OH, MAN they do a memorable pillowy and warm focaccia at Gloriosa, crusted with salt, sprinkled with rosemary. It’s flippy, floppy, unctuously evoo-ey and pretty lush eating. We polish off hunks off it while greatly enjoying mansplaining to each other about the total Wild West that is buying commercial websites, the movies (Sean working on them) and, of course, motorcycles.

I’ll mainly remember this focaccia though because I impulse order it only after we have eaten our way through a great many dishes and only when we realise nothing else savoury is coming and largely and, rather awkwardly, because we’re still pretty hungry.

Hmmm, it slots in then like a culinary Elastoplast somewhere between the lamb and zhoug (more on this later) and a super wobbly and quietly creamy panna cotta in a pool of grown-up caramel with a rather hard and perhaps unnecessary biscuit that I’m guessing they made themselves.

Not to say that the flickering candles, wide open spaces and hushed comfort of this newish restaurant at the top of the Finnieston strip don’t create a pleasant place to be. On this Wednesday evening it oozes a quiet, calm sophistication with a casual but well-dressed customer base, even if rather bizarrely when I walked in it seemed every table had at least one bloke stroking his bare chin in slightly puzzled contemplation at the food. Trying to figure out presumably, like us, how this is supposed to work.

I mean we eat good things. Parmesan shavings, tarragon, hazelnuts and watercress turn pale, poached Jerusalem artichokes into a rather lovely salad; the obligatory beetroot offering is blisteringly vibrant in its colours, shredded almost, and spiked with mint, smoked almond and doused in a posh vinaigrette. Farinata, or that panfried (Genoa) chickpea tart is a salty, savoury circular, crunchy gooey sandwich filed with Swiss chard that makes us both look up and nod in unison: this is really good.

There’s a plate of pale yet pink smoked haddock morsels (we decide smoked inhouse) in a wispy fennelly and attractively oily pool containing quite a lot of lemon.

Then there’s a spaghettini heaped with parmesan, more lemon, containing violet artichoke and tasting buttery, a little eggy and served, of course, al dente.

Considering my first ever recollection of the phrase al dente is when aged about eight I carried the spaghetti I’d helped Nonna plate through to the full Italian family waiting at the table and received showers of complimenti amid cries of al dente you’d think I welcome this. But somehow I find it a little bit grittily unnecessary in pasta this fine.

We glide through these textures and tastes anyway almost effortlessly – waiting subconsciously for the oh-mamma moment that’s going to indicate we’ve reached the top of the hill and only have to glide replete through a fragrant dessertland. But it never comes.

There was the lamb, sliced, seared to almost crispness yet very pink and occasionally chewy. This is quite good and served surrounded by fava beans, spiced butter and that zhoug, straight from the Bumper Book of Things That Your Customers May Not Yet Have Spotted on the Supermarket Shelves. All fresh green, cuminy, coriander sensations which along with the beans makes for a super seductive combo that has me wishing there was much more of this.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the gildas (see bumper book above) at £1.50 a pop that we had as appetisers and that literally made us laugh out loud when we saw them. A cocktail stick with an olive, a pickled pepper and and an anchovy: nice but should they even be charging for this? I don’t think so.

What do we think of Gloriosa overall? The chef or mastermind or whatever was at Alchemilla across the road, a restaurant that was slightly blighted, for me anyway, by its breathless not entirely warranted delight in itself. Gloriosa doesn’t feel smug. A little weirdly unstructured, pricey too, but overall it’s still fresh and worth a visit.


1321 Argyle St


0141 334 0594

Menu: A lot of great flavours, not much structure to anything. A grazer's delight with zhougs, light smoked haddocks and artichoke and parmesans a go-go. 4/5

Service: Quiet, calm, unobtrusive and in keeping with the generally upmarket casual vibe. 4/5

Atmosphere: Flickering candles, wide-open spaces, this is in The Old Firebird restaurant but you will struggle to recognise it. 4/5

Price: I spent £70-ish for two with no alcohol and that lamb was £16, the farinata a fiver. Mounts up easily. 4/5

Food: Some light, fresh memorable flavours; that Jerusalem artichoke, the lamb with zhoug. The farinata not so great. But worth a try. 8/10