I’m stood in the waiting/ordering area - I guess you could call it a foyer - at Welcome To Doner, the no-nonsense, ‘let’s-make-kebabs-better’ doner kebab shop in Headingley.
It’s freezing outside and consequently, it’s freezing in the tiny space there is in which to place your order and wait for it to arrive.
Now, I did try phoning my order in but couldn’t get through and was directed to their website, or perhaps it was one of these third party operators. In any case, that didn’t work either and so, reluctantly, I drove there (yes, without a coat - I know, my own fault) to make the order in person, which I knew would take longer.
I Am Doner is a decent concept if you ask me. They’ve taken the humble Friday night hangover cure of choice for most Brits and decided to give it a bit of a makeover, to ‘jazz it up’ a bit and generally make it better. And they have. But before I come to that, let me go back to the entrance lobby (I’m still hunting for a word to describe the 3m square space in which you are forced to loiter). Anyway, as I said, it was brass monkeys in there. The atmosphere wasn’t helped by two laddish delivery drivers, one on a scooter, the other on an actual pedal bike, who were engaged in some banter about who had the better lot.
I listened to this mildly interesting dialogue while I waited for my order to arrive, which it did after about ten minutes. A quick drive home and I was able to unwrap a Kebeb Special Small (£5.95) and a Kebab Lamb Small (£5.95), along with a portion of fries (£2.50) and cheesy chips (£3.50). It’s all very reasonable price-wise, coming to a wallet pleasing £17.90.
The food feels way healthier than your average, sliced off the... whatever-those-things-are-called in kebab shops (meat hunks?); it was dressed with tons of salad but not enough sauce. Our meat was a touch dry as well, which made for slow going. The pitta was about a mile away from those ‘from the freezer’ things you get (usually in desperation) on a Friday night after too many ales. When you are in the shop, you can see them being made. That’s all part of their USP. There’s also tons of options in terms of fillings, from steak, roast lamb, halloumi, et al, plus some nice rice and salad side dishes.
But was it good enough? Well, I wouldn’t rush back (although that’s not to say it’s not nice enough), it’s just that there’s something wonderfully decadent about the cliched Friday night kebab. The service could also be tweaked, made friendlier, with more information up front about what they do. The flavours here were good but not good enough to stop me picking up the phone and ordering standard doner meat and chips.
Factfile - I Am Doner, Headingley
Address: 23 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 3AA, tel: 0113 274 8881