The Yummy Roast


JUST to put you in the picture-window, there are roasted ducks the colour of teak here, heads n’all, hanging like smoky umbrella handles; crimson-stained racks of char-sui on the counter beneath and bellies of pork, crisp and crackly, sweet, juicy and salty, splitting and splintering beneath the swinging arm of a man with a very large chopper rat-a-tatting out the lunchtime groove on a circular slab of pure urethane.

I’m at the window at his side hungrily watching this show while simultaneously exhibiting that my grasp of Mandarin or Cantonese is nowhere near good enough to remedy a rapidly looming disaster.

The man on the other side of this counter, masked and gloved, is right now pushing my £22 back towards me and I’m right now desperately pushing it back towards him.

Neither of us understanding a word the other is saying.

Behind us a group of people from Glasgow’s Chinese community look on in silent curiosity. The problem is this: I ordered the three-roast times two for nine bangers a pop and then when I was charged £22 for that, I wondered out loud why. It seems that the nine bangers a pop three-roast comes with rice – and there’s not going to be any of that ready for at least 20 minutes – so instead of that I was being given the three-roast without rice. Times two. Which costs £4 more. Work that out.

And somehow, somewhere in this stilted conversation, the man behind the counter thinks I am actually refusing this. No, no, no, I definitely want it, I say. But the more I explain the more the money is pushed back towards me until in desperation I turn to the audience behind to see if anyone speaks English.

Of course they do. The guy behind me smiling and nodding and saying in minted Glaswegian something along the lines of: “What’s the problem, big man”.

And the next moment there is no problem. Why the three-roast without rice costs more than the three-roast with rice? We all agree: nobody knows.

I suspect it’s because it’s a much larger portion. I should have said that during all this I have had, dangling from a pink-tied ribbon in my right hand, a white box containing three fragrant custard tarts from the Chinese Bakery next door.

I could smell the aroma of just-baked shortcrust pastry and wafts of vanilla throughout. No pressure.

Fast forward 20 minutes, say, and the kettle’s on at home, the gooey, crispy, super-fresh tarts are still warm. Being quartered and eaten while I’m unpacking the three-roast, times two, to put in the fridge for later tonight.

But the pork belly? It disappears like this. I lean over and pop a square of it in my mouth. Crisper than expected, crunchier than anticipated, then sweet and salty, then waves of juicy, savoury pleasure.

Try that, I say to Luca, as I venture another. He does. Ah, that’s good, we agree. And we both immediately have another. Then his mum walks in and is prompted by us both to try a square. Hmm, she says as she tastes it, I don’t like to see that pork belly fatty bit in the middle. Ugh. And then at that very same moment she leans over and helps herself to another one. And so do we.

To cut a long slow lunch short the pork belly will not make it to the dinner table tonight. Not a morsel. But the duck will and the char-sui too, served with rice and spinach. Both succulent, especially that duck golden-skinned – hacked into hunks, tender and superbly moist and full of flavour. Surprising, really, given that there isn’t a mainstream European restaurant in this country that doesn’t want to serve us duck, almost raw, often rubbery and usually tasteless.

The Happy Roast then? Very simple, very straightforward and very good. It’s already a big hit with the Chinese community. I can see why.

The Yummy Roast

259 Garscube Road


0141 237 3950

Opening hours: 11am til they run out, check Facebook for live times.

Menu: They’ll do a whole suckling pig if you give them three days' notice, whole roast duck too, but you can just pitch up and order three roast, two-roast, or just one.

Price: It’s £9 for the three-roast with fried rice to take away, or £12 for the container to be filled entirely with roast. A whole roast duck is £23, a whole suckling pig £168, while a whole soy chicken is £18.

Food: It’s a little hole in the wall place dedicated almost entirely to Chinese roasts and for the Chinese community; the crispy pork’s fabulous, the duck moist and juicy. Very simple and better for it.