greek food

‘Babs

When I was in my twenties I could style out a hangover with the best of them but now not so much. This day I never even put make-up on because nothing was going to hide the 5am (or was it 6am? Who knows) bedtime. Four of us were meeting up for lunch and I knew that I wanted to try ‘Babs on West Nile Street.

Their Facebook page describes them as:

‘BABS is a modern gourmet kebab house located on West Nile Street, right at the heart of Glasgow City centre.

We strive to create great street food dishes using charcoal-fire grill that make the most of seasonal and ethical produce, while respecting kebab’s culinary Greek, Turkish and Levantine heritage.

I knew from the photos that it wasn’t going to be a Glasgow kebab house as some might think of them- this was one to enjoy when you can remember it, not one to drunkenly forget.


First appearances were positive, in all honesty I wanted to steal their lights because they are gorgeous. Another mention has to go to all of the tiling on the floor and tables.

Then the food arrived on lovely crockery and I was just keeping my fingers crossed that I liked the food as much as I liked where it was housed.
My lamb kebab was fantastic – juicy, pink lamb, creamy tsatziki, crunchy veg, pickled cucumber and great flatbread.


The other lamb offering looked just as good, with the only criticism being that the bread was a little hard.


In our hungover greediness, we had ordered some lamb chops on the side. It was a silly move given that most of us had lamb main courses and more than enough food, but the chops were so tasty that we didn’t care one bit. I could eat them all day long.

We ordered most of the sides that were on the menu and I liked the arancini the best. Bonus points for the fact that they change the arancini flavours regularly too.


‘Babs was a great location for our hungover girly lunch and I’ve even been back since.

I love how affordable it is but without compromising on quality. Another fantastic addition to Glasgow’s food scene, well done ‘Babs.

Cheers To Greece

In my opinion good restaurants can be divided into categories – ridiculously fancy, special occasion and casual dining. Ridiculously fancy is usually Michelin star and, most definitely, expensive. It is my aspire to list, one day I will visit The Kitchin and Martin Wishart and it had better be outstanding! Special occasion covers places that are pricey thus birthday/anniversary events but sometimes you treat yourself to a wee pre-theatre. Then there is casual dining – places that you don’t have to dress up for, that you can nip into on a Monday night but that you know serve tasty food at reasonable prices. Yiamas restaurant on Bath street falls into the latter category with its lovingly made mix of chargrill & dips.

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Yiamas sits just off Buchanan Street so regularly becomes my choice for lunch whilst shopping with friends. You’ll have got it from the title but it’s Greek, with an actual Greek family running it & a real traditional feel to it. I told a friend who’s originally from Greece about this place last year and he said that it is ‘exactly how a Greek taverna should be’. The first time that I went in was because they have a two course lunch menu for £6.95 so I thought I’d try it out but since then I’ve heard several people rave about the takeaway Gyros (£3.50).

Last week when three of us needed a centrally located catch-up, we chose Yiamas for lunch. The coke in here comes in a glass with no accompanying can or bottle but the flavour reminds me of running out to the bakers/sweetie van that went street to street as a child for a bottle of coke – some people are die hard coca-cola fans but it doesn’t bother me & I love the nostalgia.

Once I remembered that I’m not ten anymore our starters arrived. We had hoummus & tzatsiki with pitta but our hunger led to me forgetting to take photos – I knew I should have eaten breakfast. The hoummus was well made and the tzatsiki creamy & fresh. The pitta comes with dried oregano over it, which gives it a wonderful taste. Nevertheless I do miss seeing halloumi on the menu because it is a favourite of mine & I’d love a Glasgow restaurant to do something a bit inventive with it.

I decided to treat myself to the moussaka because I’ve had it in here before & my mouth was watering just thinking about it. It arrived with homemade chips (you can swap the chips for rice) and salad & was as good as I remembered it. Thick layers of mince, potato, aubergine and bechamel…one of my ultimate comfort foods.

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Moussaka

The Sougukakia (meatballs with onion, garlic, cumin & tomato salsa) was equally traditional and arrived with the oregano homemade chips.

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Sougukakia

The third main, chosen from the a la carte menu, was beef souvlaki. It came with a choice of rice or chips and salad. The dip that arrived with it was a tasty accompaniment to this rustic hearty dish. The only thing that could have made it better in my opinion is some flavouring through the rice – herbs, stock or spices would have livened it up a bit.

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beef souvlaki

We didn’t have desserts – it was lunch after all – but it is promising that there is not a dessert menu online because they change them regularly and they are all made in house.

I’m also a sucker for an open kitchen and love watching the chefs in Yiamas prepare my food. For me it adds to the cosiness of the place because the division between you and the kitchen is broken down. I have always sat downstairs so I can watch the kitchen but they have an equally spacious upstairs that looks ideal for a large party. Now thoughts are spilling through my head of a large party in Yiamas having a midweek meze (surely I could convince them to do a meze?) – I might need to get on the phone to start arranging.

I like Yiamas and find myself veering in their direction regularly for my Greek food intake. It’s not fancy or showy but traditional food, healthy portion sizes and all comes with friendly service.

 

 

You might also like: Edinburgh Greek Restaurant https://girlaroundglasgow.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/get-me-to-the-greek/

 

Yiamas on Urbanspoon

Get Me To The Greek

Although I eat out regularly, I never randomly pick places. I don’t want to waste my money or have an unsatisfactory experience & I’m passionate about finding the best places to go. I try to minimise my chances of a shoddy meal by lots of online research and asking friends where they have been.

On my home turf in Glasgow I roughly know where to go but Edinburgh always poses so many questions for me. Ideally I usually want to eat near-ish to Haymarket or Waverley but can’t seem to find many places in this area and everything seems so spaced out. I like Leith but it’s a bit of a trek to get to so, for this visit, I asked around all of my Edinburghians for a recommendation.

It came in the shape of My Big Fat Greek Kitchen, which is not near to either of the train stations but I liked the name. It is in Tollcross (so I’m told) on Broughton Street and after seeing how many restaurants are up here I am convinced that they built the train stations in the wrong locations!

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After a brisk 30 minute walk from Waverley (we may have got a bit lost) we arrived at this small restaurant and were greeted by a lovely lady who I suspect is the owner. Trying to be Sociable Sally’s we ordered the triple dips with bread. This consisted of humous, tzatziki and pantzarosalata – the latter being a new one to me but I soon found out that it was a pleasant beetroot dip. The humous was particularly tasty and obviously contained a good quality olive oil.

For mains the Greek staple Kotopoulo was ordered by the chicken lovers at the table. The chargrilled kebabs arrived with a big pile of rice, some salad & tzatziki. Chicken was perfectly cooked and both of them enjoyed the dish but one did comment that the rice was a little al dente.

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Mr S & I went for the meat platter to share so that we could try as much as possible. It arrived piled high (the photo does not do it justice) with chargrilled chicken, spicy sausages, pork loin and meatballs accompanied by tzatziki, pitta, chips (which you could swap for rice) and salad. The sausage was a bit too spicy for me but Mr S loved it and we both enjoyed the rest of this meat overload. With so much food you would expect it to be more expensive but it was only £28.50 so £14.25 per person. The Kotopoulo was £13.95 so the meat platter was definite value for money.

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We skipped dessert in favour of going for drinks but it was nice to see that the dessert list was slightly more varied than most Greek restaurants I have visited. The My Big Fat Greek Kitchen selection will have to be sampled next time, that’s after I’ve tried the moussaka for my main.

It was the friendliness of the staff that stuck out above everything. My ever failing phone had run out of battery so I asked if I could charge it and they were helpful & courteous about it. In particular the lady who appeared to own it came across so warm and friendly. In a city that is confusingly full of restaurants, service like that will make the decision for you.