Esca These days the area beside the now refurbished Tron Theatre is called ‘Downtown, Merchant City’ - apparently, Glasgow City Council has said so. If evidence were needed of the area's changing profile, you could find it in new restaurant Esca, his new restaurant, right opposite the Tron bar in Chisholm Street. In place of one the city's more down-at-heel grocery chains is this new establishment with a Mediterranean feel. 'We are looking to create a decent, modern Italian with an emphasis on good food and service,’ says Esca‘s owner Dario Marchetti.

The atmosphere is comfortable and warm. From the wall, plaster casts of the sun and the moon shine down on customers. The cool slate floor and birch veneer tables are offset by the rust and powder blue of velvet banquette seating. The mood is grown up, welcoming, relaxed. The menu is similarly reassuring. Familiar pizza and pasta dishes with an emphasis on fresh ingredients rest alongside seafood and poultry. For those with a taste for hearty meat dishes, there's rib-

eyed steak or slow roasted lamb chops with mustard and coriander. Those who don't eat meat are well provided for, but will need to read carefully, as the menu highlights some fish dishes as suitable for vegetarians. Chef Alan Hillan bakes fresh bread daily. There’s a straightforward wine list with admirably clear descriptions, as well as a broad range of bottled beers and spirits. This is contemporary Italian without a checked tablecloth or Chianti bottle in sight.

Marchetti aims to welcome a broad range of custom

Side Orders

Food news in tasty chunks.

Air Organic has taken its name to heart and become the first bar in Scotland an '02 Live Oxygen Dispensing Unit’. Customers breathe in through a speCially designed nosepiece that filters oxygen from the air around it. The proprietors claim that breathing

Breathing space: Air Organic

pure oxygen boosts energy, improves concentration, strengthens the immune system and helps overcome fatigue, the effects of pollution and hangovers. With sWipe cards that activate the unit costing £3 for ten minutes, it’s not to be sniffed at,

m Air Organic, 36 Kelvingrove Street, Glasgow, 564 5200.

The genetically modified food debate


Med for it: Esca

during the day when you're as welcome to order coffee and cakes as to sample the main menu or the two-course lunchtime special. At night, Esca will be dedicated to more substantial fare and, for those intent on consuming culture as well as carbonara, there's a pre- theatre menu. With seating for 48, there's scope for dinner for two or space for a group of friends or colleagues. Before long, you may find yourself heading Downtown. (Moira Jeffrey)

’v' Esca is at 27 Chisholm Street, G/asgow, 553 0880

continues as Henderson's vegetarian restaurant :n Edinburgh has announced that it has signed the Greenpeace pledge to actively avoid GM foods. ’We firmly believe that Our customers want to eat food they can trust food that does not contain genetically modified ingredients,’ says the restaurant's owner, Nicholas Henderson. Greenpeace is encouraging similar- minded cafes, pubs and restaurants to pin the scheme and display its offiCial ’Av0iding GM Foods’ logo in their Windows.

I HenderSOns, 94 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, 225 2737.

Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre brings its Christmas menu into play on I Dec With some decidedly unseasonal hot and spicy suggestions. Thai-style gravadlax, Jamaican spiced vegetables, grilled turbot Asian-style and, for dessert, a Winter berry and mulled Wine terrine are a few of the dishes on offer. Two c0urses comes in at £9, three courses is £11.50, and iflClUdeS crackers, mince pies and chocolate mints. Well, there had to be a nod to tradition there somewhere.

m Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, Edinburgh, 228 5383.

Spit or swallow

A taste of things to come.

It's not Furbies or Teletubbies that Will be in short supply this festive season, Some well known champagnes (Vintage and non-Vintage) are already becoming scarce and stocks Will be running extremely low by the end of the year. But, of c0urse, the Millennium is fast approaching and most of us Will be determined to down a glass or two of champagne to celebrate the arrival of the year 2000. So, if you have a particular favourite, buy it now. Alternatively, try some of the great value lesser known names suggested here, or ask yOur friendly Wine merchant for recommendations.

Oeil de Perdrix N.V. (Majestic Wine Warehouses, {16.99/200/0 off for six or more) This Wine's warm, peachy colour apparently the same as the eye of a partridge, hence the name is the reSult of a high Pinot NOir content, Which also gives a slightly musky quality to the palate. Light, refreshing apricot and Citrus flavours With no yeast and a soft mousse make this an easy-drinking treat.

Champagne Jean de Praisac N.V. (Victoria Wine, £13.99/20°/o off a case of twelve) Intense aromas of Granny Smiths, sherbert and yeast emerge from the nose and mingle on the apple pie palate, With hints of uncooked dough. Smooth bubbles bring all the flavours subtly together.

Paul Deltours N.V. (Oddbins, £14.99/seven bottles for the price of six) A rich vanilla fudge nose leads to a creamy palate of butter and melon With a mm of lime to finish. Its medium mousse Will bring fizz to every celebration. (Jane Quinn)

18 Nov—2 Dec 1999 THE lIST131