Saturday, 28 July 2012

GOING TO THE GROSVENOR, GUV'NOR?



Those of a certain age who are familiar with Glasgow's West
End will remember the famous Grosvenor Cafe once situated in
the equally famous Ashton Lane.  At one time it was renowned for its
all-you-can-eat 99 pence student breakfasts.  Unfortunately, I didn't
discover this charming establishment until August of 1999, when I and a
young lady partook of a good old-fashioned 'fry-up' one morning in an
attempt to replenish the energy we had so enthusiastically expended
the night before.  Breakfasts cost a little more than 99p by that time
('though still extremely reasonably priced), and I instantly fell in love
with the place.  Consequently, I returned as often as I could over
the course of the next couple of years or so.

Imagine my dismay then, when I read in The Daily Record,
dated Saturday, November 3rd, 2001, that the historic eaterie had
closed its doors for the final time.  However, exactly a week later, on
the 10th, the same newspaper reported that a new owner had moved the
cafe upstairs.  Alas, it was the same in name only - even 'though some of
the staff from downstairs had come with it.  The original premises were
turned into a Vodka-Wodka Bar, and the new Grosvenor didn't
last too long before becoming a Mediterranean-style eaterie
called Mimmo's.


(As it turned out, Mimmo's proved to be an excellent restaurant, and
I had many a fine meal there over the years.  A few weeks back, however,
I trotted along to treat myself to yet another gourmet delight - only to find
it also had closed.  I was informed by staff in the bar downstairs that it had
relocated, and that a new owner would be re-opening the upstairs premises
under another name, but I haven't yet had a chance to get back along and
check the place out.  Here's hoping it can continue the fine standard
established by the previous owner.  Although I digress.)

So, for all those who remember the Grosvenor Cafe in Ashton Lane,
here's a couple of photos from 2000 to stir up some fond memories for
you.  (I'd have taken more, but my camera ran out of film.)  The mural on
the wall was printed on the old cafe's menus a little while before it closed,
and I managed to bribe one of the waitresses who went to work upstairs
to part with one she'd kept as a souvenir.  One glance at that mural and
it's 1999 once more, and I'm having breakfast with a young lady whose
insatiable appetite was not confined to bangers, beans, bacon and
eggs, regardless of how delicious they happened to be.

Ah, to be young again.

******

Re-reading this today, September 6th, 2013, I'm struck by
the fact that The Grosvenor Cafe has now been gone for a couple
of months short of twelve years.  My visits took place over a mere
two year period ('though seems longer than that), but the memories
remain as fresh and as vivid as if they occurred only a few short
months ago.  Where on earth does the time go?

7 comments:

moonmando said...

Breakfast sounded delish kid,and you did`nt forget the sauce!

Dougie said...

I first discovered the Grosvenor in 1984 and used to eat (and smoke!)there fairly regularly. IIRC, a Ben Lawers was an ice cream scoop served on a Tunnock's snowball.

My loyalty lay with the Equi Cafe at Charing Cross, however, frequented by pop stars of the day, the Bluebells and Lloyd Cole.

In the Nineties, I preferred Sannino's on Gibson Street for their toasted cheese, bacon and banana rolls ( much more appetising than they sound). Sadly, like many an affordable cafe, it was gone by the end of that decade.

I was only in the Grosvenor cinema about a half-dozen times. Again, I can remember smoking fags there in the 80s.I also remember Batman and Robin in 1997 and looking at my watch, wondering "how much longer?"

Kid said...

Moonmando, are you saying I'm 'saucy'?

Dougie, talking of Gibson Street, I must confess that I'm quite partial to the Offshore Cafe there. I used to live just 'round the corner in Great George Street back in the '50s. Never managed past the foyer of the Grosvenor Cinema, but I was annoyed at its 'conversion' some years back.

Batman & Robin? Holy turkeys!

Kid said...

PS: Dougie, apparently Loyd Cole also hung out at the Grosvenor.

mo king said...

What a great article, brought back so many memories. I worked there as a waitress for many years and was one of the members of staff who moved upstairs when it was sold (and your right, it was never the same). I left uni just looking for a summer job to tide me over and ended up staying for over 5 years because i loved it so much. I remember serving Belle and Sebastian all the time (great tippers), Phil Daniels a couple of times and best of all Scarlet from River City came in all the time, long before she ever became Scarlet lol. Great great times

mo king said...

god this brought back so many memories. I worked here for over 5 years and loved every minute of it. It was unbelievably busy but the staff, owners (Larry and Guislaine) and the regulars made it all worthwhile. One of those jobs that will never be forgotten, Like the article says it was sold and moved upstairs (and i moved with it) but it really was never the same. Great great memories, good, bad, scary and emotional, it had it all :-)

Kid said...

Hi, Mo. I see the comments moderation function frustrated you, so I've published both versions of your comment to make up for it. Just think, you may even have served me. I remember being there one night and the waitresses played my Mel Torme CD as I sat there and had a latte and a little something to eat. It was extremely atmospheric, and I'm really sad the place is gone.