THIRTY-ONE minutes, we say in amazement as we head back out onto Glasgow’s Kilmarnock Road in good time to get home for – da-dah-dah-dah – the start of Strictly.

Thirty-one minutes being almost exactly how long it took to for us to walk in, be seated, order, have food brought to the tiny table, eat most of it, pay the bill and leave. It was £58.50 for six dishes – four starters and two mains – including £7 for vino since you ask.

A record in terms of rapid service, but perhaps not surprising considering Salt & Chilli Oriental, a new Chinese street food restaurant, used to exist as a home delivery operation.

There’s also a pretty small menu and formulaic presentation. But more on this later – dum-dum-dum.

Now, we had delivery food from Salt & Chilli during lockdown and thought it was reasonably good if perhaps not what it’s hyped to be.

Oh, and I should also reveal in terms of full disclosure that this table tonight was booked for 5.30pm.

Possibly therefore we’re eating at the very best time on a weekend night for service – kitchen staff back there limbering up, bouncing about on the balls of their feet, in preparation for the rush that will surely come.

Tonight then. Obviously all the dishes arrive at pretty much the same time, or as it is known in the modern restaurant world, when-it-suits-the kitchen.

Obviously too, we aren’t here long enough to get anything remotely related to ambience, but while the welcome at the front door was abrupt and not close to my definition of welcoming, the waitress serving us is certainly a very nice and smiley lady. That menu then. Short. Zippy.

Easy to digest and, probably, pretty easy for the kitchen to service. Do they set themselves up a little bit with their website containing the usual flim-flam about food being, sigh, reimagined? And is it? No answers on a postcard, thanks.

It seems to me to be pretty familiar Cantonese restaurant food, repackaged, with zippier menu descriptions, a bit of Tik-Tok, bish-bosh-banging chat and maybe one unusual dish.

The actual food? Yeah, yeah I’m coming to that. Can I tell you this first though: at one point in the meal we will be sitting looking at five dishes and every single one of them will have exactly the same formulaic (and uneaten) garnish of red cabbage with lettuce on it.

The only dish that doesn’t have it is the £6 Hong Kong fish balls in curry sauce, which may have been hand-made in the back for all I know but taste and look like they have been plopped from a packet.

And even then I can’t say with absolute certainty the garnish isn’t hidden underneath the gloopy sauce. Let’s just say we eat the spongy fish balls, and yes they are OK.

I should also mention that on the starter plates, that garnish occupies a big slice of the real plate estate, with a further slice taken up by dip dishes.

OK, food. Coming in at £6.50 tonight are three so-so skewers of hand-crafted, specially marinated chicken satay. Pleasant. No more.

On my left: duck rolls at £6. There are three, halved, tightly rolled; they look quite small but hey-ho, they’re fine for the price I suppose and also pleasant. No more. Ribs now, at £7. No real complaints, but no different or any better than ribs pretty much anywhere else. And now for something completely, well, good. Soft-shelled crab (£15) with chilli chips.

The crab, which is very easy to make a muck of, is excellent. Light, crispy, cooked through, each eaten like a big seafood biscuit, and a very big portion all round.

There are some weirdly stubby chilli chips on the side. And finally ... Meh. The most unusual dish I can find to order: beef brisket curry with mooli. It’s a disaster. For one simple reason: the brisket is largely hunks of stewed and blubbery fat. Ugh. Not for me thanks.

Salt N’Chilli Oriental

67 Kilmarnock Road


Tel: 0141-286-6331

Hours: Closed Tuesday

Menu: Taking Cantonese, Chinese restaurant food, repackaging it; ribs, wings, plus baos and soft-shell crab and curries. 3/5

Service: Poor at the front door, but the waitress was great and the food came in an astonishingly quick time. 4/5

Atmosphere: Small tables, brick walls, lots of hustle and bustle, not exactly comfortable but fine. 3/5

Price: Starters or small plates came in around £6, main course soft-shell crab was £15, and worth it, brisket curry at £11 not so good. 3/5

Food: It’s presented in an extremely formulaic fashion, but apart from the dreadful brisket and the excellent soft-shelled crab it’s otherwise generally okay though kinda forgettable. 5/10

Total: 18/30