“Kebabs, done right” boasts the marketing blurb for bolshy city centre newcomer Babs. That’s quite a claim, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The implication, of course, is that the city’s kebab houses are guilty of some kebab-based wrongness. That’ll be news to the likes of established Glasgow joints such as Sholeh, Istanbul Kebab and Shawarma King. The latter two, of course, are more takeaway than restaurant, but still: Kosovon owner Luli Avdyli (of Bread Meats Bread) has some stiff competition on his hands.
Babs styles itself as traditional Greek with a twist. The decor doesn’t hold back; blue and white tiling immediately establishes the Greek influence and that extends to the intricately tiled table tops. Rustic exposed brick and sandstone contrasts with clean white trellised archways, while seating is a mixture of sturdy wooden chairs and stylish blue banquettes, some of which form booths. Mmmm I do like a booth.
The menu is, as you’d expect, ‘bab heavy but also features an assortment of salads, burgers and small plates. There’s even a decent vegetarian selection which is surprising for a place where meat and fire are so central to the food. The kebab selection is extensive, and there are some genuinely intriguing combinations. Scallop and bacon kebab served with whipped mascarpone? Maybe another time.
On this occasion I went for the lamb shish. It came served on a flatbread with pepper and carrot puree, tzatziki, various grilled peppers and house pickles. The whole thing was topped with a clump of what looked like lamb’s lettuce, and the presentation was undeniably pretty. This isn’t, it should be said, a kebab that’s designed to be picked up. The lamb was smoky and tender with a nice zing from the sumac marinade. Together with some tzatziki and a hunk of flatbread, it formed a very satisfying bite of food. Those house pickles had good bite to them while the grilled peppers were nicely charred. The only element I wasn’t sure of here was that pepper and carrot puree. It didn’t add a great deal and lacked any depth of flavour.
The Moll opted for the pork spiedini (Italian for “skewers”) which consisted of pork two ways (chop and belly) served on a bed of celeriac puree and whipped, olive-infused mascarpone, grilled shallots, leeks and a generous portion of focaccia. Straying somewhat from the Greek vibe, this was a monster of a dish. Hunks of delicious, grilled pork sat piled on top of a foundation of sweet shallots and leeks. The whole thing emerged from a base of deliciously peppery celeriac puree. The bread was a little less successful, coming off as slightly dry, but it did a good job of mopping up. Just to be extra greedy, we ordered a portion of garlic parmesan chips on the side. The fries alone were unspectacular, but topped with the house alioli and salty parmesan it was a great side dish.
For a starter (of very moreish babba ghannoush and house bread), two mains, a side and two soft drinks the bill came to £27.40. For the food, service and laid back vibe of the place that’s really hard to beat.
The lamb was delicious
As was the pork
Comfortable with a nice atmosphere
Doesn't take reservations