When you step into the Koh-i-Noor you can’t help feeling like you’ve walked back in time. With its Indian paintings on the walls, central fountain and brightly coloured furniture, there’s a certain 70s feel about the place. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing given the rich heritage of Glasgow Curry Houses that the Koh-i-Noor definitely belongs to. I first visited the restaurant as a student 25 years ago and I’ve been a regular ever since – and not much has changed in the decor or the food for that matter in all that time. First opening in Gibson Street in 1964, the restaurant moved to its current site in North Street Charing Cross, overlooking the M8, in 1974. It’s a large dining room which can be buzzing on a busy weekend night with diners choosing from the excellent buffet or a la carte menus. The downside is that it can lack a bit of atmosphere when things are particularly quiet.
Our starter was the classic vegetable pakora, crispy parcels of onion, spices and coriander and all served with not one but two sauces – the usual pink yoghurt dip and a spicy, tomato-based ‘red’ dip. They were both quite delicious.
The Koh-i-Noor is famed for its tandoori dishes. The main course chicken tikka karahi was succulent, peppery and tender. Served with fried rice and a side of chapattis it was a real delight. The breads in the restaurant are absolutely fantastic with the nann bread being the best I have tasted in Glasgow – it really is a “must try” if you are visiting the restaurant for the first time.
Sweets are not the main stay of any Indian restaurant and the Koh-i-Noor is no different in this respect. There’s not much in the way of excitement on offer. An overly-sweet gulab jamun or some vanilla ice cream is the best you are likely to get. Our meal was however finished with a nice coffee – not a latte, cappuccino or anything else of any pretension, just milky coffee served the Koh-i-Noor way.
Glasgow is certainly the curry capital of the UK. There are many restaurants serving everything from almost fine dining, through fusion to traditional dishes. The Koh-i-Noor certainly falls into the last camp. This tradition isn’t necessarily authentic, but it is traditional Glasgow. So, if you’ve not done so, and you want a filling, value for money curry, you’d do well to pay a visit to North Street. You won’t be disappointed – and remember to try the nann bread
235 North Street