Luchador. Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow.

LET'S cut straight to the middle of this movie, where I’m perched at a high table taking swipes at an aubergine and chipotle taquito, knocking back shots of fresh green gazpacho, and picking salty little cubes of pork from my picture perfect plum micro taco.

So close to me on my left that I keep forgetting I’m not actually invited into their chat are two dudes, one bicycle helmet and a – frankly alarming for a Tuesday night in Glasgow anyway – overuse of the words existential and crowd-fund.

To my right, swoon a cosy couple whose heads are so tight they can barely wriggle their nachos through the gap. If I look up the bench-lined walls are filled with the south side’s hip and happening, the air full of the walla-walla of early evening chat and outside, through that square window, under umbrellas diverting the soft-September rain? Even more people.

A dude with a Teenage Fanclub tee-shirt, a guy smoking like Clint and an endless stream of drifters on this stretch of Kilmarnock Road’s post-Covid transformation into Holywood-pavement-cafe-land-in-the-rain.

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I pick up another fried manchego stick just to see it bend and crumble, an arroyo of salty, savoury cheese flowing towards my fingers. I pop a cool purple, still oozing, pickled egg in mi boca.

Staff in bright shirts breathe in to get past, lush ferns droop like movie props, deep green walls press ever closer and Now U Got Me Hooked by A.A.L oozes from speakers.

Frankly? In this moment? If Pete Rodriguez suddenly stood up at that table beside the bar and starting singing: I Like It Like That, I’d have to say: boogaloo baby.

And yet. As I neck a Jarrito’s Mexican Cola, little rivulets of chill sweating down the thick glass bottle, a wave of welcome sweetness cooling the super-heat of the aubergine and chipotle lava that just escaped from my taquito? This place is a little confusing.

I was expecting Jack Black, men in tights, shiny masks, a movie knock-off and perhaps a clunky Mexican food pastiche. And it kind of is a bit of a pastiche but it also feels more grown up.

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Take those corn ribs on a big rustic platter, fried or oven roasted to browns and golds, dusted with crisp onions sitting on an ajoblanco dip of almond and garlic that is extremely dippable. Or that tight little teacup of green gazpacho, all parsley and avocado, slaked with lime to instantly clean the palate. It’s pretty deftly done.

The very first tacos? Slow-cooked pork, not tasting in any way slow cooked incidentally, with plum salsa and avocado, still worked for me, sweet salty, fresh and gone in a couple of drippy, droopy, tangy afterburn mouthfuls.

And as far as No1 comfort foods are concerned then the taquitos, cut on the diagonal and fried to puffing, do a valuable job.

But into every abrevadero a little rain must fall.

The fish tacos? Yet again almost fine-dining-esque with their curling ribbons of spring onion, slivers of pepper, micro cubes of pineapple and light little chunks of battered fish but – uh-oh – do they fail the taste test. After all that eye-candy build up they’re somehow supremely bland and lacking seasoning, vibrancy, oomph.

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And another thing? Both tacos stumble in a surprising way. The tortilla itself, a small (some may say too small) circle of pressed flour is just super-dull. None of the taste of proper corn tortillas, nothing of that almost crumbly texture that adds so much to the overall sensation. They kinda let the show down.

Saying that, the adobo sauce, the ajoblanco, the plum sala and generally careful handling of presentation speaks to somebody, somewhere, thinking long and hard on how all these plates should look.

And they’re certainly doing something very right. A Wednesday night in Glasvegas. And every single seat is taken. Impressive.

Luchador

721 Pollokshaws Road

Glasgow

G41 2AA

https://theluchador.co.uk

Menu: Corn ribs, ajoblanco, aubergine and chipotle taquitos, slow-cooked pork and plum salsa tacos. It’s Mexican food but probably not as Billy Connolly remembers it. 4/5

Service: Bright, clear and very well-informed waitresses breeze around effortlessly between the narrow tables and crammed seats. Excellent. 5/5

Atmosphere: It’s no bigger than a Mexican shoe but somehow the busier it got the better it was in terms of vibe. 5/5

Price: Nothing here to scare the lieges with a pair of (admittedly micro) tacos at £6.95, those taquitos £6.25 and most starters at £3, but they lose a point for charging 2.5% extra to pay by bank card. Uh? 4/5

Food: Certainly has its moments with pretty tacos, filling taquitos and fresh vibrant gazpacho. Interesting take on fashionable Mexican cuisine that isn't actually pushing any boundaries. 6/10

24/30