While interacting with diners is excellent PR, more focus on the basics is required, writes Jennifer Harper

Here we are counting the days before another general election. Rewind to September when we were preparing to vote in the Scottish referendum – that same week, Michaelangelo’s launched its campaign to become the new Italian kid on the block in Glasgow’s Southside.
Massimo Onorati previously operated the renowned Roma Mia in Pollokshields and Michaelangelo’s is a joint effort between him and his son Michael (Angelo). Our appetite for politics has been well fed during the past year, but how are Michaelangelo’s policies going down now they have had eight months to bed in?
The restaurant is busy when The Other Half and I arrive at 8.30pm. The front half features a striking nine-metre long image of a cobbled street in Rome, which instantly injects that much-loved Italian flavour. In contrast, the rear half is bland with a few token framed images of the Italian capital adorning the whitewashed walls. The à la carte menu has a healthy choice of starters and antipasti offerings, as well as pasta, pizza, meat, chicken, fish and risotto options. Service is pleasant, though our waitress fails to notice wine has spilled on the table while pouring, leaving us to clean up, and another has to check with chef what the soup of the day is.
It turns out to be broccoli and blue cheese (£3.95), which appeals to The Other Half – but although it tastes delicious, it arrives lukewarm. It isn’t the most generous portion either as is pointed out by a diner at the next table who leans over and whispers with a wry smile: “You won’t drown in that!” By comparison, my calamari fritti (£6.95) is an abundant serving. The squid rings are coated in a fresh, light batter and served with lemon wedges and tartare sauce for dipping, making this a pleasant start to the meal.

‘It isn’t the most generous portion either as
is pointed out by a diner at the next table who leans over and whispers with a wry smile: “You won’t drown in that!”’

Given our surroundings, we decide to go all Italian for our mains, with The Other Half choosing the traditional lasagne al forno (£9.95) and me going for penne con salsiccia e funghi porcini (9.95). We also order a portion of patatini fritti (chips to you and me) for mopping up the sauce. The lasagne arrives piping hot this time and is as it should be in terms of ratio of pasta, sauce and flavour.
My penne pasta is perfectly coated in a rich tomato sauce, with mushrooms and copious amounts of Italian sausage. This is a large dish, which The Other Half helps me finish, and goes down extremely well with both of us. Sadly the chips aren’t so good, with some still hard.
We and a neighbouring table sit quite a while waiting for our plates to be cleared. Unfortunately the owner is too busy chatting to diners at another table to notice. Eventually plates are cleared and dessert menus presented. Nothing appeals to The Other Half, who instead opts for a cappuccino (as one who savours his caffeine, I know he is happy when he nods and says, “This is a really good cup of coffee”).
I order baked vanilla cheesecake New York style (£5.25). On asking what makes it “New York style”, I am informed that the cheesecake is made and then baked, a method that apparently originated in New York. It arrives and is a picture of beauty. We have found Michaelangelo’s forte. It is light yet full of flavour, has a lovely contrast of textures and is very pleasing on the eye.
Our meal is washed down with a bottle of house merlot (£16.95). The Other Half has to agree that I win our culinary contest with my three choices this evening.
We sit waiting a while to request our bill, but when it fails to arrive we go directly to the till instead. While walking up, the owner and another member of staff, both busy chatting to guests, raise their heads and bid us goodnight, which would have given less honest customers the opportunity to leave without paying.
Michaelangelo’s has an appetising menu, and a kitchen with the reputation of producing good food. While interacting with diners is excellent PR, more focus on the basics will surely gain this restaurant even more votes for its new kid on the block campaign.

HOW MUCH?

Starters: £3.95-£8.95
Mains: £7.95-£23.95
Puddings: £3.95-£5.95 (Cheeseboard £6.95)

ALSO ON THE MENU

Michaelangelo’s has a selection of value for money menus in place throughout the day. The lunch market menu offers three courses for £10.95, a pre-theatre menu (5-6.45pm Monday to Saturday) has two or three courses for £10.95/£12.95, a Sunday menu with two courses for £12.95 and three courses for £14.95, as well as a children’s menu with two or three courses at £4.95/£6.95.

The à la carte menu includes the likes of king prawns Roman style (£18.95), risotto with butternut squash (£9.95) and fillet steak from £21.95. The dessert menu features classics such as tiramisu, pannacotta and baba al rum.

(www.michaelangelosglasgow.co.uk)

Michaelangelo's, Glasgow, Restaurant review
Rating60%
60%Overall Score

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