Printer Friendly

Macaroni is a crowd pleaser; Italian has got the perfect recipe for success.

Byline: Gary Ralston

asffaasf asffaasf asffaasf asfff TONY MACARONI The Hub Almondvale Crescent Livingston West Lothian EH54 6QX Brazil can keep their famous Maracana - Scotland now boasts the Macaroni.

If Livingston Football Club attracted as many fans on a Saturday afternoon as Tony's on a Friday night, they'd be challenging Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the Champions' League.

Busy?

The last time it was this packed, former Livi striker Leigh Griffiths treated his kids to dinner.

Tony Macaroni's brainworm marketing is genius and their radio ads are so annoyingly infectious they make the Welsh opera singer from Go Compare sound like Sam Smith on Valium.

Now they have sponsored the stadium of the local team, paving the way for others in the restaurant game to follow suit - Parma Hampden, Rib Eye Brox, Tannadiced Beef, Victoria Sponge Park or Yeast End Park, anyone?

Tony's are leading an Italian culinary invasion that hasn't been seen in Scottish towns since the great depression of the 30s led to forced emigration, fish suppers and fresh ice cream.

Managing director Sep Marini is already up to 12 restaurants and counting and they now serve enough olives every year to fill the Trevi Fountain in Rome, although the stones must play havoc with the plumbing.

It was more like the Coliseum the night Ross and I visited as we fought our way through the throng, stupidly without having first confirmed a table.

It led to a 20 minute wait to be seated but Tony's is comfortably kitted out with a good sized bar and plenty of easy chairs, so it was hardly a hassle.

The clientele ranged from family get togethers, work colleagues on a night out, groups of guys and girls and, yes, even young couples playing the dating game (no mobile phones on the table is always a dead giveaway).

That answered my reservations over Tony's recent move to take a section of the menu more upmarket with a revamp under the guidance of Italian celebrity chef Fabio Campoli.

Now, if you were trying to persuade that girl in advertising to favour you over a beefcake from accounts then you'd suggest a night out at a trattoria with a name like Enzo's, La Cucina or Firenze.

A first date at Tony Macaroni?

It couldn't sound less cool than telling her your mother had ironed your favourite acryllic underpants especially for the occasion.

Food snobs will tell you Tony's is playing the numbers game with suppliers and the pasta isn't freshly made by the hands of a nymph from Naples or the bread dough kneaded by a baker from Bari.

However, there are still enough staff from Empoli in its employ and if it didn't offer sufficient authentic touches from the open kitchen (always a good sight) it would have foundered on rocks of indifference soon after the first restaurant opened in East Kilbride eight years ago.

Our food was very good, although the main courses were better than the starters of insalata caprese and caponata.

The mozzarella and tomato salad was served very simply and although the olive oil was more of a sprinkle than a drizzle, Ross scored the cheese highly for its milky texture.

My caponata - a Sicilian stew of aubergines, pine nuts, capers and olives in tomato sauce, was rendered more of a mush than a stew as it was over-oiled, suffocating the zing of the capers and black olives, even if the pine nuts worked overtime to provide a badly needed crunch.

Thankfully, my main course of spigola aqua pazza was much, much better. The steamed fillets of bass were piled high on top of a generous bed of mussels, king prawn, clams and squid in a chilli and white wine sauce.

The seafood was terrific with al dente prawns, meaty mussels and squid that wasn't in the slightest chewy, but am I the only one who finds clams over-rated?

They never seem to pull their weight in a dish and fiddling to take the meat from the shell hardly seems worth the hassle.

With three well cooked slabs of sea bass and a broth of a sauce, it was such a portion it didn't need the chunks of toasted bread on the side and the side order of baby tomatoes with a rocket salad were barely touched.

Ross also raved about his risotto Portofino, lavished with butter and cream and also well packed with prawns and cherry tomatoes, his fork emerging full every time he dived into the rice.

Yours truly skipped dessert but Ross went for the Knickerbocker Glory, and was transported back to his childhood with three scoops of gooey Nardini's ice cream the highlight of a tottering treat of creaminess.

The waitress took a coffee order and asked if she could get us anything else.

Hearts fan Ross piped up: "Aye, the Jambos at Livingston in the next round of the cup."

We'll make sure we book as well.

Got a restaurant you want reviewed?

Email g.ralston@dailyrecord.co.uk or via Twitter @ garyshotplate

TONY MACARONI

Telephone: 01506 410505 Disabled access: Yes Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday 12noon-9.45pm, Friday and Saturday 12noon-10.15pm.

helpful and knowledgeable. Decor: 5/5 - Modern, relaxed and contemporary. Toilets: 5/5 - Classy and spotless.

Value for money: 4/5 - A la carte as standard, but check out daytime deals.

Bill for two (with drinks): PS61. Food: 7/10 - Something for everyone, with consistent quality.

TOTAL 26/30 Gary's Hot Plate Leaders Table . DELIVINO 30/30 6 King Street, Crieff PH7 3HA . CATCH 29/30 186 Fenwick Road, Giffnock, G46 6XF . BLACK DOVE 29/30 67 Kilmarnock Road,Glasgow G41 3YR ?

FORESTERS GUILD 29/30 ?

40 Portobello High St, Edinburgh ?

MEAT HOOK AT MATHER'S 29/30 ?

25 Broughton Street,Edinburgh . PORTER AND RyE 29/30 1131 Argyle Street, Glasgow G3 8ND ?

OMORPHIA TAVERNA 29/30

V343-349 Main Street, Bellshill ML4 1AW . V DEEP 29/30 60 Henderson Street,Edinburgh

KIRKHILL BRASSERIE 28/30

Dryfesdale Country House, Lockerbie

THE D'ARCY THOMPSON 28/30

21-23 Old Hawkhill, Dundee DD15EU . PACO'S 28/30 3-5 Mill St, Perth, PH1 5HZ?

THE LAROCH RESTAURANT 27/30 Loan Fern, Ballachulish PH49 4JB

CANADA WOOD KITCHEN 27/30

Loch Green Road, Falkirk FK1 3AZ . LA BARCA 27/30 33 West Clyde Street, Helensburgh G84 8AW . THE TEA HOuSE 27/30 2 Stirling Road, Larbert FK5 4AF .gARVIE AND CO 27/30 1 Station Road, Milngavie G82 1PG

THE ANCHOR LINE 27/30

12-16 St Vincent Place, Glasgow . THE SuN INN 27/30 Lothianbridge, Dalkeith EH22 4TR ?

STAGE DOOR CAFE 27/30

Gaiety Theatre, 12 Carrick Street, Ayr . KHuSHI'S 27/30 1 Canmore Street, Dunfermline

THE RIVERHILL 27/30

3 West Nile Street, Glasgow

BRIDGE STEET KITCHEN 26/30

24 Bridge Street, Dollar FK14 7DE

MARIO'S PLAICE 26/30

285-287 Byres Road,Glasgow G12 8TL

THE OLD ANCHOR INN 26/30

48 Gray Street Broughty Ferry DD5 2AL

TONY MACARONI 26/30

LAlmondvale Crescent Livingston EH54 6QX

LA VITA PIZZERIA 26/30

Kirkintilloch Road, Bishopbriggs G64 2LS

WEE GURKHA CURRY HOUSE 25/30

3 Hunter Street, East Kilbride G74 4LZ

THE CHIPPY DOON THE LANE 25/30

13 Keith Street, Hamilton . DRAgON-I 25/30 311-313 Hope Street, Glasgow G2 3PT . DA ANTONIO 25/30 31 Campbell Street, Hamilton ML3 6AS ?

THE WATERSIDE 25/30

Ardrossan Road, Seamill, West Kilbride

VENACHAR LOCHSIDE 25/30

CAllander, Stirling FK17 8HP . CASA ITALIA 24/30 1 Montrose Street, Clydebank, G81 2JF . MERCAT VIEW 24/30 5 High Street, Peebles EH45 8AG . CASA ITALIA 24/30 1 Montrose Street, Clydebank, G81 2JF . OLD SALTy'S 24/30 337 Byres Road,Glasgow G12 8UQ . RIgATONI'S 24/30 27 Clerk Street,Edinburgh EH8 9JD

THE PARK BISTRO 24/30

Loch House Farm, Linlithgow

THE CASTLE CLUB 23/30

100-108 Castle Street, Forfar DD8 3HR . DuMPLINg MONKEy 23/30 121 Dumbarton Road,Glasgow G11 6PR . POP uP PIg 23/30 2 Partick Bridge Street, Glasgow G11 6PL.

GOURMET BURGER KITCHEN 22/30

65 St Vincent Street, G2 5TF

BALGARTH PINES 18/30

8 Dunure Road, Doonfoot, Ayr KA7 4HR . THE CRAFTY PIG 17/30 508 Great Western Road,Glasgow

CAPTION(S):

YA BASS: Gary's spigola aqua pazza was terrific
COPYRIGHT 2015 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2015 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 10, 2015
Words:1362
Previous Article:It's tough leaving my girl but I need to work; Actress Dawn Steele admits she took role in Glasgow soap to pay the bills but views part as a new...
Next Article:Wine seller with Brian Elliott.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters