PURPLE basil pesto was the definitely the most intriguing dish of the evening as restaurant chain Ask Italian unveiled their new autumn menu in Glasgow last week.

Mostly diners were just surprised to learn that basil actually came in colours other than green, but for aficionados of pesto the purple version is a cut above. The basil is grown on a tiny family farm in Italy and imported to the UK by Ask Italian.

Evening Times: Tagliatelle with purple pesto

The purple pesto is served on top of fresh egg tagliatelle which is already coated in a green pesto and cream sauce, but is also found stuffed instead a folded mozzarella garlic bread in the starters list.

Overall, the new seasonal menu has plenty to offer Italian food lovers and the quality is a cut above the usual chain restaurant fare. It also caters well to non-meat eaters and includes vegan and gluten-free options.

Evening Times: Garlic bread with balsamic onions

The pumpkin arancini risotto balls melt in the mouth, and come served with a spicy dip. The garlic bread stuffed with cheese and balsamic onions is also well worth a try as a starter to share, especially as an alternative to a pizza for non-meat eaters as both the main course pizzas feature either sausage or chicken.

Evening Times: Pumpkin arancini

Of the main course dishes, a favourite on our table was probably the ricotta and spinach girasoles - basically rounded ravioli - which came in a spinach and cream cheese sauce.

The desserts were probably the high point of the meal though. It is difficult to pick out a favourite, but the baked chocolate gnocchi stuffed with Nutella and served with a warm chocolate dipping sauce won high praise - and vanished fairly swiftly. For sheer drama, the gluten-free 'Chocolate Etna' was great fun as the hot toffee sauce poured over the top melts away the chocolate cup to reveal a scoop of vanilla gelato and chocolate fondant sponge inside. One for the chocolate lovers.

For something to cleanse the palette, though, the lemon-flavoured yoghurt panna cotta or the gluten-free vegan chocolate orange tart with raspberry sorbet are both tangy and refreshing.

Evening Times: Dessert: Nutella gnocchi; panna cotta; and chocolate Etna