Review: Amore

Amore has been a firm favourite with some members of my family for a while so we decided to pay the restaurant a visit. On arrival, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the restaurant, it’s perched on the far corner of Ingram St, off street level so you have to walk up stairs to get to the door.

It was apparent when we arrived they didn’t have our booking but the restaurant had plenty of empty tables despite sounding very busy. We decided to sit in the bar area as it was next to the window & I like to watch the world go by. One thing Amore is not short of is choices! The menu is absolutely huge, with over 10 options in the starters, pizza & pasta. Most of it is a variation of typical italian dishes giving the menu an authentic Italian feel. One dish that drew my attention was a pizza with cheese, italian sausage, chicken & red & green chillies which stated you got a free glass of wine on your next visit if you could finish it.

Our starters arrived & we were greeted with large portions. We had ordered hot chilli gambretti (garlic & chilli prawns on garlic bread) and mussels marinara accompanied with garlic bread. There were plenty of prawns, which is a big plus given you usually get 3 or 4. The sauce that the prawns were in was lovely, with a nice spice hit to it. The mussels were also a bit hit. They were big fat juicy mussels & plenty of them. The marinara sauce was pleasant, although no different from any standard italian restaurant. I also loved the bowl the mussels came in, a tilted white bowl, which made it easier to get the sauce the mussels were in.

When we ordered our mains, I had noted that the menu stated that they use “De Cecco, the finest pasta in italy” and it required 15 minutes to cook. What I hadn’t bargained on was that the 15 minutes was from when you ordered as our pasta arrived 5 minutes after our starters had been taken away. The mains were a big disappointment. The linguine was accompanied by a large number of prawns but the hot & spicy sauce stated on the menu was missing. Instead, it was relatively plain tomato sauce. Similarly, the chicken & pepper pasta did not taste of much. The main flavour from it was the roasted peppers & none of the “rich cream & tomato” sauce stated on the menu. From what I could gather, the restaurant appeared to be using the same sauce for most of their pasta but unfortunately, it is completely lacking in any flavour.

Given how quickly our mains arrived, the time taken for our meal after being seated was only just over an hour. I’m not a fan of restaurants who do not let you take your time between courses & feel they have to rush the next course out of the kitchen as soon as you are finished.

This visit was a tale of two halves, with the starters being a delight but the mains severely lacking in any flavour. Given the amount of Italian restaurants available in Glasgow, I doubt Amore would make the top 5. Saying that, I may be tempted to go back to try their hot pizza challenge one day!

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A market you should visit!

For our last meal out of 2012, we decided to go somewhere we hadn’t been before. As I had the choice, I opted for Central Market, a recently opened restaurant in the Merchant City of Glasgow. 

We went along & were seated upstairs in the balcony area which I was quite happy with as you could see everything that was going on. It isn’t the largest of restaurants but they can easily accommodate large parties as a table of around 12 with children were next to us. A couple of nice touches Central Market has is to have their oysters on display at the front of the bar, proving that they are fresh & also having a relatively open plan kitchen, allowing you to see exactly where your food is coming from. The toilets are unisex which is quite unusual! Another mention is that a pint of Bierra Moretti is only £4, much cheaper than Italian restaurants in the city – this was a big tick for Al.

                                                    

Central Market’s menu can’t really be describe as run of the mill. They offer a lot of brunch items, with a range of sandwiches for lunchtime. Their main menu has the usual items such as terrine, mussels, steak & burgers but they also offer more unusual items like sardines, steak tartare & pork shoulder steak. Part of the reason for choosing the Central Market was that they served oysters & I had been wanting them since The Grill On The Corner had run out the night we were in. For starters we opted for 6 Oysters & Sardines to share and for mains I went for the Spatchcock Poussain & Al went for the 6oz Burger. 

 

We managed to get the last portion of sardines available & I have to say I wasn’t too sure about them when they arrived as they came whole which meant fish bones!! I have to admit, my first thoughts were soon set aside after tucking into them. They were excellent! The meat fell off the bones & any bones that were left over were big enough for you to notice them. The sardines came with a lime & chorizo oil which really complimented the fish. The lime was a good contrast. We soon tucked into the oysters which came with 3 accompaniments – tabasco (yay!), soy sauce & a red onion viniagrette type sauce. I tried all 3 & they all went very well, with only the red onion one maybe being a bit too tart for my liking.

 

There wasn’t a long wait between our starter & main. The spatchcock poussain was delicious! I don’t know what seasoning they had put on the chicken skin but it was slightly crunchy with a salty taste to it, really nice. It was accompanied by roast anya potatoes & a sprout salad. It tasted a bit like coleslaw as it was quite creamy but it went really well with the spatchcock & I wish they had a deli section so I could go & get a tub of it to take home!! Neither myself or Al are big tomato fans so when I noticed him tucking into the burger without taking the tomato out I asked him if he’d forgotten. He pointed to the bottom of the burger where the tomato was mushed up & he said it actually didn’t taste like a tomato, it was more of a smokey flavour. I had a taste of the burger & to me it tasted a bit like a hot dog! Not that it was unpleasant, just a bit different from the usual strong beef flavour you would expect. The french fries were also nice & crispy & not overly pre-salted.

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to Central Market. I’ve since recommended it to a few people & intend on going back to try Steak Tartare for the first time!