Historic building re-vamped for post-COVID-19 dining
We hadn’t been to Cathedral House Hotel for years. Long before a change of ownership in 2018 and extensive renovation last year. But the building does have a fascinating history and one we weren’t actually aware of prior to this visit – being built in 1877 as a halfway house for inmates released from Duke Street Prison, which was for the last half of its existence a women-only prison, so many Suffragettes and political activists were held here. The same people who would bring about its closure in 1955 and eventual demolition in 1958 by campaigning for better conditions. You can still see the remnants of the prison today as a hefty piece of boundary wall remains in the newer housing scheme behind Cathedral House Hotel.
With views towards the hilly Glasgow necropolis, the building is located in the heart of old Glasgow – a stone’s throw from Glasgow Cathedral and the oldest building in Glasgow, the Provand’s Lordship House, so gets a lot of passing trade from tourists but could be easily missed by locals who don’t frequent these parts – let’s change that.
We had in the past, been here many times, but I don’t remember the large beer garden ever being open (sadly it was pouring down during our visit) and I’m sure that the menu was always ‘Scottish’, i.e. Cullen Skink; haggis, neeps and tatties, that sort of thing. Boy, were we in for a shock with the new menu…first though, let’s sanitise our hands with the anti-bacterial gel at the entrance and wander inside…
It seems a lot brighter and welcoming than we remember. Names taken and quickly seated, the main restaurant area, now painted green is known as ‘The Green Room’.
Here’s the view from our table.
These are some excellent and well-priced wines. We ordered a rose, not the Pinot Grigio blush but rather a Simonsig Chenin Blanc and Pinotage 2019 blend from South Africa so a bit unusual and quite possibly the best rose I’ve ever quaffed and the Fortaleza del Ray Tempranillo 2018 wasn’t half bad either – a light red with cherry flavour and a dry tannic finish.
And so, onto the street food menu, which was not what we were expecting at all.
Fried potatoes topped with slow-cooked beef chili (£8)
Perfect tatties heaped with everything I love – tender beef, spring onion, chili and coriander. A huge portion that we shared between the two of us.
House beef burger, truffle mayo with bacon jam (£7.50)
A tasty meaty burger with the addition of truffle and bacon jam, which are always welcome additions. Fries don’t come with the burger but we had plenty of potato from the beef chili above.
Street corn with cajun lime butter (£4)
We both love corn on the cob, especially when it’s with lime, spring onions and coriander so a big win here and easily shared between two.
Surprisingly excellent and tasty scran, the food on offer was a pleasant surprise. Big portions, quickly delivered and the wine was great too. They are also taking part in the Eat out to help out scheme. Free WiFi and they are also on Instagram and Facebook. Get in before word gets out!
Toilets operating on a one-in, one-out basis. Both male and female loos were clean and looked after.
Staff wearing face masks and sanitiser upon entry and outside the toilets.
Thumbs up all round. Glasgow is definitely open for business again. Find out more about the Glasgow Is Open campaign at peoplemakeglasgow.com
Also, Cathedral House Hotel is, as the name implies, a hotel, and a boutique one at that. There are 8 rooms, each one unique. Room prices start at £75 per night (each sleeping two). They also have a private area upstairs (The Drawing Room), which can be booked for functions.
All of the restaurant tables are up steps but they may be able to accommodate if contacted in advance. The beer garden is disabled-friendly and there are toilets at ground level but not so for The Drawing Room or the bedrooms upstairs. It’s an old building with a winding staircase and there is no lift.
+ Unexpected street food menu
+ Great selection of affordable wines by the bottle
+ Large, proper beer garden (i.e. not just chairs on the pavement)
+ Clean, tidy toilets
+ COVID-19 guidelines being followed
+ Hidden gem
– Steps to dining tables
28-32 Cathedral Square, Glasgow, G4 0XA
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Disclaimer: we received free food to help get the word on the streets that Glasgow is open again!