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Oi Mamma, Bearsden, restaurant review - how is the food in ‘playful’ new Italian restaurant?

This new Italian restaurant is the latest addition to Bearsden, but is it worth the trip? Rosalind Erskine went along to find out.

Published: March 5, 2023

At the time of writing this review, the UK has a fruit and veg shortage with tomatoes (or lack there of) making headlines.

With a never-ending cold winter, cost of living crisis and it now being harder to get your five a day, it’s with some delight that a new, colourful and ‘playful’ Italian restaurant has opened in Bearsden, just outside of the Glasgow City boundary.

Located on the site of ‘much loved’ Raffaele's Restaurant, which closed in January, Oi Mamma opened in early February and promises ‘maximalist interiors and extravagant Italian dishes.’

Oi Mamma is the first Italian focused restaurant brand from entrepreneurs Amalia Colaluca and Joe Lazzerini - the team behind The Loveable Rogue. Since 2020, they have opened three restaurant concepts in Glasgow and the surrounding areas. 

Ahead of opening Oi Mamma director, Amalia Colaluca said: "Oi Mamma, a loud and bold Italian eatery that serves a 'new look' for the neighbourhood, will open this month.

"Our family-friendly restaurant will be vibrant from the inside out, providing local residents with a new place to eat and drink".

While head chef Giovanni Di Camillo added: "We aim to honour the team's traditional family roots and warm Italian hospitality while also celebrating the much-loved neighbourhood's personality. Our menu will be simple and flavourful, with classic Italian crowd-pleasers and a celebration of Italian produce". 

Oi Mamma

We decided to head over to Bearsden for a late Thursday evening dinner. It’s only a 15 minute drive from Glasgow’s west end, but has a nice village feel, and the restaurant is quite busy with friends, families and first dates as we settle in. The interior is modern but welcoming, with fun neon signage, plants and retro black and white photos. So far, so Instagram-friendly, as promised.

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While we looked over the compact menu, my boyfriend tried the Smokey Joe cocktail, while I stuck to water as the designated driver.

This take on an old fashioned and had Monkey Shoulder whisky, Auchentoshan, cherry and orange and was smooth and sweet. Pet peeve time, but the e in both whiskies on the menu description  caught my eye. But, we’re here for authentic Italian, not a lesson in Irish whiskey vs Scotch.

To start we shared a snack of Nduja hummus that was served with garlic and chilli sourdough flatbread (£8). As well as this we ordered tuna tartare crostini (£12.50) and a plate of salami (£7).

The carrot hued hummus had a nice kick, but the bread wasn’t what I was expecting. Instead of flatbread with garlic butter, this large slab of soft sourdough was sprinkled with crispy slices of garlic (which promptly fell off when picked up), tiny shreds of red chilli and an indeterminate green herb.

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Fine but could have been better executed. The tuna was a similar story. Firstly it was seared, so not tartare, and served with a grey-like black garlic sauce, covering it entirely.

There were slivers of too sweet pickled red onion and the entire thing was served on another thick slice of sourdough bread. Not the delicate starter I was looking for.

One to the mains, and we decided to share a pasta and pizza. I went for the classic tagliatelle with slow cooked wild pork ragu (£13.50), while the pizza was something much more modern - the restaurant’s freshly made dough, a mascarpone cheese base, topped with fennel sausage, garlic, chilli friarielli and Amalfi lemon (£13.50).

The pasta in my main was well-cooked but the tomato-y ragu let it down as it was too salty and didn’t have the depth of flavour that this traditional dish is known for.

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Across the table the pizza went down a storm, its crisp base sturdy enough for the array of toppings, with both the sausage and chilli punctuating it with very good flavour and the spritz of lemon cutting through the richness of the mascarpone. We both agreed the pizza alone would be worth a return. For dessert we shared the Oi Mammas cannoli (£7) - a traditional sweet with Sicilian ricotta filling, chopped pistachio and milk chocolate sprinkled on top.

Oi Mamma is a nice addition to the dining options in Bearsden, so long as you’re not after truly authentic Italian dishes. The experimentation works with the pizza, but classics and the starters need work - although it’s good to see there’s no tomato shortage here.

Oi Mamma

151-155 Milngavie Rd, Bearsden, G61 3D

0141 942 4242

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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