Mounting Appreciation: A Review of Giffnock’s Mount Cafe
There is no shortage of eateries in Giffnock, the leafy suburb in Glasgow’s south side. In the vicinity of Fenwick Road, a smorgasbord of emporiums present countless options for nuking your hunger – or hangover. They include Shahed’s (kebabs, curries, pizzas), BRGR (burgers, yo), Far East (Oriental), Andiamo (Italian), Catch (fish and chips), Turban Tandoori (Indian), Jasmine One (Cantonese), Toni’s Pizzeria and the New Turban Tandoori (Indian). There’s also a Domino’s.
For my money, one restaurant/takeaway stands head and shoulders above the others: Mount Cafe, the boxy little Nepalese joint incongruously located above a hair & beauty salon on Burnfield Road. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but what is it they say about judging books by their covers? You’d do well to heed the proverb, as the food – comprising traditional Indian and Nepalese nosh – is consistently outstanding.
It’s pretty rare to find a restaurant that delivers reliably wonderful fare at a good price, but Mount Cafe does just that. The cooking is fresh and flavourful, the presentation pleasing and the portioning unfailingly generous. Whether sitting in the tidy 16-cover restaurant or ordering a delivery, you can expect a thoroughly satisfying culinary experience.
There are a few surprises to be had, too. If you opt to sample lunch or dinner in the cosy restaurant, sup a bottle of Cobra or a chilled rosé wine while munching your way through a bowl of Nepalese chat-pate puri, a traditional crunchy snack not dissimilar from Bombay mix but with coriander, rice and diced onion tossed in for good measure. It’s easy to go overboard scooping the moreish nibbles onto endless shards of crispy poppadom, but take my word for it, you’ll want to leave room for the starters and mains.
When the chat-pate puris have been summarily dispatched, take your pick from familiar favourites like Seekh kebab and haggis pakora – though the chana bhatura deserves a special mention. Chickpeas stewed in traditional sauce, served alongside deep fried bread, this might be the perfect appetiser. The Gobi pakora – fresh cauliflower fried and battered with traditional Nepalese sauce – is another enticing option.
The main course possibilities are, as you’d expect, plentiful. As a dyed-in-the-wool lover of Indian food, one occupational hazard of ordering something you’d never ordinarily go for is that you receive a dish swimming in sauce. Lashings of sauce – regardless of how delectable it happens to be – is plain off-putting. Thankfully, Mount Cafe understands this well; the ratio of meat/fish/vegetables to sauce is always on point. Main courses are divided into House Specials, Tandoori Dishes, Traditional Mains, Biryani Dishes and Vegetarian. If you’re of the carnivorous persuasion, I can highly recommend the Goanese curry, expertly cooked in tamarind flavour sauce and suffused with fresh chillies for extra snap, or the lamb karahi, a slow-cooked fusion of onions, herbs and peppers. Among the House Specials, it’s a toss-up between the Himalayan-spiced bhote masala or the aromatic jeera lasooni.
Great Giffnock grub
For the sticklers, pasandas, bhunas, tikkas, dhansaks and madrases abound, but if you’re in search of a novel epicurean delight, the jhaneko daal is a fine choice: Nepalese home-style mixed lentils simmering with fresh herbs and spices. And since there’s no unnecessary surplus of sauce, you’ll feel marginally less guilty about ordering parathas, rotis, chapatis or fantastically fluffy naan breads as accompaniments.
It’s not just the quality of the grub that draws me irresistibly to Mount Cafe – it’s the friendliness of the staff. Emanating an unmistakable warmth, a perceptible largeheartedness, they can’t do enough for you. A quick recce of the restaurant’s TripAdvisor bears this out: some diners have such implicit faith in the waiters’ judgement that they give them control over their meal, safe in the knowledge that what hits the table will hit the spot. The impression is that you are always in safe hands.
You may have no good reason to visit Giffnock, but if you ever find yourself in Shawlands of an evening, and your belly starts to rumble, make a point of jumping into a cab and calling by Mount Cafe. Safe to say you won’t regret it.