Thursday, November 22, 2007

Byres Road, Dubrovnik

Even in the pouring rain, Byres Road in Glasgow is not an unpleasant place to be, residing at the leafier end of things, patiently awaiting neighbours like Partick to become gentrified with their own coffee baristas and organic foodstops.

But controversy rages right now at the top end of the boulevard. Protestors are loudly clamouring to "Save the Botanics" from a rapacious developer. The world famous Botanic Gardens, home to giant greenhouse the Kibble Palace and generations of summer sun-seeking Glaswegians, is under threat, as one of the city's most successful nightclub entrepreneurs proposes a new fleshpot. He wants to rejuvenate a destroyed building at the edge of the Gardens, mostly underground, in premises facing a hotel, a pub (formerly a church), and a sausage roll van. The area's residents - lawyers, media mavens and estate agents - are up in arms, fired by crostini and Barbera d'asti, fresh tapas and crisp, clean Tempranillo, the revolution has started. Expect the flaming buses and barricades of Derry to arrive across Great Western Road any day now. Who said nimby?

So we flee to Tennents Bar, niftily bypassing the world's best restaurant , the Ubiquitous Chip, which eschews chips for gourmet delights and bacchinalian bonhomie aplenty, to watch the England Croatia game. The place is unusually crowded, although not compared to last week's Scotland Italy game where a queue of 40 people snaked around the building, waiting in vain for a spot to watch the game with several hundred other sardines. Made London Tube rush hour seem thin.
So why the crowd tonight? With Scotland out, maybe the groundswell of support has switched to our English neighbours?
Croatia score. The crowd goes wild, laughing and backslapping and cheering on Scotia's new found friends who're going to tank the English (which they do, consequently relieving the manager of his job some hours later) so we move on to less volatile pastures, the Aragon, whose more subdued clientele are observing with diffidence the duffing of the English.

And then the doors swing open and in walk "the team", a once famous Glasgow phenomenon of tribal turf wars and razor slashings. But these 25 young blades are dressed for golf, in Palm Springs. Plus fours, pringle knits, flat caps and calf leather gloves which would look slightly out of place anywhere, never mind a Glasgow pub. And of course they are students, playing "pub golf" which involves sinking 18 different drinks in 18 different pubs, keeping scores, working out complex holes in one, and generally making drunken asses of themselves (after drink number 10, we'll guess).
I ask why they didn't just stay in one place and drink 18 pints of lager, which is what most of the city's thirsty males would do on a cold, wet, football themed night. They think this is a good idea and will probably try that tomorrow.

And so we continue, down past the University Cafe, the cheapest and cheeriest tea and snack and ice cream purveyor, to the The Three Judges, where the telly is temporarily broke due to a frozen Sky signal - it is raining remember, and Sky doesn't like bad weather - and a small crowd who are temporarily crazy with curiosity because the picture has frozen at 2-2 and if it is to be a draw England will sneak through. There's intense speculation via mobile phone that in another game Russia might increase/dash England's hopes...... but in the end England do it themselves by getting beat, thus twinning the cities of Dubrovnik and Glasgow in effervescent ecstasy.

And so, to a branch of what can now be described as a chain of new wee curry shops just yards from where I am standing. In fact, they are called "The Wee Curry Shop", which is rather apt as they're wee. And they sell curry.

But no ordinary curry. This is the offspring of Mother India, the world's best Indian restaurant, and there are now three "Wee Curry Shops" in Glasgow which makes me very happy indeed. (at least when I'm in Glasgow).

We have brilliant food, starting with Chicken Tikka and Potato pakora which is served with a fresh spicy mango dipping sauce and what appears to be beetroot coleslaw - delicious, not a spot left - and then a king prawn and spinach something which was nectar from curry heaven. They forget a paratha so we get free drink instead and we are very very happy people who head off back into the rain, and the dark, and the cold wind, to further celebrate the birth of a new baby (I forgot that bit earlier) with champagne, tea, and a biscuit.






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41 comments:

Harriet Hamster said...

You know for some reason Byers Rd always makes me think of the club in Phoenix Nights and the plinky plonky music when they eat in Brians club

Were you steaming ?

HH

Nationwide said...

No I was not steaming, just a little wet. I went to Glasgow to celebrate the birth of a baby and we had a perfectly civilised night. Until the police arrived.

Harriet Hamster said...

Oh Yes - Blootered and bet you were giving it large to the Polis name dropping and threatening them with the Half- Monty dog

Help ma Bob ..Jings and crivens ..
HH

Nationwide said...

Mohamster Mohamza
Well we are momentarily back in the crucible of civilisation that is called Edinburgh, Monty is left pining in London. A tragedy, otherwise he could be out here chasing and catching wee rabbits, squirrels and stray hamsters on Arthur's Seat. Lunch today is in a mosque apparently. We will all be wearing the kilt and dancing the Gay Gordon. Will you?

Harriet Hamster said...

Keep both eyes on your sporan if your legs shimmy astray during the Gay Gordon..

HH

Nationwide said...

It was too cold to do anything even remotely gay so I had a pie instead.
What did you do today my anonymous correspondent of the interweb thing?

Harriet Hamster said...

A scotch pie oh now I am jealous
Square sausages ....



HH

Nationwide said...

I think people who eat Lorne sausage automatically like Spongebob Squarepants. It's who they imagine they might look like if they eat enough sausage.

Harriet Hamster said...

lorna Sausage is she related to Donna Kebab ??

And so if you eat Carluke Balls what's the prognosis you end up like Wogan ??

nationwide said...

oooh! You are awful!

nationwide said...

Lorna Carluke Wogan?
Boiled sweetie Edinburgh Rock ..mo.

Harriet Hamster said...

First up again I see ......
Bonny wee Jeanie

Nationwide said...

No last to bed it was. But now back in the safety and warmth of the miasmic metrolops, in all its cosmopolitan richness. Rik Mayall has just been sitting at the next table for an argument with his Mrs. Suppose I should have whipped out the cameraphone for a quick Heat style snap. Or maybe just spat oot a Carluke Ball.

Harriet Hamster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nationwide said...

Always a supporter, once I got the hang of your style. Hope the treatment (?) goes well feel free to inform me at any time of the day or night about anything.
I'll be the one in the internet cafe sucking the penny dainties.
xx

Harriet Hamster said...

Thanks Nationwide and I do like Monty really.
x

Nationwide said...

Monty is the most popular pooch in Hyde Park, if your rule of thumb is bottomsniffing by other dogs. We've just been there chasing squirrels (well, he was, I was having a coffee, a croissant, a bag of chips and a glass of breakfast lager) but he never actually catches any. He does catch the sticks though, but refuses to hand them back. We go through a lot of sticks of a morning.

Harriet Hamster said...

Wish he would chase Andrew Marr out the man is so dreary Monty would have more taste I suppose

How can Jug Ears be Scottish

HH

mickey dolenz said...

I know somebody who's obsessed with square sausages. And that person is MELANIE BELLAMY.
Harriet Hamster indeed....

Harriet Hamster said...

Mickey
Sorry this is a very cultured site where we debate issues and "square sausage" is nothing to jest about.

I know nothing of the Bellamy clan other than one being a bad footballer
HH

Nationwide said...

Don't bother going to see American Gangster unless, like me, you're so obsessed with Denzel Washington as an actor you're willing to sit through any old tosh just to see a great performance. If you get my drift.
Unfair scheduling tonight. the Blair Years against SBS profile of Goddess on earth Annie Lennox (I LURVE her) and history of violence. The movie eventually won. Brilliant film.

Mild out, isn't it?

Harriet Hamster said...

A lot milder out indeed

Denzel no way sorry I have a rule and that is if "Newsnight" rate something then it usually turns out to be poo ...they never let me down,ever

Have a fine day

HH

Nationwide said...

Hazza Hamdoodle
You are contrary to say the least. I feel exactly the same about Cosmo Landesman in the ST - I absolutely guarantee 100% if he likes something I won't and vica versa. Saves mucking about with all those other critics.
Interestingly, my computer seems to have been stuck in October this morning. I was getting all manner of news about an autumn election and, Natascha Kaplinky going to Five News for £1m, and so on. Weird.

Harriet Hamster said...

Ken Stott as Tony Hancock will just not work either -rubbish

Alfred Molina would have been my choice

HH

Nationwide said...

HabbaHabba

Agreed. Alfred Molina was in Hoax recently, stole the show from Richard Gere. Brilliant e was.
And I saw Ken Stott in a trailer for some big movie last night which looked OK - can't remember seeing him on the big screen. He IS Rebus. .

Not mild out any more. Bleedin freezin.

Harriet Hamster said...

Yes but Tony Hancock was not ugly or Scottish but that's BBC just bag a name and it will get viewers

Raining now

HH

Nationwide said...

No. Michael Sheen. He can play anyone.

Harriet Hamster said...

Hi Nation

Pinch punch first of the month
HH

Nationwide said...

By complete coincidence, this message is being received in Byres Road, Glasgow, the second visit inside two weeks. At the Tinderbox Cafe no less, where they do a mean portuguese custard tart and espresso.
It is raining.

Harriet Hamster said...

Raining here too and not a tart in sight

HH

Nationwide said...

Still raining but took shelter in the Kylie Exhibition in Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Took a gay couple to the V&A opening who said they were in "Kylie Heaven" but the Glasgow version is just as good. In fact, it's identical.

Harriet Hamster said...

Dry here and sunny I am having a toasted cheese scone soon.
HH

Nationwide said...

Sunny?? I'm in Edinburgh and while it's not unpleasant I'd hardly describe it as sunny. You probably just have a sunny disposition and infuse your surroundings with sunshine. Or something.
Anyway, my breakfast bacon roll was very pleasant indeedy, and the tea, that part of it that made it to the cup from the teapot, was ok too. Where's Mickeydolenz - what did he have for breakfast?

Harriet Hamster said...

Yes I am a bit sunbeam and Julie Walters persona
Mickey I think cuts a piece of cow pie for his breakfast..

It's crisp here and the leaves are blowing wild
Have a fine day and don't venture too close to yon Arthurs seat
HH

Nationwide said...

Turns out to be a brisk and lovely day in Edinburgh and in the Royal Mile, Clarinda's Tea Shoppe has a huge display of cakes dominated by a large, hand scrawled piece of cardboard "Do NOT serve yourself".
If only Wendy Alexander, over the road in the Scottish Parliament, had such sound advice from her coterie of assistants she wouldn't be in the trouble she's in now.

Harriet Hamster said...

I shall dine out on that line - Noel Coward could not have had finer delivery ... or even the Ronnies

Clouds are ganging up here but I hope you have enjoyed an ample corner of battenberg from the cake stand.

HH

Nationwide said...

At £1.50 for a morning special tea and bacon roll, I was only looking at the cakes, big fat sponges with everything bad for you in them.
mmmmm

Harriet Hamster said...

Hope yu manage a wee tattie scone

HH

Nationwide said...

No, just a wee Wham's Dram and a Lees Snowball. Plus some Kendal Mint cake for the scaling of Arthur's Seat.

Harriet Hamster said...

Gosh I just had a tunnocks mallow was superb

Weather ok at present for these chaps
Dogger, Rockall, Malin, Irish Sea:
Green, swift upsurges, North Atlantic flux
Conjured up by my strong gale-warming voice,
Collapse into a sibilant penumbra.
HH

Nationwide said...

Oooh I like a bit o'weather me, nice drop of sunshine.

My idea to live blog Gordon Ramsay has been taken up by Word of Mouth. Annerp is to host it. I'm famous, kind of, nearly, were it not for the anonimity etc etc.

'sgone all cloudy again.