Review: Vespbar, City Centre

Vespbar is a retro-styled Italian restaurant in the heart of the city centre, just half a block from Central Station. Not long opened, Get Out Glasgow were invited along to try out their new menu. Read on to see what we thought!

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When you walk into Vespbar it can initially be a tad confusing – it’s styled and laid out as an all out bar, but is selling itself as a restaurant. This caused some confusion as, when walking in, we both immediately assumed we were in the wrong place. Nevertheless, we caught the attention of a staff member and were shown to a table in the low-ceiling mezzanine area. The decor and layout of the place is great, really capturing the retro diner vibe as intended, without feeling cheesy in any way. It’s quite a large space with the bar running the full length of the downstairs area, and the majority of the seating circling the entire room on the mezzanine level. Music was a really nice mix, and at the perfect volume for 8pm on a Saturday night.

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Bread and Olive Tapinade

Having made ourselves comfortable, we took to ordering. Going with a bottle of red wine to drink this came and, I don’t exaggerate when I say this, was ROASTING hot. It was an extremely warm evening in Glasgow so, naturally, “room temperature” was a bit higher than usual, but I think they need to find a cooler place to store their red wine.

To eat, we started with a vegetarian antipasti plate to share between the 2 of us. This was a highlight, and was an absolute mountain of food even between 2 people. It was perhaps a tad heavy on the cheese for a starter, with 2 large blocks of cheese, one smoked, one blue and two deep-fried blocks of a robust cheese not unlike Halloumi. Fortunately, we’re both huge cheese lovers so devoured the lot. Accompanying this was a variety of Italian bits and pieces such as sundried peppers and tomatoes in olive oil, sauteed peppers and olives, a delicious olive tapinade, a couple of bruschettas, and a mozzarella, tomato and basil salad (yep, more cheese!). Everything was delicious and complimented each other beautifully.

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Vegetarian Antipasti

The main courses weren’t quite as spectacular but perfectly enjoyable, my co-diner opting for a Pizza Caprese (basically a Margarita with lots of basil) and me, the Chicken & Mushroom Risotto. The Pizza was extremely saucy but had a nice thin, crispy base and was cooked to perfection. My Risotto wasn’t presented particularly nicely (although it is always a tricky thing to achieve with risotto!) but packed a lot of great flavour and came in a nice portion. Though regardless of the good portion sizes, neither of us even came close to finishing after the mammoth starter!

Service throughout the meal was attentive and truly with a smile, could not fault our waitress or any of the other staff who we spoke to in any way.

Overall we had an enjoyable meal in Vespbar, only truly marred by the incredible temperature of the wine. While the main courses were good, I truly think the strength of a bar/restaurant is in dishes like our starter and with the general ambience of the place, I would be much more inclined to return to Vespbar with a few friends to nibble on something like this with a bottle of wine, rather than a full sit-down meal.

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