I ALMOST literally blew in here at, say, five to three on the pm with the glib words: I’m not too late for lunch, am I?

And look now, I’m squeezed into a little corner table in a brand-spankers-newly announced Michelin Bib Gourmand – slurping silkily hand-made agnolotti, cauliflower, Mossgiel ricotta with toasted sunflower crunchy bangs break-dancing groovily across my tongue.

Ooh, the glamorous meeter-greeter lady had said as I came out of nowhere, a moment of indecision in her eyes.

Ooh, she says again: “The chef has already phoned down and we’ve told him that lunch service is over.”

But…off she goes to phone upstairs.

Now, I knew lunch service was officially all over at 2.30pm, and I knew they knew it too. And I can see, amazingly really, there are only two diners left in here right now, and they’re both all finished up.

They don't have a piano in Celentano’s but if they did it would have stopped playing – abruptly – when I came in. Not that that it would have mattered because while I’m standing here, awkwardly, awaiting my fate that Spaghetti Western music is playing in my head: oo-ee-oo-ee-oo, wah, wah, wah.

So, yes, I’m chancing it. Blaming Storm Hurrah-Let’s-All-Knock-Off-Early-Again for clogging the motorway out there and for dragging my feet and, actually, tactfully, nobody in here even mentions once that I haven’t booked.


“I’ll just have whatever’s left,” I promise innocently as the chef upstairs, no doubt muttering darkly, fires that gas burner back up again and plates some of those sweet little lasagne fritte bites. All crispy coating, tangy Cora Linn cheddar, and layers of signature soft fresh pasta.

Two smoked cod doughnuts are popped into my mouth in quick succession, crumbly choux bursting to release those smoky salty sea-shanties.

I’ll hang onto this plate, I say, as they swing up to my mid-landing table to clear for the next course.

I’m pretty sure I can find a continued use for those tiny dollops of house-made kimchi, so potent they almost blow my empty head clear off. And I’ll keep some of that preserved fennel, I insist, those crunchy turnip slices and radish will be nice with the pork chop.

Now, right now, as I’m sitting here, news has broken that Unalome across the city has been given a Michelin star. And just last Friday, it was announced that after, oh, I dunno, only a few months, Celentano’s here has been anointed a Bib Gourmand, which is probably the most interesting, exciting and bargain basement of all the high-drama Michelin gongs.

Order the Loch Etive trout, the Michelin inspectors say in the very report I’m browsing on my phone right here, and for a tiny moment I consider it. But who can resist a Gloucester Old Spot, bubbled on the barbecue, sliced across the grain, sticky, gooey golden-brown bits to suck away from the trimmed bone when that moist meat is all gone?

There are great, square, Rubik Cubes of tissue-thin potato stacks, fried in beef dripping to become a combo of potato dauphinoise in the middle and flaky Hestony chips on the outside. With a proper meaty, porty reduction to drag it all through.

Okay, tickety-tock, there’s just me here now, the clock’s hitting 4pm. I should, I must, let them shut up for the afternoon, get on with their lives. But someone says something about desserts and an affogato, always my mum’s favourite, modernised with malty, chocolately crumblings amongst the sharp, dark coffee is now before me.

“The chef says you had that the last time,” the lady with the swooshy Nike socks on says, talking about her husband upstairs and indicating, perhaps, that they felt they didn’t have that much choice but to serve me when I breezed up late.

Oooh, awkward I think. I’ve put them out. And I feel bad for that. But it was bloody good.

Menu: Loch Etive trout, Gloucester Old Spot chop on barbecue, lasagna fritte, agnolottis and pappardelles. Michelin Bib Gourmand magic. 5/5

Service: Warm, relaxed (considering), professional – this is the sweet spot of the Michelin guide categories. 5/5

Price: Those lasagne fritte snacks, and cod doughnuts, are less than £4, a proper bowl of pasta from £11, mains from £14. Bargain. 5/5

Atmosphere: There’s an old Glasgow feel here, bare surfaces, multiple levels, separate dining room at weekends. 3/5

Food: Comfortable food, properly prepared. Pork chop is delicious, the snacks entertaining, super agnolotti, grab a table quick. 9/10



Cathedral House Hotel

28 Cathedral Square


0141 552 3519