So, I’m standing there thinking, to paraphrase the oft-repeated favourite expression of football pundit Charlie Nicholas. He walked by earlier, you see, on his way up to the mezzanine at A’Challtainn to enjoy some seafood. It’s a busy night up there. A steady procession of stylish diners ascending the spiral staircase.
Meanwhile, the Scotland match is on a big screen in BAaD. Every table is full in the courtyard, under that distinctive arched glass ceiling. A smattering of tartan about the place, football tops, clinking glasses and slightly bemused hipsters on the periphery munching prawns. The second half is about to kick off.
So, I’m standing there, at the bar, with a pint of beer, looking down at two empty brown cardboard boxes, thinking. What made this pizza so good?
We’ve just demolished a couple of the taste sensations from new joint Magnificent 7. Seven types of pizza, available seven days a week, for £7. That’s the idea.
I noticed it’s possible to nip out to this corner unit and place your order without missing much of the match – it faces out onto the Calton Entry road at the Barras. The friendly pizza guy then delivered our takeaway direct to the bar.
We had asked him which were the most popular pizzas. The Benny Lynch and the Barra Boy was the reply. Each of the options has a Glasgow themed name.
The Benny Lynch: Spiced pulled pork, jalapenos, smoked Applewood, BBQ sauce. The Barra Boy: Parma ham, rocket, aged balsamic, bocconcini mozzarella. Not much local about the ingredients at first glance but we weren’t complaining.
Both were outstanding but the Benny Lynch packed more of a punch. A lively flavour with some heat that lingered. Much more than we were expecting from a pub snack.
Back to musings on good pizza. There are steps to follow, of course. Use the right flour for the base. Proper tomato sauce. Layers of ingredients that meld into a tasty mix when intense heat is applied in one of those nifty, real pizza ovens. It seems straight-forward. Yet, so many places get it wrong. It’s one of life’s great mysteries.
Here, as in a select few other places across town, the difference is that they actually want the pizza to be better. BBQ sauce is made in house and the balsamic is top notch. The pulled pork was freshly prepared. The mozzarrella was the real deal. Everything laid out from scratch and then served up to be enjoyed.
Remember, some years ago, the Scotland football fans chanting to the Italian fans, “we’re going to deep-fry your pizzas”? Nothing wrong with a pizza crunch, guilty pleasures and all that. However, Glasgow restaurants have too much of a tendency to mangle the most simple slices or produce stodgy doughy circles dripping with grease, mediocrity and indifference.
Not at Magnificent 7. They’re serving up winners.
54 Calton Entry
T: 0141 237 9220
Pizzas at Magnificent 7
Margarita pizza, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese
DEAR GREEN PLACE
Sumac spiced aubergine, courgette, asparagus and rocket (vegan)
Artichoke, olives, sun blush tomato pumpkin seed and chilli dressing (vegan)
Spiced pulled pork, jalapenos, smoked Applewood, BBQ sauce
Parma ham, rocket, aged balsamic, bocconcini mozzarella
THE LAUGHING GOAT
Goat’s cheese, baby spinach, beetroot, pesto sauce
CATCH OF THE DAY
King prawn, chilli, garlic, spinach, smoked mussel dressing, mozzarella cheese