It’s Good Friday! A day in history when Jesus was crucified, and Bob Hoskins had a very difficult day at the office. For many people in 2021, for those in work and not furloughed, it marks the beginning of a 4 day weekend, where in Scotland we can’t currently go anywhere. Good Friday INDEED.
One thing we can do, however, is travel within our local authority area for non-essential purposes. I’ve often considered the phrasing that politicians use a little clumsy – whilst I get that it’s important during a lockdown to differentiate between stuff that we have to do to survive and stay well (eat, exercise, work) and stuff we don’t need to do (gigs, the pub, poke Geoff), the phrasing “non-essential travel is now permitted within your local authority area” just conjures up pictures of people driving around aimlessly, like car zombies. However, if that’s what you wanna do, knock yourselves out! It’s legal!
Good Friday for me marks the beginning of the end of a period of pescatarianism (or, in layman’s terms, vegetarianism but with added fish) – as I mentioned last time on the Mrs Falafel review, I’ve decided to give up eating land and air based animals for the period of Lent. Now, I’m not a particularly religious person, and this was mainly done on a whim to test myself to see if I could go nearly seven weeks without eating a kebab, and with 37.5 hours to go, I’ve done fairly well – I’ve not knowingly eaten any beast nor fowl since Pancake Day, though I must admit I’ve not been 100% on top of the ingredients in the various foodstuffs I have eaten – if sugar free Werthers Originals contain gelatine, I’m screwed.
This is where Toom come in to the equation. Toom are a new-ish Cafe on St. Georges Road just up from Woodlands Road between Charing Cross and St. Georges Cross, and according to their Instagram profile, they offer “Lebanese Fusion – Arabic food with a twist 🔥”. When I saw that Toom were mainly vegetarian, and considering my love of all things Levantine, I figured this would need to tried. The item on the menu that was of particular interest was the Shakshuka wrap – an egg based wrap, so very much on the menu whilst I abstain from the usual things you read about on here.
Now, at this stage of the review, having got the whimsical introduction out of the way I would jump straight into the bit where I describe how it tastes – but you’ll have to wait a bit longer for that this time round, because I want to talk a bit about the friendliness of the girls who actually run Toom, because it was a delight. When I sauntered in one Saturday afternoon, I was semi-expecting the usual experience you get in eateries – you go in, you order, you wait a bit, possibly get in a couple of levels on Candy Crush Saga done, thank your host, leave, eat. There’s not normally a lot of interaction. Not at Toom! I went in, made my order (the Shakshuka wrap), and it was pretty much non-stop chat for 10 minutes!
“Have you ever had Shakshuka before?”, the girl doing the cooking asked. “I’ve not” I replied. I shalln’t continue to use quotes because my memory of the precise words have faded but she explained that this was a traditional middle-eastern dish made by cooking eggs in a tomato and herb base and traditionally eaten from the pan – however their twist is to then add it into a flatbread with some cheese.
“Would you like to try one of our shortbreads?”, the other girl on the counter asked. “Sure, I’m on a diet but why not?” – and I have to say, who doesn’t like free biscuits? The Ghraybeh as I believe its called was very nice – kinda like a Danish Butter Cookie but with pistachio, and who doesn’t like free biscuits while you wait? I was also offered Lebanese coffee which would have gone a treat with it, alas I was already buzzing off an ill-advised surfeit of coffee from earlier in the afternoon and I feared that would have tipped me over the edge – so I politely declined, and with that, off to find a bench so I could eat the wrap.
So I wandered down to the nearby Mitchell Library to make use of their benches, and this was the result. As advertised, a dish that was akin to scrambled eggs with cheese and a tomatoey sauce in a toasted wrap. Not to put too fine a point on it, this was absolutely incredible. The eggs themselves were delightfully fluffy, the cheese added to the chewiness and added a nice savoury side-taste (is that a word?), but the star of the show is the tomato sauce, with a hint of cumin and a ton of coriander – which I hope shows in the photo! – and some nicely softened onion adding a bit of depth to the overall wrap. Certainly recommended for anyone wanting to try something new, and I haven’t even got to the best bit yet…
This cost £3.95.
I mean, that’s incredibly good value, considering the city centre location and that the wrap was a fairly generous portion in itself, I would go so far as to say this was a bargain for the price.
Whilst over the coming days I will return to business as usual, and more meaty reviews will be dripping along in due course, I’ve a feeling I’ll be coming back for a few more of these in the weeks and months to come!
All things considered, I couldn’t find any minus points about this meal or the cafe from which I bought it, so Toom join Shawarmama in getting only Shawarma Police’s second ever score of 11/10, so please immediately stop reading this (if you haven’t done so already) and calmly make your way to St. Georges Road to get one of these.
Toom, 123 St. George’s Road.
Shakshuka Wrap, £3.95.