For those of you whose appetites have been whetted by my feature on Glasgow in Issue 9 of Caffeine Magazine, I present the first of two Coffee Spots from that fair city which, for space reasons, didn’t make it into the article. Today we’re at the Riverhill Coffee Bar in the city centre, while on Thursday, we’ll be out on the Great Western Road, the other hub of Glasgow’s coffee scene, at the Veldt Deli.
Located just a stone’s throw from Glasgow’s Central Station, the terminus of the West Coast Mainline, Riverhill’s the perfect stopping off point for new arrivals. It also makes a great alternative if you’re killing time while waiting for a train. Despite occupying a tiny spot on Gordon Street, Riverhill nevertheless manages to pack a huge amount in. There’s breakfast and lunch, espresso and filter coffee from nearby Dear Green Coffee (literally a ten minute walk away), hot chocolate from Kokoa Collection and a selection of tea and a wide range of cake.
All of this is packed into an incredibly handsome space with bare-brick walls and just enough room for the counter, a six-seat bar on the opposite wall and a three-seat window bar.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The Riverhill Coffee Bar, an offshoot of the Riverhill Deli & Café in Helensburgh, opened just over a year ago in Glasgow city centre, occupying a strategic spot on Gordon Street, a couple of minutes from Central Station and about five minutes from Queen Street Station (which connects Glasgow with Edinburgh). As an aside, Helensburgh is a 45-minute train ride from Queen Street and the deli is right next to Helensburgh Central Station. I’ve not been, but if it’s half as good as the coffee bar, it’s a trip worth taking!
Riverhill Coffee Bar itself isn’t much to look at from the street: I managed to walk past and I was looking for it! This was largely because I turned my head at the wrong moment: yes, it’s that small! Riverhill has a floor-to-ceiling glass front that’s one-third door (right) and two-thirds window (left). Stepping inside, it’s about twice as high as it is wide and considerably deeper as it stretches away from you. There’s a wooden bar in the window immediately to your left, followed by the counter (also built of wood), while opposite that is the rest of seating: another wooden bar against the right-hand wall. Right at the back, iron railings fence off a spiral staircase which leads intriguingly down to what I believe is the kitchen (and sadly is staff only).
Seating at both bars is provided by some really neat little stools and while it doesn’t seem to be the most comfortable place to sit for any length of time, I was there for about an hour without suffering any discomfort. A neat feature is the little hooks under the bars where you can hang your coat on that rarest of occasions, a rainy day in Glasgow.
The interior is absolutely lovely, but then again, I’m a sucker for bare-brick walls, of which Riverhill has two impressive examples. However, talking with the manager, Kirsty, I discovered that these only came to light after Riverhill had taken over and started refitting the place. The back wall and ceiling are a simple white and the ample light which floods in through the window/door is supplemented with spotlights and large lights hanging down from the ceiling, ideal for those short winter days.
Given how small it is, I was impressed with what Riverhill has on offer, particularly the food and cakes. Breakfast is a choice of sandwiches, porridge and the like, while lunch offers sandwiches, wraps, salad and quiche. The coffee offering is equally impressive, all from the nearby Dear Green roastery. There’s the usual espresso offering, with a choice of regular blend or a guest single-origin bean and filter coffee through Aeropress or Clever Dripper (a Brazilian Fazenda during my visit). There’s also a shelf of retail beans next to the counter.
I tried the Brazilian through the Aeropress and it was lovely, a bold coffee with lots of body and a sweetness to it as it cooled. I paired this with some cake and, despite it being the end of the day, I was spoilt for choice. I selected the last banana, marshmallow and caramel tart which was nothing short of stunning. A lovely pastry base, packed with banana/caramel filling and capped with a meringue-like topping, it was full of flavour but surprisingly wasn’t sickly sweet.
|24 GORDON STREET • GLASGOW • G1 3PU|
|www.riverhillcafe.com/coffee-bar||+44 (0) 141 204 4762|
|Monday||08:00 – 17:00||Roaster||Dear Green (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 17:00||Seating||Bars with stools|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch|
|Thursday||08:00 – 17:00||Service||Order at counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 17:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||08:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Chain||Local||Visits||25th April 2014|
Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to Glasgow for more great Coffee Spots.
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