Review: Crossing the Rubicon

Is there anything better in this world than pizza? Don’t answer that, I’m almost certain there are numerous things much, much better than pizza, but it’s right up there on the list, isn’t it? I mean, if we didn’t love pizza, then our city streets wouldn’t be littered with Pizza Hut and Dominos chains, and the whole of Glasgow wouldn’t be going nuts for Paesano, right?

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One of Glasgow’s other great food loves is curry, and Crossing the Rubicon brought us Indian street food paired with a range of craft beers up until recently, trading it all in for an Italian-German inspired menu featuring, you guessed it, pizza! Their website explains the change as going ‘back to their roots’, referencing Julius Caesar ‘Crossing the Rubicon’, with roman road style pizzas, rectangular like sections of a roman road, with the crusts as kerb-stones.

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While we have plenty of pizza parlours in Glasgow, CTR is trying to do something slightly different here by coming up with toppings and snacks a bit more off the beaten track, catering to a broad range of flavours and palettes, with pizzas named after Italian icons of the classical era, from Augustus to Marcus Aurelius (que everyone reading this daydreaming about that Gladiator speech).

The pizzas come in two different sizes (medium and large) and are supplemented by an extensive snack or bar bites menu, with each item costing just £3.00. Sam and I headed along for lunch last Saturday, choosing to sit inside to avoid the suffocating humidity – seriously, didn’t it feel like it would never end?!

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We opted for two medium pizzas each and three sides to share which was, in hindsight, far too much food for a casual weekend lunch! I chose the Gaius, which consisted of a tomato base topped with chestnut mushrooms, pork & fennel sausage, frigitelli chillies and mozzarella, and before you ask, no, I do not know what frigitelli chillies are, if you do, let me know.

Sam opted for one of the weekend specials: the BBQ cheeseburger pizza. A pizza with a BBQ sauce base topped with smashed beef patty, bacon and, much to Sam’s dismay, gherkins! Alongside our pizzas we ordered the crispy chicken pops, the n’duja arancini and the jalapeno cheese fries from the specials menu.

The arancini and chicken pops were first to arrive at the table, along with our dips of roast garlic mayonnaise and n’duja and chilli jam (which, by the way, was epic, we could have taken a jar of the stuff home with us). We remembered the chicken pops fondly from their previous menu, where the chicken breast was flavoured like a pakora and served on a stick, this time round the pops were served with melted parmesan and red pesto. The flavour of the red pesto was lovely, but the pops lost a little bit of their crispness topped with the melted cheese and wet pesto.

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The n’duja arancini were…well, they were awesome, and massive! The exterior of the arancini was so light and crispy, and the internal n’duja risotto filling was filled with flavour and just the right amount of heat from the spicy sausage. Sam was reluctant to order them because he’s never had an arancini that he’s enjoyed, but the n’duja in the title swayed him and he was 100% won over by these balls of deliciousness.

After inhaling our snacks, our pizzas weren’t far behind. Even though he had to shamelessly pick the gherkins off his pizza, the BBQ cheeseburger was definitely a hit; a classic combination of salty, savouriness paired with sweet, tangy BBQ sauce. I was pretty impressed with my pizza too, and although I couldn’t actually see the chillies, I could taste them. They gave just the right amount of heat to leave my lips tingling, and I loved the flavour of the pork & fennel sausage. Unfortunately, neither of us could finish our pizzas, especially when the frustratingly moreish jalapeno cheese fries arrived, so we had what was left wrapped up to stuff our faces with at dinner that night.

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For three snacks, two pizzas and four soft drinks our bill came to an incredibly reasonable £32.00, and the service we received from the staff was top notch, even if the chat was mostly to complain about the ridiculous heat – chilli in that humidity was maybe not the best idea?! Either way, we had a lovely relaxed, filling and great value for money lunch with friendly and helpful service, what more would you want from a casual Saturday lunch?

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