The wait, as they say, is over. They’ve been threatening to open for ages, and now they have – but is it as good as we’d hoped? Well, we’ll get to that. It wouldn’t be a Shawarma Police review unless I veered massively off topic to begin with, would it? So let’s get to the important stuff first of all – BINS.
Well, I’m not veering hugely off topic – because this is entirely relevant. It’s a commercial waste bin, owned by the good people of HO WAH in Shawlands. I know it was owned by HO WAH because, well, they left their mark. Unfortunately, the photos of the other sides do not exist anymore but this erstwhile Chinese restaurant in Shawlands was very protective of its bin, and I believe had, across all four upright sides, written HO WAH no less than thirty times. I was unable to check the base, but given HO WAH was written on the lid, I wouldn’t be surprised if the base was tagged as well.
Anyway – the reason this is relevant is because the good people of HO WAH are no longer there. The shop lies empty. However – in late 2017 (like I say, we’ve been waiting a while…) this photo was taken by a Shawlands based correspondent…
That’s right! As you can see from the sign there, the shop next door to the now defunct HO WAH was aquired for GDK! Tenuous, yes. Pointless? Indeed. Let’s get on with it. As you will have no doubt realised if you’ve seen the recent publicity (let alone the blog posts on the subject here and elsewhere), they didn’t open up in Shawlands in the end – they opened up in an old Greggs in town instead. #ImOldGreggs
To be fair – not just an old Greggs – they’ve knocked through all three shops next to the old cinema to create one big unit – room enough for a load of seats and a space to wait for a takeaway.
When I visited (on opening day), the place was understandably mobbed. Quite a bit of hype from social media (I lose count of how many times sponsored ads popped up on my Facebook feed) and a radio campaign on local (for now) station Capital Scotland had generated a load of buzz, so much so that there was a rope bound snakey queue (I believe this is the technical term) to negotiate before getting to the tills. As the place was very busy, there was a wait. “5 to 10 minutes” the girl at the till said – “is that ok?” In my experience of other GDK outlets, there is generally a wait involved, so I was expecting this – however, the 5 to 10 minutes very quickly turned into 26 minutes, which I wasn’t – and given I needed to be elsewhere in a hurry, the over-optimistic wait time which turned out to be untrue was unhelpful, to be charitable.
That said, they did give me this: the Space Disc 9000. Behold!
The “Space Disc 9000” (which is a name I just made up, for the avoidance of doubt), is a fancy electronic gizmo which, when your order is ready, lights up and vibrates! How cool is that! It has an electronic display, showing a number (in my case, 21), and, err, that’s it. I like how they’ve gone to the effort of automating the takeaway collection process by way of a vibro-pager, eschewing the more traditional “voice” method where the counter staff say “small doner and coke zero?” and then look around until the person whose ordered it looks up and goes “yeah, that’s me” – all very futuristic.
26 minutes after ordering, the Space Disc 9000 (not its real name) vibrates my hand off, during which time it has been in my hand nearly the whole time apart from a brief moment when it had been temporarily snatched from my hand so that a staff member could read the number on it. He could have asked. Anyway, I collect my order and off I go – and it was quite impressive!
Behold! A brown paper bag (containing the black triangle, a wet wipe and possibly a plastic fork – I forget), and the aforementioned black triangle. In fairness, this looks really impressive, a cut above the presentation I think I’ve ever seen from a kebab shop. But what of the kebab itself? Let’s open up the triangle and have a look:
Wow. Totally impressed by this – for one thing, it’s foil wrapped to keep it warm – underneath you have the fladenbrot (or “toasted waffle bread” as GDK’s social media has referred to it), lean beef doner meat, three sauces – yoghurt, spicy and garlic, and a reasonable amount of salad. The bread here is key – I genuinely think the bread they use is the best in the business. The doner meat has got to be up there with the best – though they use beef rather than lamb as is more common in the UK for their red meat option, it’s not half bad – they make the claim that it’s lean meat, which I don’t doubt – but the fear I get with lean meat is that it will be dry – and this isn’t. This is not fatty in the slightest, and very tasty. The three sauces? They’re alright, I guess. When I reviewed the Croydon branch eons ago, I raved about them – but now I guess everyone else has upped their game, so the sauces aren’t quite the game-changer or USP they once were.
All in all then, the food is very good, the service is something I suppose they’ll need to work on a bit. Would recommend. I’ll be back… probably now as writing this has made me hungry – and as it’s a Sunday morning (at time of writing) I dare say they won’t be as busy.
German Doner Kebab, Renfield Street, Glasgow
Original Doner Kebab + a drink – approx £8.