Chaakoo Bombay Cafe does its best to stand out from the crowd on St Vincent Street. The concentration of chain restaurants and burger joints on the stretch between Queen Street and Hope Street engenders fierce competition but little diversity. What was once a generic Irish bar – Finnegan’s Wake, then Failte – became an Iranian inspired Indian restaurant late last year.
It’s the brainchild of restaurateur Paul Sloan who also owns the nearby Topolabamba Mexican restaurant. The idea here is to emulate the original Bombay cafes that were opened by Iranian immigrants who came to India in the 19th Century.
In terms of decor, nod’s to the restaurants cultural influences with prints, pictures and slogans dotted around the room that balance out the bar and bistro feel of the room and set the scene. The menu is substantial and requires a careful study before diving in. The dishes are small plates and our server recommended ordering around three each, with the temptation to add in a selection of sides.
Nearby tables were ordering bottles of Cava, strawberry daiquiris and Raj Mahal Lager. There’s also a ready supply of chai tea if you prefer.
There’s curries that are familiar and unusual. The Kerala monkfish curry makes a big impression, a well-balanced and liberally spiced dish. It’s the more expensive at £9 but still represents good value for money. There’s other regional specials from Goa, Madras and Kashmir to provide variety.
Delve into the Irani kebab menu for marinated smoked meats cooked on khule, robata and tandoor type grills to give them a distinctive taste. surround your selection with freshly baked naan bread, Indian salads, fragrant rice and samosas.
Chaakoo offers simple, authentic and ambitious Indian cooking. It reflects a trend in some new Indian restaurants in Glasgow to challenge preconceptions based on the old fashioned curry house.
It’s fun to mix and match the different exotic plates that arrive promptly from the kitchen. The wine menu was underwhelming but the food packed a flavourful punch that made an impression. We’ll be back to explore the menu further.
Chaakoo Bombay Cafe
79 St Vincent Street
T: 0141 229 0000
On The Menu: Chaakoo Bombay Cafe
SMOKED CHICKEN TIKKA, £5.95
Whisky chip smoked chicken and tikka dry rub served with homemade mint chutney.
SEEKH KEBAB, 6.95
Minced lamb marinated with lime, coriander and cumin, grilled over the coals with mint sauce.
KERALA MONKFISH, £9
South Indian monkfish curry, coconut, ginger, garlic and mustard seeds.
PESHWIRI NAAN £1.95
SABJEE SAMOSA, 3.95
Crispy filo pastry, green peas, mashed potatoes, green chilli and fresh coriander