The lower end of Byres Road doesn’t have much luck when it comes to hanging onto bars, restaurants and shops.
A few stalwarts remain — but the majority of businesses come and go within months, and none more so than the previous incarnations at 2 Byres Road.
The place has been given an overhaul by Usha’s, offering Indian street food and a taste of what Glasgow lacks; good and varied vegetarian food.
It’s an impressive little restaurant; all mood lighting, soft furnishings and cosy corners — perfect for sharing.
The other half and I started with matar kachori and paneer pakora. The green pea balls in pastry were a new one to me and very tasty, especially with rich chilli sauce. But the star of the starters was the pakora; soft, spiced Indian cheese in the lightest batter I’ve had — a far cry from the local takeaway.
We moved on to an impressive spread; paneer makhani, chana masala, house speciality dhokla and a beautifully fluffy garlic and coriander naan.
The curries were both excellent; the chickpeas sweet, sour and just the right amount of spicy, the creamy cheese dish delivering a delayed kick of heat (although the second dish was more sauce than substance).
It’s a nice touch that Usha’s ask you how hot you like it (from mild to seriously hot). We chose desi, a middle ground — although I could be tempted to ramp it up a notch next time.
Braving new territory again, we tucked into the dhokla, made from fermented rice and chickpea batter. Spongey, full of savoury flavour and great with chilli and mint dips, it’s worth a try if you’re in the mood for something new.
It’s a menu packed with familiar favourites and not-so-familiar street food, and you could visit again and again and eat a different meal each time.
This reviewer will be doing just that — and something tells me that the bottom of Byres Road curse has no hold on Usha’s, a restaurant offering the veggie variety that Glasgow has been missing.
2 Byres Road
Tel: 0844 884 9399