IT MAY LOOK to the casual observer that here’s a happy chubby guy in a beige mack casually chewing the fat with the folk at the next table whilst scooping up forkfuls of a tangily fresh and just-made tabbouleh, all delicious mounds of micro-chopped parsley, lemon and bulgar.

But it's not the full picture. In truth, at this very moment, I’m desperately trying to remember the names of those folk, being awful at that, whilst wondering why the staff in here are beaming weirdly at me and also trying not to turn my head to the giant flat screen telly where it’s being announced that Theresa May has appointed my old Aberdeen Journals strike colleague Michael Gove to cover her back.

I’m on my third or fourth bite of that delicately sliced shawarma araby; crisply grilled flatbread wrapping, seared meat and sourly salty pickles – the whole thing spiced and seasoned with pomegranate sauce, accompanied by occasional slaps from garlic mayo, when I think I realise why the staff virtually snapped to attention and saluted when I walked in the door.

Uh-oh, has The Herald photographer already been, or phoned? Let’s reiterate this – because I still get asked all the time. We don’t tell restaurants we are coming, we don’t tell them we are here, or even we have been – and I pay for everything. Myself. But occasionally, and solely because I am Mr Last-Minute Man, the photographer who comes a day or so later, actually gets here before me. Not good for anyone.

I am now eating a plateful of foul moudamous – those stewed, spiced and seasoned broad beans that always taste like so much more than the sum of their parts. And as I speak the tantalising aroma of a just-grilled giant green chilli, its skin still bubbling has enveloped the table.

It’s flanked by skewers of lamb and chicken, that are themselves speckled with spicing, deeply coloured by the searing grill, sticks of sweet pickled turnip and chilli too on one one side. Pots of exotic sauces on the other, a vibrant and dressed salad and a slim yet swollen flatbread underneath. Glorious.

Funnily enough one of the things I was talking about to the (still a mystery) couple was how Glasgow has suddenly become Kebab City. Of course, it’s always been that late at night but the kebab has been seized by the chains, gentrified, declared German (work that out), and I think there are now three of those monster mainstream operations in the centre of town.

At the same time though and with much less fanfare a number of smaller, extremely high quality shawarma places have begun to thrive in the less expensive parts of town. Here the kebab is back to what it’s meant to be: sophisticated, almost delicate, invariably cut across the grain into light finger-food portions.

Pasha is from that school and while they do the chips and burger dance – this is the edge of student-land – it's largely proper stuff. Indeed the three guys at the table on the other side of me have each ordered a lamb kabsa – or shank – on a tower of rice and fried onion that looks so bloody appetising I wish now I’d got one.

Still, my grilled meats are very good and the shawarma, strangely, sweetly spiced, is up there. Amid the blaring telly, (Brexit is apparently orff), the Arabic music, the grill counter and the plain-Jane wooden tables there’s a big sign saying all meat served is from local farms – which everybody claims nowadays.

The Glasgow shawarma market has become so hot that I’d also want to know that the breads are made in here, as there’s at least two places nearby where that’s one of their claims to fame. And to see some live glowing charcoal.

Oh, I’ve remembered that Pasha has been shortlisted for one of the many, many restaurant awards. Maybe that is why the staff are still beaming at me. Maybe they think I’m a judge. No such luck.


48 North Frederick Street


0141 237 6750

Menu: Fatoush, tabouleh, shawarma araby, yes, it’s the Glasgow kebab but probably not as you may traditionally have known it. 4/5

Service: Springing into action at every moment tonight, pleasant and friendly and impossible to fault. 5/5

Price: A tenner gets you a skewer of chicken and lamb, those pickles and grilled chilli, while £6.50 lands the outstanding shawarma araby with pomegranate sauce. Definite value. 4/5

Atmosphere: Utilitarian with a long counter and plain wooden tables clinging to the edge of student land. Come for the food. 3/5

Food: The Glasgow kebab is now the hottest ticket in town and Pasha serves one of the very best, done properly. 8/10