Zyka Bar and GrillUnit 12, Greenlaw Village,
0141 639 6429
£ – inexpensive
££ – mid-price
£££ – expensive
££££ – very expensive
Review published on 29/04/2013 © Sunday Herald
Lets call this Tuesday night in suburbia. Outside the shoppers still worship at Waitrose, while pizza delivery boys are playing with a mini football behind the plate glass of the takeaway across the road.
In here OMD are drifting over the sound system (Enola Gay/It shouldnt ever have to end this way ) while the lurid team colours of Bayern versus Barca bounce from the widescreen tellies round the corner on to mirrors across from us. Occasionally a waiter walks by carrying white plastic bags stuffed with takeaway curries.
Here at the wood-veneered tables, though, its as if that whole world doesnt exist. Somehow the corners and the curtains shield us, mostly, from whats going on round the corner, from the tellies and pints.
Luca and I are squeezed into a narrow but tall booth with hot air being pumped on us from starship-like ceiling vents and we can see past a space-age fire feature on to busy tables. The middle classes of Newton Mearns drinking wine and eating upmarket curries while talking endlessly of Puerto Banus? Id like to think so. But we cant hear. We are in, according to the direction signs anyway, the grill part of Zyka a low-lit, dark-veneered and yet stylish part of this strangely cool commercial cube in a car park.
We looked at the grill menu when we arrived. Frankly? You wouldnt. It seems a dull collection of sub-beefeater-style favourites. But the Indian menu which is also available here tonight? Everybody seems to be eating from it.
Paneer shashlik tikka are chunks of light cheese smothered with spices grilled in the tandoor and served with soft, sweet peppers. Excellent. Lightly spiced too. Likewise the lamb chops nowadays a Glasgow Indian restaurant staple. Theyre meaty, spicy and tender and at almost £6 a pop, nearly reasonable value considering the setting.
And the setting is what Zyka is obviously about. Its an Indian restaurant, but not as we know it. There is none of the usual trappings of Indian restaurants theres not a single ethnic cue that I can see, anyway.
Instead its all low lights, long windows and a laidback atmosphere. Lace curtains cloak the windows, toning down the views of the housing estate at the back. The sound system oozes the 1980s, which this evening is probably spot-on given the age of most of the customers.
Its surprising, really, how successful the zoning is, especially considering how close that bar and the tellies and those punters quaffing pints around the corner are to the eating areas.
True, this Indian menus not going to blow anyones socks off. Its fairly routine stuff. We have a balochi chicken tikka, which is simple chunks of meat marinated in lemon, and it turns out to be almost perfectly cooked.
The lamb mint masala, on the other hand, comes in a huge portion with chopped mint leaves atop it. Yet it smacks of one of those dishes invented after someone had one mango lassi too many. You know lamb? Mint sauce? Lets combine them in a curry. Somehow the heavy, yogurty sauce and the mint give the whole thing a sour, cloying taste reminiscent of that vinegary mint sauce that comes in jars. Not good. But not a disaster either.
And despite the stylish modern setting the dishes look completely traditional with little heaps of garnish here and there, because deep down, and despite its styling cues, Zyka is still a traditional Indian restaurant at heart.
The food is generally good, though our nan was nowhere near the best, but its largely about the setting. Indian food in a modern, stylish building in a retail estate is hardly original, but still relatively rare. Managing to combine the Indian food with a bar and grill and widescreen tellies and punters drinking pints, yet still have it feeling stylish and upmarket, is an achievement. And that makes Zyka a decent enough suburban bolthole.