Jasmine Urquhart reviews her favourite pakora spots
Despite being a firm believer that pakora is good for the soul, I admittedly rarely eat this beloved dish when sober. Maybe this is because when you drink, your true personality comes out, and my true personality is not averse to a box of Indian appetisers. Today, however, I ventured, alcohol-free, into a range of establishments to try and appreciate the Indian delicacy in all its glory.
Masala Twist, Byres Road
My first destination was this popular Indian restaurant, tucked away near Ashton Lane, which offered an array of pakora at reasonable prices. Here, I was given a generous portion of vegetable and aloo pakora: aromatic and flavoursome, these would be a great appetiser to novices and connoisseurs alike. They are crispy and succulent, they were perfect both on their own and with the accompanying dip. High quality pakora, at a reasonable price. 4 stars.
Ushas, Byres Road
At the other end of Byres Road is another sophisticated centre of Indian cuisine, where I tried the chicken and potato pakora. Normally I avoid chicken pakora as it can be quite dry, but I was encouraged to try it, and I wasn’t disappointed. This pakora provided me with everything you would want from pakora and more. They were bright yellow and really raised the standard of what a pakora can be. Moreish and satisfying at the same time, I felt like I had experienced a lot of Indian food in just one dish. 5 stars.
Ashoka, Dumbarton Road
Next up was Ashoka in Finnieston, a small restaurant with a relaxed vibe. I was presented with a range of pakora from the menu: classic vegetable, fish, chicken, mushroom, and haggis pakora. Garnished with coriander and chopped onions on a posh wooden plate with a refreshing dip in the middle. It was extremely well presented for such a classic, staple dish in my diet, and they managed to pull off the outlandish haggis pakora very well. As a pakora lover, I was highly impressed by the creativity and sophistication that went into creating the dish. At £6, it was on the pricier side, but if you’re an adventurous eater who also appreciates fine cuisine, then I would recommend you try the food. 4 stars.
Balti Club, Woodlands Road
I wish I was able to try all the pakoras in Glasgow, but I had limited time and appetite. So to end this review I will give a special mention to this small, reliable takeaway. Open until 3:30am from Monday to Sunday, they reliably offer good-sized portions of pakora at low prices. If you ever find yourself aimlessly stumbling about in the early hours of the morning and in desperate need of a high-calorie meal, then the existence of this place is a godsend. I probably wouldn’t go there unless I was drunk, but this takeaway house definitely deserves to be appreciated for both its good quality food and generous opening hours. 5 stars.
This journey has opened my eyes to the possibility of what pakora can be, and I have left each and every institution happier than when I entered. I think that’s why I love pakora: it isn’t the finest food you will ever taste, but sometimes it is exactly what you need.