Gloriosa, 1321 Argyle Street, Glasgow, 0141 334 0594

OUR expectations are high for Gloriosa. The accomplished chef from popular Alchemilla has spread her wings in roomier premises, the old Firebird, a restaurant I reviewed on several occasions over the years and always liked. Of course space was at a premium in cramped Alchemilla, and by contrast Gloriosa feels expansive. There’s a wood-burning stove at one end as a little nod to comfort in what is otherwise a sparse functional space where the only other points of note are a bubbling ornamental fish tank and what’s looks to be incomplete life drawings sketched on the walls.

You could argue that the knee-to-ceiling windows offer all the interest Gloriosa needs but today is cold and grey and the biting wind outside seems to be finding its way through them. We’re marginally cold and the menu isn’t doing a lot to warm us up. It’s the sort of menu I’d like to eat if I was visiting Seville, Marseille, or Beirut in summertime, big on salads, and dishes that if not hot, sound at best tepid from their descriptions. Marinated carrots, air dried tuna, beetroot with crème fraiche dressing, soft boiled egg and watercress, they’re all fine in theory, but they don’t hit the spot today.

Nevertheless, I’ll eat anything at any temperature providing there’s some anchovy involved, so we have to try the ‘Gildas’, that’s an anchovy skewered on a toothpick with a stoned green olive and bit of hot green pickled pepper. But these boney and undistinguished anchovies just aren’t up to scratch for this treatment. You’d need Ortiz standard specimens for this assembly to work. The cold anchovy dip – ‘bagna cauda’ – that comes with tapering breakfast radishes makes a tasty emulsion but the radishes are chilly, as though they are straight out the fridge.

We’re glad to sink our teeth into the crisp, almost ephemerally light, flatbread with its thin smear of smoked aubergine, mint, parsley, pickled shallots, and trace of za’atar; apart from anything else, it’s hot. But we’re looking to the more expensive dishes to fill us up and the octopus doesn’t really perform that trick. The flesh is vapid, and once again it’s another lukewarm dish, an oily, over-vinegary dressing, golden raisin, mint, dill, celery and chopped green olives, that might sit quite well on a summer buffet.

Still, we’ve got the spaghetti with brown shrimp, parsley and lemon to look forward to, although in the event, I feel I might have achieved the same result at home by mixing up bought potted shrimp with hot pasta, only I would have cooked it less so it wouldn’t have been too soft, as this is, and I would have served it in a hot bowl not on a cold plate. Sometimes you can take the French culinary maxim, ‘faites simple’, too literally. A bit of complexity has its place. And to be honest, if I’m going to spend £4.50 on side vegetables, ubiquitous ‘Hispi cabbage, butter & herbs’ isn’t doing much of a selling job. Cold though it is, I prefer the salad of Treviso radicchio, walnuts, and mint with its creamy, mustardy dressing. It brings a bit of style and class to the proceedings.

On the savoury front, we have yet to be convinced by Gloriosa. Our bill ends up being quite expensive but you might still leave feeling just a little bit hungry, or at least, slightly unsatisfied.

Desserts, on the other hand, are a different proposition. This lemon tart with its pastry as crumbly as shortbread, its perfectly balanced lemon filling, with a fat quenelle of crème fraiche on the side, is exemplary. As is this soft-centred almond cake, a hybrid of sponge and macaroon slathered in whipped cream and soft custard. At £8 a piece these sweet confections aren't cheap but they’re worth every penny, given the technical prowess that went into them. Whereas the savoury menu is as yet finding its feet and could be viewed as a smart juxtaposition of trendy ingredients, the toothsome dishes flag up prodigious professional skill.

Perhaps Gloriosa hasn’t quite bedded down yet, and we’ll see more transformative cooking assert itself as the year rolls on.

Gloriosa 1321 Argyle St, Glasgow 0141 334 0594

Food: 7/10

Atmosphere: 7/10

Service: 7/10

Value for money: 6/10