758 Pollokshaws Road,



THEY SQUEEZE a bowl of crunchy, salty, roasted new potatoes with gremolata and aioli onto the corner of the table, lifting glasses as they do. That’s from the chef, says the waiter. With his apologies for the croquettes.

Ah yes, those croquettes. Delicious, the super-breezy waitress had promised earlier, blue cheese yeah, but actually even blue cheese haters love ‘em. And that raisin puree: wowser. Something like that, she’d said anyway in a blur of warmth and welcome. And then Liam was held up in traffic. Uh-oh. Stuck under the Kingston Bridge, he’d texted, tickety-tock, tickety-tock.

And I know you can’t be late in Lobo. Not even at 5.45pm, high tea-time, when your chubby mate (moi) had wandered in bang on time, quibbled (politely) over the lousy table under the counter – come on, I booked – got moved to a belter by the wall and then looked up to see the tiny little shop-front place had completely filled, like one of those nature show time-lapse seashore sequences. Eek, 30 minutes late, the latest incoming message now suggests.

High Tea is becoming High Noon. I’ll order for you, I text back, and glance nervously at the window knowing the next wave of diners will soon be circling hungrily out there on Pollokshaws Road. Staring polite-angry at those suckers overstaying their slot, sitting on at their goddam table.

Rosemary focaccia then, parmesan and anchovy butter; beetroot, whipped feta, pumpkin seed dukkah, harrissa; cauliflower, white bean soubise, capers, raisin and walnut salsa; mackerel, tabbouleh, pickled cucumber and crab, basil ricotta, crouton. Boom, boom, boom I whistle through the short menu, laughing at the waiter’s been-stood-up-quip, insisting – just bring it anyway.

And by the time the big man slides in with apologies, the focaccia has cooled, the croquettes – cold in the middle first time around – have been replaced with piping hot ones and I am up to my oxsters in sweet, tangy beetroot, swirling it through that whipped feta, rolling it in crunchy dukkah.

Dig in, I say as I fork up that moist mackerel, just in season, crumbly tabbouleh with yoghurt chasing that down. I really like those potatoes, Liam says, arcing his fork towards another one of the freebie spuds. And then it’s those big balls of smoked haddock arancini; crunchity-crunch, moist rice, smokey haddock-scented steam rising, lingering, appetising.

We barely touch the roast chicken with preserved lemon and olive. Not because it’s not attractively browned, surrounded as it is by crowded chickpea but simply because there is so much food on the table we can’t make that final reach.

The crab was demolished, crunchy croutons adding texture to the ricotta, the basil, those tomatoes. Heirloom, of course. There’s a lot of gloopiness in all those sauces and dips, those ingredients straight out the Jamie Oliver playbook, a little bit of Ottolenghi stardust thrown in, but maybe it’s the way I ordered, I mention.

This sort of eating seems to have overnight become the new norm; absolutely no passengers allowed on any small plate, all ingredients having to punch way above their own weight, the whole shooting match leaving the impression of short, sharp, flavour bombs exploding all over the palate.

We order a dessert, even though I am aware that we have overstayed our allotted period, a couple lingering at the bar over there waiting for their table to free up.

A panna cotta, vibrant juicy strawberry halves hugging its milky pale and glazed surface, crunchy contrasting granola sprinkled all around. But it’s too bland, too thick and perhaps has too much gelatine in it for me.

The texture is just not right. A tiny negative blip then, along with that curiously expensive focaccia that the minute the heat had gone out of it did not feel nearly as fresh as it should be, in an otherwise vibrant meal. And one, I realise, as we slip out with apologies, that was brilliantly handled by the staff.


Menu: Blue cheese croquettes with raisin, smoked haddock arancini, roast chicken with preserved lemon; food we want to eat nowadays. Interesting. 4/5


Service: The glue that holds this tiny, bustling place together is the super-high standard of warm, comfortable, easy-breezy service. Excellent. 5/5


Atmosphere: It’s hugely popular, cheek-to-jowl, lucky-to-get-a-table vibe sprinkles stardust over it’s double shopfront origins. 4/5


Price: That mackerel was £11, the hunks of bread £5, but you can slip between the raindrops with many dishes at the £7 to £8 mark. 3/5


Food: Pretty little flavour bomb plates are rapidly becoming the new norm and here the smoked haddock arancini, the crab with heirloom tomatoes, that mackerel stood out in a memorable meal. 7/10


Score: 23/30