Doppio Malto


THERE will come a point on this hot, late summer night as we sprawl, jackets off, ties loosened, Italian craft beers here, imported Sicilian coca-cola there, when our extremely likeable Italian waiter will stop chit-chatting and say: Hey, guys: the brace misto?

His shoulders will rise, elbows squeeze, hands open and head tilt in that universally charming gesture of why not?

And so we’ll dive again into our floppy newspaper menus written in sizzling and chic Italian birreria style, pages flipping, eyes popping as we navigate small text, labyrinthine layout, finally finding this: Al Fuoco Rosso Rooster, Mantuan Salamella Sausage – a full 24 ounces of Italian pork ribs, and 8 ounces of gran tagliata too. Before settling on the key phrase: £23 per head. As one, we’ll look up and say: hmmm.

Out there, right now, on the sticky streets of Glasgow's open (air) city, tables, chairs, and whooping customers all forced out onto the pavements by Covid’s lasting legacy may make it feel like we’re in Marbella or Magaluf by the Clyde but in here? Amidst the wooden walls, the neon signs promising Un Posto Felice, that open kitchen, Hip Hip Burgers, Funny Pasta, Crazy Pizza, we’re amidst all the trappings of a very successful and genuine Italian craft beer chain. Imported lock, stock and many craft beer barrels from Italia.

I check online as we chat, and the menu here is exactly the same as it is in their branch in Milan Viale Luguria. But is this a franchise? Dunno. It certainly seems the PR people have been filling the ether with breathless accounts of how Glesga has been selected for Doppio Malto’s first foray across the channel.

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And, yes, this is Jamie’s Oliver’s old gaff. Right on a semi-restyled George Square complete with tank traps, sorry pot plants, road closures, bewildering signs and somehow, despite the clunky efforts of the City Fathers, a good and buzzy vibe tonight.

But onto the food. We don’t take that brace mista, not on price alone, but because there are many other things to try. Although, too many maybe?

And, yes, this is really all about their own craft-brewed beers; kegs and pipes on display in an underlit area near the front door. A thing in Italy, and a thing here here too now.

It’s got to be a decade since I was in Biella at Birreria Menebria, one of the far more home-spun front runners of this whole new wave.

Anyway, are they roosters or roasters, we joke with the waiter, or even roasted roosters, the menu describing the chicken as both. Roasters, he says, and mine arrives from that Josper charcoal restaurant oven (it may be a Pira) crisp skinned, moistly meaty, basted with herbs, carrying a mild chilli kick and accompanied by their oven roasted potato wedges. On these, I’m wondering if they’re forced to use using generic potatoes, because neither the texture nor the flavour is great.

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The pork ribs, however, we like. The slightest tang of Italian hamminess to them. An Angus tagliata, sliced across the grain maybe not so exciting.

Yes, we do end up ordering most of the things on that brace mista separately. There is, too, a platter of orechiette Cime di Rapa, e salsiccia, turnip greens and sausage sauce, Bella Lodi Raspadura, sprinkled over, the whole dish a comforting cheesy aftershock to it.

However, when Des finds the interior of his Parmigiana Di Melanzane stone cold, or frozen and it has to go back we’re wondering about the risks involved in importing all main course dishes.

David has a Mozzarella in Carrozza, a crowd-pleasing sandwich of breaded mozzarella with ham laid between the slices and I crunch my way through Pizza Croccante, or fried pizza slices. Not even slightly as Scottish as it sounds.

To finish they do this cute DIY thing: Cannoli shells arrive crisp yet hollow, a neat piping bag of ricotta cream on the side, pistachio and chocolate flakes in dishes for you to sprinkle over. That’s entertainment.

Doppio Malto

7 George Square



Menu: Proper Birreria menu from a chain that’s sweeping Italy, Costine di Maiale, Orrechiette, rub shoulders with Crazy Pizza, Funny Pasta, burgers and crostone. Food to drink beer by. 4/5

Service: Particularly good, warm, friendly, pretty entertaining and reacted quickly when we had a problem. 5/5

Price: Starters around the £6 mark and up, pizzas £9 to £13, steaks and ribs around £17. City centre location and city centre prices. 3/5

Atmosphere: It’s pretty much imported lock, stock and menu from Italy and they’ve pulled off the birreria feel. Comfortable relaxed, bright and light. 4/5

Food: Frankly? It’s all about their craft beers. While the char-grilled pork ribs were enjoyed, and the rest decent, nobody’s socks were blown off. Early days. 6/10