WE can blow up on TikTok,” says the waitress, “and I can come in here and it’s just mobbed, on even say a Tuesday.” Funnily enough this conversation started about a Tuesday. It being Tuesday tonight, and as far as TikTok is concerned there being zero sight of the blowing up taking place right now.

In fact, there’s pretty much nobody here but us chickens, and a foursome at the table two down, and maybe a couple round a pillar over there. It’s vast this place too. A hundred covers? Maybe more?

And harshly lit. With concretey smears on the walls. Now, I won’t blame them for this given fuel price extortion, but it’s not that warm. Taking it all together? Hmmm.

As I’ll say to Garry and Sarah as we leave later: it probably feels a lot better at the weekend.

And as we will all then say out loud: wonder how busy Sugo is tonight? Sugo, in case you’ve not been out in a while, is the smash-hit fresh pasta place just down the road in Mitchell Lane. Always completely mobbed.

Surely Glasgow’s, probably Scotland’s, most successful restaurant. By miles.

Il Pastaio?

Well, if they are not influenced by what’s been happening with Sugo then we are witnesses to an astonishing coincidence. I mean, look at this long thin grey menu: arty pasta dishes, small selection of cold sides, handful of desserts.

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Bingo? And … though I have to search hard on the internet to see if this is right: fresh-made in here pasta every day.

That’s Sugo’s actual USP. Hey, emulating, a sure-fire winner is a good thing to do. I’ve never stopped trying to be that Jay Rayner. No, you’re right. It hasn’t ever worked.

Don’t want to spoil the ending, but if that’s what they’re doing then it hasn’t worked in here either. And I’m not even that keen on Sugo.

Here’s the problem. Waitress great, bubbly, chatty engaging. Decor, bright, bit harsh, not at all engaging. Pasta? Hit and a miss.

I think they are using fresh pasta. How else could some of these dishes seem so stuck together? It demands care, using freshly-made, still soft pasta.

But we have a pappardelle with prawns, asparagus, cherry tomatoes and toasted breadcrumbs that frankly looks like it has been scooped from a pot of soup that’s been left in the fridge overnight. It’s just ... claggy. Shapeless. Unattractive. In the extreme.

The papardelle, when I dig down to get some, is actually fine but the three of us pick at, or try to unpick, the dish and just lose interest it’s so coagulated. This is £13, too.

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Yet I almost like the papardelle, porcini, brown butter, black truffle. Also £13. The papardelle itself is soft, silky, as it should be. The mushrooms pleasant if a bit over the top.

But again there’s so much on the plate it eventually settles into a kinda lump. There’s a reasonable rigatoni bolognese (but uniform square carrot pieces) and then a spaghetti pesto at, you guessed it, £13. I like the pesto sauce.

It’s vibrant, little nuggetty pine nuts in it, the spag is OK, though would actually be better with dried pasta. Oh, and then there’s the one pasta dish I claim some expertise in.

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A simple aglio e olio – I was brought up on the stuff. Oil, garlic, chilli.

This one has the chilli bite, an awful lot of oil but completely misses that flavour that you get when the garlic is caught just before it turns in the frying pan. Sigh. But ... it’s a reasonable £8.

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I’m going to give a much higher mark for food than either of my dining companions suggested because, listen, times are tough and – well, fresh pasta is very hard to do. Which is why just about everyone avoids it.

Oh. And the desserts were pretty good.

My affogato: dollop of ice cream, shot of coffee – not mucked about with. And a fiver. A huge Tiramisu turned out to be moist and punchy – a win at £6.

But overall. Hmmm.

Il Pastaio, 80 St Vincent St Glasgow G2 5UB. Tel: 0141 237 2230 Open 12-10pm

It’s a fresh pasta restaurant, made in-house every day they say. Not an original idea but a hard one to pull off. As they prove. 4/5
To be fair, on a Tuesday night in January, the place is deader than a dodo. It’s surely more enjoyable and atmospheric at weekends. 3/5 
No complaints at all here. Waitress engaging and chatty and very enthusiastic about her job. 5/5
They sidestep it’s generally £13 for a plate of pasta (yes it’s freshly made) by serving big portions loaded with ingredients. 3/5
Everyone has a bad night. I thought the pappardelle prawns was truly terrible, the pappardelle porcini managed OK. 5/10

Total: 20/30