It’s a srzzler

Glasgow‘s godfather of balti food Balbir Sumal is challenging the taste buds with another hot idea a Bar-B—Q bar. He speaks to Rory Weller.

For three years (rlasgow s Baltr Bar has

been the favourite of anyone on a budget. from students to office workers. The inexpensive curries cooked and served in wok-like dishes have satisfied the stomach without emptying the wallet. but a month ago. when the Balti Bar closed. the city‘s strapped. hungry citi/ens began wondering w here they would get their I‘ill. Balbir Sumal. creator of Scotland's

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first and prenrier Balti house and former owner of the Ashoka group of restaurants. knew what he was doing. Farewell Balti Bar. please welcome Scotland's Iirst barbecue bar.

The Balti Bar had been a victim of its own success. The baltis were cooked in the kitchens ot‘ the Bombay Bistro. the more up-markct hall ol‘ the restaurant upstairs. and carried downstairs. When the BaIti Bar was busy -- which tended to be most of the time things could get a bit l'r'antic and Balbir realised something had to be done.

In a brave move. he combined the Balti menu with the a la cane menu of the Bombay Bistro. upping the price of the Baltis and lowering the cost of the expensive dishes. In place of the Balti Bar downstairs. Balbir has created the Bar-B-Q Bar. an even cheaper and subsequently more cheerful restaurant.

The from section of the basement restaurant is essentially unchanged —- a lounge bar with murals from the Ali Baba story and a wall sprinkled with twinkly lights. In the main eating area. though. some of the tables have been removed to make way for the ranks oI~ specially made barbecue units where

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8 Katmai. Lang Glasgow

334 7165

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Bar-B-O-Bar: griller thriller

the meats are spiced up and marinaded. ready to be Ilamed over the hot coals.

Value for money is the key phrase here with very little costing more than £3. With the £2.05 chicken tikka platter. for example. you get a healthy portion ol‘ehicken marinated in yoghurt and spices. a rrround oI chick peas itr curry sauce. a nan. salad and a special sauce tnade with yoghtrrt. mango chutney and coriander. Students have their own dish. the generoust sized Student Mix Thali. costing £2.95.

Balbir manages to keep prices down by doing away with the usual abundant chinaware aceoutrements associated with Indian meals. Instead. all the meats. sauces and accompaniments are grouped on an aluminium tray. “I don‘t like these trays to tell you the truth. btrt ill have to increase the labour prices. washing dishes. hreakages. then the prices go up.‘ explains Balbir.

The restaurant is designed to be more than just an eatery - customers can also drop in for a drink. with pints and spirits all coming in at around the {I30 mark. (Rory Weller)

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