Battle of the food court gyros vendors

(n.b. there was no actual battle, this is just a metaphor)

I had no plans to go out and eat kebabs today. Today was just going to be a normal day, sitting in, heating on, playing Forza Horizon 4 and seeing how many trams on a pretty damn realistic looking Princes Street I could destroy with a Ford Focus RS. Alas, it turns out that Xbox games take an absolute fucking eon to download, so I left. As I write this (from the pub, I might add), I bet the bloody things still at 8%. For all I mock Millennials (read: anyone a day or more younger than me), at least they know the pain of having to wait 24 hours for something that’s meant to be more or less “instant” – except when I were a lad and we had 33k dial up the thing I had 24 hours later was a 4 minute video and a £900 phone bill.

Anyway.

I recently got a tip off about Mr Nick’s Greek Kitchen at the St. Enoch shopping centre food court, and coincidentally I also found out that Kelvin Way gyro-vendors MacTasso’s had opened a second location at Taste Buchanan in the Buchanan Galleries. “Fantastic!”, I thought, “now I can do a comparative look at the grilled Mediterranean meat scene in Glaswegian shopping centres AND completely fuck the diet to bits at the same time”!

MacTasso’s are good. Every student, academic, West Ender (category: other) and grilled meat enthusiast know this. They’ve been going continuously on Kelvin Way for about a year, and a few months ago they opened a second location at Taste Buchanan, the street food + Burger King + Amazon locker bit at the top of the Buchanan Galleries – but would it be as good as the original? At this point the author would point you to his original post, however, as it transpires, it never left my drafts. The answer is nonetheless yes.

That’s a seriously tasty lunch, that is. You can see the portion size for yourself – it was too big for the pitta cone. The quality of the meat, freshly shaved from the spit and finished off on a horizontal grill was likewise amazing, not spiced or nowt but very tender, cooked through and served with tzatziki, tomatoes, onion and chips (dry, fried, and warm), with paprika liberally shaken on top. At the counter was some olive oil as an optional add on – would have been nice but possibly too decadent? (Note: I forgot.)

Mr Nick’s over at St. Enoch was a similar story in every way but one. Mr Nick’s are, according to Google/Trip Advisor etc. anyway, a highly regarded Greek restaurant in the food court of Leith (near Edinburgh)’s Ocean Terminal shopping centre, so these guys are bound to be good, right?

Well, up to a point, Sir Humphrey.

As you can see, this is a fairly reasonable portion of gyro, and the chips are more chippy style than MacTasso’s (which were more like French Fries). The tzatziki was absolutely brilliant, very garlicky, visible bits of cucumber – wouldn’t recommend immediately before meeting a significant other or a job interview, but that really packed a punch. No, the only thing that lets the gyros down here are.. the gyros.

For fairness, I was eating (and drinking) the same thing at both places – and MacTasso’s being smaller has a limited menu, so I chose a meal that I was confident I could get at both – chicken gyros and a diet coke. Whereas the MacTasso’s offering was shaved, tender and succulent, the chicken on offer at Mr Nick’s was none of these things. Whilst there were spits (photographic evidence above) all the chicken came from the buffet tray. The cut was different as well – I’m no chef but the chicken at Mr Nick’s was more like leg meat – a bit dry, whereas MacTasso’s sourced theirs from a plumper part of the clucker. It was also quite salty.

This said, and I’ve gotta say this, it ain’t a deal breaker. Overall, impressed with both, and Mr Nick’s has an ace up it’s sleeve compared to MacTasso’s – they also do souvlaki (souvlaki is to shish kebab as gyros is to doner kebab) but MacTasso don’t, and all things being equal, I’d be willing to bet the souvlaki is very good. They also sell gun Vimto which sadly is very rare in Glasgow – I’ll be returning for that alone, if nothing else.

Scores on them there doors:

MacTasso’s, Taste Buchanan, Buchanan Galleries

Chicken Gyros + Diet Coke, £5.90

10/10

Mr Nick’s Greek Kitchen, The Atrium Food Court, St. Enoch Shopping Centre,

Chicken Gyros + Diet Coke, £5.99

7/10

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