Scottish-Chinese On a corner to nowhere, two courses for virtually nothing. It’s good
IHAVE been doing this long enough to sense when I’m slipping over the edge of the cashless society cliff and, sure enough, as I’m about to sit down, I suddenly ask: “Do you take cards?” The waiter shakes his head. I suppress a deep sigh. And I head back out under the hulking shoulder of the St Enoch Centre to navigate the Yuletide shoppers, the Christmas market with its kiss-me-quick food stalls, the merry party crowds and to somehow find a cash line.
I do, of course, but as I walk back onto Howard Street – surely one of Glasgow’s grimmest sidestreets – and look at the steamed windows and handwritten signs of Angie’s Cafe, I wonder how they make money stuck away round here. On a corner to nowhere. On a street that flows like a dried up river. The answer isn’t exactly on a postcard, more on a little flipbook of food photos that’s handed to me as I sit down once again. As I look around it seems to be half-full of large tables of families of Chinese origin and half-full of people who have just wandered in off the street, some from the office party.
Pork chop or chicken steak with noodles is just £4, fried rice £2.50, did I see a sign saying two courses for a fiver? Yes, all the usual Chinese-Scottish restaurant dishes are here. They’re actually cheaper than at the pop-up stalls in the festive food market round the corner.
There’s also a separate menu in Chinese where the dishes are exotic, more expensive and, judging by the platters of them at the table across from me, they’re served just for sharing. Nine pounds a pop is the going rate.
I flip my way through the photobook and random order broccoli with garlic; pork chop with fried white noodles (dry).
I toy with five spiced beef flank with oil noodle in soup, linger momentarily over fried green bean minced pork preserved olive but finally settle on the strangest dish I can see: curry fried crispy wonton in soup.
The waiter delivers the traditional warning about portions being very large. I mumble the traditional reply about stomachs being expandable. We both move on. In the few minutes before my
The fried white noodles arrive, bringing that sweet smoky smell from the flashing wok, they’re vermicelli, super-fine, hot, oily, laced with onion and scallion, soy sauce too, the pork sliced crossways but also crisped and sparkled with seasoning into interesting mouthfuls. Nothing fancy. The platter
Angie’s Cafe is more of a canteen and they’ve not done much with the old place but it’s got a warm buzz