A weekend of Glasgow dining - The Hanoi Bike Shop
Wanting to show Mel and Mum the best that the West end has to offer we had cocktails and a meal at the Hillhead Bookclub (still my staple go-to), toured the antiques shops and then, on Saturday, had what was maybe one of my favourite meals to date.
So at six o'clock we turned up, and from the very start it was a pleasure. We were seated upstairs, under a canopy of paper lanterns and a couple of push bikes resting among the rafters. The decor was casual and authentic, as soon as you are seated on your little stool you feel at home.
Our lovely waitress talked us through the menu; a tapas style system where 3 dishes among two people is recommended, accompanied by a couple of the sides they have on offer. Alternatively, you can order a bowl of 'Pho'; noodles in a fragrant broth served with a variety of meats, seafood or tofu with different spices to match. They even give you a plate of fresh spices so you can customise it to your taste.
A word on tofu; I have never been a fan. I don't know why, but early on in my childhood I was scarred against it. One too many stir-frys perhaps. The Hanoi Bike shop make their own tofu each morning, and serve it a multitude of ways, with salad, in noodles etc.
When choosing what meals we were going to share we went for the special tofu of the day, served in a chilli/lemon sauce. It was delicious. As far from my 'like eating a car sponge' perception as it is possible to be, I found myself wanting more. Definitely worth a try, if you are a lover or a hater. After all, the best tofu you could ever eat is the stuff that was made the same morning, by the people who prepare it for you that night.
|Chilli Tofu; it will surprise you|
For desert, it was coriander and lemongrass (or perhaps it was thai basil) ice-cream. Unusual and all the more wonderful for it.
I couldn't have found one fault, or one dish that wasn't just as good as the last. The staff were informed about the food, and very good at stopping you from ordering one dish too many. It would be easy to get carried away. You WANT to get carried away.
My favourite dish that we tried was the beef curry and whilst I can't remember it's exact name, I can tell you it's from the 'from the pot and grill' section and 110% worth a try. The Pho, personally, wasn't my favourite. However, mum and Mel still loved it and you couldn't criticise the fragrant flavours, pork just isn't a meat I'm wildly fond of.
|Seasonal Vegetables and the amazing beef dish|
|Coriander and lemongrass ice-cream|
Maybe next time I visit I will try the Jellyfish salad...
The Hanoi Bike Shop is the best place I have eaten so far in Glasgow, and beyond. For anyone visiting who likes this kind of food, make a beeline for Ruthven Lane.
Even if you aren't as sure of Vietnamese cuisine, I bet you a Spiced Gin that this place changes your mind...