There’s no denying that The Corinthian Club is housed in one of the most impressive buildings in Glasgow city centre.
Previously known as Lanarkshire House, the imposing Grade A-listed edifice was built in 1843 as a lavish office for the Glasgow Ship Bank, which merged with the Union Bank shortly after. It was further extended in the 1870s to become the vast building we see today.
Like the building it calls home, I found it nothing short of impressive
When the bank moved out in the 1920s, it was taken over by the judiciary to become an overflow for the nearby Sheriff Court.
It’s hard to imagine prisoners ever being led to the dock when you visit the Corinthian today.
With double-height ceilings, ornate columns, polished marble floors and windows larger than many homes, it is the height of Victoriana, a throwback to the time when Britannia ruled the waves and Glasgow was the second city of empire.
Some of that old imperial confidence has been retained. The Corinthian modestly markets itself as “the best restaurant and bar in Glasgow”.
Could it live up to its own hype?
The restaurant is in the stunning bank tellers hall. When it was renovated in 1999, a false ceiling installed when it was used as a court was removed to reveal a 26-foot high glass dome dating back to 1853.
I chose haggis bon bons from the usual staple starters.
What arrived was a refined take on the classic Scottish dish; delicious crisp-coated haggis, a smidge of neep and tatty and both a tasty gravy and a whisky cream — a nice touch if you struggle to choose between old fashioned comfort and trendy new flavours.
Gillian’s wild mushrooms and garlic on brioche went down a treat, earthy mushrooms and silky sauce paired well with that sweet toasted crunch.
She asks me to warn you that there’s a hefty garlic punch to this dish, so it’s not exactly first date food.
I can’t resist ordering a steak when in a restaurant like The Corinthian. You know such places usually invest in good quality meat.
I wasn’t disappointed with a deep-seared, dark-charred hunk of steak paired with thick wedge-like chips and a tasty bearnaise sauce — the steak may have gone a little beyond medium, but I didn’t mind too much.
Gillian claimed she won the mains round with her seared scallops, chorizo and butternut squash.
She waxed lyrical about the perfectly cooked seafood, spice-rich sausage and sweet squash puree — it’s not a new combination but that’s a few of my favourite things on one plate, so The Corinthian kitchen was always on to a winner.
Several colleagues who have visited The Corinthian for food tell me they found it overpriced and lacking in quality.
But, like the building it calls home, I found it to be nothing short of impressive.
191 Ingram Street
(0141) 551 1101