The Southside of Glasgow is littered with amusing place names. 'Strathbungo' could have been one of the wombles, 'Crossmyloof' sounds like something you'd ask for round the back of a railway station, 'Pollokshaws' an unpleasant affliction and 'Mount Florida' an offer only the brave would consider.
The whole area is a complete mystery to most Westenders and tends to get sneered at like a hicky cousin. For a long time that wasn't without some justification. There was a place in Shawlands called The Granary that sold wine by the glass, a Greek Taverna rumoured to have an espresso machine... and... well not a lot else. Things are improving.
Tinto's situated on Battlefield Road. As a ten year old boy I couldn't have imagined a more perfect address.
At 7.30 on a Saturday it was just getting busy, it quickly became very busy. As they searched for the reservation I spotted a barman topping up somebody else's half finished almonds, he handed them to the waitress who brought them with us to the table.
Anyone who has ever read what's to be found in communal bar offerings will understand why I like to get to know someone before they go rummaging around in my nuts.
The wines are well chosen and decently priced. You can't go wrong with Navarra and this melon fruited refresher was good value for £13. After that we moved onto their jugs of house red. Again about £13, but this time for a litre and it's plonkably quaffable.
The food's good and actually manages to taste Spanish at times. Highlights were caramelised scallops, crispy fried sea bass, home made chicken croquettes and kidneys with wild mushrooms.
Their Fabada Asturiana had a whiff of the tin but was still pretty tasty. My favourite dish wasn't really a dish at all but two ingredients that went well together. Braised celery and 12 month old Manchego cheese. Delicious.
Now the real test of any Spanish place is the calamari. Tinto's was... well I've no idea because it was so cut so thinly it was impossible to taste. At least the batter's good, a triumph of light tempura-like crunchiness. Finished off with a nice Crema Catalana, which was really a Creme Brulee, and a cracking espresso. The staff were friendly and despite being packed the food didn't take long.
We left the Battlefield and wandered off, rather appropriately, towards the 'Pollock War Heroes Social Club' for a spot of Ska.
Seems we'd got the nights muddled and ended up downing social club measures of Southern Comfort whilst dancing to the sound of a high energy disco. My, how war heroes and Southsiders are changing.