Sometimes, food can get very samey, and you wonder why you were ever so obsessed with it, when the quality of most isn’t up to scratch. This has slowly become very true of me and my relationship with pizza. *Pause for gasps of horror*
Lets be honest, shop-bought pizzas are usually pretty sub-par, and I’m at a point where just the smell of Dominos makes me feel ill, let alone the taste. So when a restaurant in Glasgow was listed as providing the best pizza in the UK, I figured it was worth a try, and for me, it certainly breathed new life into a food that had lost a little of its magic.
Paesano Pizza is located on Miller Street in the city centre, and its reputation clearly precedes it, as the queue for tables was already out the door at 6.00pm. With us being a group of five, we began to panic about how long we’d be waiting, but after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, the staff at the door managed to squeeze us in. If you don’t fancy waiting an hour for a table however, you can always get your pizza to takeaway. The place was jam-packed, but we were quickly escorted to a spacious table towards the back of the restaurant, with a great view of the open kitchen, which housed three massive wood-fired pizza ovens.
The interior of the restaurant has a very industrial feel to it, with floor-to-ceiling beams throughout, long wooden tables and benches, and walls stacked with logs, pizza boxes, olive oil and sacks of flour. The specials are hand-written on large scrolls of brown baking parchment hanging from a number of walls across the room, and the place was filled with the smell of wood fires.
Our waitress appeared within minutes of us sitting down to take our drinks order, while we looked over the menu, which is extremely simple. There are eight pizzas to choose from, each with a number next to it for ease of ordering, as well as the daily specials board, and a few simple sides. I went for number seven, which was topped with Tuscan fennel sausage, and as we gave our order to the waitress, she scribbled our chosen pizza number onto our menus, a clever idea so she knew exactly whose pizza was whose when she brought them over to the table.
The pizzas are, honestly, incredible. From our vantage point next to the kitchen, we could see each pizza dough being carefully hand stretched and filled with our desired toppings, after which they are slid into the 500C heat of the wood-fire ovens. The resulting pizza in front of me had perfectly melted toppings, and the most incredible light, soft crusts you can imagine. You can taste the difference when the pizzas are cooked in the wood-fire oven, imparting a slightly smoky, charcoal flavour to the base that makes it feel authentic and traditional. The Tuscan fennel sausage was crumbly and full of flavour, with just the right amount of that aniseed taste, not at all overpowering, and deliciously meaty.
Everyone at my table ate in almost complete silence as we devoured our pizzas, with the occasional moans of “oh my god” and “this is so good!” Our happiness was only increased when we received our bill, which came to an incredible £61 for five pizzas, a bottle of wine, beer and two soft drinks. I was so impressed by the value for money, and despite the place being unwaveringly busy, there was no sense of hovering waiters desperate to clear our table. The service was fast, efficient and not at all rushed. My only regret as we walked out of Paesano Pizza, is that I didn’t have enough room to sample the Peanut Butter & Chocolate Torte that glared at me from the specials board. Next time, my friend, next time…
***UPDATE: PAESANO WEST END TO OPEN THURSDAY 20TH APRIL 2017***