“Is everything alright with your starters?” I’ll give you a frank answer to that in a minute, but our immediate answer is No. I tell our waiter that our dinner is being disturbed by flies: a couple of bluebottles, and a retinue of no less persistent minions. He swats the air ineffectually and disappears. When he repeats the same question about our main courses, we ask him if he can do anything about the problem. He suggests fly spray.

Great, that’s just what I want near my food, insecticide. So harassed are we by airborne bugs, we move to another table hoping for peace to try the desserts, but they follow us like loyal canines. My skin crawls, I just can’t wait to get out of the Corinthian.

The coda to the ‘Waiter, waiter, there’s a fly in (or at least near) my soup' incident reinforces my suspicions about the catering-size wheelie bins barely concealed behind a locked stockade in the lane that abuts the restaurant. It’s been a hot day, and we learn that the side door onto the lane has been opened to air the restaurant, so I’m deducing that the flies must have migrated from there.

The core splendour of this fabulously grand Victorian bank building, once Glasgow’s High Court, now fights to be seen, obscured as it is by vulgar ‘pleasure palace’ decor. Its hard silvery-whiteness, its cut class mirrors, its incongruous zinc-like tabletops, its padded leather cast in concrete, its farcically tall curved booths that provide a louche sense of intimacy, Silvio Berlusconi or Hugh Hefner would be in their element here. As for quality, two features say it all. Fake flowers throughout; water carafes made out of plastic yet trying to look like crystal.

No-one much else appears to be eating. I did spot one man, walking up to the kitchen service door apparently trying to get attention, but the main demographic appears to be cocktail-swigging women. Perhaps they know something about the food that we do not, and think it best to stick to alcohol.

Our starters arrive on eerie, almost sci-fi plates that disconcertingly resemble silvery fish skin. The kitchen has managed to make the duck pastrami taste like old school garlic sausage. Four slices are hard work. It’s accompanied by yellowing watercress that might have been fresh yesterday, orange ‘gel’ that tastes acidic, gluey, and of nothing more, and ridiculously sweet and vinegary carrot and fennel ribbons. Smoked haddock Scotch egg smells and tastes like a really poor chip shop that’s overdue an oil change. The cauliflower in the purée beneath it has an odour that suggests it’s in the sunset of its life. The description mentions curry leaf, but not a one in sight.

Pork chop Schnitzel has at least been fried in butter. The peperonata below retains a briny taste that suggests the peppers came out of a jar. Ah, these more grey than pink meaty wedges must be the ‘thyme roasted lamb rump’. They sit on pulverised butter beans – edible, quite herby – and ‘red pepper and walnut pesto’, the latter tastes like more of the vinegary peppers, this time blitzed with nuts.

Where’s our ‘pommes puree and brown butter’? After some prompting, it arrives: basic mash, quite lumpy not smooth, no brown butter. No apology for its late arrival either. Another demonstration of our waiter’s shoulder-shrugging 'what do you expect me to do about it?’ air, a quality I associate with resentful, unmotivated, minimally trained, and under-supported staff who are counting the days until they can quit.

In the end, hotly pursued by flies, we pass on desserts and head for the door. The place is still pretty empty at this point. Trade seems sluggish. I interpret the Corinthian’s morning tea or coffee, with scone and morning paper deal (£3) as a cry of desperation. Financial investment in kitchen and front of house staff, and a refurbishment that maximises the multiple architectural assets of this fine space, might be more to the point.

A Brassiere spokesperson said: We take great care to ensure all our areas are kept to the highest possible standard and cleanliness which we thoroughly monitor daily. We have had no complaints about flies but will be diligent in monitoring this further.

The Corinthian, 191 Ingram St, Glasgow 0141 552 1101

Food: 4/10

Atmosphere: 3/10

Service: 3/10

Value for money: 3/10