There’s something rather classical about Roberta’s, a new restaurant and bar in Glasgow.
Roberta’s Glasgow has a distinctive look that immediately casts the mind to think of 1930s New York, with art deco at its peak, as interior design elements in the old Victorian bank building on the corner of St Vincent Street and Hope Street include a teal and gold colour palette, marble, rich warm woods and leather finishes, and a lively, upbeat atmosphere.
The setting is most definitely what you would hope for, with a touch of class and timeless elegance – but was the food able to match?
Upon asking for the provenance of the ingredients, we were informed that the majority is imported from Italy, with all but one of the kitchen staff with an Italian heritage too. So, short of boarding a plane, there really isn’t much more Italian than this.
For a starter, I opted for calamari fritti, a fresh deep fried squid, with a squid ink alioli. In the past, I’ve had this dish in other eateries, and been left disappointed when either the crispy batter fell off when I cut into it, or the squid ring itself was so chewy, it was like having an elastic band in my mouth. Or, on one occasion, both.
Thankfully, that was not a problem here. The batter remained intact as I cut into it, and the squid came apart perfectly after a few chews. The dip itself was very pleasing – a subtle flavour, without being in your face, and not overpowering of the seafood itself.
My companion went for the king prawns, chilli, garlic and evoo (gamberoni, peperoncini, aglio), and they too was more than happy with their choice. The king prawns were wonderfully large and meaty, giving you something to really sink your teeth into, and the sauce were just the right side of hot, without becoming overpowering, to leave a pleasant taste, and bit of heat, in the mouth.
My selection of a main course was easy – I love pizza, so the capricciosa pizza (with tomato sauce, ham, mushrooms, artichokes, black olives, mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, evoo) was a simple choice. I was particularly keen to try this as the venue’s beacon is Roberta’s Neapolitan pizzas, which are baked in a handmade blistering-hot wood fired oven. You can see the pizza oven in action from the bar, and was perfectly cooked, with a little charring around the crust – just the way I like it.
The topping was absolutely on the money – and a real surprise were the artichokes, which added a little meaty substance that wasn’t present with the beautifully-flavoured ham. The tomato sauce was very fresh and despite being a good 11 or so inches, I could have eaten more.
A hint of New York style and substance is brought to Glasgow City Centre by grill-inspired meats, so my fellow diner chose the vavetta di manto (grilled 250g bavette steak).
They asked for it to be medium rare, and it came back, well cooked on the outside and still pink inside. The flavour of the meat was outstanding, percolating into the mouth with every single bite.
I would recommend that if ordering the steak, definitely add chips, which are not normally included with the steak, as it will add a little bit more to bulk the course out.
As we still had some room left, it would have been rude not to have a dessert. And also, my sweet tooth would never have forgiven me if I didn’t sample the Panna Cotta, with vanilla, white chocolate, strawberry coulis, basil syrup and crushed honeycomb.
The texture was perfect, and my spoon cut into it beautifully with no resistance. And the coulis was one of the most rich, fruity and decadent that I have ever tasted. If I’d been offered a little pot of this on its own, I’d have been more than happy. Definitely a winner.
My companion chose the tiramisu, with espresso coffee, amaeratto sponge biscuits, mascarpone cream and cocoa. The coffee flavour was strong, without being too forceful to the exclusive of all other flavours, and the sponge biscuits retained their structural integrity as they were eaten. Another success.
I had a suspicion before arriving at Roberta’s Glasgow that I would enjoy my meal – not just because it shares the same name as my younger sibling. The staff are attentive, know their menu, and always polite, and really pushed the dining experience from very very good into first class.
See the full menu HERE.
Roberta’s, 140 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5LA.
0141 737 5537