Rumi, Glasgow

It’s a balmy summer night right in the heart of the city as I spring into Rumi to be met by appetising wafts of grilling lamb, air-conditioned down drafts, and waiters who have that I’m-not-just-doing-this-while I’m-a-student vibe.

Take a seat, have a menu, like-something-to-drink is all completed in the comfortable style of the seasoned professional, while a just-baked puff-ball of Balon Lavas fresh from the oven, whipped butter in a dish to melt over it, is on our table in minutes with the immortal words: complimentary, sir.

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At some stage, I’ll ask one of the waiters: is this restaurant owned by Turkish people? A question that’s got to be put nowadays with the post Covid surge of the theme-restaurant only loosely based on some recipes someone from somewhere read on the internet sometime (down to Brexit maybe).

The answer in this case will be: 'Yes. Me. I’m the owner.' And this from the guy who has served us on and off all night.

Rumi, GlasgowRumi, Glasgow (Image: free)

Rumi sits at the bottom of a very languid Hope Street, this evening dotted with people in shorts and t-shirts, chalkboards promising All Euro 2024 Games Live!

And yet in here, far from that madding crowd, it’s all cool, calm and collected. Up there behind us – and I’m speculating here – there seems to be a large Turkish family gathering taking place.

Over there, I hear the twang of American accents, the wrong train to Edinburgh maybe.

It stretches up and down this restaurant, via stairs and counters, into tiled corners, through white walls, blue tiled motifs, an arch, a semi-open kitchen and on into shady recesses with all the style of the slick Mediterranean diner. Glasgow? We could be in Ankara.

Though is that Leonard Cohen oozing through the sound system, swiftly followed by my personal favourite: The Stones' As Tears Go By. Mellow then. And quietly busy in here for a Tuesday evening.

Now, Cal has just startled me by revealing he has never had liver before, an uh moment, considering I’m, er, his dad. It leaves me to finish the whole starter of tiny liver cubes, rolled in breadcrumb, fried to a crisp and served with fried potato and onion by myself.


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We share the Saksuka though, a colour-burst of aubergine, tomato, lots of garlic and, to me anyway, a hint of paprika. All the while we’re crunching those pastry cigars stuffed with a good, tangy feta that they call Borek.

And yet… despite all this undoubted feel of the old country this place momentarily baffled us when we sat down.

Deep fried mozzarella; Halloumi fries; Arancini; Spaghetties, Chicken Milanese, Fish ’n’ bloody chips. It would be a rank exaggeration to say a map and compass was needed to find the Turkish dishes but they’re not exactly front and centre.

Still, times are tough – got to try and keep most of the people happy most of the time.

And find them we do. A Chicken Wrap Beyti, which is supposed to be minced chicken kebab but surprisingly turns out to be hunks of very moist and succulent chicken breast, wrapped in flatbread, sliced into finger-sized bites, doused with yoghurt and butter. We like this. And although the portion is too big to completely finish, the chicken is far too good to leave and the last hunks are slid from their pastry wrappers and consumed on their lonesome.

Lamb ribs and lamb chops now. Yes, this is a lot of full-flavoured lamb. None of your weak and insipid mildly flavoured usual stuff. Both meats however, are properly caramelised on the grill, seasoned and spiced and very meaty.

Rumi, GlasgowRumi, Glasgow (Image: free)

The chops, I would say, are outstanding, the ribs maybe just one lamby bridge too far. I lift the last one then place it back on the platter in that universal sign of surrender. There’s rice with this, of course, Turkish too and a bit of salad thrown in and while both these dishes hit the £20 and plus mark they’re substantial.

So, frankly, is Rumi. They could though, be even more boldly Turkish.


96 Hope Street


0141 483 8212

Menu: It’s a Turkish restaurant with Boreks, Sucek Lahmacuns, plus grill skewers and meats plus other Mediterranean dishes. 3/5

Service: It has the feel of proper professional staff who don’t overdo the flim-flam but know what they’re about. 4/5

Price: Mains can hit £18 and up, starters (hot and cold) hover around, mainly, under the £6 mark. 4/5

Atmosphere: On a warm evening was cool, relaxed and comfortable. Shut one eye and maybe it could actually be near the Med. 4/5

Food: Not breaking any new ground but they can handle a grill and those starters were all professionally prepared. 7/10