Walking down Battlefield Road and everywhere is busy or not particularly inviting. We wander into one restaurant to be greeted with a stare of incredulity from the hostess when we explain we don’t have a reservation. There is a moment of silence. That stare again. “There’s nothing I can do” she says fatalistically and fades back into the tightly packed cluster of tables and the buzz of Friday night frivolity.
Feeling a bit left out, we venture further until we see Battlefield Rest. It’s a welcome sight.
Built as a particularly exotic looking tram station in 1915, this local landmark fell into a state of disrepair before being rescued by restoration led by businessman Marco Giannasi who opened an Italian bistro here in 1994.
The interiors are sophisticated and gloriously dated. The rooms genuinely seems bigger on the inside than they do on the outside. It’s like taking a step into a self-contained Glasgow culinary bubble where service is prompt and warm, conversation flows as easily as the wine, people relax and take their time over their meal. And they don’t mind that we are a pair of no-reservation walk-ins.
There’s 17 pages in the menu. This is out-of-synch with the trends of today – the preference for freshly typed single page menus. It is, however, totally in harmony with the general mid-90s Italian trattoria vibe that we are reveling in.
Baffled at first by the options, we try a goats cheese tart with a side of caramelised balsamic onion that hits the spot.
For mains we almost revert to childhood and order a bolognaise or a carbonara or an arrabiata. Instead it’s a linguine frutti de mare seafood blend of west coast mussels, prawns, Fort William farmed salmon, squid sauteed with fennel, chilli and garlic white wine sauce, all mixed with fresh pasta. There’s a lot going on here but it all balances out to be really satisfying. The mussels are a notable high point.
On the other side of the table is a chicken Milanese that is ultimately very simple but perfectly executed and very tasty. Don’t underestimate places that get the basics right.
We tell our waiter we are enjoying ourselves and he seems genuinely pleased. While some restaurants offer you nothing, others are happy to provide what you need.
55 Battlefield Road
T: 0141 636 6955