Hey Pesto! (Sorry)
To use the term Italian Tapas would be a bit offensive, like referring to Faggots as English Haggis, or Champagne as French Cava! The Pesto website informs me in Italian they are called Piattini: little plates apparently and as a lover of both Italian food and Tapas this seemed to be a match made in heaven.
The thing I like best about the 'little plate' idea is the fact that you can choose what you want. You make your own meal from all the little dishes depending on your mood or taste. Pesto has 39 main dishes and you need to pick I would say six between two of you for a decent meal. Digging out my calculator and a dusty Statistics text book:
Where n is number of choices and r is the number of dishes assuming you only want one of each dish. ! Apparently is the mathematical symbol for multiply it all together taking off one choice each time. So for Pesto:
you get the idea
Basically from the Pesto menu there are 2 349 088 560 combinations before you would have to have the same again! Which even if you went every day would take you, oh about six and a half million years until you had the same meal! I've not included breads or bruschetta in the sums, because that would just be silly!
Pesto is well located, just off Buchanan street, right in the centre of Glasgow. There is plenty of room to get in and out of the ground floor restaurant and space for wheelchairs and push chairs.
I went out with my wife, but would have had no problems with taking the little person along too.
We went on a Saturday evening after watching a movie, so it was nine O'Clock when we arrived. We were greeted quickly at the door and shown to our table, pretty much in the middle of the restaurant next to the stairs. The waitress knew the menu and talked us through the dishes and recommended we had six main dishes between us. We went through the menu and picked a good mixture, I'll tell you about them shortly and some bread to keep us occupied.
The basket of bread along with oil and vinegar arrived within a minute, I don’t know if being near the end of the night helped and they had lots to get rid of, but the bread basket was overflowing. It would have been nice if there was a bowl to mix the oil and vinegar in, rather than use the side plate but that's only a slight grumble. There was a good selection of what we worked out to be plain bread, olive bread and some tomato bread, I think. The waitress could have told us what each was, but trying to work if out was good fun too. Once we had consumed bread equivalent in weight of a baby elephant I contemplated having a nap, but almost on cue the meal was served. The service was so far pretty slick, however there were more staff than customers at this late hour so you'd expect it to be.
The table was rapidly filled with a selection of dishes each of them looking better than the last.
The Patate al origano were crispy, but fluffy in the middle and nicely seasoned. The ninety five pence for what is even described on the menu as a little pot of tomato tapenade is not good value for money, but the flavours work very well together. The Gamberoni all' aglio e peperoncino were succulent and it is always tricky to balance garlic and chilli so they don’t become overwhelming,but here they were just right. The lasagna al ragu was a behemoth of a portion,three inches square and nearly the same deep. It was well layered and the meat was tender and contrasted well with the pasta and cheese sauce. The Spiedini di pollo was again a decent size portion and very tasty. The same was true of the Polpette di manzo. My favourite dish however was the Pizetta rustica, a beautiful five inch pizza topped with goats cheese and prosciutto. It was beautiful and my only complaint is that is wasn't bigger!
The food was beautifully presented and all the dishes tasted great. However it was a shame that none of the pantheon of staff and managers thought to check on us or offered us extra drinks, mine was empty after the bread, (you can see the empty glass to the left of the picture). I also got the impression as the place emptied that the staff were more concerned with getting finished than looking after us. A point made abundantly clear when two staff (I guess it was heavy) carried a black plastic dustbin full of rubbish past our table, whilst we were eating. I was discussing with my wife how that was maybe the only way to get the bin out, but they could have waited until after service, when one of them even brought the now empty dustbin back past our table! Now I get upset when a a table is left without a cloth during service so I am a little picky about these things, but really a bin through an open restaurant, it's not on.
Once we had finished eating our waitress cleared the table and we were offered desserts and coffee. A quick scan of the menu and I wanted to try the Torta al limone, my wife ordered the classic Tiramisu. Both arrived at our table moments later, again the kitchen was unbelievably quick. The desserts were as good as the rest of the food, the lemon mousse was zingy and contrasted well with the sweet biscuit base. The Tiramisu was not soggy, despite the sponge being well soaked and the coffee flavour was sublime.
We decided to head elsewhere for a drink and asked for the bill. In total the food and a couple of drinks cost a few pence under forty pounds. The time on my receipt showed we had been in the restaurant for one hour and six minutes. The food was wonderful and the service was fast, but not very attentive. Whether this is due to the time of night and the desire of everyone to get home I don’t know. We will be back as I'd like to take our daughter and also to see how good the service is under pressure. There are of course plenty more menu options to try...