Tam Cowan – Daily Record

BELATED birthday wishes to a dear friend.

Yes, folks, the public smoking ban was five years old on March 26 and, even if the Scottish Parliament achieves hee-haw for the next 500 years, Holyrood will be fondly remembered for this fine piece of legislation.

To celebrate the fifth anniversary, might I suggest we re-introduce Smoking and No Smoking areas in every restaurant?

No, no, hang on, I haven’t lost my marbles within the space of a few paragraphs. Let me explain…

When punters walk in for a bite to eat, I reckon they should be asked: “Do you smoke?”

If they nod (well, it’s difficult to speak while coughing up half a lung), we sit them in the Smoking section.

And if they laugh (blasting the server’s face with a lovely minty freshness), we direct them to the No Smoking section.

Why? Well, let’s be honest, while a fug-free atmosphere inside restaurants is terrific – we should have done it decades ago – there’s nothing worse than being sat right next to a 40-a-day serial puffer who seems to pop outside for a fag between every mouthful.

This happened to me twice in the past week and the disgusting reek of second-hand smoke (not to mention the constant stench from their Dot Cotton clothes) as I tried to eat my meal was really off-putting.

So hands up if you’d like to bring back the Smoking and No Smoking areas? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I once refused to review this week’s restaurant due to the industrial-style smog. It was way back in 2001 and the look I got at the front desk when I asked if they had a No Smoking section suggested I had actually said: “Your kids are ugly and I hope your granny gets run over by a double decker bus.”

Changed days now, of course. In fact, the entire restaurant is different.

Something of a Glasgow institution, O Sole Mio was established in 1965 (when I was just a twinkle in the rent man’s eye) but I was drawn to the sign in the window while walking down Bath Street: New Management, New Menu, New Look.

Not everything has changed, thankfully – they still have the woodburning pizza oven (Scotland’s first, incidentally) – but, apart from that, I barely recognised the place.

The decor was immaculate and how I enjoyed breathing in that wonderful fresh air. With no Regal King Size to mask the smell, my nostrils were tantalised by the amazing aromas wafting from the aforementioned pizza oven. I quickly ordered a focaccia and it was sensational. Piping hot and deliciously salty, it then took on a whole new, wonderful flavour as it gradually cooled down and became ultra-crispy.

I then enjoyed a starter portion of spaghetti bolognese. The meat sauce was perfect – it looked as if a wee pot of mince had been emptied over the top – and the pasta was expertly cooked.

No starter for Liz but, after savouring just one wee sliver of my focaccia, she ordered a margharita pizza (with a few chillies for extra bite) and, again, the wood-burning oven did the business.

This was perfect pizza – light, crispy and slightly well-fired – and on a par, in Glasgow terms, with four personal favourites: The Italian Kitchen, Lamora, Bella Napoli and Soho.

Erectiepillen helpen om een erectie te versterken. Met de pillen sildenafil, vardenafil en tadalafil is de meeste ervaring. Slik een tablet sildenafil of vardenafil op een lege maag. De werking kunt u verwachten na 30 minuten. Ze werken alleen als u zin heeft en opgewonden bent. Wilt u meer weten, of heeft u een vraag over uw eigen situatie? Voor meer informatie ga naar apotheek online. Uw eigen apotheker is op de hoogte van uw persoonlijke omstandigheden en kan u uitgebreid begeleiden bij uw medicijngebruik.

My main course? A lovely bit of veal in crunchy breadcrumbs. It’s usually served with spaghetti but, having already enjoyed a pasta starter, I opted for chips.

This resulted in a nice wee touch from the chef who, realising my plate would seem a bit dry, added a generous splash of homemade tomato and chilli sauce.

Liz finished with a bowl of Italian vanilla ice-cream and I gave a classic – pannacotta – one last chance.

I’ve never been overly impressed with this wobbly vanilla pudding but O Sole Mio’s was creamy and nicely textured with some bashed amaretto biscuits.

Overall, a fab meal and it was nice to finally make it through the doors.

I think I’ll book a table for the smoking ban’s 10th birthday…

O SOLE MIO

Address: Bath Street, Glasgow; Telephone: 0141 331 1397 Open: all day seven days; Wheelchair access: No; Bill for two (with wine): £65

Food: 5/5 – excellent, don’t miss the pizza; Service: 5/5 – warm welcome, very smiley; Decor: 5/5 – smart, spotless interior; Toilets: 4/5 – small but (just about) perfectly formed; Value: 4/5 – good, city-centre prices

Total: 23/25


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