Inside Glasgow Finnieston’s newest restaurant Usta

Usta, the self-proclaimed ‘home of the shish burger’, is the latest restaurant to open on Argyle Street.

Shish burgers have exploded in popularity in places like Turkey, inspired by the style of cooking meat on spears over charcoal.

Glasgow Times: Chef HadiChef Hadi (Image: Colin Mearns, Newsquest)

Glasgow Times: Hadi is pictured with Mali Mazaheri, restaurant manager at Usta.Hadi is pictured with Mali Mazaheri, restaurant manager at Usta. (Image: Colin Mearns, Newsquest)

Glasgow Times:

At Usta, shish burgers are hand-made each day using ground meat blended with onions, parsley, and a special Usta spice mix.

Head chef and owner Hadi Seyed Tabatabaeyan spent around six months designing the menu.

He uses a special “massive fork” to skewer each 10 ounce patty which is cooked throughout over the restaurant’s charcoal grill.

Hadi said: “Everybody so far has loved our burgers. It’s quite amazing.

“We believe you should come in hungry and leave happy.

“We do not skimp on the food size. Our portions are quite generous and it’s delicious. We make them every day.

“Shish burgers are quite popular back home in our country.

“Glasgow hasn’t had the shish burger before so that’s why we’re doing it.”

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

There are seven different types of burgers, each one named after an iconic film that inspired the toppings.

For example, Pulp Fiction is topped with pastrami, caramelised onion and cheddar cheese and served on a black bun.

The Braveheart is topped with haggis.

Hadi said: “It’s Mediterranean-style food and it’s something Glasgow hasn’t seen before.”

Sister restaurant to nearby Meze Meze, Usta in Turkish means master or connoisseur, someone who is an expert at their craft.

A chef for 36 years, Hadi has certainly mastered the craft of cooking.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

He said: “Usta in our language means somebody who knows about a particular job. That’s why we called it Usta.”

The team put their heart and soul into giving the former cafe unit a new lease on life.

Hadi said: “We acquired the property around September last year. It took us a good while to refurbish it. It was a really run-down café.

“We took over and totally refurbished the whole property from top to bottom. It took us nearly eight months.”

Each corner of the restaurant is inspired by a different country on the Meditteranean, with bric-a-brac lining the walls of exposed brickwork.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

Magnificent floral baskets hang at the entrance to the eatery, welcoming customers in for flavours inspired by warmer weather. 

In addition to shish burgers, Usta has a range of options including fish, chicken, and lamb specialities.

All dishes are cooked over the charcoal grill or inside of the wood fired oven.

“We don’t use gas to cook the food,” Hadi says.

Usta is currently open from 12pm to 10pm, Monday to Friday at 1024 Argyle Street.

A license to serve alcohol is expected in the coming weeks and patrons can look forward to the rollout of a breakfast menu.

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