Good Evening Vietnam – Dinner at The Hanoi Bike Shop
If you’ve recently spotted a rickety bicycle or ten around Glasgow’s west end sporting the branding, ‘The Hanoi Bike Shop’ and you’ve wondered what the scooby it’s prattling on about then you’re not alone. It’d been plaguing me for weeks. That’s until the other day I took a shortcut home down Ruthven Lane and it suddenly all became clear. That’s right, The Hanoi Bike Shop is, in actual fact, Glasgow’s first and finest Vietnamese canteen.
It was only right to have a cheeky sample.
What I found was not what I was expecting. In fact, I was really rather surprised. Surprised in a good way. Very. Your standard three-course dinner out, The Hanoi Bike Shop is not. For a start, the name of virtually every dish on the menu is unrecognizable, and when it arrives, doesn’t look quite what you had imagined but is twice as delicious and far more interesting. You don’t even order in an average kind of way, instead you just choose a selection of dishes – from a selection of ‘street food’ and ‘from the pot’ – and they gradually stream them over to your table, in no particular order, making for a feast of Asian goodness and, quite frankly, a party in your mouth.
Don’t look around and be misled into assuming they’ve gone for the ‘Urban Outfitters’ approach to Asian cuisine, the décor may be playing at chic and shabby but there is nothing shabby about the grub and it’s authenticity is far more than skin-deep. It’s laid-back eating out at its best and the food is more than good enough to rival more swanky options in the locality, with a tastiness that can only have been achieved by someone over the stove who is truly passionate about food from this neck of the woods. It doesn’t have to try too hard to impress.
In many ways it just didn’t feel like being in Glasgow at all – the food, the atmosphere, it really did all feel like being somewhere else entirely and that has to make for a great night out. I’m not the first to realise The Hanoi Bike Shop’s charm either. No, for the couple of hours we were scoffing, there was a continuous queue at the door. No reservations are taken and it’s open until 12.30am over the weekends so is perfect for a late night bite and jumping at all hours.
It’s my new favourite place. And just to clarify, no, they don’t appear to sell bicycles.
The Hanoi Bike Shop, 8 Ruthven Lane, Glasgow, G12 9BG 0141 334 7165