Hello again, dear reader. After a haitus of about five years or so, you’re getting two posts in the space of two days! Lucky you, I guess. Let’s set the scene, shall we? It’s Friday, it’s about 4pm, you’ve just had your hair cut and you’re at a loose end in the centre of town (this town is the town of Glasgow, which is a city). You want food. You want beer. You wanted a fidget spinner an hour ago, but the whim passed quickly on that one, after you saw a kid on the train chewing his. Luckily, thanks to TARGETED FACEBOOK ADS, you (this is all me, by the way) become aware that the latest in hip ting has opened, and so you end up in Glasgow’s first ever gourmet kebab place for lunch.
Gourmet kebab place? Yep, you heard. It’s a bit like the gourmet burger places, in so far that for a bit* more than what you would normally pay for fast food, you get a higher quality artisan product or something, and it also makes you more attractive to the opposite and the same sex as well**.
So what do we know so far? Well, if you were paying attention to the title, you’ll know that the restaurant in question is called ‘Babs. It is an abbrieviation of keBabs, you see, and not a restaurant owned by someone called Bab – the apostrophe is in the wrong place for that. It is, however, owned by BmB – or Bread Meats Bread, the gourmet burger/sandwich place, and is literally round the corner from it, being situated at 47 West Nile Street.
Wanna see what it looks like? Well… you can’t. Sorry. What happened was, I forgot to take a photo, and usually that’s fine, because Google Images to the rescue. With ‘Babs, they are that new that Google hasn’t caught up, and at time of writing there weren’t any copyright-free photos that I could nick. So, instead, here’s a picture of ‘Babs as it was before:
It’s a little different now – ‘Babs is a kinda navy blue, with bare brick walls on the inside above the dado, below some Mediterranean style tiling, all in all very pleasant – and you have the Man Vs Kebab guarantee that when I get a chance, I’ll update this post with photos and that.
I took my seat at looked over the menu. Some really interesting looking dishes on here which I didn’t get a chance to photograph – Octopus kebab, Beef doner – and you can see from the photo above steak and tuna, halloumi kebabs – these renegades have taken the ‘bab rulebook and torn it up, and rewritten it, and put in a lot of fish and vegetarian cheese, it seems. I will return one day to take on these goons – but today I was having Chicken Shawarma.
Shawarma, much like kebab, technically refers to the style of meat – shawarma being similar to doner meat – spit roasted with tons of extra fat for succulence, and then chopped into small bits, as opposed to strips. It can then be served as a wrap in a flatbread, or with rice, both with salad and sauce. This was to be the former. Drinks wise – I asked for a Caesar Augustus IPA/Lager from Williams – on the menu but off limits, I was told – being the second day of opening, they expect these to be in shortly. Looked at the alternatives – nothing really caught my fancy, so I went for a cup of tea.
There’s the shawarma wrap there – actually came wrapped fully in the yellow paper you see much like a burger would – as you can see, plenty of chicken, pickles and peppers, and a some aoili drizzled on top. Now, compared to some of Glasgow’s more established eateries, this was quite small – which in itself is fine by me – as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, Kurdistan Shawarma on the southside do an absolutely huge wrap which is enough to feed a small country, but this was more manageable. The price, £6.50 but advertised for some reason as “6.5”, is a lot to pay, but this is city centre dining, not a suburban takeaway – ’tis to be expected.
Tastewise, well, it certainly was tasty – you could tell that the chicken was well marinaded, and well cooked. Regrettably, at the time of my visit – a little too well cooked – the moisture that is typical of a shawarma just wasn’t there. The chicken was quite dry, and there wasn’t a lot of sauce to compensate. If you look at the menu, you’ll note that a choice of dip is offered – again, day two of opening, I wasn’t offered any dip of my visit, maybe that was the missing ingredient? Who knows.
Speaking of small, here’s the cup of tea I ordered:
Placed next to the small glass of water for comparisons sake – this was a very small cup of tea indeed! In fairness to the waitress, she did offer a larger cup and I said no – however this was partly out of politeness and partly because as she was putting it down, I thought it was further away than it actually was, Father Ted style. Oh, and it was served as a cup of warm water, with a teabag on the side and mini jug of milk with two sugars – and this is a good thing! Whilst it may not be everyone’s cup of tea (I went there), I generally don’t trust anyone else to make tea properly, so I’m grateful that they let me do so. They also knocked 50p off the price of the tea by the time the bill came, down from a hefty “2” for the tea down to a more reasonable “1.5”
As you can probably tell, I have absolutely no time for restaurants who display their prices a) as numbers to one decimal place and b) eschew the currency unit, and I was tempted to give this place 6.5 out of ten as an ironic score and a warning – but then I remembered that what I really hate is restaurants and bars who abbreviate coleslaw to slaw and put it on every fucking thing, so in comparison I’m actually not that bothered. And there wasn’t any (cole)slaw anywhere to be seen in this place – which was my biggest fear – trendy gourmet kebab shop ruins kebab by adding what is basically a side from KFC – so by not doing that, they actually get a bonus point. And they’re new. Lets look at this objectively:
- Decent, not obscenely sized portions
- Fairly pleasant ambience
- No coleslaw
- Tea out of an espresso mug
- Too clucking dry
- No craft beer – yet…
Overall, it gets a seven out of ten from me. Definite room for improvement, and I shall report back in a couple of months to see if they have!