Restaurant Review: gold medal standard in service

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Glasgow 2014 seems to have everyone in the city at fever pitch — but Bella Napoli in Shawlands is going for Commonwealth gold.

Master chef and proprietor Domenico Crolla has installed a gold pizza oven for the occasion, and will be offering customers a taste of the top prize throughout the Games, with edible gold leaf appearing across the menu (with the cost donated to Glasgow City Mission).

The other half and I may have missed out on the gold leaf — but after a sumptuous five courses, it’s fair to say we deserved gold in the gluttony category.

First, we tackled a mountain of stone-baked focaccia slices, all topped with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, herbs and rock salt, and a lucky few scattered with roast tomatoes too.

It was a great start — the flatbread crisp yet moist, the garlic providing plenty of punch alongside sprigs of rosemary, and the tomatoes delightfully oozing.

My starter plate came stacked with calamari; an impressive portion of lightly battered squid rings with a tangy tartare sauce. I couldn’t finish it — and that’s saying something.

The OH tucked into fresh mozzarrella fritters, which were tasty, although the spicy pomodoro sauce lacked the punch it promised.

I opted for a summery main — pizza with goats cheese and grape — and wasn’t disappointed. This sizeable pie — with an onion, rather than tomato base and a drizzle of balsamic — was perfectly balanced, providing sweet, savoury, creamy and sharp flavours with every bite.

The OH went for a manly meat ravioli with strips of veal and veggies galore, all wrapped in a rich tomato sauce — another hit.

Desserts were a classic Italian sundae and Sicilian cannoli — both delicious — followed by a delicate coffee mousse.

Above all, the Bella Napoli staff were wonderful, offering a warm Italian welcome which deserves the gold medal for services to hungry southsiders alone.