Silk Road Deli, Glasgow
The Shawlands sandwich spot brings together maximalist flavour combos from across Asia and Africa
There are lots of things we all miss from the hazy pre-pandemic days, but supermarket sandwiches probably don’t make the cut. Biting into a cold, lank and profoundly uninspiring Sainsbury’s attempt at ‘Korean-style chicken’ on the first day back in An Office for 18 months is a truly sad moment – it tastes of nothing, but a solid, slightly soggy nothing.
In contrast, a sandwich from Silk Road Deli in Glasgow’s Southside tastes of everything. Silk Road brings together flavours and ideas from across Asia, north Africa and the Mediterranean, but this bringing together is less ‘limp meeting in a conference room’, more ‘chaotic party with loads of cool clothes and four different DJs playing at once’. One of our sandwiches – the Muhammara Ali (£5.50) – contains nine distinct elements, everything from preserved lemons and pomegranate molasses to two different bittering greens (cavolo nero, tenderstem broccoli).
This is not by any means a dull piece of food; a lingering spice, nice balance of bitterness with some creamy tahini, and good levels of crunch and chew. It is also not an easy sandwich – aside from the overwhelming amount of information to digest, the sheer volume of fillings means that eating the thing without destroying a) the sandwich or b) your shoes is a little tricky. That said, covered in labneh and picking bits of broccoli from your teeth is not a dreadful situation to be in.
Our other pick followed a similar pattern. A mushroom shawarma (£7) inspired by Southside legends Kurdish Street Food, this was sweet, spicy, sticky, saucy and seriously tasty. Again, this was a complex sandwich; it took a fair few bites to truly work it all out, with so many massive flavours competing for your attention.
Silk Road’s range of flavours is spectacular, and the breadth of influences pulled into their orbit is truly impressive. These are challenging sandwiches and may not be for everyone, and there’s an argument for the old Coco Chanel idiom about taking one thing off before leaving the house/kitchen. But there’s a maximalism and an inventiveness here that’s seriously intriguing, and as an alternative to a bland, banal and boxed-up lunch, Silk Road's offerings are seriously hard to argue with.
Silk Road Deli, 34 Minard Rd, Glasgow, G41 2HW