Pakistani Street Food

412 Victoria Road


IT’S the last of the summer living then and tonight we’re on Victoria Road a-tingling with the energy of Glasgow’s most cosmopolitan and vibrant quarter. Right now , Eastern European folk music drifts down from a tenement window flung open like others to let the heat out and on the corner at Allison Street there are groups lollygagging in conversation.

Meanwhile, before me awaits a rainbow-coloured Kulfi Falooda and if you look through that glass window, past the display promising hot pastries, chicken bread and beef mince, a tub of freshly-microwaved biryani is being brought straight out now to the sole person at the sole table outside this takeaway-shop. That’ll be me.

Evening strollers turn and peer at this spectacle as I pull pieces from a fiery lamb samosa that’s maybe hand-made, maybe home-made, certainly well-made with the crumbly texture of a paratha. And now I take a deep pull on that Falooda’s fat straw. Waves of soothing ice-cream, condensed milk, fruit shavings and basil seeds of all things. Yowser. This officially marks a whole week of eating in the open air.

Though it hasn’t all been in Glasgow. Say, oh, five days ago, I was sitting at a plastic table outside La Zampogna in the mountains of Molise having ordered a Chitarra al Tartufo, which they brought with a proper table carried high, padded seats, a candle, a crisp white cloth, an admonition to book next time, and so much superb black truffle pasta for just 12 Italian euros that Debs and I shared the one bowl between us as we sat in complete splendour. In, well, probably, the world’s most glorious car park.

A day or so after that it was onto the roof terrace of the Grand Hotel at Salsomaggiore; majestic accommodation, reasonably priced too, but even the bubbling pool, the liveried waiters and the dusk’s charm couldn’t hide the fact that they served an appalling bowl of pasta – I was getting toilet cleaner and glue.

That’s chain hotels for you. Normal continental food service reassuringly resuming in Beaune on Thursday, as the long hot drive home continued. This meal was under canvas. In the backyard of a former French shop now Michelin-starred restaurant called Le Benaton where I’d had to tell a porky pie just to get a table.

How big is your dog, the Maitre D’ had asked suspiciously, and a bit Peter Sellers-esque as I popped in alone to confirm they’d got that last-minute booking and oh, took mutts.

Hmm, I vacillated, he’s certainly not big, small possibly, medium small at the very, very most, and then we spent the evening bribing the big, daft galoot (the dog not the Maitre D’) with bread to act small and stay hidden under the table while we dined on shrimp toast with honey, red snapper on bulgar wheat paella, wagyu beef and something called the perfect egg – which actually wasn’t – until the staff starting feeding the big dafty too.

No, not a cheap meal. At all. But memorable. Not cheap anyway when compared to this al fresco summer feast with Pakistani Street Food’s Biryani, coming in at a heady six Scottish pounds and probably capable of feeding two.

This I have been poking away at idly, mixing patches of still white boiled rice with the dark, seasoned, spiced stuff, pouring yoghurty raita and tiny slices of cucumber, slowly over it all.

Thinking, hmm, I am actually not too sure about it.

But then that Sharkandi that I had watched the guy behind the counter mix up in a bowl for me: a sweet, savoury combo of potato, plum and tamarind sauce plus masala – what a pleasant surprise.

So too, maybe, will be this biryani. It looks a mild-mannered wallflower in the kitchen of my current culinary life, but within moments … spice bombs are going off, cinnamon bursting, cardamom rocketing. Was that a clove? Definitely cumin incoming, then, whoa, racing raging heat followed by hunks of succulent lamb, some of it.

I warn you on the bone. Ooft. Not pretty. Not bad though. At all. And squeezed down just before the summer rain starts.

Pakistani Street Food

412 Victoria Road


Tel 0141-387-5612

Hours: seven days closes 10 pm

Menu: Biryanis, naan, papri, chatts, kulfi and falloodas: it’s a takeaway shop really but that’s deeply steeped in the home country culture and tastes. 4/5

Service: I sat outside at the lone table and most of the food was heated in a microwave but the guys, were friendly, chatty and brought it all out. 4/5

Price: here they have a secret weapon. Those biryani weigh in at £6 for enough for two, the samosa just £1.20. 5/5

Atmosphere: Honestly? Food Tv from Pakistan on the big screen, boxes piled high, B&Q garden table outside. It’s what you make of it. 3/5

Food: Not big on presentation apart from that Falooda which was a work of art, but pretty big on flavour, they knock out a great biryani, even if you may want to take it home. 7/10

Total: 23/30