A walk-in for one, shouts the cheffy guy with kitchen-combat stained whites and vibrant green crocs as we pause at the bottom of the stairs and both lookup.

For an instant, I see the waiter at the top there pause and think he is going to send me back out to the dark, dank misery that is Glasgow on a midwinter Tuesday night.

This restaurant reviewing schtick is not exactly like being in the movies right now, not even Ratatouille.

READ MORE: New Glasgow bakery from Six by Nico team to open soon

Earlier tonight and for the second week in a month I rolled up to a restaurant that promises to be wide open and welcoming only to see shutters down, doors locked.

Forget Covid. Pilot lights are going out all over Europe. It’s energy prices that are snuffing those burners now – even if it’s just for extra day or two at the start of the week.

Fast forward 10 minutes anyway and I’m up those stairs, sprawled at a two-seater, bathing in Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings on the sound system; warm chatter bursting from a table of 20 people or so over there (looks like a uni staff night out), banter from a family group in the corner (are they actually all going out to look at a new car?) and I’m quietly eating Mirchi, or chilli pakora, stuffed with masala aloo.

“They’re hot aren’t they,” says a waiter drifting by exactly as my hiccups start ricochetting.

“We don’t take the seeds out.” Ooft. The heat is intense, that malasa aloo with its soothing looks actually making things worse.

Salty, crispy aubergine fritters with tandoori chaat masala batter soothe the pain; three-cheese pakora, dusted with grated mozzarella and filled with cream cheese and cheddar, put out fires.

READ MORE: Glasgow bakery besties go viral on TikTok for their Rude Cookies

And the waiter is back with a jug of cooling water, no doubt alarmed by the prospect of the auld geezer with the beetroot coupon not surviving to the bill.

Despite these distractions, I am filing that cheese pakora under “strangely textured, squishy gooey, borderline yuck object of the week”. By the time the fish pakora or haddock Amritsari rocks up, The Dap-Kings are deep into How Long Do I Have to Wait For You?

Answer? In here: not long at all. OK. Stop for a mo. Murphy’s Pakora Bar? It’s a famous name from back in the day, sprung back to life. You can read this hoo-ha on their website. I was never in the place back in the day so it’s zilcho from me for nostalgia.

But they are open tonight when everyone else isn’t so double bonus points. And … as I previously said: they’re not just open. The place is bursting with happy, noisy, lovely human life. So high-five.

The fish pakora? At £7 for five pieces it’s fine but definitely no more than that.

The £9 Indian fish and chips is much better though, the haddock fillet here being obviously very fresh, and freshly cooked, steamy moist and fully delicious.

Glasgow Times: On a dank midwinter evening, Murphy’s Pakora Bar is jumping while all around is closed On a dank midwinter evening, Murphy’s Pakora Bar is jumping while all around is closed (Image: colin mearns)

I like this. Yes, the whole package is spoilt by a cheap-looking basket of (taste-like-from-frozen) fries with the now-everywhere dusting of spice plus two sauces in dishes, none of them occupying nearly enough space on the huge, and surprisingly empty looking white plate. I’m going to say, they’ll also be disappointed with their duck samosa at £11.

Yes, it’s crammed with duck chunks, but no I don’t taste any of the Banjara sauce it’s supposed to be cooked in and the samosa itself is dark, bullet hard and looks old.

It tastes like a dish that took the kitchen by surprise and has therefore been hastily over-fried.

Funnily enough I ordered the pineapple pakora out of curiosity.

Expecting interesting things but learning this. There’s a reason pineapple rings are not usually fried in gram flour batter and drenched in cinnamon: they’re not very nice.

Hang on though. The daal of the day? Delicious, rich, deep flavours, great spicing, just kinda wonderful. A meal of two halves then. Some of it damn good, some of it very ordinary.

Menu: The clue’s in the name: pakora in just about every shape, size and filling you can imagine. But they also do a pretty good curry range. 3/5

Service: Pleasant guys, nipping about, kept the food flowing, professional service and the banter wasn’t bad either 5/5

Price: Pakoras mainly around £6, small plates can hit £11, the curries (which most people seemed to be eating) around £7 including that daal. 3/5

Atmosphere: Even on a bleak midwinter night when all around were closing their doors this place was bursting with life. Good vibe. 5/5

Food: The daal was fab, the aubergine pakora very good, after that a bit hit n’miss though the haddock in the £9 fish n’chips was a star. 6/10



Murphy’s Pakora Bar
1293 Argyle Street
Tel: 0141-337-6378
​Opening: Closed Monday