Tempus @ Grand Central, 99 Gordon Street, Glasgow. Tel 0141 240 3700
Edinburgh has its castle, Falkirk now has the Kelpies, but what visual shorthand is there for Scotland’s largest city?
The Grand Central’s new-found style seems more seasoned city slicker than harassed commute
The image of the River Clyde and the Finnieston Crane used by the BBC and STV looks good on screen, but the reality isn’t quite as impressive. The City Chambers in George Square are appealing, but no one wants their hometown defined by a council office.
My vote goes to the huge former railway hotel now known as the Grand Central, the Grade A-listed Victorian pile that dominates Gordon and Union Streets and overshadows the station it once served.
In its heyday, the old Central counted Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill among its former guests, but the late 20th century wasn’t kind to its reputation.
All that has now changed. Since its reopening in 2010, the four star hotel has earned a reputation as a first class venue for functions and is home to several snazzy bars and restaurants.
The largest eatery is Tempus, which occupies the original groundfloor dining room with a double-height ceiling and Queen Anne-style curved windows.
From our arrival one midweek evening, my other half and I were impressed with the restaurant’s impeccably dressed staff who regularly checked in that all is well at our table - and for the most part, it was.
I started with a goats cheese salad; slices of aubergine provided interest, brought together with an otherwise uninspiring bunch of leaves by that crumbling, oozing round of cheese - portion size really wasn’t a problem here.
Gillian enjoyed her scallops, but felt they could have been seared better, but were still paired well with strips of crispy bacon and pea puree.
On then to the mains, and my fillet steak and chips was a real winner; a succulent cut topped with an excellent garlic and herb butter.
Across the table, the smoked haddock received two thumbs up – a delicate, fresh meal with green beans, wilted spinach, poached egg and hollandaise – let down by excess water washing away the sauce, but still a smoky, yolk-rich mouthful.
We left the hotel’s champagne bar for another visit – but vowed to come back for a more lavish occasion than a midweek meal out.
The Grand Central’s new-found style seems more seasoned city slicker than harassed commuter – and it’s a look which suits the historic building, and its restaurant, rather well.