black pudding with chutney; patatas bravas and our old friend gambas pil pil, or prawns in a punchy garlic and chilli combo.

Torres Tapas Restaurant is a good place to go if you are torn between Mexican and Spanish tapas. If the choice between fiery Mexican chicken and calamari is a dilemma that you can’t resolve, this Sauchiehall Street venue can solve your problems.

Many would put their hands on their hearts and say that La Boca, which opened this spring, could make solid claims to being Glasgow’s most authentic tapas restaurant. The Spanish chefs dish up cooling gazpacho soups, hand-carved Iberico jamon and crispy chipirones or baby squid.

Belly up to the bar

Mama Sans

Mama Sans

Arguably, the biggest shake-up in Glasgow’s dining scene over the last decade or so has been the same as that in most other UK cities: the bars and pubs have made real efforts to focus on their food offer. The sands of time have definitely run out on the old heated cage sitting on the bar with its motley collection of imprisoned, forlorn-looking pies.

We’ll pick out the Meat Bar and Bath Street Palomino as two city centre venues which are riding the current wave of enthusiasm for dishes which are smoked, barbequed and wouldn’t look out of place in a Texan pit restaurant.

For funky cocktails and pan-Asian dishes, try scoping out Bar Soba on Mitchell Lane and Mama San at Saint Judes. The young at heart may care to note that both venues feature DJs as the night wears on.

If a pianist appeals more than a DJ, then the Baby Grand at Charing Cross could float your boat. The venue has a bistro menu filled with garlic chicken salads; the char grilled house burger and more fantoosh dishes such as the whole roast wood pigeon with boulangere potatoes, red and white grapes plus a Muscat glaze.

Darcy’s and October Cafe and Late Bar, both in Prince Square, are good examples of Glasgow institutions which have kept pulling in the customers by constantly re-inventing themselves. With a toy room and 3D (!) kids’ menu, Darcy’s is probably the more family-friendly venue while October has two distinct personalities. By day, it’s a pleasant spot for lunch. In the evenings, it’s more geared to cocktail-loving pre-clubbers. Both offer modern bistro/gastropub menus.

For those in search of a more traditional Glasgow bar experience, we would recommend popping into the venerable Griffin Bar. Yes, they serve a goat’s cheese salad and a Thai chicken but they also kick it old school with options such as the mac ‘n’ cheese; mince ‘n’ tatties plus ‘Glasgow salad’ A.K.A. chips.

Push the boat out

Brian Maule at Chardon D'Or

Brian Maule at Chardon D'Or

While the wonderful world of the Glasgow boozer has many merits, it may not be suitable for every occasion. If you were keen to celebrate something, say, for example, a podium place for the 100 metre sprint, then you might want to consider other options. The following, given in no particular order, would all make the Top City Centre Restaurant list for many people.

Lots of people have pondered why Brian Maule at Chardon D'Or doesn’t have a Michelin star. Chef Maule, who trained with the Roux brothers, doesn’t seem unduly concerned and just keeps on producing enviable, modern and seasonal French cooking.

Over on Royal Exchange Square, 29 - The Grill At The Square, is part of a plush members club and specialises in a great range of Scottish seafood along with carefully sourced, dry aged steaks which are available in a wide variety of cuts. Good service and good views over the Square are all part of the package.

No round-up of notable Glasgow restaurants would be complete without mention of the tremendous seafood and memorable atmosphere available at Rogano and Cafe Rogano. However, you will have to wait until Wednesday when they get a blog post all to themselves.

However, we will stick with seafood and point you towards the Two Fat Ladies city centre branch. Part of a very popular, five-strong family of Two Fats restaurants, the city centre branch is cosy, bijou and rather sleek. Fish dishes such as the whole lemon sole with tarragon and an almond and garlic butter are prominent alongside more meaty options like the roast Gressingham duck breast with a cherry and pancetta jus.

Blythswood Square Restaurant

Blythswood Square Restaurant

Its near neighbour, The Restaurant at Blythswood Square, is part of the five star Blythswood Square hotel. Formerly the Clubhouse for The Royal Scottish Automobile Club, the restaurant used to be the RSAC’s ballroom.

It is still a stylish, eye-catching space with an inventive menu. Typical dishes might be the starter of Inverlochy smoked salmon with Atlantic crab, vichyssoise, crab essence, caviar and wild herbs or the main course of roast haunch of venison with honey-spiced beetroot, quince fluid gel, hazelnut mayonnaise, goat's cheese and toasted hazelnuts. Pride of place in the kitchen goes to the Josper charcoal oven which is used to sear dry aged Aberdeenshire beef.

Carefully sourced, dry aged steaks are also a key feature at Barolo Grill alongside classic Italian risotto, pizza and pasta dishes such as the pappardelle with fresh, West Coast crab and smoked pancetta. As the name suggests, Italian wines are also one of the big attractions here. If you wanted to push the boat out, we would kick off with a classic Champagne cocktail followed by the ripasso Valpolicella which is partially made with dried grapes for a more intense flavour. The house reds start at £16.95.

Last but by no means least, the Urban Bar & Brasserie on St Vincent Place is a handsome building which once housed the Bank of England’s Scottish HQ. With staff decked out in smart black and white uniforms, wood panelling and huge booths, a meal here always feels like an occasion.

The menu is modern British and changes with the seasons. Typical dishes might be the simply grilled lemon sole with citrus crème fraiche; the saddle of venison with port wine gravy, buttery mash or the Granny Smith apple and pumpkin ravioli with Parmesan cheese and dressed leaves. Desserts might feature a cheeseboard comprising a brie de Meaux, Roquefort and Keens cheddar or a decadent pud like the Valrhona chocolate tart with caramel ice cream and a Champagne and blueberry jelly with vanilla yogurt.

Restaurant offers, menus & reviews

5pm Dining has offers, customer reviews and menus for all these restaurants and more - check out our Glasgow City Centre page here where you can search according to your availability.

We've also got a handy map so you can see what & hotels here"http://www.5pm.co.uk/restaurant/glasgow2014commonwealthgames/">restaurants and offers are near your hotel and where to eat out near sporting venues.



10 Italian restaurants in Glasgow City Centre to try

Glasgow City Centre has numerous options if you're an Italian food fan. Here are 10 Italian restaurants in Glasgow City Centre to try from 5pm Dining. View menus, reviews and more offers via the links.

Ristorante Piccolo Mondo

Head down Argyle Street and near the Radisson Blu you'll find Ristorante Piccolo Mondo, a second generation family run Italian restaurant. The family brought the taste of Barga in the hills of Tuscany to Glasgow with the opening of the original restaurant in 1974. The second generation opened up the Argyle Street restaurant in 2005 and its traditional dishes with mordern touches have been very popular with 5pm diners since. 

Offer: £19.50 for 2 courses on variety menu + aperitif + an Italian liqueur - more info

La Lanterna

La Lanterna on Glasgow's Hope Street receives glowing reviews from 5pm diners. We really don't have to say much more, here's a review from Margaret Mooney on 24 June 2014:

"Glasgow's Italian Gem -- I cannot fault La Lanterna at all. Went here with another 4 adults and a child for my son in laws 30th birthday as it's his favourite Italian restaurant. The food was delish as usual, the service impeccable. The waiter and waitress are lovely people so welcoming and accommodating. The value for money is amazing. I love La Lanterna and will return."

Offer -  £13.95 for 2 courses on pre-theatre menu - more info

Pulcinella

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Sticking to Hope Street, Pulcinella offers a slice of traditional Italy. Gingham table cloths, murals and Italian flags are served up with generous portions of Italian cuisine. Great value for money.

Offer - £12.50 for 3 courses on pre-theatre menu + glass of wine or beer - more info

Singl-end

Off the beat and track of the main city centre hub, Single-end is close to Glasgow School of Art in Garnethill. With a fun mix of industrial furniture, decorations made from old postcards and menus displayed on drop down tablet screens, this family run restaurant offers rustic Italian food. Whatever is fresh that day will be on the daily changing menus and authenticity is guaranteed.

Offer - £7.95 for 2 courses - more info

Il Pavone

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Perfect if you've been enjoying a day's shopping, either for lunch or dinner, Il Pavone is in the heart of Glasgow's Princes Square. Located at the bottom of the shopping centre, children are welcomed and perfectly free to run around the bottom of the Square whilst you enjoy their popular dishes.

Of particular note is the Miale Porchetta, a pork joint rolled with apple and fresh mint, served over a red chard, walnut, orange and grape salad with a honey and mustard dressing.

Offer - £12.95 for 2 courses on set menu + glass of wine or beer - more info

Fratelli Sarti - Wellington Street & Renfield Street

A popular and well established family run Glasgow Italian, you can choose between Sarti's on Renfield Street or their restaurant on Wellington Street.

The Renfield Street restaurant is housed in a converted 1890s banking hall, the opulent touches still remain such as the Murano chandeliers. The Wellingston Street restaurant has a relaxed, traditional Italian deli feel. Both offer delicious Tuscan style cuisine with a large range of pizza and pasta.

Offer - £9.95 for 2 courses on menu del giorno - Renfield Street or Wellington Street

La Vita George Square

In prime location overlooking George Square, La Vita is a popular family friendly Italian set over several floors. Known for its friendly and effecient service and warm welcome La Vita is a great option if you're enjoying a night in the city centre. The penne del Giorno is particularly popular, crumbled Italian sausage, pan fried with extra virgin olive oil, cherry tomatoes and pine nuts, with garlic and chilli, and dressed with parmesan shavings.

Offer - £13.95 for 3 courses on 5pm menu + glass of sangria or prosecco - more info

Amarone

 

Amarone is on Glasgow's main shopping area, Buchanan Street, and this Italian restaurant has a stylish and classy interior with ingredients sourced from specialist Italian suppliers ensuring an authentic meal. Their Linguine ai Frutti di mare is definitely worth a try; mixed Scottish fish and shellfish with olive oil, garlic and parsley in tomato or bianco sauce. 

Offer - £13.95 for 2 courses on 5pm menu - more info

Antipasti

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Offering fantastic value for money, Cafe Antipasti is well placed as a dining stop before enjoying the bars on Sauchiehall Street and Bath Street or the theatres nearby.

A cosy restaurant that's pretty much been full everyday since it opened in 1997 you can expect a good selection of pizza and pasta, the goats cheese and mozzarella pizza with kalamata olives, sweet cherry tomatoes and pine nuts is particularly popular. 

Offer - £8.95 for 2 courses on seasonal menu - more info

Di Maggio's Royal Exchange Square

This branch of the extremely popular Glasgow Italian group Di Maggio's has a fantastic location on Royal Exchange Square overlooking the Gallery of Modern Art. In the summer, you might be lucky enough to get a seat in their al fresco area plus you can admire the beautiful canopy of lights across the square throughout the year from Di Maggios.

Offering Italian dining with an American twist, you'll find pizza and pasta alongside burgers, ribs and steaks. The restaurant is very family friendly.

Offer - £9.95 for 2 courses on 5pm set menu - more info

 



New restaurants in Dundee

Bento boxes are one of the many attractions at Dundee's Oshibori.

Bento boxes are one of the many attractions at Dundee's Oshibori.

Desperate Dan may be noted for his love of steak pies but Dundonians have a much wider choice of culinary goodies to get stuck into.

In the last week, the City of Discovery has seen two new ventures open.

Oshibori is a new ramen and sushi bar on the Nethergate. According to their Facebook page, the business has links with Paris, New York, Tokyo and Dubai.

In that context, it's easy to see why Dundee would have been top of the list of new openings.

Sushi and sashimi

You can view their full menus via their Facebook page but it looks pretty comprehenive to us with everything from sushi and sashimi platters to teriyaki dishes and all manner of ramen.

More dishes will be added as the kitchen finds its feet.

Interestingly, the restaurant seems to be divided into four area:

Heritage - decked out with dining tables with chairs, carvers and benches.


Contemporary - featuring a granite marble table with benches and low height bar stools + a ramen/sushi bar/cocktail bar with bar stools.


Traditional - Japanese style low seating and tables.


Beer garden - with gazebo, parasols with dining chairs and tables.

Artisan pizza

A hop, skip and a jump away on Whitehall Crescent, the True Pizza Co. has started serving up some fine looking pizza alongside dishes such as mac 'n' cheese; baked canneloni and chicken or pork with fries and coleslaw. Or rather 'slaw.

The good people at STV Dundee have an in-depth interview with the owner of the new venture here.

Stripped back is the decor call at True Pizza Co.

Stripped back is the decor call at True Pizza Co.

 



Secrets of a good coffee from Cranachan in Glasgow’s Princes Square

There's no doubt about it, Glasgow loves coffee. New coffee spots continue to pop up all over the city at a rapid rate, each one proclaiming to have the city's best blend.

And gone are the days of pre packed instant coffees. Today's discerning Glaswegians expect beans roasted in house served with an aeropress, smooth with just the right amount of bitterness.

Cranachan in Glasgow's upmarket Princes Square is popular spot to grab an afternoon coffee and a cake. We asked manager Murray Barr to let us in on the secrets of a good coffee.

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Cranachan Princes Square

Consistency

"Coffee in general is all about consistency, having the right amount of coffee each time. It's all about getting the air in and making sure you do it early so you don't over steam the milk and make it too hot. It's about free pouring; you don't want to hold back the froth, you want to make sure it's nice and smooth."

Cappucino

"Cappuccinos are the most popular here at Cranachan. In Italy they only drink cappuccinos for breakfast but here we just buck that trend. There's no set time for cappuccinos."When you get a cappuccino you don't want it to be a big layer of froth, You want it nice and smooth and creamy. The portion of milk to froth should be 50/50 for a cappuccino.

Latte

"Lattes should have just a little bit of froth at the top. For a latté, just a quarter inch on top and super milky."

Flat white

"After cappuccinos and lattes, flat whites are the most popular coffee at Cranachan. Flat whites originated in London's Soho. They are a more intense coffee, slightly less frothy milk than a cappuccino. It's in between a latte and a cappuccino but with more coffee so it's a punchier but shorter coffee. Flat whites are where coffee art came from. I try my best at coffee art myself but more often than not I end up with an apple or a love heart. From what I've heard from the experts, it's all about keeping the surface of your milk jug close to the expresso."

Sociable

"People in Glasgow are really sociable and enjoy sitting down and having a chat. There's no better way to do it than with a coffee. It's a nice routine to get into and a good excuse to have a gab."

Watch Cranachan's Sheryll make a cappucino in the video below.

£12.95 afternoon tea offer at Cranachan when booking on 5pm.



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.

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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.

Refurbishment

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."

Modern

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.

chef-selfie

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.



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