Julie’s Kopitiam


A DESERTED Saturday afternoon, then, and from the car I can see a table placed across a propped open restaurant door, shadowy and masked figures behind it, bags stacked up for collection in the window.

The clock ticks. Crisp and emailed commands are being followed. Handover at 15:45 precisely. No earlier, no later. Philip Glass' Concerto Pour Violon Deuxième is, purely coincidentally and rather atmospherically, playing on Spotify right now.

This is not a Cold War, Berlin, 1947 handover but Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, 2020. It works perfectly, there’s no queue, no fuss, no panic, no sign of any other customers. The pick-up goes completely smoothly, too, apart from the rather Glasgow response to the question of whether there are instructions on how to heat the food: put it in the oven. Or the microwave. Hmm. This will cause head-scratching later as packages are opened, bags peered into it and questions asked about what are the salads and what are the mains.

Scribbled on a single lid is the exhortation: fry. It will turn out the detailed instructions were in an attachment to the confirmation email but seduced as we already are by the engaging spirit-of-the-blitz order notes that have accompanied food from other restaurants and pop-ups recently nobody thinks of looking on there. D’uh.

There is little sign either of that new hallmark of premium-priced lockdown delivery food: the Apple-style unboxing experience. Usually involving paper, cardboard, hand-crumpled tinfoil, tactile textures. Instead we flip lids on standard Chinese restaurant-style takeaway containers, set out clear-plastic dishes containing sauces and put aside the prawn crackers (weirdly, the only things that get the paper packaging treatment) and get to work.

It’s really not difficult this heating up your own food. What’s more difficult is working out days, maybe even weeks, in advance what you’re likely to want to eat. Then remembering what you ordered when it arrives.

The nasi goreng with boiled egg we flipped through the fry pan, but didn’t read the email instructions so didn’t add the spoonful of water. It’s still pleasant. Smashed cucumbers we explore next, the smashing with a rolling pin taking place before the chopping and these are draped in a spicy peanutty dressing that sets fire to the mouth for a millisecond before the soothing and cooling cucumber gets to work. This gets us talking, or initially gasping.

We like the chana dal, gingery undertones, pops of mustard seeds and also the freshly tart Malaysian karabu fine noodle salad with its crunchy toasted coconut, lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar flavours. Though it works much, much better in the non-veggie version possibly because of that rich and mellowing fish sauce.

A Malaysian nonya chicken curry provokes laughter mainly because the chicken it contains, thigh, comes in such a small portion (and this for two people) that it’s nothing more than a passing sensation. We put this down to a glitch and the curry, including an almost identical roasted vegetable vegetarian version (also for two), with its chunky contents draped in coconutty overtones ends up, like almost everything else, getting spooned and mixed together on plates with the spicier elements into a great big mash up of flavours.

Hands up? Things are often better this way, despite the best intentions of the chefs.

Whether Julie’s Kopitiam is just getting geared up to the new restaurant world order like everyone else or has been on-stream for a while I’m not sure but as the days are crossed off the lockdown calendar it's obvious more and more restaurants are working their way through this new way of working and putting packages together that will suit the insatiable desire we have for other people’s cooking. Even heating up food is starting to feel less strange and adds to the fun.

Somehow, I suspect, lockdown or no lockdown, this new way of eating is here to stay.

Julie’s Kopitiam

1109 Pollokshaws Road,


Tel 0141 2237 9560


Menu: Serving Malaysian food as taught to Julie by her mother and you can’t beat that. Platters are available during lockdown, details on Facebook.

Price: Menu seem regularly to change. The meat platter was £25 for two, the vegetarian £22, minimum platters are for two. Good value.

Food: We liked the rich dal, the nasi goreng and those smashed cucumbers, a fairly wide selection of interesting flavours and textures.