Indian By Nature


PAISLEY then, Tuesday evening, stairs being climbed in a tenement; dusty stairs too. Corners being turned, a door being shoved open and we’re here. I think, I say to Joe as I scroll through Google on my phone and double-check.

Then triple-check. Yep, this is it. The Scottish Restaurant of the Year. At The 1st Nation’s Curry Awards. Of 2023. In London. Announced last week, not last century. Which is what I am double-checking. Really? Indian By Nature looks like it may have been a while since the decor was, ahem, refreshed. Still, it’s a friendly place.

We’re still gazing quietly at the extraordinary patchwork of veneers on display, the unfashionably mismatched chair sets, that wonky emergency exit sign dangling languidly above the door, when a woman who has been pacing up and down with a baby starts chatting.

“That’s my husband over there,” she says, pointing to a smiley man tearing a naan, “we have to eat in shifts to keep the newborn sleeping.”

HeraldScotland: Indian by NatureIndian by Nature (Image: Gordon Terris)

Aw, I say as we’re led off by a waiter to a four-seater overlooking the station car park. That is indeed one of the platforms at Paisley Gilmour Street Station I can glimpse just behind it, and Indian by Nature seems to have made something of that proximity in slogans painted here and there.

The nature thing? Well, I scan the menu looking for that vibrant nature buzz and 10 minutes later I can report we’re eating chilli potato (£4) from the appetiser section. OK, if I had read the menu properly I wouldn’t have said out loud when this arrives: “I don’t think we ordered chips.” The waitress then pointing us to the actual description of this dish.

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Aaah. It’s re-fried chips, tossed in chilli and onion. A first for me. Surprise aside, it’s chips sauteed in a rich and spicy gravy, and five minutes later I’m actually ordering another portion.

Weird but this could catch on. By now we’ve eaten the marinated lamb chops, three for a fiver, not bad either; the fish pakora, £6 for three of those too. Now they’re award-winners they’ll be disappointed in themselves at these pakora: the fish is too soft, the batter too hard, some sections of the pakora mix are still at the ugh, goo stage. Hmm. Nul points for these. By now I’ve used the facilities, picked the menu up a few times and even slid my hand over the table veneer. Is there a general stickiness to everything in here, I whisper to Joe.

But he is on the mains and pronouncing them “bog-standard”, a view from which I demur.

That may have been accurate 20 years ago but not nowadays when every other Indian restaurant is busy reinventing itself into a small-plates, street food, not-in-the-least-bit-phoney-baloney venture.

Nah, I say spooning up a soupy tarka dal (£5), taking a nugget of chicken from a handi (£11) and trying to determine smokiness (none detected) in the Chicken Tikka Smoke Karahi.

HeraldScotland: Indian By NatureIndian By Nature (Image: Gordon Terris)

At least the Bhindi Bhaji look different from these dishes being a dry, crunchy, savoury mix of okra and caramelised onions at nine quid not including rice (£2).

“The sauces all taste the same but with different heat,” adds Joe. Disagree, I mutter. That one (handi) is sweet and that one (er, now I’m not sure what is what) is salty. But yes they are all pretty old-school samey. Of course, we didn’t wheel out here from the big city just to scoff, because there is one thing that is impossible to deny: it’s busy in here.

Even at 7pm on this Tuesday night, there are a few tables occupied, I presume, by locals from the Asian community, then middle-aged couples here and there and quite a few single guys too sitting with curries. I’m presuming that Indian by Nature does pretty well based on its familiar comfort zone feel.

And there’s a big place for that. As for the award? I mention it to the staff. They seem blissfully unaware.

Who needs ‘em?

Indian By Nature

34 Moss Street


Tel: 0141-887-3032

Hours: Closed Monday

Menu: Fish pakora, lamb chops, Handis, bhindis, karahis and all the other stuff you would have expected in an Indian restaurant a few years ago. 3/5

Service: Pleasant, efficient, too busy to chat but that’s a good thing. 4/5

Price: Strange mix of very reasonable starters mainly hitting the fiver mark, but sometimes less, and ten quid curries with rice £2 on top. Can be cheap. 4/5

Atmosphere: Did there used to be a carpet in here, is the decor being redone, those and otehr questions we didn’t get answered, but people are friendly. 4/5

Food: They may just have invented refried chips though they call them chilli potatoes, don’t laugh they’re pretty damn good; rest of the food is pretty average. 6/10

Total: 21/30