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Doppio Malto, Glasgow, restaurant review

The first UK bar and restaurant from this Italian brand opened in Glasgow city centre last year, Rosalind Erskine went along to try the food and beer cocktails.

Scotsman Review
Our criteria 
  • Ambience - It's important that a restaurant is inviting. We rate the decor, comfort and atmosphere.
  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
  • Food - We judge dishes on flavour, but also use of produce, cooking skill and presentation
  • Service - The staff and pace of a meal can make or break a meal out.
  • Value - From the food on the plate to service and surroundings, we check that you get what you're paying for.

The last time I was in the restaurant at 7 George Square, it was Jamie’s Italian and the height of the TV chef’s restaurant success. Both floors of the huge space, a whopping 8000 sq ft, were full on a busy weeknight in February.

Fast forward a few years and a lot has changed, but this restaurant is still serving Italian fare and it’s still very busy.

This is now where Doppio Malto chose to locate its first UK restaurant, which opened in August last year.

The company has restaurants across Italy as well as France and started as a brewery in Como in 2004. It’s this craft beer and a range of classic Italian dishes, plus an extensive variety of grilled meats that’s on offer here.

We visited for an early dinner on a Friday night ahead of a highly anticipated Celtic Connections concert.

The restaurant is very spacious but the addition of booth seating breaks up the floor space well and the overall design, including an array of upside down umbrellas hanging from the ceiling (a nod to Glasgow’s weather, which I am sure often make an appearance on Instagram) give a contemporary vibe.

There’s traditional Terrazzo flooring and terracotta plant pots, and downstairs large-scale ‘steps’ inspired by stadium seating.

As it started as a brewery, beer is key to Doppio Malto so while we pursued the extensive menu I tried a cremlino beer cocktail of vodka, cola and stout, which was sweet and smooth - reminiscent of my favourite drink as a teenager but with depth and smoothness from the stout. Across the table a crisp pint of honey IPA was swiftly drunk.

The menu is split into starters, pasta, pizza, burgers, grilled meats (cooked-to-order on a special grill using vegetable charcoals), salads and desserts.

There are so many options, you can almost hear Gordon Ramsay having a loud moment, but the friendly staff were happy to make suggestions for those who don’t know what to pick.

To start, we went for fried aubergine slices, focaccia with olives, sea salt and rosemary , burrata and Pizza croccante. The aubergine, a highlight of the first courses, was thinly sliced and dusted with slightly spicy corn and served with a beer infused mayo.

These were crisp and bursting with flavour, especially when dipped in the rich mayonnaise. The creamy soft burrata sat on a bed of crispy seeded croutons and sliced plum tomatoes.

Pizza croccante is essentially fried pizza, but looks and tastes nothing like a 3am pizza crunch. The slices are leavened for 36 hours before being fried and topped with a fresh tomato sauce and served with grated Bella Lodi grana cheese and fresh basil leaves.

This process makes a fresh, fairly light dish. The classic focaccia, studded with bitter olives was an ideal addition to mop up the burrata and beery mayo.

For mains we chose to share two pasta dishes and a pizza, which are smaller than what’s on offer in a traditional Italian. The fusilli had a kick thanks to the spicy sausage ‘nduja, and depth from the red pesto and Bella Lodi Raspadura cheese.

The simple, in comparison, Chitarre aglio olio e peperoncino - egg spaghetti with garlic, oil and chillies - shouldn’t be overlooked as its simplicity is what makes it, the fiery chilli flakes off set by the fresh oil and garlic.

Both pasta dishes were cooked perfectly al dente and were polished off before we turned our attention to the pancetta e funghi pizza.

The sourdough base has O San Marzano tomato sauce. topped with Autieri Fior di latte mozzarella, La Rocca PDO pancetta from Piacenza and champignons mushrooms.

While perfectly nice, the base was a bit too doughy and pancetta quite fatty without adding the flavour you might expect. The pasta dishes were by far the highlight of the main courses.

For dessert, we shared a semifreddo pistacchio. The pistachio parfait with sponge cake had a drizzle of chocolate sauce, mint leaves and was dotted with cake crumbs, making it look more like a Jackson Pollock than the traditional Italian dessert but it was just the right side of sweet and meltingly frozen to make it a hit.  A classic negroni was the ideal end to the meal.

When the restaurant opened in Glasgow, Doppio Malto CEO and founder, Giovanni Porcu, said: “Opening in Glasgow is a significant milestone for Doppio Malto; our first foray into the UK since we opened our first restaurant in 2016.

"We are incredibly proud to be in a position of growth despite a tough 18 months and we cannot wait to open our doors.

“At the very heart of Doppio Malto is our motto “un posto felice” - a ‘happy place’. Everything is designed around feeling good - from the food and beer to the service and physical space, and we are so excited to bring this unique concept to the UK.”

As we left for our gig, the place was filling up as it once did for Mr Oliver with a mix of young friends, kids and families so it appears that Porcu has followed through with the motto.

I was pleasantly surprised by Doppio Malto and can see myself returning soon with my nephews or friends as part of much-missed days and nights out in the city centre.

Doppio Malto

7 George Square,

Glasgow G2 1DY

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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