GOVAN, then, on a Thursday evening, Ibrox stadium over there, Paisley Road West slumbering quietly right outside. I’m not saying we’re on the road less travelled, but in Glasgow you have to stray from the city centre to find a decent tabbouleh.

“We’ve moved up from London,” the chatty waiter says as Luca and I look up from finishing off a plate of borak, those fried short-crust pastries stuffed with halloumi, onion and parsley. “No shortage of Lebanese restaurants there,” he adds.

Indeed. But I can’t think of another in Glasgow. Not since poor old Prince Armany’s with the midnight glitter ball sadly closed. And that wasn’t yesterday.

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Not that we had any problem finding the Beirut Star tonight. We drive through half-deserted streets, some muttering retreats, until a neon brightness looms up like a beacon … even as we pull into the kerb and gaze through those plate-glass windows it’s obvious it’s quiet tonight, for sit-down customers anyway. Though as we walk in it seems to be full of guys – guys waiting for something; guys shuffling kebabs on the grill behind the counter; guys visible when the door to that kitchen swings open; and another guy who occasionally wanders by taking plates of salad from the kitchen to the grill. And of course the waiter guy, who I am presuming is the boss.

We sit by one of those windows and gaze at big gold letters above the counter, terracotta paint everywhere, a giant photograph with the word “Baalbek” on it covering the back wall. Hard surfaces absolutely everywhere. Hard wooden tables, a hard wood floor, hard, hard lighting. This is either designed for a much hotter climate or designed entirely by … guys.

Drinks are brought to the table – fresh lemon, fresh mint, slushy ice, blitzed into something darkly green; surprisingly different and refreshing. We’ve already eaten sweetly spiced soujouk baladieh, little, fat, pan-fried – and billed as homemade – lamb sausages with tomatoes, onion and garlic. I haven’t tasted these before.

Now there are some warak inab, vine leaves stuffed with rice and plucked no doubt from a jar of preserving, hopefully olive, oil in that kitchen.

And then there’s this tabbouleh. We taste it and immediately nod in unison. That’s good, says my 14-year-old son, not normally known for much interest in anything remotely salady.

I can’t recall the last time I had a proper one of these, though there are a million pale imitations. The parsley has to be chopped to a shred, the mint added in quantities sufficient to give a punch, the onions and tomatoes need to be fine, the crushed wheat has to give texture and then there has to be sufficient lemon and olive oil to slap you hard about the chops. This has it. All of it. As we eat the waiter guy is already talking about their next venture. A new restaurant closer to the areas of Glasgow from where customers are phoning orders. Are the guys standing about delivery drivers then?

There’s now stiff cucumber yogurt on the table, served with the kharoof mahsi, a platter of moist lamb atop a mound of tossed, seasoned rice, a bit like a biryani with toasted almonds flaked all over it. It’s definitely lamby.

We look up and now they are bringing an aubergine yogurt, dark, deeply flavoured, enough to feed an army. On the house, we’re told. I’m not big on yogurt, not even the stuff in corners, but it melts gently into the rice.

Luca has lamb kebabs, devoid of fat, trimmed to cubes, cooked perfectly. There’s marinated chicken too. Genuinely moist.

We think about ordering another one of those mint and lemon slushy things and consider some more flatbread, which is very, thin, toasted. But we agree on this quiet night it was too flaccid, the only disappointing thing we have eaten.

Good meal that, I say, lifting a delivery menu as we head back out into the night.

A glimpse into a different culture.

Beirut Star

450 Paisley Road West, Glasgow (0141 427 7277)

Menu: Authentic, interesting Lebanese with tabbouleh, warak and kebabs from the charcoal grill. 4/5

Atmosphere: Middle Eastern decor on a quiet midweek night on Govan’s Paisley Road West is a bit cold to the eye. 3/5

Service: Quiet when we were in though the takeaways were going strong. Friendly staff who were pleased that we were interested. 5/5

Price: Definitely at the bargain end with tabbouleh for two at £4.50, starters about the same and mains and mixed kebabs at a tenner. 5/5

Food: Lebanese food can be wonderfully light and refreshing and this was, largely, done properly. Worth a visit. 7/10

Total: 24/30