Review: Connich Bar, City Centre

The foyer of a chain hotel is perhaps not an obvious first choice for dining, but the Connich Bar, situated in the Glasgow Hilton is as welcoming and cosy as any West End eatery. If you sit by the open fire or nestle into one of the comfy chairs in the corner, you can almost forget where you are. Dimly lit in just the right way and staffed by the friendliest folk I have encountered in a Glasgow restaurant for some time, Connich certainly appears to tick all the right boxes.

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Drinks were ordered first from a somewhat overwhelming menu; the choice of whiskeys alone taking up two pages. I played it safe with a Tennents whilst my eating compadre opted for a cocktail; a Passion Symphony, with lemon infused vodka and apple juice. After sampling his far more decadent choice, I instantly regretted mine as it was one of the nicest drinks I have ever had the misfortune not to order.

Whilst Connich is essentially a bar with food, rather than the other way round, the menu is concise yet varied enough to make deciding tough. A big factor to the average punter would be the prices, as it was staggeringly expensive. The aforementioned cocktail was £9.50. We were very lucky – and hugely appreciative – to have been invited down to try out the menu gratis, but we would probably have balked and run away had that not been the case. Saying that though, the haggis balls I picked and the pakora my pal selected for starters were exemplary. I would maybe go as far as to say that it was the best haggis i have ever had; it melted in the mouth and was just the right amount. I was sad to finish it. So long, haggis balls.

We both selected pretty safe mains; myself opting for the fish and chips, him the pepperoni pizza. The menu also offered what read like a pretty tasty sounding burger with smoked applewood cheese and shoestring fries and a number of pasta dishes, complimented by salads and various expensive sides. The good service continued with a speedily delivered main course.

My fish and chips were great; the fish was soft and fresh, chunky chips crispy and tasty and the array of dips and mushy peas delicious. My only complaint would be the way the food was presented; all food groups set out in different ramekins on a long, thin plate. Talk about first-world problems, but it did make the eating experience a little fiddly and didn’t give the instant comfort-food feeling one normally gets from a good serving of fish and chips. At £14.50 though, it was a bit on the steep side.

The pepperoni pizza was not quite as successful; small and perfunctory, it had the look of a high-end supermarket pizza and according to my friend it tasted as such. There’s no shortage of good pizza choices now in Glasgow, and at £12.50 a pop one would expect a little more slice for your money. Another pet-peeve was the peppers it had, which were not listed on the menu. This seems to be a common occurrence these days, with mystery additions being added to food. Hey restaurant owners, please stop doing this!

A second round of drinks – same choices – was followed by dessert, which more than made up for any shortcomings the main may have had. Sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch ice cream; rich, but not overly so. Warm but not too hot, it was completely delicious. I was tempted by the impressive looking cheese board, too. Perhaps next time.

For a visiting business person or wealthier tourist, Connich is a good choice on a rainy evening, offering an eclectic menu and a relaxing vibe. But considering where it is – by the banks of the M40 in a hotel lobby – it’s probably not going to attract many people who aren’t already there at the Hilton, especially considering the wealth of choices just a short walk away on Sauchiehall street.

Minor gripes aside, it was a thoroughly pleasant evening and with introduction of a slightly cheaper menu I could definitely see myself returning.

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