Lotus Lebanese Restaurant

1363 Dumbarton Road


0141 954 8000

Menu: Traditional Lebanese dishes, including freshly made stuffed and topped savoury pastries, interesting vegetable dishes and charcoal grilled kebabs. 5/5

Service: It’s like a large kebab shop with seats and they take a pretty relaxed attitude to sit-down diners.Waiter pleasant though. 3/5

Atmosphere: Feels like a family-run business and not big on decor, but then you don’t go to places like this for the decor. 3/5

Price: Exceptionally good value with stuffed pastries at just £3.50 for a plateful, starters at £4 and even a good mixed grill at less than a tenner. 5/10

Food: Some outstandingly good dishes including the fatayer pastries, the sambousek; good kebab. Kitchen didn’t put a foot wrong. 9


THIS is the first time I’ve ever had to move seats in a restaurant because of the icy blast of cold air coming through a cracked plate glass window.

Not the first time though by far I’ve ever had to get up and down to find someone to serve me. But probably once again the first time I’ve had to ask if what look like staff bags and coats can be moved – so I can use the table they’re piled on. In a restaurant where every other table bar one seems to be occupied by people involved with the place.

Hmmm, not the most auspicious of starts then and I don’t think the Lotus here is likely to win any awards either for its interesting decor. But being brought up pretty much in a back shop myself I don’t have any problem with the lived-in family feel.

I’m in the process of looking through the menu – shiny foldable printed take-away style – when a woman sitting by the door responds to the question about whether she enjoyed her food tonight by virtually shouting: I love the food in here.

Awkward moment aside that’s not the reason I order in the time-honoured-tradition of saying: I’ll have one of whatever she is having. I do it simply because the tiny Lebanese and clearly handmade pastries on her plate look interesting.

They turn out to be – I think – sambousek b’sabanekh. Or maybe fatayer b’sabanekh. Either way they are super-fresh, perfectly light and crack open to reveal a steaming and tangy filling of spinach, onion, pomegranate and pine nut.

Think pizza shape now for the manakeish lamb, though the dough is light and very fine and the sprinkled minced meat on top is surely dressed with Lebanese seven spice adding delicious tones of cinnamon and nutmeg. And think puffball for the just-out-the-oven naan breads in the basket beside me, and very good dolmades for the powerfully flavoured warak inab. I’m planning to try just one but end up eating all of them. Oops.

There’s are more hand-made-freshly sambousek, little twirls of folded pastry at their edges, this time with halloumi and parsley and, of course, in one of those eyebrow raising moments for the waiter I ordered a mixed grill.

Well, I wasn’t expecting six warak inab for £3.50, four fatayer for each £3.50 portion or that the £3.50 manakeish to be so large. And I missed out on whole sections of the menu too when I ordered.

The hot mezze for example with batata harra, falafel and kibbeh. The shawarmas; the salads which included – though I didn’t spot it until too late – fattoush. One of my favourites.

That mixed grill, anyway, comes with some of those salty, sweet Lebanese pickles, olives and salad. Chips too, though I don’t touch these. Got to watch that figure.

I just pick my way comprehensively through chunks of marinated spice-encrusted chicken, crispy spiced lamb and pick away at a powerfully lamby shish kebab. I’m only on a level one mixed grill too, at £9.50. Above that are the Lotus mixed grill with shawarmas and skewered tomatoes and then the Lotus special mixed grill with even more spectacular additions.

Now, I’m eating alone tonight and wearing a suit and tie, too, on a grim, dark October night at a far-flung end of Dumbarton Road. I’ve positioned myself by the counter simply to be as close to the heat of the charcoal grill. On reflection – maybe I look a bit odd. People certainly keep wandering along behind the counter to peer down at me curiously. I suspect though that the Lotus is one of those restaurants that after you’ve been in a couple of times you’ll be welcomed like a long-lost friend. The disinterested, bordering on glacial, reception I received has thawed enough by the time I go to pay for the staff to ask what I thought of the food. I thought it was excellent. Truly.