What is this, I say to Joe, after we have both forked up mouthfuls of rice, pomegranate and yoghurt. And after I have looked at the menu repeatedly. True. At first absently.

Then stupidly. Finally forensically. And have still completely failed to identify which of the items I ordered I am eating. “Dunno,” comes the reply, “but it’s pretty good”. At this the waitress glides up with a Kebab Torsch. So I ask her: “Dolma”, she says.

Suddenly, a very low voltage light bulb flickers deep in the mush that is my brain. Ah. Dolma, like dolmades, like vine leaves rolled tightly around rice, mince in there too sometimes? Those little green packages that some places seem to fish out of vats of oil in the back, and others, very few others incidentally, make freshly?

But hang on this isn’t rolled, or even packaged…it’s, um, just heaped … oh wait. I geddit. And in this very moment I see exactly where Roya is coming from. It’s Middle Eastern food but modernly reinterpreted. Gentrified even. Sanitised, maybe.

This here is your actual deconstructed dolma or dolmade. Also known as a plate of rice. With vine leaves on the side. But we’ll not linger on that. Uh-uh in case you’re thinking we’re sitting in this lush deep green and gold palace on a high corner overlooking Glasgow’s King’s Theatre and not enjoying our meal…hold hard.

There’s those Turkish Cigars for a start; dates, feta cheese, honey, all in filo rolled and fried crisp on the shell. Deeply sweetly, saltily savoury with a sticky honey finish. Boom.

Yes please. And then Lahmacun. Puffed from the oven, the edges swollen and blistered into clouds of doughy manna, minced meats, fresh tomato, onion, green flecky herbs. And…a river of melted cheese runs through it. Yowser. Okay, yeah, it’s simply a flatbread pizza.

But so undeniably fresh, and so just-made from a good loose dough that it’s delicious. And that’s before we even taste it. Now, it was a toss of a coin whether I even came here tonight. Somehow after a new restaurant drought that lasted forever new restaurants seem to be popping up everywhere.

There’s at least two new fish places to go to for a start. And, no, I can’t work out why there are suddenly so many of these either. Hopefully not because some catering giant is doing freezer van fish restaurant supplies.

But an upmarket Middle Eastern restaurant slap bang in the town? Yeah. Why not.

And no freezer vans here. Within minutes of sitting down the owner guy (I presume) is giving me the new customer chit-chat and dissuading me of any clumsy suggestion that this is actually Turkish food. More pan Middle Eastern, he says. Now did he also say: with a twist. Or did I imagine that?

Anyway after having scoffed a couple of cleanly cooked spinach falafel, some squishy, crispy Shawarma croquettes and now turning to the Kebab Torsch I kinda know where he’s coming from.

Take this kebab. Like everything else it looks damn pretty on the plate. But it begs an initial question. Is there really enough flatbread there to cover these six pieces of chargrilled lamb fillet straight off the skewer? Answer: no. Not nearly enough.

This only becomes an issue after I have tasted three, been surprised at their deep, sugary, definitely spicy, penetrating molasses and walnut kick. And decided this: Joe, I’m having the rest.

Along with the proper pickles. And the remaining half of that pot of some kind of batshit crazy juicy, relish thang. But definitely not enough flat bread. And here’s another a weird thing.

Definitely not enough table either. Due to what can surely only be a joinery blunder the three sided booth we sit in places us far too far away from the actual table to eat comfortably.

No matter where we slide that table, there’s always a chasm for one person. But I move to the end of the table. We eat at right angles and I order ice cream baclava.

And vow, nonetheless, to return.



59 Elmbank Street


Tel: 0141-332-7906

Open: seven days 12-10pm


Menu: Kinda pan Middle Eastern they’ll say which sounds awful, but actually with Spinach Falafel, Shawarma Croquettes, Kebab Torsch and Lamhacun interesting stuff. 4/5

Service: Peasant, efficient unintrusive. 4/5

Atmosphere: It’s a heavily decorated dining palace, with expensive wood flooring, big low windows and a fresh almost city centre vibe. 4/5

Price: The falafel, the shawarma croquettes and the baclava ice cream all £6.95, a baffling £7.95 for the Dolma but the Kebab Torsch at £13.95 and the Lahmacun at £9,95 great value. 4/5

Food: The food is all very freshly prepared, looks beatiful (if portions suffer for their art occasionally, and the Torsch Kebab is worth a try for it’s fabulous flavours. 8/10

Total: 24/30