Station Kitchen


STIR-fried chicken gizzard. Hmmm ... Nah, not tonight. Fried pig intestines? Ooh, maybe next time. Special Flavoured Chicken Shreds? Well… that’s another pass. However, I do find something I definitely want on the menu and order it up. Seaweed and egg drop soup, I say to the waitress proudly.

“No,” she says scrunching her face, “too much for one.” And with this she mimes a giant bowl with her hands.

I’m tempted to mime my giant stomach back, but we compromise instead on the hot and sour soup at £3.80 per person.

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Oh, the chicken cubes with chilli peppers too, fried pork in scoop as well please, I say, not having a clue what the scoop is expect perhaps a translation error.

And … as we’re clearly in a proper Chinese restaurant I’ll have a prawn fried rice. This time I do mime the stomach as she suggests too much food is being ordered here.

But hang on. Let’s go back 15 minutes. To when I was adrift in a restaurant called Mala just around the corner. Staring at what looked like supermarket shelves, tiny ladles dangling, hand-written labels visible, saying £3 per 100 grammes, entirely raw ingredients everywhere and a greeter lady trying to explain to me to pick food, put it in in a basket, take it to the counter, where it’s weighed and cooked.

HeraldScotland: Station KitchenStation Kitchen (Image: Colin Mearns)

“But cooked in what way?” I’m asking. I don’t get the answer because a man behind the counter abruptly reminds her that they don’t take cards and I retreat out into the Blade Runner-esque rain to find a cash-line machine. Which is how I end up ambling past The Station Kitchen here.

I’m drawn by the warm lighting, the bustling interior, a clientele made up entirely of young people from the Chinese community and a big photo menu. Hurrah, I say as they quickly find me a big round table up the back and I start leafing through the pictures.

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Which is where we started with all this. I’ll put you out your misery on the pork in scoop in a minute. Though when the big platter arrives, glistening, with lightly-coloured oddly-familiar shapes piled on it and vibrant coriander leaves atop, I wonder … No. Are they…whole…ears?

I take a sip or two of my hot and sour soup. I like this incidentally: thick, spicy, a tangy after-burn, prawns and chicken floating calmly amidst sliced vegetables.

HeraldScotland: Exterior of the Station KitchenExterior of the Station Kitchen (Image: Colin Mearns)

I take another forkful of the fried rice: fat prawns properly seasoned, bursting with flavour and the eggy rice itself fluffy, toasty-tasting with sliced burnished shallots. It’s pretty good, cleanly cooked. Though not very exciting.

Not as exciting as this plate of ears, I’m thinking, as I put off actually tasting one by delving once more into these chicken cubes with chilli pepper.

The chicken comes in light, crisped, deliciously moist nuggets, dotted with Szechuan peppercorns, leaving that mouth-tingling signature sensation, with heaps of dried fried chillis tumbling off with every mouthful.

This is good, I think, as I skittishly reconsider the steaming heap of ears before me. Finally, and as a long shot, I google pork in scoop. It may not be a translation error. It’s not.

Remember Zheng Xingwen, Qing Dynasty, chef to the Governor of Harbin in north-eastern China? He invented the dish. Right down to the coriander leaf.

And ha-ha, I’m an idiot: it’s not ears at all. Pork fillet, battered flat, sliced fine, doused with flavours, dredged in flour, crisp-fried. I pick up one now expecting no surprises. And get a very big one.

It’s sweet. Like a dessert. For a moment, my taste buds are baffled. Then come salty, savoury bumps with a big vinegary sweet and sour finish. I’ve eaten half of the very large plateful within moments and would eat more were it not for the “full” sign dropping across my eyes like a cartoon character.

“Doggy bag?” the lady says, looking at the debris on my table as I lean on the counter paying the bill. No thanks, I say, but I’ll come here again.



120 Dumbarton Road



Menu: There’s a menu for safe diners at the back, but up to then it’s much focussed on the Chinese community. Interesting stuff in there too. 4/5

Atmosphere: I was drawn in by it being mobbed on a cold Tuesday with young cool people from the Chinese community, nicely lit, comfortable shop front restaurant. 4/5

Service; There were language issues mainly down to my poor Cantonese but very pleasant and helpful staff. 4/5

Price: It looks pricey until you realise these are often huge sharing platters of food. Hot n Sour soup £3.80, mains hover around £10 after that. 4/5

Food: Some dishes are clearly for the more seasoned palate but there’s plenty to like including that Pork In Scoop and the Chicken Cubes With Chilli Peppers. Worth exploring. 8/10

Total: 24/30