Swadish – Modern Indian Cuisine


ONCE upon a time in restaurants where they can breezily charge seventeen bangers for a main course, a few petit fours could be relied on to send the customer warmly on their way. In Swadish tonight there’s none of that nonsense.

Instead I’m asked first to fill in one of the many voting forms for one of the many restaurant awards that seem to be on every table. When I respond to this awkward moment by playing dead the waitress looks into my glazed-over eyes and asks if I would leave them a little review on Trip Advisor too.

Umm, listen, I have no doubt the completely pleasant young woman is simply following orders. And, frankly, if you’re not out there on the internet fighting off the chancer and wide-boy section of the restaurant trade who long ago ripped the bottom out of the, er, completely independent forums you’re nowhere. But does it come across as a little bit tacky? And needy? Surprising anyway. Because Swadish here on a Wednesday night is reasonably busy.

Yes, from the outside it looked completely empty. But I’ve been eating at restaurants on this very spot since this was called the Fire Station and I was a c(h)ubby newspaper reporter at the then-nearby Evening Times nicknamed Mr Sumo. Half the newsroom used to pile in here for lunch. And that was a lot of people back then.

It’s always had the same problem. It’s hard for passers-by to see if there is any life inside.

There is life anyway this evening. A long table which looks like a works night-out from the uni up the hill, a party of four before me, the comfortable booths where we used to lunch on the opposite wall nearly all occupied.

I’ve got to say, too, that judging by overheard comments from the next table the food is getting attention. That’s probably because Swadish bills itself as Modern Indian cuisine and is definitely different.

The menu is so intriguing that for once I’m mildly disappointed it’s not small plates (they’re daytime only). Unusual offerings include eral surradu prawns (a £14 starter), crispy soft shell crab (£12), roasted masala lamb chops (£14).

There’s no crab tonight so I order instead sesame fried fish (6.50), blue cheese naans with apple chutney (£6.50), Bengali trout (£17), crispy kale bhaji (£4.50) and stuffed shishito peppers (£4.50).

The naan, then, small, rounded, pretty doughy and with a tang of cheese. It doesn’t do much for me until I get to the bit in the centre which is piled with apple chutney. Now the flavours burst into life, sweet, savoury, the odd char from the tandoor. Good.

The haddock now: almost translucent in their batter, the fish very white and clean, the sesame not really bringing much to the party but there’s a fresh tasting avocado (and apparently tomato) dip in a classy shot glass, pickled cucumber, too, to temper the tastes.

I puzzle over stuffed shishito peppers, simply because they don’t look like I expect these peppers to look, being instead plump and large and filled with crushed masala potato and dipped in a light batter. Honestly? Entirely bland. Is there much point in putting mash inside a very mild pepper unless at least one of them is seasoned? Answers on a postcard please.

That crispy kale bhaji? Certainly crispy, dangerously dark from the fryer, definitely packed with kale but dry, a bit raw tasting inside, an ordeal to get through and again curiously unseasoned.

The trout does not disappoint when it arrives. Two fillets seared to an appetising colour and crispness on the outside and atop what’s described as an onion-based sauce with mustard, cumin, potatoes. This is a light, pleasantly mild, gently spiced and appetisingly textured dish, little crumbly nuggets of potato, hunks of trout fillet, flashes of seductive flavours.

Overall then, a mixed but generally good effort. Though interestingly there’s not been an ounce of heat in anything I ordered. Another sign of the times?

Swadish – Modern Indian Cuisine

33 Ingram Street


0141 553 0581

Menu: Completely different and certainly interesting take on Indian food. Bengali trout, crispy kekeda, blue cheese naan with apple chutney. Bonus marks for having few of the usual suspects. 5/5

Price: A very wide range of prices across the menu with some starters £4.50 and others £14. Mains from £13 to £20 without sides. 3/5

Service: Efficient, pleasant, obviously advised to make sure customers share their experience. No complaints though. 4/5

Atmosphere: It’s a big old converted fire station that has been many restaurants over the years. They’ve managed to get it reasonably warm and comfortable. 4/5

Food: Almost very good, but strangely in a restaurant of this type suffering from a lack of seasoning. Good Bengali trout, interesting naan with chutney. 6/10