The aubergine 'meatballs' and charred octopus
The aubergine 'meatballs' and charred octopus

Eusebi’s summer menu is a delight to behold

One of Glasgow’s best, and some could say lesser-known, eating spots is Eusebi’s Deli and Restaurant.

It’s an award winner – we’re also talking about a Sunday Times Top 100 place to eat – and without doubt, it’s one of my favourite places to go, as a warm welcome – and more importantly, good food, is always assured.

We were warmly greeted by owner Giovanna Eusebi, who remembered my companion and I from our previous visit last year, and were treated like old friends. Last time, we felt we were treated like members of the family, and it was a warm, genuine welcome once again.

The aubergine ‘meatballs’ and charred octopus

Giovanna has just launched her summer menu, which adds some seasonal produce to the already existing variety of good Italian food. It’s wonderfully fresh, with all of the pasta being made on site in their lab – it’s a wonder to behold as the staff create it before your eyes.

We found it difficult to choose which of the small plates we wanted to have as a starter, as there was so much to choose from – so Giovanna insisted we try a selection of them.

Being honest, I would have been unlikely to choose the Sicilian aubergine polpetti, effectively a veggie meatball given extra texture with sultanas and pinenuts, and in a tomato sauce, so when this was presented to us, I was a little disappointed. However, it would have been rude to our host if I hadn’t eaten it – and I’m so glad I did. If you hadn’t told me, I could have sworn it was a meatball. The flavour was rich and pleasant, and the pinenuts added some crunchy texture. A surprise win.

The charred octopus was presented with pickled cucumber, olives, capers and a lime aioli, and this was everything my companion and I had hoped for. The seared outer tentacle provided a variation in texture and taste to the soft, flavoursome innards, and was absolutely top class.

Gnocchi cacio pepe and the ravioli carne

The burrata was comprised of cherries, mint and pistachios, accompanied by ricotta. The ricotta was beautifully flavoured, while the cherries were superbly sweet. If this had been presented to me as a dessert, I would have been over the moon – it’s a great starter, especially if you have a sweet tooth, like me.

The housemade ricotta was served with a selection of free vegetables, including baby carrots and cucumber slices – it’s a fabulous starter that will refresh your mouth beautifully.

Talking of fresh, the Italian tomato salad was top notch, which were beautiful and sweet, with a little glaze, and accompanying vegetables made my mouth feel very happy.

One thing my companion wasn’t looking forward to was the oyster, but it’s been cooked to perfect, with a tomato and herb topping that perfectly accompanies the seafood. The oyster was obviously fresh – you could taste the sea on it, and was wonderfully meaty. Another success for Eusebi’s.

When it came to our main courses, once again, we were spoiled for choice. I knew from the word go that I wanted to try the ravioli carne, a classic housemade meat ravioli served with sugo. But I was also tempted by the gnocchi cacio pepe, which are Italian dumplings served with foraged mushrooms, Pecorino Roman and black pepper.

The seafood risotto at Eusebi’s Deli

When you’ve had tinned raviolli, and indeed, boiled up raviolli, when you’re given the real deal, fresh, you can instantly taste the difference in the pasta. It’s softer, with a unique taste and texture, that makes a huge difference. The meat inside was fabulous, and with the sugo, it was a wonderful sweet combination.

The dumplings were equally as tasty, and my companion agreed as we shared them. The sauce was full of delicious, natural flavours, while the foraged mushrooms were very different from those you would expect to pick up in the supermarket for cooking at home. Their texture and flavour gave the plate a wonderful feel of its own.

My companion, a lover of seafood (now including oysters), knew that she wanted to have the seafood risotto, made with the best of Scottish shellfish. The risotto was thick and sticky, just the way a good risotto should be, with a good flavour echoing the sea. The seafood interspersed – prawns and mussells – had a fresh from the water flavour, and this married well with some sweet Italian tomatoes.

By this point, we were both feeling on the full side, but our hostess insisted that we have dessert. Who were we do disagree with Giovanna?

The chocolate and caramel tart

My choice was the chocolate and caramel tart, topped with a delicate dark chocolate shell, full of a tasty mousse. The shell and mousse were wonderful, but the real treat came in the form of the caramel – it’s a rich, strong, taste, which has a great sticky texture. This is so tasty that you could quite happily have the base on its own!

My companion’s choice was the pecan pie. She had never tried this before, and, well, she can’t wait for her next one. The tart base was sweet and flaky, but the filling was both soft and crunchy at the same time – and absolutely delicious, with a wonderfully sweet taste. A real highlight of our visit.

The pecan pie

With pleasant, friendly surroundings, comfortable seats, lots of light and great, attentive staff, Eusebi’s is absolutely deserving of its Sunday Times status.

Food is an artform – and Giovanna is without doubt a Da Vinci of her craft.

Eusebi Deli, 152 Park Road, Glasgow, G4 9HB.

0141 648 9999