I’ve read incredible reviews of The Italian Kitchen, so just a few weeks after their restaurant renovation it seemed like the perfect time for me to visit and collaborate on a review. Ingram Street really has come into its own in the last few years, with the surrounding area being renovated it has become increasingly popular with bars and restaurants. There are several other Italian restaurants close by, but I have got to be honest and say that the quality and taste of this restaurant’s menu is above par, menu prices slightly undercut the others and the new interiors set it miles apart from their competitors.
When I do reviews I like to visit restaurants midweek, as I’m not sure visiting at the weekend gives a true reflection of an establishment’s popularity. We booked our table for 5.30pm on a Monday evening, and were the second table on arrival. This was actually perfect as it allowed us to take in all of the new décor without interruptions, I was able to ask the staff questions about the renovations and menu. I learned that the menu had been slightly fleshed out to coincide with the revamp, but on the whole it stayed the same. After being there for around 15 minutes the restaurant really started to busy up, and continued to do so the entire time we spent there, and I noticed other diners referring to the staff by name and vice versa, which suggested to me they had a solid, returning customer base. I think to be so busy on a Monday evening is a real testament to the appeal of The Italian Kitchen.
The new décor was very stripped back, but in a luxurious way. A feature wall had been added to the far wall, with feature lighting and huge windows allowing light to flood in during the day and an ambience to be created in the evening. The dark wood tables were dressed beautifully, and the open stone fire was a beautiful focal point. If I could describe the interiors in a single word it would be ‘expensive’ – because that’s exactly how it looks. The owners have redecorated to an incredibly high spec, and I was pleasantly surprised that the menu pricing had not suffered as a result of it.
There are several menus available, the Main Menu is available all day whilst the Lunch Menu and Pre-Theatre Menu are time specific. The latter two menus are available from 12-3pm all week and 3-6.30pm Sundays to Thursdays, thus overlapping during the week. A separate Christmas Menu was available, as was the Drinks and Desserts List.Paul and I ordered from the Main Menu, so I will be discussing that in full, but I’ve attached hyperlinks to each of the menu names so just click the names and you will be redirected to the restaurant’s website.
The Main Menu was very reasonably priced, with starters varying from £3.95 to £7.95 and mains £8.95 to £23.95, the higher end of which consisted of steaks. We ordered a total of seven dishes from the menu, as well as a 250ml glass of Merlot & Corvina (£6.30) and a pint of house lager (£3.95):
- Calamari Fritti (£6.95) – The first of our starters was fried calamari, which was served alongside a bed of salad, lemon wedge and chilli size. The plate sizes are generous, and the portion of calamari was generous. The pieces of squid themselves were very finely sliced and were fried in a light, airy batter. The dish was lightweight, delicious and the bitterness of the lemon was well matched with the sweet sauce that had a middle ground viscosity.
- Asparago con Proscuitto (£6.95) – This is my perfect idea of a starter or side dish. Asparagus parcelled in thinly sliced prosciutto served over a bed of creamy parmesan sauce. This was one of my favourite dishes of the evening. The cream sauce had a hint of mustard which gave it a subtle heat, the meat was salty and gave the dish so much flavour while the asparagus gave it freshness and structure.
- Crostino al Gamberoni (£7.95) – Another of my favourites of the evening (a pattern is emerging), this dish was packed with flavour. I’m often unsure about bread with sauces for the bread becoming soggy, but the crostini was soft on the inside with a crisp exterior which allowed them to soak up the Siciliana sauce and still have a bite. There were three prawns on each crostino, cooked outwith the sauce which I preferred as it allowed us to control how much sauce to have alongside them. If you only order one starter from the menu, make it this one.
- Ravioli d’Aragosta (£10.95/£15.95) – Each of the prices is representative of a five or nine piece ravioli. The ravioli was packed with lobster and served in a lobster bisque sauce. If, like me, this is the first time you try lobster bisque sauce, note that although the recipe does not include mushrooms it has a very earthy taste similar to mushrooms. The dish was absolutely incredible, and the ingredients are one example of what sets The Italian Kitchen apart from many other Italian restaurants in the city.
- Salsiccia Piccante (£11.95) – All pizza dough is made daily in house to a traditional Artisan method and baked on the open stone fire visible from the dining areas. The thin crust pizzas are topped with San Marzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and fior di latte mozzarella. Our pizza was topped with mini meatballs of spicy Tuscan sausage, roasted peppers, mozzarella and tomato sugo. It was doughy in the centre and crisp around the crust, with a lot of heat from the toppings. A really fantastic, authentic pizza.
- Torta Dolci al Formaggio (£5.95) – Presentation of both desserts were by far the best of all the dishes. This blueberry cheesecake was unlike any I’ve tried before, with upper layers having a mousse consistency. It had a crumbly amoretti base and was served alongside fresh winter fruits and vanilla ice cream. A very light dish with various textures and consistencies. The sourness of the fruit prevented the dish from being a sickly sweet, and the portion size was just right to finish off the meal.
- Torte di Mele (£5.95) – If you have a super sweet tooth like me, then this option will probably be best for you. The thin crust apple tart was topped with vanilla ice cream and sat in a moat of thick caramel sauce. The apple inside was very thinly sliced, and very easy to eat. A beautifully presented and tasting dessert.
I really do try to be as honest and unbiased as possible when doing reviews, but this really was one of the best meals I’ve had during my time reviewing Glasgow restaurants. Not only was the restaurant exquisitely designed, but the menu superseded it. Generous portions were packed with flavour, well balanced and beautifully dressed. There were options for vegetarians and vegans, meat lovers and fish lovers and more challengingly for those who are not adventurous eaters. I’ve learned to make sure that when reviewing not to comment on the staff by the way they act towards me but instead by observing their interactions with other diners, and I saw them to be attentive, able to answer questions about the menu and accommodating to the requests of their tables. Whether you are a previous diner at The Italian Kitchen or you’re looking for somewhere new to try, make sure you pay them a visit to see the redone interiors and taste their cracking food.
The Italian Kitchen
64 Ingram Street, Glasgow