Glasgow’s Italian delicatessens are thriving against the odds. Catherine Fellows charts the survival of an old institution and the emergence of two friendly rivals.
‘Fazzi’s Alive’ read the staff T-shirts; Glasgow’s best known Italian cafe-cum-grocery store may have dived dramatically towards bankruptcy early this year, but Fazzi’s was too good to be allowed to die. Until this month, the receivers kept the place open, but now it has been handed over to Peter Hatt plc, an English company which has a long history in the catering business. The managing director of the new division, Fazzi Hatt (the name has been bought along with the business), Mr Faiello, is himself Italian by descent and promises to retain the quality and authenticity that have been the shops’ hallmarks. As yet, nothing much has changed. Customers can pause for a steaming espresso in the cafe area, choose from the familiar list of snacks— pizzas, ‘toasts’ or Italian open sandwiches, plates of cold meats, salads, pasta and rich cakes — stop for mozarella at the cheese counter, or
their basic weekly shop. Faiello wants to keep things as they are, but has plans to expand the menu to include more seafood and other substantial dishes. He also envisages having a chain of five shops to facilitate the delivery service that he is to build up. This is his solution to the problem of the manufacturing side of the business which was partly responsible for bringing the company down — it did not have enough outlets for its fresh pasta, so could not recoup the investment in
FLAVOUR OF THE FORTNIGHT
FRATELLI SARTI TIRAMISU
A rich ltalian pudding home-made by Fratelll Sarti, the latest addition to Glasgow's delicatessens.
small glassiul amaretto, or any liqueur oi your choice, or black coiiee, or a combination oi coiiee and liqueur savolardi biscuits (or sponge lingers) langue de chat biscuits
1% tbsp castor sugar
Split egg yollrs lrom whites. Beat yolks to a smooth cream with mascarpone, a tablespoon oi coliee or liqueur and sugar. Beat whites oi egg untll stiii. Line the base oi a tritle dish with savolardl biscuits and sprinkle these with the remaining coiiee or liqueur. Line the sides oi the dish with langue
de chat biscuits placed vertically. Carelully told the whipped whites into the beaten yollt mixture losing as little air as possible. Pour this mixture into the prepared biscuit-lined dish, again as carelully as possible so as not to disturb the langue de chats. Chill well lortwo hours until iinn. Beiore serving either by ltseli, or with double cream, dust with cocoa powder.
Fratelll Sarti, 133 Wellington Street,
Glasgow. 041 248 2228.
Fazzi devotees have reason to be cheerful — not only does the original seem to be alive and well, but its temporary teeter has spawned two fine imitations. Brothers Sandro and Piero Sarti had long wanted to break away from the parent company and establish a place with more of the old atmosphere — an atmosphere that came from the constant presence of the owners themselves. They have found great premises in Wellington Street and for three weeks have been selling quality salamis, olive oils, cheeses, pickled antipasto . . .a whole array of Italian specialities, many ofwhich they import direct from Parma. There is an attractive, simple cafe, decorated with posters, bottles and black-and-white family photos, and that wonderful Continental attitude to eating: you can order an Insalata Ligure (sumptuous Italian version of
nicoise) from the menu, but ifyou want a chunk of piquant provolone from the cheese counter, the Sartis will be delighted to oblige you in your non-conformity.
A sign that Sandro Sarti is content with the way things have worked out is his generosity towards his rivals. I thought he might be sceptical about the new management of Fazzi’s, but he points out that he trained many of the staff still working there himself. His attitude to Guzzini’s is the same: yes, the food should be good, it is made by one of his ex-chefs. Guzzini’s is in the Italian Centre, sandwiched between Armani and Versace, and though it is independent ofeither of the above cafes, and has only a small delicatessen, its ethos is all Fazzi — unpretentious, helpful but discreet service, good basic authentic Italian food, ﬂexible all-hours eating and drinking. Its menu is practically identical to that of Fratelli Sarti — in design as well as content — and it even has the same tables.
David Gilius, who has just joined the ﬂedgeling Guzzini as manager, has plans to introduce set lunch menus composed of provincial Italian dishes, and from the end of this month, evening eating will mean three set-price menus — £8.95, £10.50 or£12.95 for three courses. ‘With many of the most delicious dishes being so simple — spaghetti, olive oil and garlic for example - there is no reason why true Italian food should cost as much as it often does,’ says Gilius.
I Fanl iiatt 95 Cambridge Street, Glasgow. 041 332 0941. Deli: Mon—Wed and Sat 9am—6pm; Thurs—Fri 9am—8pm. Cafe: Seven days 8am-9pm.
I Fanl Hatt 232 Clyde Street, Glasgow. 041 221 9411. Delicatessen only. Mon—Sat 8am-5pm.
I Fratelli Sarti 133 Wellington Street, Glasgow. 041 248 2228. The brothers Sarti usually arrive around 7am, last orders are at 8pm. which means the place shuts up at around 10pm. Awaiting a licence to sell an extensive selection of Italian wines. I Guzzini The Italian Centre, 15 John Street. 041 552 4433. Mon—Sat
LUNCH — 12-2.30pm EVENINGS — 6—11pm (last orders 10.30pm)
0,.anchor close, Cockburn street EDINBURGH 220 5145
50. east iountalnbrldgo Emuoyneu 228
The List 11— 24 September 1992 69