It’s often said that India is a nation of vegetarians, and so Indian restaurants have always offered good options for vegetarian diets but Swadish goes one step further with a full vegan menu, should you be avoiding meat and animal products this January.
Opening in May last year at 33 Ingram Street, AdLib’s Merchant City home for many years, this new ‘modern Indian cuisine’ restaurant has already received a slew of positive reviews and was almost at capacity when we visited on a cold early December Tuesday night. We expect the popularity to continue right into the oft-quiet month of January and beyond, thanks to a number of things like their vegan menu, which may sway even the most avid meat eater. If you absolutely can’t go without, there are plenty of meat and fish dishes available. We’ve been a couple of times now and tried dishes from both menus; the main menu is fairly unusual with items such as soft shell crab, duck and (on our list for next time) tandoori sea bass with ginger, coriander butter with garlic infused curried potatoes.
So enough about future visits, what about this one? To begin, we had an unusual assortment
of poppadoms made with lentils, millet and sago arriving alongside tomato, carrot and mango chutneys. Something a bit different to the usual spiced onions and a choice of thicker and more textured poppadoms. Fed up with boring Indian lagers? Then the drinks may also surprise as there are Indian ciders, an IPA and a cocktail list which, we can attest, is worth working through.
On to the starters from the vegan menu: Kurkuri Aloo TIkki, which are crispy potato cakes on top of a quinoa salad with green chutney and beetroot gel. Crisp outside and fluffy inside, perfectly made to soak up the sauces. Our other starter of Stuffed Shishito Peppers were stuffed with crispy masala potatoes and a smoked vegan paprika yoghurt which tasted indistinguishable from low-fat yoghurt made from cow milk. We’re always fans of battered pakora-style starters; this was an appetising start to the meal without being too spicy.
Fearing the winter flu, for our first main we picked the Garlic Chilli No Chicken: made using homemade seitan with garlic, tomatoes, ginger, coriander, chilli and masala. Full offlavour, it was spicy and delicious – but we still ended up with the lurgy! Our other main was their Smoked Aubergine and Pistachio. There are a plethora of Indian aubergine recipes out there but when was the
last time you ate an aubergine curry in an Indian restaurant? Exactly. Baby aubergines, mixed in with an onion and tomato sauce with crushed pistachios, stem and all. Again, with a kick but
not too spicy. Topping off the dish were Jerusalem artichoke crisps – a tasty tuber that is more often
found in fine dining restaurants, and that should give you an idea of the food you’ll find here. It’s
not a traditional ‘curry house’.
After looking over the dessert menu we ventured on with the Vegan Chocolate Cake, which tasted just like a regular well-made steamed chocolate pudding, exceedingly moist and chocolatey. Our
other dessert, the Strawberry Bhapa Doi was steamed and flavoured with vanilla, but wasn’t
vegan as it had strawberry jelly (gelatine) and real yoghurt, but they do have another vegan option – a raw cheesecake made with cashew nuts and vegan cream.
Swadish was well worthy of a return visit from ourselves, and we’ve another visit already planned. It’s not only us who rate it so highly; Ajay Kumar, owner and executive chef of Swadish, was recently crowned the Scottish Curry Champion atthe SPICE Awards.
Swadish, 33 Ingram St, Glasgow, G3 1HA
Dedicated Vegan menu which isn’t an afterthought
An Indian restaurant with proper cocktails
Impressively tasty food
“THE SWADISH VEGAN
MENU SWAYED EVEN
THE MOST AVID MEAT
EATER TO PICK FROM IT.”