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The Citizen Glasgow Restaurant review

There is no such thing as a free lunch for Cat Thomson as she discovers when she heads to Glasgow to review The Citizen, on St Vincent Place.

Newspapers and journalism captivated my heart a long time ago. However you consume your news today, be it online or in print, there will always be a need for considered journalism, and a place for newspapers to inform, challenge and stimulate debate.

And what else could you use to line the bottom of the budgie cage?

Over the centuries, the ebb and flow of the economy and circulation has meant that sadly some newspaper titles have come and gone. 

The Glasgow Citizen was one of Glasgow’s very first newspapers. It was launched in 1842 by James Hedderwick, who had studied at the University of London before becoming a poet, then a journalist and finally a newspaper proprietor.

His son, Maxwell, followed in his footsteps and along with the architect, TL Watson, designed a new purpose-built red sandstone office on St Vincent Place.

The Citizen Glasgow
The Citizen's interior: it’s the type of place Lois Lane from the Daily Planet might arrange to meet Superman for a sizzling exclusive interview,

Sadly the final evening edition was printed in 1974 and now it is a designer gastro pub that conjures up its bygone age. The A-listed building is pretty swanky, encapsulating all the glamour of the past.

The central location and a food list that caters to a wide range of tastes made this the ideal venue for a catch up with my colleagues.

My initial impression of the joint is that it’s the type of place Lois Lane from the Daily Planet might arrange to meet Superman for a sizzling exclusive interview, #hud the front page.

The interior is all dark wood, teal velvet chairs and brass fittings with journo-themed paintings and photographs lining the walls. There are window panes which feature The Citizen original masthead, and artist Ranald MacColl was commissioned to create paintings of fictional characters: editor, reporter, and snapper.

The Citizen Glasgow
Ranald MacColl on the walls of The Citizen Glasgow

There are also old yellowed front pages of the Evening Citizen’s heyday throughout which gives it a newsy theme.

The reality of journalism today means everything is slightly more Ricky Gervais’s Tambury Gazette than Woodward and Bernstein in All The President’s Men (1976).

Our profession is historically linked with the demon drink, so it is no surprise to see an extensive cocktail menu. 

Unfortunately I missed the glory days of excess, when a pre morning conference swig of whisky was de rigueur. My companions and I are all driving so we leave the hard drinking for another time. 

The newspapermen of old would be turning in their graves at the very thought of a mocktail, “The Bloody Shame,” a non alcoholic version of a Bloody Mary.

The Citizen Glasgow
The Citizen Glasgow

We order olives and bread for starters, chuckling at the menu’s nod to local produce, featuring Lanarkshire bread to accompanied the olives which we all know will have come from further away.

There is a tasty round of rosemary infused butter to tantalise even our most jaded of palates.

Journalists are renowned for being unhealthy, so to buck the trend I sampled the grilled halloumi bowl (£7.95). It was zen on a plate and I demolished this tasty platter of life-extending wild rice, baby spinach, green beans and avocado which was topped with squeaky grilled halloumi.

The sweet pomegranate seeds played a delicious counterfoil to the balsamic vinegar reduction which it came smothered in.

Our main course selections featured pan seared Scottish salmon, nestling next to a roundel of spuds, served with tomato broth and Shetland mussels (both £14.95) which had been steamed in sherry.

The Citizen Glasgow
The Citizen Glasgow

Our snapper declared it was both tasty and as pretty as a picture.

Next up was the spicy coriander tempura encased seabass (£13.95). It was cooked to perfection and complemented perfectly by pepper chilli jam. The side order of chips received resounding accolades from all in our chapel meeting.

I let the journo hard living image side down massively by selecting a vegan moving mountains burger (£15.95).

It came served with salad, pickles and vegan mayonnaise but minus the vegan bacon (as they’d run out). It arrived spiked by a wooden skewer, sadly like my copy so often is.

As our lunch jolly would be on expenses, we felt it would be essential to tackle a trio of desserts (£5.95 to £6.95).

My soft hearted colleague opted for the winter warming apple and blackberry Charlotte. Scoop of the day for me was the fruits of the forest sorbet.

The Citizen Glasgow
The Citizen Glasgow

The final dessert was a bobby dazzler of a praline crème brûlée, dressed to the nines with elegant raspberries. Well, we are in Glasgow, where that sort of thing matters.

While we pontificated on the state of current journalism, passionately setting the world to rights, we sipped tea and double espresso.

The cups were accompanied by a square of white chocolate fudge, to help sweeten our mood, as we trudged back to deadlines.

Our verdict in black and white: central, stylish but not cutting edge.

The Citizen
24 St Vincent Place,
G1 2EU

Tel: 0141 222 2909

Catriona is a freelance writer based in the Scottish Borders, and a nominee for Food and Drink writer at this year's Scottish Press Awards.

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