DINERTEC @ Casa Italia

WHEN it comes to Crimbo leftovers, I've gone cold on the turkey.

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And I had a beef with the Moll's mince pies.

I had a heavy dose of tinselitis and it was time to make like a banana and split from Tec Towers.

I defrosted the Buick for one last blast at the hunger games circuit before the bells toll.

The Moll, naturally, came along for the good food ride.

I turned the ignition and touched the dame's hump for luck after I heard her muttering something about the bills, the bills.

I was ready to rock the Casa, Clydebank's newest Italian. Perched on a hill, it certainly looked like a mini castle. Inside, it was busy but luckily there was room at the inn.

A waitress called Yvonne gave me a megawatt welcome and steered us to a table up the back and I wasted no time in setting up a bar tab.

I really wanted a Drambuie to heat up my veins, but I knew it was too much of a guilty pleasure.

So I hit on a Peroni and lined up a large – and not cheap – Merlot for the Moll.

The joint was jumping – only the tables on the second landing seemed a little deserted. Turns out the Casa used to be a church.

Luckily, Blondie and I were singing from the same hymn sheet.

"This is not like you, Tec," she said. "It's quite classy in a Clydebank way."

I decided there's no better way to deal a winning hand in an Italian job than a steaming hot bowl of minestrone.

But unfortunately on this occasion the deck wasn't stacked in my favour.

The soup was a tad too watery and the vegetables a little on the sparse side.

Which was a pity because a little extra effort could have made this starter ace.

It lacked a little oomph, although the giant sized dish made it good value.

And the white Italian bread was delicious.

The Moll, on the other hand, reckoned the deep fried mushrooms were magic.

As well as being generous with the portions, the Casa hit the juicy spot.

The batter's golden sheen guaranteed a nice crispy coating, and the garlic mayonnaise made this a home run.

My Peroni had vanished quicker than tuna at a penguin party. Time for a refill before I sharpened my knife for the mains event.

Truth be told, I had been pretty stumped. Casa Clydebank had a menu like a selection box – and each dish made a pretty solid choose-me case.

But the Italian sausage had Tec stamped all over it.

With its full-on fennel flavours, it was fit for a king carnivore.

And the Parmesan shavings were the ideal cheesy topping.

The Moll had been planning on a steak out, but eventually decided the price wasn't exactly chickenfeed.

So a poultry plate got the nod instead.

The chicken and mushroom job was a little on the small side.

Which meant that, unfortunately, it disappeared faster than a speeding poulet.

But the taste ensured the flavour lingered a little longer.

The big gripe, though, was over the tiny amount of white wine sauce.

"Perhaps there wasn't enough to go round," said the Moll.

And Blondie wasn't overly impressed by the chips either.

It seemed we were facing a split decision over the Casa.

I decided on a dessert tie-breaker – an Irish coffee for me and ice cream for The Moll.

My choice initially had the bar guys scratching their heads. Not a good sign.

After a quick confab, we agreed on a Highland coffee.

Nice it was too. As was the Moll's ice cream.

The bill was a trifle high to be on the happy side, mainly because of the Moll's vino collapso intake

So it was a slightly mixed verdict but case closed for the Casa.

CASA ITALIA, 1 MONTROSE STREET,

CLYDEBANK TEL: 0141 952 2554

STARTER

Minestrone soup & Italian bread £3.25

Breaded mushrooms & garlic dip £4.50

MAINS

Italian sausage with spinach and shaved Parmesan £8.85

Chicken with mushrooms in a white creamy sauce with chips £13.95

DESSERT

One ice cream £2.95

DRINKS

Two Peronis £7.30; Two large Merlots £9.50; One Highland coffee £4.95

TOTAL £55.25

Food and drink

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