Normally when I go over to Glasgow, I try and meet up with a family friend for a catch up. It’s always good fun and I’m always assured of a good time over good food. When my friend mentioned that we were going for dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant, I couldn’t be more excited. When I found out it was a restaurant that served Vietnamese street food, I couldn’t wait to visit The Hanoi Bike Shop.
For those of you who’ve never had street food, it’s basically simple food that is served in stalls or shops on the street. Nothing fancy is involved, just cooked hot food, served on a skewer (or if you’re in Hong Kong, in a paper bag or on greaseproof baking paper in a plastic bag with skewers for utensils) that you eat on the go or take home. It’s cheap and it usually tastes amazing, but you need to be in the know of where to get your food – there are some stalls that are unhygienic Nothing ever beats authentic street food!
The menu and decor has been inspired by the staff’s own experiences of street food in Vietnam which, in itself, was exciting for me. I really liked the decor of the restaurant which includes bicycles in various stages of disrepair, nuts and bolts (that the OH could appreciate), paper lanterns as well as wooden tables and chairs with jars of chopsticks that was reminiscent for me of Chinese street restaurants or dai pai dongs.
The shop has been awarded the List’s ‘Best Newcomer 2013’ award and having only been limited to my experiences of pho and Vietnamese summer rolls, I was eager to try other dishes on offer. Only the freshest ingredients have been used and all dishes are made in their kitchen so is served when ready. While I enjoy the Vietnamese dishes you can get at the restaurants in Edinburgh, I was eager to try some sharing platters as I tend to veer towards pho as I don’t get it often enough to try other dishes on the menu.
Banh Trang Cuon (Vietnamese summer rolls with prawn, omelette, mint, coriander and noodles)
Ran Ngo Ngot (coconut and sweetcorn fritters with gem lettuce, mixed herbs and chilli dip)
Doi Huyet Va Moc (Bike Shop black pudding with salt and pepper squid and herby noodle salad)
Bo La Lot (grilled minced beef wrapped in betel leaf with crushed peanut and pickles) with jasmine rice
Five spice pork special with herby noodle salad and a sweet and spicy vinaigrette sauce)
Gan Ga Me (sesame crusted chicken liver with pickled kohlrabi salad
Everything tasted amazing, even if I was a bit hesitate to try some of the dishes (like the chicken liver) at first, but I can already making another visit just so I can try other dishes on their menu as well as their special dishes!
After the meal, we were all happily satisfied without feeling too full like you sometimes get when portion sizes are too big. We were thinking about going to a nearby ice cream shop for some icy desserts, but were somewhat tempted try their specials.
Passionfruit ice cream
Lime leaf panna cotta with chilli, mint and coriander pineapple
Five spice cake with a touch of liquer clotted cream
Even after pudding at the restaurant, I still had a sweet tooth craving for ice cream, so we decided to head to the nearby ice cream parlour, Nardini’s. For anyone who can appreciate the full-bodied flavour of well-made ice cream, like a little child I ran straight for the ice cream selection when we entered the door just so I could see what I wanted.
In the end once we were seated and handed (yes this is true!) a sundae menu, I couldn’t resist ordering my perfect combination sundae: chocolate and peanut butter. Some might find it a bit strange, but luckily I was with friends who could understand (and appreciate!) the sentiments of how well chocolate and peanut butter work together, like Nutella and peanut butter does!
My chocolate and peanut butter sundae
I was so full I could’ve rolled myself back to our hotel that night, but I was well satiated and could definitely say that my first proper foodie experience in Glasgow could be described in two words: foodie heaven.
Nardini’s can be found at 215 Byres Road, Glasgow G12 8UD just down the street from The Hanoi Bike Shop.