Mar 24 2011 By Peter Carroll
27 Chisholm Street, Tel: 553 0880, Web: www.esca-restaurant.co.uk
A MEAL at Esca proved sometimes unplanned nights out can be the best.
I've had my eye on the Italian restaurant, based opposite the Tron Theatre, for some time, so on the spur of the moment my wife and I decided to give it a whirl.
We were ushered to our table in the stylish E2 - an overflow extension to the main restaurant - and ordered a large house rose (£5.25) and a pint of Moretti (£4.50).
I ordered the bruschetta pate to start - chicken liver with caramelised onions (£4.50). My companion opted for her favourite, tomato-topped bruschetta (£4.50).
I prayed my starter would stand up as I chose it over stuffed chillies and chicken and red pepper kebabs.
Thankfully, both bruschettas were fantastic and each arrived with deliciously dressed side salads.
The pate was smooth, creamy and, unlike many I've tried, actually tasted of chicken. Both breads were moist with garlic and the tomatoes on my wife's were sweet and scrumptious. Screaming at me from the main menu was the penne rustica - a pasta dish with Italian sausage, peppers, onions and chilli (£7.90).
My wife opted for penne carbonara (£7.90). She prefers spaghetti and asked if it was possible to swap. The request was no problem for the staff at Esca, who were only too happy to help. We ordered a mixed tomato salad and garlic bread as sides (£3.50 for both).
The carbonara was excellent. It wasn't heavy like others I've tried and the bacon wasn't full of fat or the sauce too heavy on the egg. My rustica was full of flavour and had a chilli kick. The sides were also great.
Our pasta portions were perfect, meaning there was just enough room left for dessert. I ordered the apple pie while my other half had sticky toffee pudding (both £3.95). We both opted for ice-cream.
The pudding was almost the size of a CD cover, which meant I had to help my wife finish her dessert after I quickly polished off mine.
Our desserts rounded off a brilliant night - all for just £46.85.
Esca translated into English can mean bait, lure or fuel. We were certainly lured by the bait of brilliant food and felt well fuelled for the journey home.