I won’t lie – Italian food has always been my favourite. If I was on death row, pasta or pizza would by my choice of last meal.
Therefore, the Eusebi Deli and Restaurant was at a huge advantage – and also disadvantage, as I know what I like – when I dined there on Saturday.
The signs were good from the word go – my dining companions and I parked easily, and found the premises easy to find, being bright and clean, and the welcome from the staff was genuine and warm.
We were shown to our table and shown the drinks menu. It was ideal – my companion enjoyed a refreshing Prosecco, our junior diner had a blood orange San Pellegrino, whilst I, as the driver, had a pomegranate and orange.
We were soon given a warm, friendly greeting by Giovanna Eusebi, the owner of the restaurant. Her interest in what we wanted to eat was genuine, and we noticed she was hands on, speaking with other guests in the same manner. Another tick. It was clear from the word go that this was going to be authentic Italian food, not the American/New York take on it.
The menu has a small plates option, and we were served the charred yellow peach and whipped ricotta (a wonderful combination, especially with rosemary); roasted peppers, caper berries, olives and Eusebi olive oil (an incredible flavour combination); cured mackerel (a success, as it’s not my fish of choice); Vitello tonnato crudo, a tartare of Peelham Farm veal with tuna aioli sauce (amazing – my companion wouldn’t normally eat tartare, but this was beautifully, with a pleasant taste and texture); and finally scallop, kumquat and black olives (and this was incredible – our fussy junior diner who never wants to try new things, was disappointed she couldn’t have more, such was the perfection in the searing of the scallops).
We all chose different main courses, coincidentally all from the pasta menu. This pasta is outstanding – it’s freshly made on site each day, and our junior diner in particular enjoyed the chance to see it being made.
I opted for agnolotti and lemon ricotta in burnt butter. Although a devoted carnivore, I fancied trying something different, and I wasn’t disappointed. The pasta was incredible, being cooked just the way I like it. You could tell it wasn’t boiled up from a packet. As for the ricotta, it was unbelievable. The lemon in it was just perfect – it was a pleasant enough flavour to let you know that it was there, without becoming overpowering. The toasted pinenuts in the butter added a great contrast in texture, making this a real success for me.
My companion chose to have the crab risotto, which was cooked in a light shellfish stock, and accompanied by straciatella and sea vegetables. Again, it was cooked to perfection – the crab was ideal, as the flavour announced itself upon arrival in the mouth, but not to the point of being overpowering. There’s nothing worse than an overzealous taste of seafood, but this was perfect, with a very pleasant aftertaste.
And so, to our fussy eater. Her choice was a simple one, linguine Scottish seafood, and we did fear the worst, especially as she is no fan of mussels. That, however, has changed. Everything in her meal, from the prawns, to the mussels, to the large langoustine, was polished off, with a great big smile. Her pasta didn’t last long either, as the linguine absorbed some the seafood flavours.
Our meals were accompanied by a Puglian fig, fennel and orange salad, and the orange blossom drizzle was wonderful. Again, our notoriously difficult junior diner enjoyed tucking in to something new, especially enjoying the figs.
My companion was served an Italian Martini during this course, and it was another success, with a sensational flavour combination.
I was initially reluctant to have a dessert, as I felt so full, but the others – and Giovanna – persuaded me to change my mind.
The junior diner opted for a doughnut, and was amazed when she was presented with a home-made creation, which was bigger than any other she had ever seen. It was perfect, with a wonderful taste and texture inside. Another palpable hit.
My companion and I both chose to have the pistacchio dessert, set on a white chocolate base, accompanied by cherries, with lemon sauce. It had obviously been made fresh that day, as it was perfectly moist, and the flavour of the pistacchio carried through – enough to be noticed, but not enough to dominate, and married well with the base and especially the lemon, bringing out a fresh and pleasant tang.
In terms of prices, you’ll be hard-pressed to beat Eusebi’s for value for money, as the portions are large and filling
Eusebi Deli and Restaurant is not pretentious, in an age when so many places present themselves as such. The feel is familial – Giovanna sends members of staff to Italy for training – as it’s warm and welcoming, and you do feel that by eating there, you are part of a larger family. Diners looked at each other’s plates, and many struck up conversations about what they were having. Since opening three years ago, it’s obvious why people have come back again and again.
When my dining companion requested that we go there the next time we have an occasion to celebrate, then it shows Eusebi’s is most definitely doing it right.
Eusebi Deli, 152 Park Road, Glasgow, G4 9HB.
0141 648 9999