Last night the three of us visited Café Antipasti on Sauchiehall Street to take advantage of their pre-theatre menu before we headed off to the King’s Theatre to see Spamalot. Arriving around quarter to six, the restaurant was already filling up, which I took to be a good sign given that it was so early on a Monday night. From what I observed, the restaurant does get a good amount of business from the pre-theatre crowd – I could hear the staff discussing what was currently on at the King’s and they were clearly unfazed by the early crowd.
The pre-theatre menu boasts five starters, seven main courses and four desserts to choose from, and is reasonably good value at £10.95 for two courses or £13.95 for three. The first niggle came with the arrival of the drinks – mum’s Sauvignon Blanc and my water were fine, but dad was presented with one of those tiny little mixer bottles of Diet Coke and was not best pleased. However, life goes on and a tiny bottle of Coke was not going to ruin our whole night.
Dad and I both began with the empanadas – crispy pastry filled with chicken, n’duja sausage and cream cheese served with a tomato dip. The two empanadas and small side salad were dwarfed by the massive plate, making the starter look a tad on the small side. The empanadas themselves were tasty enough, with a slight hint of spice from the sausage and a creaminess from the cheese. Meanwhile, mum enjoyed a large chunk of smooth chicken liver pâté with four small slices of crispy toasted ciabatta and red onion marmalade. Her only complaint was that the one tiny pat of butter wasn’t enough to cover the four slices of toast.
Both mum and dad went for pizza as their main course – mum choosing to top hers with caramelised onions and dad plumping for reliable old pepperoni. The pizzas were thin and crispy – something which always pleases dad – and both seemed to go down well. Mum particularly enjoyed her caramelised onion topping, although there could have been a little more of them. I enjoyed a, relatively small, portion of lasagne made with beef, Italian sausage and ricotta cheese. Whilst it wasn’t as good as my mum’s traditional lasagne – nothing ever comes close – replacing the traditional béchamel sauce with ricotta cheese provided a creamy yet crumbly texture which I did enjoy.
We hadn’t intended to have dessert, but we made the mistake of asking for the menu and a few minutes later we were each tucking into a tasty pudding. I chose the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream for a £1 supplement. Unlike some sticky toffee desserts, this one was light and fluffy and served with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream. Dad chose the House Tiramisu and was served a huge square of cream and sponge flavoured delicately with coffee. Finally, mum chose the Rhubarb Crumble and Stem Ginger Cheesecake with Strawberry Mascarpone – an odd combination on paper but mum thought that they went well when eaten together. The crispy base of the cheesecake provided the ginger, whilst crumble pieces were scattered over the top. The rhubarb, however, was nowhere to be found, which was a little disappointing.
We had no major issues with the service, except for the brusque nature of one server who I presumed was a manager – she seemed to want everything done quickly and promptly but could have done with focusing on her customer service skills a wee bit.
Overall, the food was relatively good but I’ve definitely had better. I’d probably return if I was looking for a cheap pre-theatre in the area but I won’t be rushing back any time soon.