Kebabish Vs Kebabish

5 Feb

I love kebabs, me.

As a kid, on my way to visit maternal grandparents, my dad used to drive down Westow Hill towards Streatham, and we used to pass the first kebab shop I ever knew. “What’s kebab Daddy?” I innocently asked one Sunday afternoon. “Ah, son!” he said. “There are TWO types of kebab! The one daddy likes is called SHISH, and it’s meat on a skewer thats grilled on a barbeque!”

“Barber queue?” (I was young)

“The other type of kebab, sonny, is the Donner kebab. Don’t touch it son, it’s SHIT.”

And there I was. Years later, I went into the Broadway Kebab shop in Catford after a few beers in the Bromley, and missing my last direct bus home (necessitating a walk home from Catford, which NO-ONE LIKES). Having remembered my old man’s advice, I considered the shish. I liked how the marinaded bits of fresh lamb looked on the skewer, imagined them being tossed over the charcoal grill in the corner to perfection, and then being served on some chips, or something.

However, in between deciding on the shish and opening my mouth, my eyes noticed that the price of the kebab was a hyperbolically large amount, somewhere in the region of NINE MILLION POUNDS. I had only three quid, so I said to the man behind the counter “Good even, shopkeep. May I purchase one of your finest Donner kebabs please!”. The gentleman obliged, scooping large amounts of what can only be described as grey strips of non-descript bubbly meat into an opened, unleavened bread of some sort (pitta, as I now understand), which he topped off with some mixed salad and some odd looking ketchup from a bottle. “Thank you!” I said, as I handed over my change. I sat outside, at the bus stop, and started to eat my evening meal. Do you know what, reader? It was fantastic. The greasy gristle was alive with flavour, the salad was foul, but the spicy red stuff, combined with the previously imbibed alcohol made it absolutely bloody brilliant. From that day forth, I was a convert. I arrived home at about one in the morning. “Papa!” I shouted, tears running down my face, “why did you LIE?”. The reply was incomprehensible, something about “work in the morning” and “shut your face”.

Anyway, that was then. Let bygones be bygones and all that. Since then, I’ve moved to Scotland, received an education, and become one of the least successful office guys the world has ever seen, but I still have my kebabs to look forward to of an evening.

Having moved to Glasgow’s sunny south side of late, one of the first things I noticed about my new neighbourhood is that there are literally a dozen kebab shops within 5 minutes walk from my flat, and that two of them are called “Kebabish”. Now, at first glance, I thought that these were two different branches of the same kebab tree, and that this kebab shop was soooo good, it felt the need to open another shop about 10 minutes walk away, like what Subway do.

NO.

Upon further inspection, the one on Pollokshaws Road is a “Kebabish Original“, whereas the other one, on nearby Victoria Road, is the “Kebabish Grill“. Two completely different beasts, so I decided to investigate. Surely, if one is the “original” one, then the other should be called “Kebabish FAKE” or “CHEAP KNOCKOFF KEBABISH”. I met my mate “Big Gordy”, who I call him that due to his height (he is tall) and because he is a Gordon. Anyway, Big Gordy is a native of where I now live, so I asked him about the two places.

“Ahh yes, dear chap!” (Big Gordy is a) posh and b) doesn’t like being called Big Gordy), “that Kebabish has been there years, but then the chap who ran the place sold it to this other chap, and then opened up “Kebabish Original” round the corner!”

“HOLD IT THERE, Gordon. Are you trying to tell me that Kebabish Original is the FAKE?”

“No, not quite, it’s the original owner of the other place (Kebabish Grill), in his new place (Kebabish Original)”.

“Oh.”

A quick look at the respective websites seems to back this shit up – Kebabish Grill declare that they became independent around about 2005, whereas Kebabish Original say that they’ve been around in franchise form since 2002. It seems plausible that Mr Kebabish, upon hearing of a franchise named after his restaurant, would wish to sell up and start up a franchised restaurant in competition with his former business. It is worth pointing out that Big Gordy was drunk.

Now, if you were expecting some kind of restaurant review, you’re in luck. I decided to pit these two foes against each other to see who was the best.

Kebabish Original

The Kebabish Original corporate logo. Look at it! It's skewered! You know, like a kebab!

First off, I tried the Kebabish Original. It was late one Saturday evening, and me and my pal Joe had been drinking beer up at the Laurieston Bar, a popular ale haunt on the south bank of the River Clyde. As we were walking home, Joe said that he could murder something to eat. BRILLIANT, I thought. This means I could try out that place that I was writing about earlier. So we went in, and I ordered the Donner Kebab to take away. By the time we had got there, Joe had decided that this place wasn’t for him, and away he went in search of his own grub. Meanwhile, I took the container home, and set about demolishing the contents.

The food was pretty good, all things considered. The salad was fresh, the sauce was very spicy, and the serving of shaved elephant leg meat was, by all modern standards, very generous indeed. Best thing of all was; whereas most kebabs are served in a rubbish pitta bread which invariably breaks up when you try to eat it, this was served in a naan bread. A freshly cooked, robust naan bread. This was seriously good news. The meat was particularly tasty, lightly spiced lamb, and not too greasy. I will not lie; this wasn’t the healthiest meal I’d ever had, but it hit the spot, and for £3 on the nose, it was excellent value too.

The restaurant wasn’t bad either; I can see myself going back for a sit down meal one of these days; it would be unfair to call it “a kebab shop” per se, as the large seating area is atypical of the genre. From what I am told, it is a popular local eatery, with the curries and mixed grills being the specialities. Should you be visiting and have a spare £26 to hand, the “K.O. Special Ship” looks quite nice; the dish consists of a spit roasted baby chicken, chicken tikka, lamb tikka, chops, kebabs, half a chicken shawarma, and chicken wings. Dare I say it, if the powers that be ever want to do a “Man Vs Food: UK” style program, I would consider it a bloody honour to shove all that down my neck in the name of reality TV.

Next up was the place around the corner. Now, like the Kebabish Original, I never really meant to go when I did. Truth be told, I actually headed out to Lidl over the road to buy some half price chicken drumsticks, but alas the thrifty shoppers of Govanhill had beaten me to the punch. None left by 12.30 on a Sunday lunchtime, and it was a weekend only offer. Bloody typical, eh? Now, the Kebabish Grill doesn’t open until 1pm on a Sunday, which meant that I had some time to kill. Naturally, I wanted to do a like-for-like comparison, and I was fairly pissed when I went to the other one, so I went to the pub. 1pm came and went, but I still hadn’t worked up the hunger. A couple of Guinnesses later, and I was good to go.

Kebabish Grill

Look! The Kebabish "K" looks like an open pitta bread! And the Kebabish "i" looks like one of those pickled chillis you throw away! You know, like in a kebab!

Unlike the Kebabish Original, which had it’s own takeaway counter, this place was a full on restaurant. I was a little concerned that I might not even get a takeaway from this place, given how grand it all looked. I stood by the “wait to be seated” sign, and the Maitre D came over. “Hello! I’m just here for a take-out”, I sheepishly said. Half expecting a look of disgust, I was delighted when the chap smiled, and took my order there and then. “May I have a Donner Kebab please?”, I asked. “I’m afraid it’s only Chicken Donner we sell, is that alright?” the chap replied, in the same rhetorical manner that bar staff at Wetherspoons habitually tell you that it’s Pepsi your going to get in your Vodka. “Yeah, that’ll be fine” I said. CHICKEN DONNER? I honestly had no idea that this existed, which brings a whole extra dimension to my world of boozed up cuisine.

Having got home with my takeaway, I inspected the contents. It was very, very different to the kebab I’d had the week before. Aside from the fact that this was poultry based, the salad was very different – the tomatoes were quartered, not sliced; there was carrot in it, which is just weird, and the spicy red sauce was nowhere to be seen; instead, the sauce was a minty yoghurt, a raita if you will. It did, however, smell damned good. The chicken, as it turns out, is a bloody great beast to kebab; like its lamb counterpart, the meat was marinaded in spice before being flung on a vertical spit, cooked, and then sliced off into a buffet tray. The flavour was fantastic, with a nicer consistency to it than traditional lamb shavings. The salad and sauce combination was nice too; the spice came from the meat, so the yoghurt sauce gave it a nice balance. Best of all, like their near neighbours and deadly rivals, the kebab came on a naan bread, which I have subsequently decided will be the industry standard when I’m in charge. One day…

However, it wasn’t all good. The kebab set me back £3.95, which was more than I’d usually be looking to pay. Furthermore, the portion of meat wasn’t all that great, I must say – and I got the impression that there was more salad than meat. On the bright side, however, this may mean it qualifies as diet food, and therefore can be marketed as a post-pub snack for the modern man who starts his day with a bowl of Special K. Having had a flick through the menu as I waited, the food in there looked pretty awesome; no massive meal like Original’s, but they do offer a mixed grill for £12, which is better than a kick in the mouth, as well as a fish kebab, which I can only imagine to be like the worlds best fish finger sandwich, times a million.

Sadly folks, I cannot declare a winner here, because they were both good in their own way. If this were a fight to the death, they’d both give killing each other a good go, only to find out that they were both immortal, or something. No, there’s room for both of these places in my life, and I’ll be going back to both as and when my bank account lets me.

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4 Responses to “Kebabish Vs Kebabish”

  1. Dave Barnes February 5, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    New idea (new to me as nit come across one yet), Kebab Shop Buffet!!!!
    Like an Indian or Chinese buffet but with Kebab shop food instead.

    Like

  2. willmill82 April 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Reblogged this on Man Vs Kebab and commented:

    Here’s the post that got this started…

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tae a Kebab | Dimensions of Reek - December 23, 2012

    […] friend of mine named Will wrote a wonderful blog about kebabs about ten months ago. Being similarly fond of the demon delicacy, I am also going to speak of my […]

    Like

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