DINERTEC @ The Italian Bistro

IT was a quiet day in the office and I was just watching shadows on the wall.

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There were just the two of us – me and Jack Daniels.

The phone ringing nearly lifted me out of my seat.

Was it someone needing the Tec's services?

Sadly, no. "My stomach feels like my throat's been cut,'' said a gruff voice. "And today I want to be a West End gal. Hurry up.''

Right then I knew I was three minutes and 50 seconds into a four-minute warning.

But I knew just the place to avoid the Moll going nuclear.

I crashed the Buick's anchors outside the Italian Bistro in Great Western Road.

Word on the Tecvine was this well-known joint had just undergone the kind of facelift to make Joan Rivers proud.

One glance at the spoilt-for-choice menu put me right on that score.

Our waitress had a megawatt smile and gave us some nice pointers on the vino front, then it was time to give the food plenty of thought.

The focaccia drizzled with mushrooms got my vote and what a winner it was. Four huge chunks of Italian bread smothered in creamy mushrooms – and this was just for starters.

The bread was perfectly soft and the toppings had me screaming bella bella. Mix in excellent Parmesan and rocket and this was a five-star appetizer.

Across the table, the Moll had a look of amore in her eyes – and with good reason.

Her stuffed mushrooms were so good her pupils turned a satanic shade of red. Again, the Bistro had served up a Desperate-Dan sized dish which was just dandy.

And here's a rarity - the mushrooms had been grilled rather than deep fried.

I noticed a couple at the next table were getting a bit frisky on the whisky, so I made sure the Moll stuck to the vino and ordered up another round.

I loved the look of the Bistro. It was open and warm, and had the kind of vibe that worked perfectly on the Ice Maiden.

"I wanted class, Tec, and for once you came up trumps," said Blondie.

I was as happy as a clam, but that didn't mean I wanted to reel in the prawns and scallops for the mains event, delicious though it looked on paper.

Luckily, the waitress produced her own trump card recommendation with the peppered rump steak.

I did a double take on the menu and at £13.50 decided the price was more than right for this spice boy.

Normally I'm a sirloin or fillet kind of guy, but this huge slab of Scotch beef had me chucking out the rule book.

The steak was an example of a Masterchef masterclass. I had actually asked for more pepper, which might not have been a wise move.

The steak was already sizzling with spicy seasoning – easily the best I've tasted for a long time.

The menu said the chips were home-made, but you don't get fries like these at Tec Towers.

They were chunky and right on the money while the crispy fresh salad was the icing on the Madeira cake, if you know what I mean.

The Moll, meanwhile, reckoned her ship had come in after landing a giant haul of fish-flavoured fettuccine.

Her plate was stoked with an abundance of white crab, king prawns and crayfish.

The garlic-flavoured pasta, dotted with pieces of chilli, was rich and creamy and bang on the texture mark.

The crab was especially good, and the king prawns and crayfish added the perfect Scottish ingredients to a brilliant Italian job.

"That was the business, Tec," was the Moll's verdict.

I reckoned I could have another vino without giving the Feds a nosebleed and we took it to another level by sharing a dish of ice cream.

Thankfully that cooled her ardour while I totted up the bill.

The plonk had pushed things up a bit but I reckoned chow this good was well worth shelling out for.

The only thing left to say was grazie and ciao.

THE ITALIAN BISTRO, 1051 Great Western Road, Glasgow Tel: 0141 339 5575

Food **** Atmosphere **** Service ****

Starters

Focaccia topped with mushrooms, rocket and Parmesan £5.50

Grilled stuffed mushrooms with pancetta herbs and Parmesan

£5.95

Mains

Peppered rump steak with handmade chips and salad £13.50

Fettuccine of king prawns, crayfish and white crabs with chilli, parsley and garlic £13.95

Dessert

Ice cream £4.95

Drinks

Two Pinot Grigio £10.50

Two Sauvignon Blanc £11.20

TOTAL £65.55

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