SO they get lost, I get lost, Keith then finds the place, shouty WhatsApp group calls between us; Starsy and The Fightin’ Irish arrive. Now I turn up. Sit down. Look around. Realise: eek. This is the wrong restaurant. 

We aren’t in the brand-new Shawarma King on Paisley Road. We’re in the long-established Shawarma Grill on Paisley Road West. Oops. And we have actually wrongly booked this one – all eyes on Chrissy, OK maybe me – by mistake. Worse. Service in this busy joint is so slick, so fast, the boys are already eating, and another free appetiser bowl is actually being placed right before me. Awkward. Reverse ferret. Apologise. 

Pay for what we didn’t eat. Back out. Five minutes later we’re in the right place. Fast forward again. Say, 40 minutes? Plus. Mental lift music is playing. Ping, ping, pong, ping. Our heads are raised. Meerkating. Looking for our food. We’re in a corner table at the new Shawarma King. Half a mile down the road. 

This is excitingly the first proper sit-down outpost of the brilliant Hajar’s Shawarma King on King Street, stand-up takeaway star of multiple awards, the original visited recently by no less than Netflix’s Somebody Feed Phil.  

The original is famous too not just for the quality of its kebabs, but also for the hands-on, superb and consistent service. And here … in the new place?  For the second time tonight I’m thinking: are we in the wrong place? I’ll tell you why. We’ve been waiting forever. 

And still have no food. Nothing. They only opened four days ago so we’ve cut them some slack. But alarmingly perhaps we each had to point out where the dishes we were ordering were on the actual menu – to the waitress. Hmm. Not a good sign. We were also asked somewhat brusquely what our table number is. 

The Herald:
Uh, there are only three tables occupied in here. Time has drifted way on. Meanwhile there’s been lots of milling about behind that counter back there, a guy actually standing eating something, but nobody is watching or paying any attention to what is going on out here. 

With the, hello, customers. Eventually we raise a hand to attract attention. First question back? What’s your table number? Aw? Again? Seriously? Yes, it’s still four days after opening.  
But, this was my idea. I moved us all from a perfectly good restaurant with very good service to come here. And whisper it: I don’t think they have even started on our food yet. I suspect they just forgot. But yes we are brought one piece of cold, damp flatbread (amongst four of us) and a dip by way of apology. 


And yes … eventually … the food does arrive. But before we taste a mouthful it’s agreed among us that this place is already the polar opposite of the well-managed original in the city over there. OK, I bet you’re suspecting I’m about reveal that – surprise, surprise – the food is going to be uh-maze-ing. As good as it was in the Shawarma King the first time I reviewed it in 2018? Er, nope. It’s not. There’s a reasonably good fattoush salad, toasted pitta bread, spinach leaves, pomegranate dressing; a vibrantly green tabbouleh, a mound of chopped parsley. But it’s all a bit clunky taste-wise.

Nobody’s coming here for salads though. It’s the Arabic Shawarma. Grilled chicken and lamb, fresh pitta-bread, toasted lightly, all rolled up, sliced cross-wise into delicate looking finger-food that we’re here for. Momentarily, it seems that’s what we have got too. There’s definitely a sign of the original’s tightly packed, properly crispy, juicy meats. But hang on: it’s all very salty. Too salty. And served with the world’s most ordinary looking chips. 

And as for the homemade falafel Keith picked? Looks like it came straight out the standard falafel mould you see everywhere. Frankly? It’s surprising. Disappointing. They’ll cheekily have a sign proclaiming “winner of the best kebab house in Scotland” hung above the door of this place by the time you read this. Best kebab in Scotland? In here? Seriously?  

Shawarma King 

232 Paisley Road (not west)

Beside Springfield Quay


Open: seven days

Tel:  07808-883808

Menu: The famous and award winning Shawarma King takeaway finally opens a sit-down restaurant featuring…well…those shawarmas of course. 3/5

Atmosphere: they have not got this right: bright yellow walls, high counter where staff congregate, but a second door to a shisha lounge and takeaway business dampen any vibe. 3/5

Price: Around £11 for a sit-down shawarma, fiver plus for salads, grills from £13 and up. Reasonable. 4/5

Service: the original is famous for its hands-on consistent service, this was the complete opposite: absolutely nobody seemed in charge or even interested. Hopeless. Needs to improve.1/5

Food: By the time it arrived any enthusiasm had dampened; clear signs of the famous Shawarama King style but tasted neither carefully made nor even slightly special. Uh-oh. 5/10

Total: 16/30

  If you know a restaurant Ron should review, email