“ 41 Byres Road, Glasgow, Tel: 0141 339 1339 „
This is a review of the Wee Curry Shop on Ashton Lane, not on Byres Road as listed in the Dooyoo description. There are three Wee Curry Shops in Glasgow but adding an extra one to the Dooyoo catalogue seemed a bit pedantic. Don't hesitate to contact me and Dooyoo if you disagree.
Since my semester studying at Leipzig University doesn't officially start until the 1st of April and my only friend in the city has swanned off back to Paris for a couple of weeks (being a language student certainly has its perks, doesn't it?) I decided to take the opportunity to come back home for a week or two. Being back in the UK, as always, involves visiting my three favourite British cities of Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow and living life to the full while there. As I write this I am currently in Glasgow staying with my boyfriend and to celebrate this fact we went out for lunch today. As he lives in the West End we decided it would be nice to go to a restaurant around the Byres Road/Great Western Road area and so headed to that part of town. After looking at several lunch menus and pondering what type of food we were most in the mood for, we eventually opted to go to the Wee Curry Shop on Ashton Lane as I would never say no to Indian food and had always heard good things about this particular restaurant.
Situated above Jinty McGuinty's Bar, the Wee Curry Shop is wee indeed with seating for only thirty or so people. While this is fine for the Wednesday lunchtime when we went, I imagine you'd want to book if you were planning on visiting on a Friday or Saturday night, for example, as it will undoubtedly fill up quickly. The curry shop was about half full when we ventured in and we were invited to choose where we wanted to sit, which we did happily. Upon sitting ourselves down we were brought two menus: a two courses for £8.95 pre-theatre option and their 'new' wee tasters menu, which has a list of ten or so curries which you can order small portions of instead of having a full sized curry. Now tapas style curry menus aren't a new idea (especially in Glasgow) but are nonetheless a great one and so we quickly discarded the pre-theatre menu and decided on a few from the taster menu. This menu can be seen at http://www.weecurryshopglasgow.co.uk/index.php?action=cms.wee_taster_ashton though this differs slightly with the one we were offered and so it is possible that it changes every so often, so I wouldn't read the menu and go along with a definite plan to order a certain one, as you may be disappointed. The boyfriend and I opted for ginger and green chilli haddock, saag paneer, lamb with spinach leaf, dall and pulses, chicken tikka makni, rice and two chapatis between us and since the waiter didn't advise us that this would be too much/too little food, we assumed that this was a reasonable amount to order.
When it came out some fifteen to twenty minutes later, we were happy to see that we were right. Despite finding it difficult to fit everything on the table we found that it was the perfect amount of food for a reasonable sized meal out between us, although if you were after more of a light lunch one or two dishes fewer would technically have been enough. Each curry came in a bowl which contained enough for each of us to have a decent amount of each and I imagine that even between three people each dish would have gone fairly far.
Of course, it's quality that triumphs over quantity, and fortunately the dishes at The Wee Curry Shop did not disappoint. Each of the curries tasted fresh and well spiced with them all complementing each other well while still being varied in terms of flavour and texture. The lamb with spinach leaf came in a fairly spicy but delicious tomato sauce, with the meat being cooked to tender perfection; the saag paneer was equally tasty with its abundance of spinach and good amount of indian cheese; the haddock was well cooked in a nice but potentially overly spicy sauce; the chicken tikka makni had a subtly buttery sauce which took the edge off the spicier dishes surrounding it; the dall and pulses were pleasant and well cooked though probably my least favourite dish of the group, while the chapatis and rice were as good as any. We definitely felt that we had made a good choice of curries, as we loved them all, though I would assume that the quality would be as high for the rest of the dishes on the taster menu. To drink I had a diet coke and we had a jug of tap water for the table but beer and other beverages were available if we had wanted. The bill was brought to us quickly when we asked for it, and we were delighted to see that for the two of us the total only came to £17.80. While we had only had soft drinks and water I still found this to be a fantastic price for lunch for two people, especially considering the quality of the food and the restaurant's location.
All in all it was a fantastic meal and I have no complaints, so you could expect me to give it a five star rating, right? Well, no, as although it was a very enjoyable meal at a very reasonable price I have to say that it's more of a 4/4.5 star restaurant and isn't wholly deserving of the full five. The lack of music in the restaurant meant that it lacked the ambience that I would associate with a locale in the West End of Glasgow or the atmosphere often found in Indian restaurants. The steep steps up to the front door mean that it's not ideal for people with mobility problems or small children. Also, while the food was great, I still couldn't put it into my list of top five curry houses (though it would probably make the top ten at a push) and so I feel that a four star rating is more suitable. It's definitely worth a visit if you live in Glasgow, but I wouldn't travel for miles to go.
A recent trip to Glasgow resulted in a couple of meals out, one of which was in The Wee Curry Shop along Byres Road in the West End of Glasgow. The Wee Curry Shop has three outlets in Glasgow: Ashton Lane, which is the West End's bar street and Buccleuch Street, which is near the Glasgow School of Art. I didn't visit either of the other two outlets, but friends who have claim that they are similar, with some differences in the menu.
41 Byres Street
Tel: 0141 339 1339
This is near Hillhead underground station and is within 20 minutes walking distance of Hyndland overland train station.
First impressions weren't all that brilliant. Going straight in through the door takes you directly into the restaurant and it seems really small, with the bar to the left and a couple of tables towards the back with padded seating, which looked a little casual and would probably be better for lunch. Thankfully, there is another part to the restaurant - upstairs, which is where we were taken. There are only about six tables upstairs though, so this isn't a massive restaurant - no doubt that's why it's called The 'Wee' Curry Shop! The decor isn't anything out of the ordinary - I remember purplish walls and comfortable padded chairs, but that's about all - it isn't unattractive at all; it just didn't leave a big impression either.
My friends are no strangers to the restaurant, eating there at least once a week, and all the staff seemed to know them well. We were served by two members of staff, both of whom were very polite. One of the party struggled with waiter's pronounciation of the specials, but he was patient and repeated it twice until everyone had got to grips with it. There were a few other tables of people in, but we were served promptly and we didn't have to wait too long for food and drinks to be served.
Food and drink
I was quite surprised by the menu, which was basically just an A4 list of starters, main courses and sundries - I had expected a much wider variety. However, there was more than enough to chose from, including Pakoras, Lamb Karahi, Chicken Tikka Chasni, a couple of fish and vegetarian curries and four or five other meat curries (chicken and lamb). There were also three specials, once of which was a Garlic Chicken that one of the party ordered. Another of the party didn't want anything on the menu and asked for a 'chicken curry' - the waiter obviously knew what she meant because they wrote it down without any questions. According to the website, there is also a chai menu up to 7pm, but as we arrived after then, I didn't get the chance to see what this included.
We ordered one lot of chicken and potato pakoras and another of vegetable pakoras to share as a starter. Pakoras are a deep fried snack made from gram flour (and obviously chicken, potato and vegetables). Both were delicious, although I preferred the vegetable ones, which were lovely and crispy. We were also given a free starter - some type of dumpling with a minty sauce - I thought they were delicious, but the others in the party weren't too keen.
For a main course, I had Lamb Karahi with boiled rice. When it arrived, it looked rather boringly brown and there wasn't much in the way of vegetables in with it - just a pepper sauce. However, it was extremely tasty and the lamb was beautifully tender. I had asked for it to be hot and it wasn't particularly - but then the staff probably thought that I wouldn't be able to take it and it was pleasant enough. My friends were happy with their chicken curry, Garlic Chicken and King Prawn curry. We also ordered paratha as a side dish - paratha is a type of Indian bread. It was delicious, beautifully fresh and obviously straight from the oven. My only criticism is that it wasn't salty enough for me - but I do love salty things although I know it's not good for me. There were also a variety of other breads, including naan and roti.
There is a note on the menu that some dishes may contain nuts, so if you have an allergy, obviously check what you're eating.
Judging by the well-stocked bar as we went by, most drinks are available. We ordered beers and ciders, which were served promptly and were lovely and cold. We didn't have any dessert, nor were we asked if we wanted any, but by that point, we were too full anyway.
The toilets are on the second floor and are clean and hygienic, if a little boring. The restaurant is accessible to wheelchair users, at least downstairs, but it would be a bit of a squeeze.
The price was really quite reasonable. We paid just under £70 for four people, and that was including drinks and starters, although obviously wine would have upped the price a little more. The starters were around the £5 mark, while main courses were from £6 for the vegetarian dishes, going up to £12 for the prawn dish. It is worth noting that there is a 10% service charge for parties of eight or more.
This isn't the best Indian restaurant I've ever visited, but it was good food for a reasonable price and the waiters were very pleasant. My friends visit the restaurant on a weekly basis, so they obviously like it, and I can see why - it does have a relaxing atmosphere. However, I prefer my curries to be a bit hotter - particularly if I have deliberately said I want it to be spicy - and food-wise, there are certainly better restaurants out there. Three stars out of five - worth it if you're in the area and want a curry, but not good enough to deliberately go out of your way to visit.
The Wee Curry Shop can be found at the bottom of Byres Road, at the heart of Partick. Within walking distance of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Kelvinhall and The Transport Museum, a good place to have lunch before a visit to the museums, or a perfect way to end the day. The Wee Curry Shop retains all the qualities of its sister restaurant in Buccleuch Street, offering the same menu but has an ambience all of its own.