They don’t quite spell it out for you, but it’s clear enough – at Cafezique, the focus is on the food. Everything about it screams casual, the atmosphere falling somewhere between café and gastropub. It’s a tiny place that manages to err on just the right side of cosy, while the welcome is friendly and the modern British ‘Autumn Menu’ is handed out on slightly crumpled sheets of A4.
Aside from the questionable seasonality of several of the dishes (tomatoes and green beans in October?), the menu delivered on all its promises. The emphasis at Cafezique is on top-quality ingredients, simply cooked and presented without excessive fuss or fanfare.
A starter of crayfish and crab mayonnaise salad was the night’s fussiest dish, a self-consciously retro re-working of prawn cocktail, served in a martini glass. The Vegetable linguini was cooked to perfection, though slightly under-seasoned.
The Tamworth chop proved to be a generous slab of meat perfectly complemented by thick slices of roasted sweet potato, while my meaty fillet of Pollock came wrapped in crisped Parma ham and was set off well by the mild flavours of braised leek and a creamy sauce.
The stand-out main, however, was the huge pile of mussles in a classic white wine sauce. ‘Simply amazing’ came the verdict.
Dessert continued in the same vein – classic cooking, unadulterated. A wonderfully light crumble and its vanilla-flecked custard was moreish and homely, while my poached pear with chocolate soup (Valrhona, naturally) was perfectly executed and accompanied by previously unannounced triangles of smoky cinder toffee. The triangles served as a welcome crunchy contrast to the smoothness of the pear and dunked into the chocolate they were like Crunchies for grown- ups.
The food at Cafezique is as good as anywhere I’ve eaten in Glasgow. However, it’s just a shame that its no-frills philosophy is occasionally pushed a little too far. Personally, I thought the home-baked bread was wonderful, but it’s a shame it’s not served as a standard accompaniment to every dish.
Inside, the stripped-back décor works well, but the schoolroom-style chairs are far too low, while the tables are almost impossibly small for four.
Prices are reflected in the quality of the food; eating here is not cheap at £25 for three courses, without wine. Still, these are small grumbles, and if you’re looking to treat someone, or just yourself, this is one of the best places to eat in the city right now.