The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, also known as frequency illusion, is when a thing you just found out about suddenly seems to crop up everywhere. The Anchor Line has seldom featured in our conversations about food, but has done so repeatedly this month, leading us to have lunch there on three separate occasions. No idea why. It just worked out that way.
The restaurant is convenient and comfortable. On the surface, a stereotypical business-friendly dining room and cocktail bar straight out of central casting. An immaculate, plush pair of rooms on St Vincent Street, close to George Square. Big windows and lots of light. Space to move around. A lot to look at.
The distinguishing local touches are the many pictures and fixtures covering the walls that depict the opulent world of transatlantic travel on grand steamships – a company called Anchor Line operated routes between Glasgow and New York in the early 1900s, they had an office on Union Street. The bric-a-bric and period posters are endearing rather than kitsch. Embrace the nautical theme.
There’s a strong surf and turf element to the menu. Grilled Oysters Rockefeller with spinach, garlic butter, lemon (3 for £9, 6 for £16). Lobster mac and cheese with truffle oil and Grana Padano (£22). A ground Scottish steak burger with smoked cheddar cheese, caramelised onions, seeded brioche bun, Asian slaw and a portion of skinny fries.
Let’s talk about the steaks that arrive after being fired in a josper grill – the latest must-have chef’s toy and the hottest indoor barbecue available. Choose from a fillet, sirloin or ribeye. Select from skinny fries, hand cut chips or creamy mash.
You can add little ladles of steak sauces – standard options like Bearnaise or pepper, more unusual ones like gorgonzola or Madeira truffle jus. Extras like roasted bone marrow or garlic king prawns or even a half lobster can finish off the dish depending on how decadent you are feeling on the day.
This is a busy spot and you’ll see a procession of bovine mains being carved by diners at tables in the evening. Elsewhere, around the long bar and in nearby alcoves, there will be an abundance of whisky, bourbon and gin cocktails. It’s really quite the scene.
The lunchtime set menu offers value with two courses for £16.95 or three for £20.95. On our last visit we had a wonderfully light risotto with mushrooms, Parmesan, rocket and a poached egg. Also look for a simple, fresh salmon fillet with summer greens while it is on the menu or the pumpkin ravioli with confit tomato and a herb butter sauce. Finish with a berry cheesecake or a chocolate brownie.
Now we are more familiar with The Anchor Line, its menu, surroundings and purpose, we’d be happy to make it a regular port of call.
The Anchor Line
12–16 St Vincent Place
T: 0141 248 1434