On a drizzly day in Glasgow’s West End, walking into Eusebi was like in The Wizard of Oz, when things go from monochrome to Technicolor.
I was Dorothy, except in trainers and too old for bunches, with my irises dilating to take in all the brightly iced cakes, layered pastries, pizza and salads under the counter, as well as the shelves of olive oil, panettone, olives and wine.
It’s so full of bustling vita in here, even in the basement dining area sandwiched between a group of elderly buddies and a family with two under fives.
"We went for the truffle selection to share – and it was a dream"
This venue’s original East End deli in Shettleston has been open for 43 years, and, apparently, this place was in the pipeline for about seven until it opened a couple of months ago. Their new eatery is already hoaching, despite being hidden behind the well trodden thoroughfares of Byres Road and Great Western Road.
For starters, you’ll find; “From the Salumeria: Elite selection of artisan cured meats from a generation of pork butchers in the ancient city of Norcia in Umbria.”
We went for the truffle selection to share, £11 per person (though we were only charged £11 for enough to feed both of us, so we’re not entirely certain how the pricing works).
Anyway, it was a dream. There were tissue thin slices of pale ham and Parmesan glazed salami, both scented with truffle. I felt like a pig who had found black gold.
The meaty offerings came with two thick wedges of pecorino, a cube of sticky golden honeycomb, a green salad dressed with olive oil, half a spiced pear threaded with rosemary, and five fat and fluffy sponges of sea salted focaccia.
Beautiful, as was our main course of the Toscano (£11) version of an oval shaped pinza, which the menu described as inspired by an easily digestible ancient Roman pizza that was made from soybean, wheat, rice and sourdough flour.
On the light and aerated base there was a chilli flake and herb scattered ragu-free topping of creamy mozzarella, thin slices of potato, onion and knobbly chunks of Italian sausage.
“This has ruined all other pizzas for me,” said Toto.
The best element of my autumn panzanella (£12) were the frizzly golden twists of duck skin scattered across the plate, which, as well as a massive and soft meaty leg, also featured raisins, pine nuts, chopped radicchio and large hunks of chewy olive oil saturated Tuscan bread.
Good served with a side of crispy edged triple cooked patate with sage salt (£3.75), though we’d rather over ordered when it came to side dishes, my bad. We’d also gone for a bowlful of six (slightly underseasoned) deep fried bigne fritte (£5) with centres of cumin spiced cauliflower, and a huge portion of uniformly postage stamp sized ravioli fritte (£5), stuffed with a sweet filling of gorgonzola and date.
My pudding of espresso and blood orange panna cotta (£5) was served in a glass cup, with a thick layer of coffee flavoured milky dessert, then a thin strata of zingy citrus and a topping of toasted Italian meringue. A satisfying sugar hit. We also tried the neat little pastry rolls of mini cannoli (£3) featuring one filled with a creamy ricotta mixture, another with chocolate and one with grasshopper green pistachio cream.
After all that food, we still felt a little sad about not having tried their pasta. Thus, as this place is also a deli and take-away, we took away all our leftovers along with a portion of “yesterday’s lasagne” (£12), and had them for dinner that night, then again the next night, at which point the pasta became the day before yesterday’s lasagne.
I recommend you also take a bit of Eusebi home with you, if only to delay life from turning monochrome again too soon. Technicolor is much nicer.
Though the vet has recommended he go on a strict diet, Toto agrees.
Lunch for two, excluding drinks and takeaway lasagne, £55.75