Dinner at Caffe Royale
Stay on the scene with Italian cuisine in one of Paisley’s finest restaurants. Words by Juliette Jones.
Early evening sun illuminated the walk to this Italian restaurant, situated just 15 minutes from Paisley Gilmour Street Station. Delightfully, as soon as we arrived I saw a happy patron sipping wine al fresco at a table beside the entrance.
My dining companion was Paul, editor of this parish. Greeted cheerfully, we were guided to a cosy booth tucked away at the back. It’s always a hope, usually nestled at the back of one’s mind when eating out but never daring to be acknowledged, that you will specifically ask for no starter and get one anyway.
Winningly, that happened to us tonight – we got a large plate of foccaicia (£5.95). That’s a sort of Italian second cousin to garlic bread, nothing to do with the kind that Peter Kay goes on about: it’s crispy, properly Italian and encourages rather than dampens the appetite.
Caffe Royale has a menu that aims to appeal to all but with an experimental edge that avoids being flashy. Spoiled for choice, I went for the delicious Pizza Roma (£11.95), featuring fresh Italian sausage, pancetta and mozzarella. I ended up taking half of this home because, mid-munch, I was already enjoying the idea of the spicy/cold pleasure that only post-meal pizza can provide. The staff were only too happy to package it up for me.
Meanwhile, Paul chose the baked gnocchi and goats’ cheese (£9.95) from the Market Menu. He described it as “little pockets of cheesy pasta heaven”.
I looked around at the pleasing décor, complete with attractive lights, as I considered what to have for pudding. I was reminded of the cool ‘50s-style diner in the TV mysteryathon Twin Peaks. Sadly, Agent Cooper must’ve been dealing with things elsewhere in Paisley as there was no sign of him here.
I ordered a deep, lush cherry sundae (£4.95) as a kind of tribute. If I’d been thinking straight I should’ve followed it up with a damn fine cup of coffee, but instead we savoured the pleasing house red (£3.25 for a small glass), nicely on the sweet side.
A wonderfully mysterious Paisley/Italian food interface might seem unlikely, but here it is.
Caffe Royale, 71 Glasgow Road, Paisley, PA1 3PN, 0141 848 5135. This review was published in Mill issue 6 July/August 2019.