Boy oh boy! This may well be my favourite page in the entire site - writing about the best Indian Glasgow restaurant, Dhabba Glasgow, could very well come to an abrupt halt pretty soon, as it's likely that as I type this out, I'll end up tempting myself to head straight back there for another gut-busting curry before finishing the page!
Glasgow and curries? You might have heard that they go hand in hand. We've been voted officially the Curry Capital of the UK (a title which had been much deserved but insanely not awarded for years), and the Dhabba Glasgow & its South Indian neighbour the Dakhin Glasgow stand gleaming with pride as two of the main reasons why.
Yes, the over-hyped Ashoka, the Wee Curry Shop, Cafe India, Kamasutra and Mr. Singh's India grab all the headlines (and don't get me wrong, I love curries so much I'm always happy to book a table at these finest Indian restaurants in Glasgow as well), but in the humble opinion of my own satisfied appetite, Dhabba Glasgow stands yards apart from the rest as the most unique and definitely the best Indian Glasgow restaurant.
The thing about eating at the usual Indian restaurant in Glasgow, or to be fair in the rest of the UK as well, is that the dishes you can expect to eat here would justconfuse folks actually living in India itself.
Forget the world's tired and over-stated image of the fish & chip-loving Brits - you might be surprised to learn that our nation's favourite dish is actually Chicken Tikka Masala, but no-one in India who's not been here would ever have heard of it. With the odd exception we tuck regularly here into dishes of non-marinated chicken, lamb or beef simply dusted with spices & coated in heavy food colourings, fantastic meals I could eat with wanton abandon until my stomach exploded, but born squarely in the UK rather than from where everyone just kids themselves on they were dreamed up. And we consume bucketloads of an amazing delicacy called Pakora over here, but if you served up a bowl of it in a real dhabba in India (which in fact is a roadside café selling snacks and coffee to passing lorry drivers), you'd be looked at very strangely.
Unsurprisingly, this place features in my Wee Glesca guide to the City, which you can download or pick up today.
So bearing in mind that I'm always on the lookout for restaurants and dishes that come across as more genuinely derived from the country they purport to hail from, to find in Dhabba Glasgow an authentic North Indian Glasgow restaurant that deftly abandons the UK's consistent disregard for traditional Indian cuisine, by refusing to conform blindly to the desire of most British chefs to cater purely for mainstream expectations, and to find that it does so with supremely tantalising excellence, really is a breath of fresh air.
The Dhabba Glasgow Numpties - Steven, Dad, Me & John
o, I'm not trying to over-emphasise how great the menu is, because in my mind, it really is!
When you arrive you'll be presented kindly with plenty of time to scan the lengthy menu, and will see that without appearing to insult your understanding of Indian cuisine, the menu politely and briefly explains what you'll find in each dish, leaving you the peace of mind to make an informed choice depending on your own taste.
Even more helpfully however, the waiters who meander around this outstanding Indian Glasgow restaurant will be happy to guide you through the menu, explaining anything you wish to know (for example, whether the dish will be so hot your head'll blow off) and making expert suggestions about starters, main courses & sauces that compliment each other.
And when you've made your choice, I know of at least one waiter there who will take your order quite impressively without needing to write it all down. When I went here on our boy's curry night with my Dad, brother Steven and brother-in-law John, the chap who served us said that one time he'd taken an order for a party of 45 without needing a pad of paper, so despite the fact that between us we ordered way more than enough to satisfy us, it was just a walk in the park for our waiter!
Steven and Dad trying their best pose
As for what to order, you'll find that because the dishes & sauces aren't as stodgy as you'd normally expect in a UK curry, by the end of your meal you won't feel as though you'll have to be rolled out the restaurant like a stuffed balloon. My Dad in particular was happy about that one, given that after the meal he was facing a long bus journey home!
For starters I'd personally recommend the deliciousmurg tikki, a mixture of chicken mince, mint and Indian spices flattened & deep fried. Or you could try the gosht kathi rolls, which are pieces of lamb & diced peppers rolled in roomali roti and fried, or even some papad rolls, golden papadams with filling of spiced potatoes & green peas served with chutney. If you're in a larger group it's a great idea to order a selection of starters which you can all pick at and fight over!
For the main event, you can select from a superb variety of dishes, each prepared in a different way. For example, tandoor se meals, in which meats and fish are lovingly marinated and then cooked to perfection in a clay oven & grill fire and served with your choice of balti, kadai, saagwala or maskawala sauces (don't worry - all explained on the menu!). Or if you can wait for up to 45 minutes, you could be treated to somedum pukht dishes, which involve tempered & marinated meats and fish sealed in a dish and cooked in their own juices so as to retain all their natural aromas and flavours.
I'd give some serious thought therefore, to the murg malai tikka with maskawala sauce, succulent pieces of chicken flavoured with elachi, javitre green chillies, folded in homemade Indian cheese & fresh cream and cooked in a clay oven. Or murg kali mirch, which is a pretty spicy dish of boneless pieces of chicken breast cooked in a traditional sauce of onions and tomato, rich in ground pepper (I remember Dad's face getting redder and redder as he tucked into this one, and when the steam began to rise from his bald spot we felt it necessary to make sure he had another cooling drink!). And there's also dhaniya gosht, a coriander lamb speciality with an unusual flavoured lamb preparation, mild and fragrant. There are plenty of options for vegetarians as well and for fish lovers in the samundar se menu from the ocean.
Me sampling Dhabba's best
To accompany your main course in this, the finest Indian Glasgow restaurant, rather than opting predictably for the usual popadoms or coriander naan bread, I'd thoroughly recommend mixing somejeera chawal (rice cooked with cumin seeds & red chilli powder in 'Dum'), with a lacchedar paratha (unleavened wholewheat multi-layered butter filled Indian bread, speciality of its kind) and a bit of garlic lahshun ki chutney.
If you've enough strength left in you to manage dessert, amongst the usual ice creams and mango cheesecake, I've been sufficiently brave to try a definitely foreign delicacy in amb ki basundi, which is basically reduced milk along with mango pulp, sweetened & served chilled and topped with chopped pistachios. V. Tasty!
So whatever you end up trying, remember to ask the waiters to recommend something depending on your palate, and take your time to enjoy in Dhabba Glasgow, the best Indian Glasgow restaurant of all, one of the best curries you'll ever experience.
Easy enough really. You'll find Dhabba Glasgow smack bang in the middle of the Merchant City area of the City. Here's a wee map for starters, and you can use this to get directions to and from where you'll be.
It's located on the corner of Candleriggs and Bell Street, and you can jump a taxi to get there and usually find ones milling in that area to head back into the city Centre. To be honest though, it's just a short walk from George Square, so wherever you'll be in the centre you won't be too far from this brilliant Indian Glasgow restaurant (And yes, I heave a sigh of satisfaction every time this occurs to me!). Any problems finding it though, please let me know and I'll send you the right way.
As for how to book a table there, during the week they should be able to fit you in, but on the weekends when practically every Glaswegian in the City heads for an Indian Glasgow restaurant or for a Chinese meal (I go into more detail about this on my page on the Cathay Cuisine restaurant), you'll have to book plenty of time in advance just to make sure they can squeeze you in.
Simply call them on and tell them I sent you. It won't guarantee you a table but I'm sure they'd love to hear me putting out the good word about them!
So I hope you've enjoyed my little review and now can't wait until you head to Dhabba Glasgow, the most friendly and authentic Indian Glasgow restaurant bar none. And hey there, if you'd like to invite me along for a curry there with you, well, I've set up a permanent encampment outside anyway so I'll likely see you there!
Here's to some good eating...