The Indian On Skirving Street


SUNDAY night in the suburbs, I groan, as I walk up the stairs, round the corner and into a restaurant that’s completely and utterly not-even-any-tumbleweed-in-there empty. Darn, and I booked, too.

There’s something cringey about booking when there’s absolutely no need. As though the staff do that Simpson’s laugh – ha,ha – when they put the phone down.

At the Indian On Skirving Street tonight I’m shown to a table, any table, of course, and then because of a schoolboy reviewer error I’m immediately abandoned.

I booked for four, you see, but I arrive alone. Genius. Never do that. Ever.

Restaurants haven’t a clue what to do with people who are waiting for other people so they ignore them. No food order is taken, no drink order even. Meanwhile, the family are dopily trundling around out there. Avoiding texts. Blanking calls. As usual. And I’m in restaurant limbo-land listening to Enya or Clannad or trance yoga music on bloody infinite loop, gazing at brick walls, and wooden floors, wondering what this place was before.

A Mexican? Wasn’t it once called Eddie Spaghetti? And there are even actual blobs of curry on the menu too. What? Can it get any worse? Yes, it can.

You won’t believe this one. A table of seven people have just walked in, all bright and bubbly and enthusiastic. To be fussed over and pampered and no doubt to immediately wake the chef and fill that kitchen through there with their long and complex food orders meaning that even when my lot bother to turn up we’ll still have to wait. And wait. Enough.

Fast forward. Ten minutes into the future. I just panic ordered the whole right hand side of the menu. It’s statistically better food. To get ahead of the seven-seater in the kitchen queue, obviously.

The family have finally turned up. Walking in and sitting down, at exactly, precisely, you couldn’t make this up, the same moment as the food arrives.

Ooh, this is nice my wife says, gazing around, I love that relaxing music, too. Freshly made poppadoms, where do you ever see that? And this paratha is fabulous, it’s just been buttered too, and what have they put into the rice, it's so rich?

I kid you not, this is the way the chat goes. No, they say, of course our phones weren’t off. We were chatting. I could, of course, sit in a fug of middle-aged man huff here.

But actually? Check out this grated cauliflower and peppers, pan fried with Punjabi spices. The shredded salmon, wafts of coriander, cumin and fenugreek, tiny nuggets of salmon, cool soothing peas. Armritsari fish, crisply battered with punchy spices. Aubergine and potato, yet another Punjabi dish where the waft of the just toasted spices sets the appetite racing.

OK, there are points in this meal where we have not got a scooby what we are eating.

Are those the malai kofta or spiced vegetable dumplings in a spiced tomato sauce with cream and yoghurt? More of a texture than a taste, I think.

Is that khoree pakora “a must for the table” a rare dish made with fenugreek and sharp, tangy yoghurt based sauce? Bit too saucey for me.

If you are not careful, like I wasn’t, you can end up with quite a lot of creamy dishes.

Occasionally I think some things could do with a touch of salt, but this is a small plate meal, lots and lots of little dishes filling the table, keeping things interesting.

Many dishes like the aubergine and potato, the cauliflower, are just £4, the fish dishes slide in at £5, you have to flip the menu over to find anything approaching £6 and those are full curries.

The service is fine, too, helpful when we are stuck over what exactly everything is.

It’s surprising that the The Indian is so quiet tonight because it is different, interesting and very good value.

I suspect it won’t be quiet for long.

Menu: Different, interesting. Lots of Punjabi dishes including kharee pakora, grated cauliflower with peppers 5/5

Service: Thrown by the lone diner waiting for others to arrive on a quiet night, but then relaxed and pleasant. 3/5

Atmosphere: Pleasant bare brick, wooden floors loft feel with lots of that relaxing yoga music. 4/5

Price: Small plates start at around £4 and rarely top £5 – overall pretty good value. 4/5

Food: An Indian with a different and authentic twist, packed with Punjabi favourites. 7/10

Total 23/30

The Indian On Skirving Street

5 Skirving St


0141 649 7779