Restaurant Review: smart take on tapas is a beautiful thing

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There a lot of jokes to be made about eating at a place called Brutti Compadres, or ugly friends.

It being the season of goodwill, I decided not to invite friends along, and took the other half instead (obvious gags on a postcard, please).

Still, this chic little bar nestled in a quiet city centre cove is anything but.

Stumble off Argyle Street and down an ordinary-looking lane and you’ll be drawn in by the twinkling lights, smart after-work drinks vibe and, we hoped, good food.

Brutti Compadres is all about platos pequeños, or tapas. The OH isn’t exactly a fan of small plates, but this is the closest I’ve come yet to convincing him of the siesta-then-fiesta way of life.

We shared an ample six plates, starting with veggie favourite halloumi done two ways. The OH loved fat chips of it deep fried and stacked, but my money was on the halloumi and chickpea stew; rich tomato and red onion giving way to melting nuggets of cheese.

Hot chorizo was a must, and proof that the simplest dishes are often the tastiest; the sausage was crumbly and cooked well, oozing rich smoky oil demanding to be mopped up.

‘Angry prawns’ doused in garlic and chilli were good, as were black pudding croquettes with sweet chilli — but we were left fighting (so much for sharing) over haggis croquettes; delicately spiced balls with a delicious peppery whisky sauce.

We finished with sticky toffee pudding with an excellent salted caramel ice cream, and a waffle topped with fresh raspberries and cream. Ice cream might have given the second dessert more oomph — especially the mascarpone option from Brutti’s lengthy ice cream options — but the fruit added much-needed tang.

There’s nothing unsightly about Brutti’s menu — in fact, this hidden gem offers a pretty setting, pleasant nibbles and a great selection behind the bar.

Tell all your friends, take them soon — perhaps just gloss over the name, if they’re easily offended.

Rating: 9/10

Brutti Compadres

3 Virginia Court

Merchant City

Glasgow

G1 1TS

Tel: 0141 552 1777