Elis Elliot visits a Glasgow institution that’s reopened recently following a refit.
IT’S still a novelty, eating out, meeting friends and travelling. So it’s safe to say that I was a little bit excited by the prospect of taking a bus and a train to Glasgow to meet an old friend and enjoy cocktails and Italian food in the newly refurbed Barolo on Mitchell Street.
There has been an Italian restaurant on this site for over half a century and, while Barolo boasts a new look, the interior remains classical in its styling with accents of brass, marble and leather alongside the deep blues and gold colour palette.
We were warmly welcomed and felt reassured that the restaurant staff were all wearing face coverings and socially distancing. Kicking off proceedings with a frangelico sour cocktail transported us both back to the 1980s when our parents first discovered the joy of this delicious hazelnut aperitif. Barolo’s version elevating the drink to new levels of sophistication, these vanished like snow of the proverbial dyke.
The menu really showcases the food of Northern Italy, with plenty of wines from the Piedmont region to choose from, allowing diners to immerse themselves in the full Barolo experience.
Munching on delicious olives and homemade bread, I decided to begin with a trio of arancini (£7.95) and was delighted that I did. The three little balls were crisp on the outside and rich and creamy in the centre, one with wild mushroom and mascarpone, one with nduja and pecorino and my favourite with gorgonzola and pistachio. Miss Smith was delighted with her huge gamberoni (£8.95), swimming around in a full-flavoured Napoli sauce with garlic, pancetta and chilli.
We were both tempted by the pizzas but I couldn’t resist the lure of the polpo (£21.95); the grilled octopus was cooked to perfection with a deliciously meaty texture and served with glorious polenta, butternut squash and thyme salsa and curly kale. The dish looked almost as good as it tasted and paired really well with the intensely fruity La Vele Verdicchio dei Castelli Moncaro (£6.75 a glass or £27.95 a bottle) from the Marche region of Italy. Miss Smith’s manzo (£23.95) proved to be a generous portion of melt-in-the-mouth beef medallions with creamy horseradish mash, walnuts, celery, radish, cucumber and melon ribbons and ponzu.
Foregoing puds in favour of another gloriously boozy creation from the cocktail menu in the form of a Puccini – mandarin liqueur, prosecco and gin (£8.95) – we left with a rosy glow and promises to return for pizza in the very near future.
Barolo is open daily from 0900 to 22:00 for breakfast, lunch, cicchetti (Italian tapas) and dinner, seven days a week at 92-94 Mitchell Street in Glasgow, G1 3NQ. Tel 0141 221 0971
To book now and view the menu, visit www.barologrill.co.uk