Cranside Kitchen


THAT’S pure amazing, a girl at a picnic table two along suddenly shouts, momentarily distracting me from a forensic examination of the weird lattice of squirty stripes atop my domed chicken cha han.

I look up to see whether this outburst is prompted by her fish-bowl sized cocktail, those halloumi fries, or the single ray of sunshine that has just tumbled through the late afternoon drizzle to flop exhausted upon us lunatics, outside, on fake grass, under dripping beach umbrellas.

But considering that a) it’s still hailstoning in May b) it was monsooning too this afternoon and c) it's definitely bloody freezing yet just about everyone is dressed like we’re in Marbella I can only confirm one definite Covid survivor is the first rule of Glasgow: the weather never matters.

Oh, it’s mayonnaise by the way. The stuff on top of my Japanese fried rice. Hmm, I think Googling to check whether this a thing or a sign the chef’s on drugs. Crikey, it’s a thing.

I’ve now crunched a crisply coated chicken karaage, eaten a pair of very clean and pleasant Italian arancini and am dangling a slice of tuna sashima in Mr Creosote fashion when that cheery Italian guy with the top knot, on passing my table, wheels towards me with first an eyebrow, then palms, raised.

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Nothing to drink, he exclaims, looking down as though I’m at immediate risk of expiring in the, er, heat. I’ll get asked this a lot this afternoon, understandably, given what everyone else is doing.

I’m fine, I say, not wanting to reveal that having sat down, pointed my camera at a QR code, gone through the many menus, tickety-tick, entered my name, address, phone number, in an app, then rolled my location to Table 43 and paid online – I forgot to order a drink.

And I’m not going through all that again for a Diet Coke.

Saying this, and the creepy, prying nature of all these apps aside, they bring a slick, new ordering system into restaurants allowing food from Japan, okay Clydeside, China, yes still Clydeside, Italy, ditto, Thailand, uh-huh, to all be brought to my table like magic. Though how much do they take from the restaurant's profitability?

No actual cash will ever change hands this afternoon which will certainly please the Chancellor. Even the tip’s done online, though as that’s paid before anyone’s actually done any work I can't see how it will encourage generosity.

I can now exclusively reveal anyway why there’s a fried button, which I somehow ticked, beside the online bao bun section. It turns out that means the buns are fried too. Is this a Glasgow variant?

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Cue more Googling as I munch and crunch through chicken katsu and pumpkin katsu buns, mayo oozing, not actually very oily, sweet, very samey tasting, whilst wondering how long it will be before these hit the chip shops.

A full-on ooh-yah flavoured som tum carrot salad – a slurpily seductive blend of chilli, palm sugar lime, fish sauce and crunchy peanut is next. Google fact: this was once claimed to be the world’s best salad. No, not this actual one, but you get the picture.

Only the charred hispi cabbage to try now and it too has a textured topping, crisp fried onion, covering a glug of dressing and a very tiny patch where the grill has seared it. The chef obviously lifted this the minute the cabbage shouted ooh-yah when it should have stayed there until it took on enough char flavour to separate it from its boiled cousins. That aside, it’s pleasant.

Dessert? I would have to log back in. And that ain’t happening.

Oh, that chicken cha han? Very cleanly cooked, looked like short grain rice, freshly made too. Mayo aside, though, it was very much lacking seasoning and flavour for me.

Now, I count seven different restaurants offering food at these outside tables this afternoon, though that can change, so think food court. Separate chef for every cuisine? No idea. Is the food special? Hey, it’s clearly popular.

Cranside Kitchen

28 Tunnel Street


Menu: Many menus from sushi, to Italian to Japanese to Greek. They’ll say exciting pop-ups, I’ll say outdoor Covid-beating food court, but no complaints on choice. 3/5

Service: Everything is done through an app whilst sitting at your table which is super-Covid-safe and pretty slick, backed up by cheery staff bringing and taking away plates. 4/5

Atmosphere: Hey, outside in the drizzle, and cold, on fake grass, in Glasgow should be a complete disaster but somehow the place was buzzing with life. 4/5

Price: Considering app developers take a significant slice of every struggling restaurant’s profits, I’m surprised this is so reasonable with dishes from under a fiver up to £9. 4/5

Food: Loads of choice, plenty of customers. Everything was competently put together, cleanly prepared and professionally presented if not pushing any taste envelopes. 5/10