The west end restaurant, café and bar scene offers an abundance of eating out and take away options. Some will empty your wallet for a pretty plateful and others will cheaply line your stomach with something grubby, greasy and pretty standard for nothing more than your spare change. But if Yorkhill is your neighbourhood, you might already have discovered a little place that goes by the name of Seb's Café that offers both a hearty, wholesome take-away alternative as well as a pleasant spot to wile away an hour or two nibbling on sweet or savoury pites (pastries and pasties to the uninducted), sipping mochas, reading the local rag and chatting to the friendly staff and owners that run this little neighbourhood spot.
This wee Mediterranean outpost can be found on Old Dumbarton road, which may not be a luxury leafy-lined avenue paved with Sterling, but in the past few years it has increasingly becoming a local hotspot and has a history of hiding little culinary and neighbourhood nuggets that the residents happily keep to themselves. Spearheaded by the well known fantastically fishy Firebird, the street leading up to Yorkhill Children's hospital offers old and new commercial residents a rather unusual collection of shops from a balloon shop to a band supplies store, charities, an array of your more traditional bars as well as newcomers like Bar Transit that although transient in décor and concept offer expert cocktail quality for a fraction of the normal West End or city price.
In amongst it all lies Seb's Café. In its seven months of operation it has already done a lot to promote the distinct flavour of the street and draws in regular patronage. In fact the patrons are so regular that almost every one of the customers that entered while we were there was greeted by name or at least offered a warm familiar smile. What Cheers was for friendly local bars, it seems Seb's is for take-aways or quick cuppas to Yorkhill.
It is that atmosphere that makes the small, stylised environment feel like the extension of a friend's kitchen where you could happily venture into unknown culinary regions. You could imagine your friends coaxing you to try new recipes that are almost certainly from their dear mama's recipe book.
Naturally, as servants to our taste buds, we had to try a bit of everything and in true Mediterranean style, had to share every dish ordered. We started with a spinach and feta pite that at only £1.00 served as a deliciously light starter. My partner in quality testing tried the homemade corn bread. Price wise it was just over £2 and another excellent option for a first course or snack. The salsa-style, red pepper dip was so tasty we made an effort to extract the recipe but the owners only smiled and murmured about secret family recipes, so no luck there. For the main course I opted for the Vegetarian Sarma. Another tasty concoction of veggie mince and rice-stuffed vine leaves with mashed potatoes (£5.70 eat in price). My partner ordered Seb's Chicken dish. This baked chicken stuffed with spinach, feta and garlic pleased his palate and also came in under £6.
The full menu offers delicious variety from breakfasts - including the humble roll and sausage in Seb's café style - to an unusual array of paninis and sandwiches and a spectacle of flavour filled main courses. If you do opt for take-away, a wholesome main course will cost under a fiver and, in truth, you might never go back to the oily corner chippie.
If you don't live in the close surrounds, you might not come across this café and take-away but it is certainly proving to be a place worth visiting and returning to again and again. As the song goes, sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name and they are always glad you came. Get tasting and chatting.
Seb's Café, 27 Old Dunbarton Road, G3 8RD