With the closure of turkey twizzler-hating, professional geezer Jamie Oliver’s restaurant a couple of years ago, a prime piece of Glasgow’s culinary real estate has sadly lain vacant.
Not any more – the hugely impressive, former post office building, situated directly on George Square, has opened its doors as Doppio Malto (which translates as ‘Double Malt’ for the non-linguists out there).
This is the first foray into the UK market for a chain of restaurants that is famed in its native Italy for its craft beer and casual dining and by describing itself as a kitchen-brewery places as much emphasis on its huge array of ales as it does in its extensive and ambitious food menu.
While the focus is on casual dining, there is nothing casual about the decor.
The place is sumptuous, with red velvet chairs, dark woods and plush curtains creating an intimacy that is surprising in such a vast space. An element of fun is introduced by strategically placed neon strip signs and a bank of brightly lit umbrellas.
So what of the food and drink? On the preview night we were treated to a carnivores dream with a sharing platter of BBQ grilled meats which included strips of Black Angus sirloin steak, spatchcocked free-range rooster chicken, pork ribs and the undoubted start of the show Mantuan Salamella Italian Sausages, accompanied by sharp pickled veg, wedges and beer flavoured (obviously) mayo.
Served on a fancy little hot plate, everything was cooked to perfection with a genuine BBQ char that made you wish you were sitting in the Mediterranean sun.
If I’m honest, I would have been happy just to have eaten a plate of the gorgeous sausages – they were exceptional.
For dessert we were treated to mini cannolis and – a first for me and my other half – Birramisu.
Yes, it’s a tiramisu and of course the biscuit base is soaked in beer – why wouldn’t it be? It was delicious.
We never got to try the pasta or pizza, but if the extensive choice available on the menu matches the quality of our food, you are in for a treat.
You are also in for a treat if you are a fan of craft beer. With 14 different varieties on offer, discerning drinkers are in beer heaven.
The enthusiastic and attentive staff made sure we sampled most of them (in small measures or it could have become very messy).
I must confess I am not a connoisseur of craft ales, I’m more a pint of Tennant’s kinda guy, but every beer I tasted was markedly different from the rest.
I was particularly taken by La Summer with its tangy, citrusy notes. There really is a beer to suit everyone’s tastes, from lagers, to bitters to stouts the choice is unique and extensive.
Don’t worry if you’re not a beer drinker, there is a decent choice of wines, soft drinks and, as you would expect from a decent Italian restaurant, some excellent coffee choices.
With the restaurant open to the public from today, Friday August 13, it is great to see this iconic building burst back into life and great to see a very different take on casual, quality Italian food and drink arrive in the heart of Glasgow.
Doppio Malto, 7 George Square, Glasgow G2 1DY.