It’s a funny thing, inviting a reviewer into the hallowed ground of the restaurant kitchen.
Still, Singl-end had invited me to slip on the chef’s whites this week and, being an enthusiastic — if underseasoned — cook, I happily accepted.
Thankfully, I was in the capable hands of Jennifer, who owns the restaurant and deli with husband Gianni, and she (very patiently) talked me through Singl-end’s signature antipasti.
Stepping aside from the usual starter, the couple have opted for a tongue-in-cheek takeaway style, serving up the finest Italian ingredients they have that day on a flattened cardboard pizza box for two, promoting the mantra that food is for sharing around the table.
Jennifer and I set about creating my taster — and although it would be impossible to list it all, here are a few highlights.
The restaurant’s own citronella dressing was perfectly paired with mackerel, as were thin slices of golden and pink beetroot with pistachio pesto.
There was beautifully-textured, crumbly Italian sausage, a fennel puree bruschetta — a veggie delight — and my first taste of Italian faro, which made a lovely light salad.
In fact, this mighty portion of nibbles remained light, dainty and refined across the board, despite rough and ready presentation. The exception, perhaps, was breaded tomato and mozzarella, which fell heavy and flat — but grilled provolone cheese with tomato and chilli jam more than made up for it.
I then tucked into a selection Singl-end’s mini desserts; coffee-kicked tiramisu, a tasty fruit jelly, crumbly chocolate ‘salami’ and a delightfully balanced, slightly salted doughball topped with sugar.
The industrial meets neighbourhood kitchen feel of Singl-end is — like the food — a breath of fresh air, in that it doesn’t try too hard.
The truth is that, from flavourful olive oil to fresh, zingy veg, Singl-end’s quality ingredients shine through regardless of who wears the apron — your humble critic included.
265 Renfrew Street
Tel: 0141 611 7270