It’s now over a year since Gambero Rosso re-opened following a devastating fire, but this was the first opportunity I’ve had to revisit a restaurant that used to be one of my favourites.
And I was delighted to discover that the Italian eater, which has scooped a host of awards over the years, is very definitely back to its best.
Its canalside setting makes it the perfect place for a meal out on a balmy summer’s day – just the conditions which prompted my wife and I to head along on a rare child-free evening.
So, while Calum was devouring copious amounts of toasted marshmallows on his school’s annual camping trip, we tucked into some more adult-friendly comfort food.
Pasta is one of my all-time favourites but I’ve been caught before filling up on it as a starter and struggling through my main, so this time I opted for fegatini – chicken livers, cooked with onion, bacon, red wine and balsamic vinegar and served on garlic bread.
The strong flavours probably aren’t for everyone but it was certainly a hit with me and I made sure I kept aside a piece of the bread to mop up the remains of the delicious sauce.
There was something of a shock on the other side of the table as Pauline body-swerved the Parma ham and melon – probably for the first time in living memory – in favour of mozzarella impanata – sticks of the traditional Italian cheese in breadcrumbs and served with a tomato chilli dip.
You can’t really go to wrong with mozarella but anything with chilli in it always runs the risk of being too bland or too spicy, depending on the customer’s taste, but, for our palates at least, this dip played it perfectly down the middle.
On to the mains and it was pleasing to note that Gambero Rosso allows you to pick your favourite pasta to form the basis of your chosen dish, although we opted to take the advice of our excellent waiter, Bruno.
So, it was linguine that accompanied my salciccia and funghi – a delicious mix of spicy sausage, mushrooms, onion, garlic and cream – while Pauline’s pollo arrosto – roast chicken, tomato, garlic and cream – came with rigatoni.
Both dishes – accompanied by the obligatory (and deliciously light) foccacia – were top notch.
And, although the creaminess of the sauce meant Pauline wasn’t quite able to clear her plate, it meant I got a little sample of it as well – purely in the interests of this review you understand!
A meal out with Calum usually means having to dash away as soon as the last morsel had passed our lips so it was a delight to sit back with a coffee, relax and enjoy the surroundings.
Oh, and we managed to find room for desserts too – profiteroles for me and some refreshing lemon sorbet for Pauline.
Well you’ve got to, haven’t you?
Gambero Rosso, Burnbank Road, Falkirk: 01324 613311 Gambero Rosso Facebook