The Yadgar


IT'S been a strange old day. I’ll waste much time looking for a lockdown pizza vending machine that’s widely reported to be operating at the junction of Glasgow’s Blackfriars Street and High Street. Only to discover it’s not. It’s not even there. As far as I can see, anyway. And I look. Sigh. Is it more vaporware? Or has it already gone the way of all British vending machines: out of service. Answers on a postcard please.

Then I walk into the Yadgar in Govanhill just as they’re pouring a steaming pilaf into a huge dish, loading those signature lamb chop into curries, stacking chaplis and shamis and generally filling the air with all-round good vibrations. Only to discover that they're far keener on me going home and making my order from there than giving them the order over this very counter. Right here. Right now. Sigh. Apparently it will be ten percent cheaper for me too.

I suspect this is more to do with introducing customers to their new app than any mask-on mask-off issues. But, as I’m in favour of anything that lets the little guy take on the imperialist order-in-food-app monsters sucking money from restaurant owners already being crushed by our idiotic government rules (think of how inherently safely restaurants actually operate) I head back out into Calder Street.

Then, later, as we’re sitting at the table eating the dinner that I’ve ordered from the very Yadgar app previously mentioned (forgot to put discount code in as usual) I’ll discover a general mumblin’ and a-grumblin all around me. On account of there being bones in tonight’s food. Sigh. Yes there are. If I put my hand to my ear I can actually hear a light clanking as they are moved around plates.

That’s because I ordered it that way.

Now the Yadgar may look to any casual drive-by-er like just another kebab shop. But it ain’t. It makes old school, hardcore proper curries. I’ve seen it described as an extremely popular eating house for the local Pakistani community and that’s pretty much what it is.

Every karahi they sell, and that’s what they are known for, is served with the option: bones in/bones out. Every main course in fact. And as everybody knows bones equal flavour.

Okay, I may have taken the whole bone ordering thing too far tonight. Far too far, but there is an upside. Olive oil goshat, lamb pallak, chicken pallak – all bones in.

But the flavours? When I raise this issue there’s general agreement that these flavours, spices popping, cinnamon soothing, chopped coriander throughout a pre-seared, ground or whole mixture of those visible in every dish – are delicious. And it’s all hot too, as in properly, momentarily nose-runningly hot.

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These curries then are at the opposite end of the evolutionary scale from the one-pot-of-sauce-for-all-curries Indian restaurant. There is actually no sauce as such. Warning: Expect ghee, expect some glistening oil binding everything together. Maybe not in the channa; chickpea, onion, chilli, somehow much greater than the sum of its parts, but pretty much everywhere else. Expect potatoes, too. Yes, big crumbly ones, sucking up the juices they’ve already been simmered in, calming those fires.

We also have aloo tikki, those crispy spiced potato patties and some circular shammi kebabs of chickpea, beef, garlic and ginger. A nan, some plain rice.

It’s a feast but a pretty cheap one. Would we have actually gone as a family to the Yadgar for a sit-down? Hmmm. It’s not big on decor.

Ask me this: now that Lockdown 2 has fully taken grip of the restaurant industry, are there as many restaurants soldiering on with deliveries as there were in the latter stages of the first phase? I don’t think so.

And try and get a fine dining meal without mega advance booking. You won't.

The Yadgar then? A little bit of light in this gloom.

The Yadgar

148 Calder Street


0141 424 3722

Menu: It’s very traditional, it’s very meaty but if karahis, and chaplis, olive oil ghoshats and lamb pallaks are your thing: this is the place. 5/5

Service: Home delivery. They were a bit later than the time they promised, but the driver was pleasant and the food was still hot. 3/5

Atmosphere: Normally? A big glass counter with stacks of chaplis and shammis, a steaming tureen of rice. Sit down is basic when it’s open. 3/5

Price: We’re at the phenomenally cheap end of the culinary scale: Shammis and aloo tikka £1.20 each, aloo goshat £6.50, nans and rice £1.50, rotis 70p. 5/5

Food: There are no concessions to dining sensitivities, except for bone-on or bone-off, this is robust-looking stuff, but worth the effort. 8/10


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