Family Italian dining at Rossini
From the family behind the exceedingly tasty and friendly North Star cafe (a marriage of North and South Italian cuisine) on Queen Margaret Drive comes Rossini, a more formal affair, on Hyndland St in the Downhill / Patrick area of Glasgow. It used to be the Tinto Tapas Spanish restaurant not so long ago.
Inside, the restaurant is clean, non-cluttered and white - instantly it looks like it's aimed at an older crowd than North Star - but it's comfortable with music playing in the background at just the right level with a low hubub of chatter.
Chef Maurizio Rossini hails from Bari, the capital of Apulia / Puglia, so the menu features dishes from this region, which is the 'heel' in Italy. This is a part of Italy we've never been to, we've not been anywhere south of Naples, so we were looking forward to see what was in store.
We were here on a deal (shh) and both picked the red, a Merlot, to go alongside our meals. Mrs Foodie enjoyed it, and helped herself to my glass as well (cheeky ****!).
Service at this point was very laid back, with many utterings of 'prego' and 'certo'.
I had the panzerotto (£5.95), the crescent moon shaped street food calzone thing filled with cheese and a tart tomato sauce for dipping on the side. It was a tasty fried, fluffy, doughy snack. 😍
Mrs Foodie pinched some of the sauce for dipping her starter into; so some sauce instead of salad would work wonders for...
...the arancini (£5.95). Rice balls filled with (one each of) saffron, scarmozza and nduja plus a meat ragu. A good sized portion for a starter. The scarmozza & nduja arancini had a nice kick to it whilst the others were much more subtle in flavour.
Inside they were pretty densely packed...
We sat back and relaxed with our glasses of wine...minutes past...so we ordered another couple of glasses of wine with no sign of the food...'Your mains will be ready soon' we were told by a waiter rushing past. More time passed. 'Your mains will be here in 4 minutes' said the same waiter dashing in the opposite direction...they finally arrived at 10 to 8 even though we had been there since 6pm (and it wasn't busy as you can see from the second photo above)!
Pappardelle al ragu di agenello (£12.95) or pappardelle with slow-cooked lamb ragu for me. Simple Italian food done well. Firm strands of eggy pasta ribbons with meaty lamb; homely and filling.
Mrs Foodie ordered the paccheri, scamorza e guanciale (£10.95). If like me you're a little lost there, pacheri is big tube pasta, scamorza is a (usually) smoked mozzarella-type cheese and guanciale is cured pork cheek.
So...slightly undercooked pasta, bearable but noticeable. The guanciale was salty but not crispy enough and was a bit too much like pork belly than a tender pork cheek. The scamorza was lost underneath the pasta and stuck to the plate.
We also shared two sides, firstly, Sgagliozze (£3.95) AKA fried polenta. I always feel like you really need to cover polenta in seasoning, say pepper, chilli, or whatever, and what we had here had a good crispy exterior but was ultimately bland so into the ragu they went!
Our second side was Cime di rapa (£3.95) or 'turnip tops' with chilli and garlic. Also known as sprouting broccoli; the leafy green part of turnip put to good use (or are they just called that because they look the same?) Either way, this side dish packed a punch. Not just with the chilli and garlic but also the “greenness” of the dish. Strong flavours, fresh and very tasty.
After 2 hrs 15 mins passed we decided to call it a day so dessert would have to wait for another day.
Not completely impressed with Rossini which was sad as we loved the homely cooking at North Star. I think they were just having an off night as reviews are generally very positive so we’ll give it another go at some point as the prices are decent. Although it was slow, staff were still friendly so they get a plus point for that. Toilets were fine.
+ Specialises in Puglian / South Italian cuisine
+ Homely, warming food when they get it right
+ Friendly service
+ Surprisingly tasting 'turnip tops'
- Long wait for reasons unknown
- Stronger flavours or a dip with the arrancini would be welcome
- Disappointing pacheri
39-41 Hyndland Street, Partick, Glasgow