Hanoi Bike Shop

Hanoi Bike Shop has made a name for itself in the West End, occupying the former site of Stravaigin 2 & serving up a range of Vietnamese dishes. It’s somewhere that’s been on my hitlist for a while so we decided to pop along one Saturday night.

Wheels

The only word to describe the restaurant is quirky. It’s split over 2 levels & filled with lots of bric a brac type artifacts such as wheel spokes, tin cans & metal signs. It all merges together to give the feel that you’re actually eating in a street food shack type place. It’s also pretty cosy, which does have the disadvantage that you can overhear the people next to you without much effort, especially if they’ve had a few!

Hanoi Bike Shop Menu

In terms of dishes, most are of a sharing/tapas size, with 3 or 4 dishes recommended along with a side dish or 2. There is  a wide range of street food dishes ranging from rice paper rolls to sweet potato & soy bean cakes & grilled mince wrapped in betel leaf. The remained of the menu is made up of curry, stews, grills & traditional Vietnamese Pho. I shouldn’t forget to mention that Hanoi Bike Shop also makes all of their tofu in-house – the only restaurant I know who does so!

Condiments

Given the wide range of dishes as well as the specials on offer, it was really hard narrowing it down to a few dishes to share between us. We first went for the rice paper rolls filled with prawn & omelette. Being naive & never having had rice rolls before, I fully expected them to be similar to spring rolls. When I took a bite & it was a cold, I did get a bit of a shock! However, the roll was filled to the brim & the filling was full of flavour, enhanced by the fresh coriander throughout. The accompanying vinegar chilli dip gave it a bit of a boost.

Rice Paper Rolls

The remainder of our dishes were:

  • Black pudding & salt n pepper squid – this was delicious! The salt n pepper seasoning was not so overpowering that it detracted from the black pudding & complemented it well
  • Spiced Pheasant Curry – the flavour of this really reminded me of a massman curry which is my favourite Thai curry. I’ve never had pheasant in a curry before & can say it won’t be the last time!
  • Caramelised Sardines – this was a special on the night & the brown sugar caramelisation made the sardines so moreish. However, eating these with chopsticks proved very difficult!
  • The side we had were jasmine rice for the curry & seasonal greens wok fried with garlic which were very garlicky

Pheasant CurryBlack Pudding & Squid

I am a bit gutted that we didn’t try the tofu but there was so much choice that it wasn’t what we felt like on the night. Plus, it gives me an excuse to go back! We only had a glass of wine & a beer with our meal & the total came to just over £40, which was pretty reasonable. The one drawback was that because of where we were seated, we didn’t catch the price of the sardines so were shocked to find out it was £10 for the 4 sardines we ate. A bit pricey in our opinion.

Hanoi Bike Shop

I will definitely be back to Hanoi Bike Shop since there’s so much more on the menu I have to try!

Gandolfi Fish

Last week we celebrated our first wedding anniversary & decided to go somewhere a bit higher end to celebrate. Picking a restaurant was hard, Glasgow just has so many options! We whittled it down to a couple of options, from which I picked Gandolfi Fish since I’d heard nothing but good reviews from people who had dined there. Even my wee gran who is the hardest woman to please with food said they did the best fish & chips so it must be good!

Cava

We booked a table for 7pm & I was quite surprised at how quite it was. It seemed like we were caught between pre-theatre/post shopping diners & dinner service. The menu is what you would expect of a fish restaurant, a decent variety of different fish with some regulars like calamari, fish & chips & prawn cocktail. They also have a specials menu which contains seasonal starters & mains along with matching wines. I got the impression that Gandolfi have a big emphasis on wine & aim to provide matching wines for each dish, along with an extensive wine list!

Lobster Pic

I opted for a special of thai spiced crab cakes in what was a hard decision between them & squid braised in red wine. When my starter arrived, after a couple of bites, I regretted my choice as the crab cakes were regular crab cakes with a bit of seasoning & spices, nothing really to shout home about. A’s starter, however, was fantastic. He’d opted for the salt & chilli squid, which was in a calamari style. The flavouring was subtle but still with the kick you’d expect from salt & chilli but the main talking point, for me, was the freshness of the squid. Instead of a rubbery, chewy texture you often get with calamari, this was soft & tender & almost melted in the mouth.

Salt & Chilli Calamari

Crab Cakes

I’d known what I was having for my main before the night – salmon wellington & it did not disappoint! The pastry was thin enough that it didn’t detract from the salmon, which was, well probably the best salmon I’ve ever tasted. It was cooked perfectly, flaking with any tough & was accompanied by a perfect hollandaise sauce. My only complaint was that there wasn’t enough sauce! The other main, peat smoked haddock, was also melt in the mouth, full of flavour, amazingness (I don’t know if that’s a word).  Honestly, I need to get my hands on some because it was so moreish!

Salmon Wellington

Peat Smoked Haddock

The side of chippy chips I’d ordered were a big let down. Given that there is a chippy adjoined to the restaurant, I’d expected them to be amazing. Instead, they were just greasy chips with no flavour to them whatsoever. Additionally, with the haddock, the menu stated crushed potatoes with spring onions but it was spring onion mash. It wouldn’t have been an issue for me but given A doesn’t like mash, it wasn’t what he’d wanted.

Chips

I think we will visit Gandolfi Fish again but go with my gut decision with menu choices to prevent from being disappointed again!

Fish Pic

 

 

The Shandon Belles – Two Fat Ladies

The Two Fat Ladies is a prominent name in the Glasgow restaurant scene & I always remembering being fascinated with the fish decor in their original restaurant on Dumbarton Road. Last week we visited their bistro for dinner along with our parents.

The Shandon Belles is in a strange location, between the now hip area of Finnieston & the hustle & bustle of the City Centre without actually being in Charing Cross. It’s located right next to Anderston station, in the same building as The Buttery but round the corner & downstairs. Still with me after that? Great! The Shandon Belles is what I would class as Two Fat Ladies more affordable restaurant. They offer a seasonal menu, changing monthly, that offers 2 courses for £15 & 3 courses for £18. If you want wine included, you can add on a half bottle for another £6 – what a bargain! The decor of the restaurant reminded me of your gran’s house, quite homely with lots of knick knacks dotted around the place! (Maybe this is because my gran & granda also had a brass eagle like the one in the pic below)

Shandon Belles Decor

The menu is quite varied, with a good mix of vegetarian, meat & fish dishes despite only having a few dishes on offer for each course. I couldn’t resist the Spanish Frittata with Chorizo & garlic mayonnaise to start. Earlier in the week I had attempted to make a frittata that was severely lacking in eggs & when this one came out, it put mine to shame! It was full of veg & strong chorizo, surrounded by fluffy, well cooked eggs. I love my mayo & I love garlic & the garlic mayo accompanying this dish was one of the best I’ve ever tasted! It was so fresh had the right amount of garlic to not be overpowering but to get a good taste of it that it didn’t detract from the flavour of the frittata. I also pinched a bit of my mum’s starter – hummus with breadsticks. From the shape of the breadsticks, it was obvious that they were homemade which was a nice touch & the hummus had quite a smooth texture compared to others I’ve tried but was tasty & seasoned well.

Spanish Frittata  Hummus with Breadsticks

Deciding on a main was hard as they had a fillet of cod wrapped in parma ham, roast supreme of chicken with moroccan cous cous, salmon with pepperonata, steak & chips & sea bream on offer. How could I possibly choose just one dish from all of that?! In the end, I opted for the daily fish special of sea bream with creamed leeks & bacon. The fish arrived & there were 3 decent sized fillets of fish, perfectly seasoned with sea salt & crispy skin that broke apart once I cut into it. The creamed leeks didn’t really offer anything to the dish as the fish was so full of flavour. Each main is accompanied with a dish of potatoes & seasonal veg. When they arrived, as there was 6 of us, I was surprised we had only been given 2 dishes to share between us. However, halfway through my main, I realised why as I was struggling to finish.

Mixed VegSea Bream

The waitress gave us a good rest between our mains & deciding on desserts. As you know I’m not normally a dessert person but after a wait, I decided to go for the Scottish cheeseboard. It arrived with some Arran oatcakes, blue cheese, smoked garlic cheese & brie. All 3 portions of cheese were delicious & fresh, with the Brie being exceptionally good. The only downside of the board was the lack of butter which meant eating the other 2 cheeses was a bit dry.

Scottish Cheeseboard

If you’re looking for a good, affordable meal full of fresh Scottish ingredients & seasonal flavours, this is definitely the place to go! I’m hoping that we can pop along next month to try out September’s offerings!