It’s October in Glasgow and, just for a change, sheets of rain descend unrelentingly upon the city, turning Blythswood Hill into an impromptu white water rapid. 12:30 comes and goes with no let up, forcing us to seek out options far more local to my Bothwell Street office than normal. A quick Google and, braced against the clammy downpour, we’re making the 2 minute dash to a cheerful little joint called Roasters Deli.
I knew this place was here, but in passing I presumed it to be a sandwich shop along the lines of Where The Monkey Sleeps or Piece. My brief research suggested that’d I’d done them a disservice and, descending the steps to this bright basement diner, that was all but confirmed. Inside we found diamond buttoned banquette seating in red with matching booths by the windows. The central space was filled with sturdy wooden furniture, and a sweeping counter curled into the corner of the room. All in all a bright, fresh and inviting place to eat.
I used the word “diner” above because the menu screams pure Americana. Breakfast features heavily with entire sections dedicated to pancakes and eggs, while lunch is generally going to be some combination of bread and meat. The American influence continues here with pastrami, brisket and the seemingly ubiquitous pulled pork all putting in an appearance.
Peering out at the incessant rain I tried to conjure a little corner of Havana (or possibly Miami) by ordering the Cuban sandwich. Across the table we were in the Deep South via Toronto with a buttermilk fried chicken burger, plus a side of bacon poutine to share. My sandwich duly arrived and I was pleasantly surprised. American diner or deli-style sandwiches are always going to be difficult to pull off in the UK. They demand a level of excess that would put most restaurants out of business over here, but Roaster’s Cuban sandwich was sturdy without being OTT. Generously filled with ham, shredded pork, cheese and pickles on bread slathered with sharp mustard. It hit the spot and my only criticism would be that it wasn’t pressed.
The buttermilk chicken burger looked great and my enquiries yielded a hearty nod of approval. The chicken was succulent and juicy with a well seasoned crispy coating while the buttermilk did a great job of tenderising the meat, leaving it soft and yielding. The poutine was less successful. It was rainy day stodge but the gravy was glutinous and salty and the liberal sprinkling of bacon pushed the salt over the edge.
I enjoyed my visit to Roasters. It’s an unpretentious and comfortable little diner ideal for passing an hour in with a great sandwich on a rainy day. The service is quick and friendly with a hint of attitude, as suggested by the name itself. It came to a touch under £23 for our food plus two soft drinks, and the bill arrived accompanied by an espresso cup of jelly beans. That friendly touch pretty much sums Roasters up.
Tasty, generous sandwiches
Bright and comfortable
Service was friendly and prompt
Wasn't keen on the bacon poutine