When you think of the hundreds of Italian eateries scattered across Glasgow, you think of gloopy carbonara, watery tomato sauce and below average pizzas…or is that just me? So many big Italian restaurants in Glasgow focus on these ‘classic’ Italian dishes, offering too much quantity and not enough quality. Italian may be incredibly popular – just type ‘Italian restaurants Glasgow’ and watch the results fly in – but is there anywhere in Glasgow that offers an authentic Italian experience? I think so, and I think that place is Eusebi Deli.
Ok so, I know it’s not actually been that long since I wrote about Eusebi Deli, but they recently launched their new spring menu, and I figure that gives me an excuse to revisit this heavenly corner of the west end, right?
Once seated in the deli, with it’s bright windows, beautiful tiled tables and memories of home adorned across the walls, we were greeted by the ever wonderful Giovanna, who sent us over a plate of what she describes as ‘the taste of Spring’ in Italy. It was, quite simply, a plate of fresh, raw broad beans and some pecorino cheese, representing the first harvest and the first cheese of the new season. So simple, yet it so perfectly encompasses the tastes of a rustic Italian spring snack.
The new spring menu offers a range of exciting new dishes, from seafood to pasta, and although I was tempted by the homemade ricotta I had on my last visit, I decided to try something new: scallops with yoghurt, oregano, chickpea, chilli, orange and Eusebi’s own extra virgin olive oil. What arrived at my table was a plate of beautifully caramelised scallops, crunchy chickpeas and yoghurt flavoured with that wonderful olive oil, chilli and orange, the oregano and yoghurt adding freshness to the plate. It was a very light dish, perfect as a starter, but perhaps featuring a few too many chickpeas, in my personal opinion.
Sam and I being the greedy, over-ambitious eaters we are, decided to also order the Roman focaccia ‘pinsa’ to share – the ancient Roman style ‘pizza’ made from dough proved for 72 hours and ‘pinched’ into shape. Naturally, despite its crisp deliciousness, we couldn’t finish it, but we also couldn’t part with it, so we kept it on the table to munch with our mains.
I had planned to order the agnolotti with lemon ricotta and burnt butter, but I was devastated to discover they had run out – it was 8.30pm on a Friday night, so I can’t complain too much – so I opted instead for the pappardelle with slow cooked beef shin, while Sam went for the vongole with nduja.
My pappardelle was like a warm, comforting hug from your Nonna. The beef, which had been marinated overnight and cooked slowly for 14 hours, was so unbelievably soft it almost formed a sauce in and of itself, the pasta offering just enough bite. I have to admit, it felt like a dish more suited to a winter menu, with such hearty, warming flavours, but then it’s not like we get much of a spring here in Scotland anyway! Sam’s vongole with clams and nduja was much lighter, with fresh salty clams and just a sprinkling of that spicy Calabrian sausage throughout.
When the plates were cleared, I felt as if I’d just gone to battle, and I was ready to lay down and recuperate after defeating my pasta-based foe, but for some inexplicable reason, Sam ordered dessert. In his defence, our table was directly facing the cake cabinet, filled with delicious-looking handmade cakes, tarts and treats, but I was so full of slow cooked beef and seared scallops I couldn’t stomach one! Sam opted for the chocolate and salted caramel tart, topped with raspberries and whipped cream, and he devoured it quicker than our dog devours a dentastick, declaring it one of the best tarts he’d ever had!
Priding itself on authentic Italian cuisine and produce, it’s unsurprising that the wine list consisted only of Italian wine, something I must admit I don’t tend to drink. However, throughout our meal we sipped on a bottle (or two) of 2015 Greco di Tufo and it was one of the nicest white wines I have ever had. Characterised as ‘intense and aromatic with ripe pears and honeyed, almond notes’ it was a perfect blend of dry and sweet, and it complemented my scallop dish beautifully. I’ve been meaning to go back and purchase a bottle for weeks now!
Our final bill came to just over £100 for two bottles of wine, two courses each, plus our focaccia and Sam’s dessert. To be honest, we could have spent less if we hadn’t had two bottles of wine, but when you step inside Eusebi Deli, you enter a place of comfort, of relaxation, of Italian authenticity, and what is it they say? “When in Rome…”