There’s a new animal in town in the shape of Leopardo – pronounced the Italian way as Layopardo. The latest eatery to hit the Glasgow Fort is owned by independent restaurant group Bread Meats Bread (BMB) which is best known for its quality burgers. Now the team is bringing the same focus to pizza.
Says Director Lulzim (Luli) Avdyli, pictured above, “We chose the name because it is a good brand name, in the same way that Bread Meats Bread is a good brand name. A good brand name is almost as important as the product.
“Over the last few years gourmet pizza has really blossomed but we thought there was still space in the market for our concept, which we came up with a while ago unfortunately the pandemic got in the way. The plan was to introduce a Neo-Neopolitan-style pizza restaurant which would be different. Obviously, we haven’t invented pizza, in the same way, we didn’t invent burgers, but we aim to do whatever we do, really well and using only the finest of ingredients to produce authentic Neapolitan style pizzas.”
The name of the restaurant refers to the leopard spotted crust – the charred pattern found on pizza being cooked in at 500 degrees in specially imported Italian ovens which the new Leopardo has two of. Luli explains, “We have two of the best Italian Moretti ovens – one is slightly larger than the other. It gives you an idea of how busy we expect to be. It also means that we can use one for in-house pizzas and one for takeaway. New Concept sourced them for us.”
The pizzas are also made with the very best of ingredients – from using the San Marzano tomatoes – which Luli says are well known to be the Ferrari or Prada of tomato varieties, to the very best Fior di Latte Mozzarella for its pizzas. Luli adds, “It’s brought in for us fresh weekly from Campania region of Italy.” Even the flour used in the pizza dough is made using a combination of different artisan pizza flours especially imported from Italy. They are so proud of the ingredients that the décor highlights them with neon signage and wall art. Says Luli, “It’s very important to us that we only use the best and we like our customers to know that. It sets our pizzas apart.
“Pizzas are not that easy to make – it has been a bit of a learning curve for us. For instance, we use a two-step minimum 48 hours fermentation, to increase the flavour of the dough, and gain more elasticy resulting is crisp sourdough pizzas that are also healthier and better for digestion too. So yeah it’s along process and we have to constantly estimate how busy we think we will be.”
The new venue, which is next door to Bread Meats Bread at The Fort, has floor-to-ceiling windows, which will open right out in the summer, and Leopardo is certainly bright and inviting during the day and atmospheric at night. But there is no getting away from the friendly Leopard – from the giant mural
beside the bar to the paw prints on the walls, and the branding on the menus.
In fact, the branding is a winner with customers. Says Luli, “We have so many people asking to buy our t-shirts and merchandise it is crazy so we are planning a little section within the restaurant where people will be able to buy our hats and t-shirts.” It’s not just the branding that customers like, the food bloggers have
been out in force and Leopardo is a hit on instagram. Even the route to the bathrooms is instagrammable with a leopard perched on a loo.
The bright coloured aqua blue fixed and banquette seating is married with light wooden tables and chairs. The furniture can also be easily moved. Says Luli, “From an operational point of view this is great for cleaning & maintaining”.
Fan-like overhead lighting, hags from rails which hang below the exposed ducting and there is plenty of greenery to add depth. The walls are predominantly white -and the juxtaposition of the white walls and aqua backed seating creates a modern, and stylish appearance. The bar is also eye catching, with a warm rust appearance and a brightly coloured display area.
It feels very Italian with its ice cream colours of yellow, pale green and blue . These shelves show off the produce that Leonardo prides itself on. There is even a really aqua cool blue steam hammer coffee machine provided by Italian Aroma.
It was designed by BMB’s usual architect and contractor – Arka Design and Pro Concept. Luli was happy to leave the design to the experts. He says, “I gave them the freedom to come up with the style.They had a degree of flexibility and I am really pleased with the result.”