It has been over a month since restaurants across Glasgow were finally able to reopen their doors and welcome us back with open arms (and empty bars), and despite the fact that I’ve made a point of eating out once a week since then, there is one meal that I can’t get out of my head.
Choosing where that very first sit-in meal would be felt like a challenge in and of itself. We are so lucky in the west end alone to have so many incredible eateries on our doorstep, howevere are we supposed to choose? Eventually, and after a lot of discussion, we landed on KaPao, a south east Asian inspired restaurant located in the basement of the Botanic Gardens Garage.
An odd location, sure, but one that is very well suited to those two words we’re all sick of hearing: social distancing. There is generous space between tables, clear guidance on health and safety and a warm and welcoming atmosphere that made it feel like coming home. Except here, I’m not the one doing the dishes for once.
The Asian-inspired menu is designed to be shared, with a selection of snacks and larger plates that include everything from aromatic curries to unique and flavoursome vegetarian and vegan dishes.
While the majority of dishes are packed with flavour, from the cucumber and prik nam pla salad to the rich beef, jersey royal and peanut massaman curry, there is one dish that stands head and shoulders above its peers. Despite being listed simply as ‘fried chicken, spicy caramel,’ this dish is so much more than that. It is probably the best fried chicken you will ever have, and no, I am not exaggerating.
The crispy, seasoned batter encasing the tender chicken is coated in a fish sauce caramel that is the perfect blend of sweet, savoury, salty and spicy. The umami flavour of the fish sauce balances the sweetness of the caramel, with a chilli heat that is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. Order this one by the bucket load, I promise, you will not regret it.
The salt and szechuan pepper oyster mushrooms with pickled mooli provides a similarly spicy and crunchy vegetarian dish, and the hispi cabbage with cashew nut butter sriracha turns what most consider to be a supporting act and makes it the star.
I personally cannot wait to return to KaPao and sample even more of their daring, unique and delicious menu. I strongly suggest you do the same!