I don't know about you guys, but I have some favourite words.
Shoogle is one, what an amazing word to describe rocking, bouncing and shaking, but in a not entirely unpleasant way.
yippee-ki-yay is another, hyphenation makes it one word, right? Always reminds me of Christmas, for some reason.
Then there are foodie specific words, such as
dégustation. An over indulgent word perfectly describing an over indulgent eating experience.
Mise-en-place (hyphenated, it's a word! ) that wonderful description of getting all your stuff prepped up ready to cook
In simpler terms, Grill. A great word, for me I think searing heat, barbecue and charred lines on steaks or toast
Italian, one of my favourite cuisines, not just pizza and pasta, but risotto, prosciutto and, of course, Parmigiano-Reggiano.
So imagine my delight at a restaurant called The Italian Grill, so many of my favourite things all in one place! But would I be disappointed, would the pudding be over-egged, would too many chefs spoil the minestrone …
First impressions count and Dundee was looking as beautiful as ever. Especially the stunning City Square, which is where you will find the restaurant, so it couldn't be more findable if it tried! We were greeted warmly by the lovely Erin who sat us down explained the menu and specials to us and sorted out some drinks. The menu is full of Italian favourites, but the Josper Grill provides an added range of sizzled steaks, both beef and pork to choose from.
We went for the Antipasti sharer to start us off. What arrived was a beautiful looking selection, in just right portion size to get properly introduced to the food without spoiling your appetite for pudding! The salami was of the spicy variety, the subtle spice that sneaks up on you three chews in and slaps your tonsils and then runs away again. There was plenty of Parma ham which was lovely, but even more lovely was the focaccia and ciabatta. A slice of each, per person were gently toasted and served with 3 flavoured dipping oils (balsamic vinegar, garlic and basil), a great dish to tee up the main course to come.
And we didn't have long to wait. First up was the Italian staple of Meatballs, served with home-made tagliatelle. The pasta is freshly made, in the kitchens that day and you never know what the pastas of the day are, until that day. On our visit we had the choice of penne, spaghetti or tagliatelle to accompany any of the dishes. It is great to think that instead of mass produced pasta being bought in, these skilled chefs have taken Caputo 00, semolina and free range eggs to create fresh pasta every day.
The sauce was deliciously tomatoey with a good dose of garlic and herbs and perfectly balanced the chunky Meatballs. As you would hope the parmesan was grated on at the table and Erin was happy to keep going until I said stop, which I eventually did!
From the grill section we ordered the Sirloin of pork and then a couple of the sides which you can choose and pay for separately. Everything cooked to perfection, the winter veg was delicious and very garlicky, not for the faint hearted, or vampires (just how we like it!). The green veg was blanched beautifully and tossed in butter. Once we were finished the service remained excellent, with the table swiftly cleared and desserts offered. An offer we graciously accepted!
First up a Vanilla creme brulee & ginger shortbread. Beautifully set with a crisp hot sugar crust that had just been blasted. There was some cracking flavour from the fresh vanilla and it was paired wonderfully with the shortbread. The hint of ginger was perfectly balanced, whilst the short biscuit was a perfect texture contrast to the smooth brulee.
The Panettone tiramisu was surprisingly light and a nice twist on the usual tiramisu. The fruity taste of the Panetone combined with the tiramisu coffee flavours worked really well. The coffee ice cream it was served with only enhanced this and did not overpower it or detract from the main event.
And so that, sadly, brought our meal to an end. And what a lovely meal it was. The service, not just for us but for all the tables, was slick and friendly. The food was delicious, fresh and with top quality ingredients, which is clearly a focus for the kitchen. Obviously there are far cheaper, volume Italian chain restaurants which will knock out a spag bol, or a perfectly presentable pizza, but the Italian Grill was a step, or several steps actually, above these and well worth the extra couple of pounds. That said the dinner we had still cost under sixty pounds, and worth every penny. If you are in Dundee for one of the many, many reasons to visit this great city, I couldn't recommend the Italian Grill more heartily.