Ooud good More than just the décor, the exotic cuisine or the authenticity of the food, it’s the attitude of Ooud Kitchen that is really to be admired. Jo Laidlaw visits the Bruntsfield restaurant
> RECENT OPENINGS The best of the new restaurant, café and bar openings in Glasgow and Edinburgh, covered in every issue by The List’s team of independent reviewers
CAMFLAVA 1006A Pollokshaws Road, Southside, 0141 440 7070, www.camflavaltd.co.uk, £7.95 (set dinner) Camflava offers a must-try destination for South Side diners and a culinary home from home for Glasgow’s growing African community. This former snooker club has been converted into a bar, restaurant and nightclub with live music from Congolese musicians adding to the good-time atmosphere at the weekends. Ivorian and Cameroonian chefs have created a menu ranging from Mozambican staple peri-peri chicken, to North African couscous, with West African dishes and flavours predominating.
BRASSERIE GERARD 20 Royal Exchange Square, City Centre, 0141 221 7727, www.brasseriegerard.co.uk, £10.50 (set lunch) / £18.50 (dinner) This first Scottish outlet of the respected national chain declares its motto as 'Simple French Food' and it is; this is hardly fine Parisian cuisine, but straightforward fare for business lunchers and after- work couples, in a handy city-centre location opposite the Gallery of Modern Art. The décor is in neutral colours and all a bit generic, while the menu is meat- heavy (there’s not much for vegetarians) including a variety of steaks and a rich, smoky flavoured boeuf bourguignon.
I nspired by owner Mohammed Aboleyah’s Palestinian roots and the culture and food of the Levant, Ooud Kitchen has the potential to be brilliant. The food is simple, authentic and delicious: think flatbreads (safeea) spread with grilled vegetable salsa and loaded with toppings like confit chicken; or generous mezze with lamb kofta, home-made hummus, and nothing short of sensational falafel. Much, including the flatbread, is made on the premises, and the care and attention shows. Flashes of fusion help the menu feel current and fun – like a scattering of jalepeño peppers, contrasting with ultra-traditional ingredients like za’atar (a thyme and sesame seed seasoning). It’s resolutely unlicensed, but with a sophisticated range of teas, Artisan Roast coffee and some lovely baklava pastries, the neat, simple premises works as a pleasant
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local café. There’s a takeaway next door offering the same style of food in more finger- friendly wraps, plus plans to move into home- delivery at some point. Sure, there is work to be done around the speed of service and adapting the food to the demands of the lunchtime rush, but all in, Ooud is good and definitely deserves to make its mark.
+ The fantastic food – Need to speed up the service OOUD KITCHEN
138 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh
0131 228 8265, www.ooudkitchen.com, Sun–Wed 9am–5pm; Thu–Sat 9am–8pm
Ave. price two-course meal £10.50
BOTECO DO BRASIL 62 Trongate, Merchant City, 0141 548 1330, www.botecoglasgow.com, £13 (lunch/dinner) A ‘boteco’ in Brazil is more of a neighbourhood bar than a full-on restaurant, and this new establishment on Trongate is as much about caipirinhas and bossa nova as it is about dinner. Make your way through the crowd drinking around the bar (and dancing to regular live Latin bands) to a table at the rear, however, and you can sit down amid colourful beach and carnival- themed murals to indulge in hearty Brazilian dishes such as xinxin or moqueca. Tapas-sized dishes go splendidly with beer or killer cocktails.