Now I’m more accustomed to riding my bike than hanging it from the ceiling, but I suppose when you’ve also got a menu of cracking Vietnamese food to back you up, you can parlay that into a cult restaurant without much trouble. And believe it or not, that’s exactly the recipe for success hit upon by The Hanoi Bike Shop, Glasgow’s cult Vietnamese canteen. You won’t find a fix for a flat tyre here, but you will get a solution to all your hunger pangs – and really, isn’t that more important?
Nestled away in the tangle of cobbled streets in Glasgow’s West End, The Hanoi Bike Shop is found on Ruthven Lane. The lane was actually voted one of Glasgow’s best streets by Secret Glasgow readers, largely off the back of the foodie offerings found here, so we can tell you that the restaurant comes reader-approved. With a crazy colourful decor and a charming little outside area for when the sun shines, it’s a pretty idyllic spot for Vietnamese food (even if the Scottish weather might shatter the illusion of actually being in Vietnam).
As you may have been able to tell from the truly awful pun I stuck in the headline, pho is king here. The Hanoi Bike Shop take Vietnam’s favourite dish and allow you to trick it out exactly as you desire – just choose your base (beef, chicken, seafood, and tofu & mushroom pho are the four options), add extras such as purple cabbage or an egg, and tailor the spice level to your palate. Fair warning though: the spice scale runs from the extra mild ‘Nobody’s Judging’ to the ‘Shall We Call An Ambulance Now?’, which I think speaks for itself.
You can grab your pho to go if you were looking for a bowlful of broth to warm up a chilly Glasgow day, but we’d advise you to take a seat and dive into the full menu, given the chance. Street food snacks like salt & chili squid and coconut caramel monkfish scampi sit alongside larger dishes, which include the heat-filled shaking tofu or an intriguing ginger caramel chicken dish. Speaking of tofu, The Hanoi Bike Shop make their own from scratch, so it’s worth adding that to your order.
The truly indecisive amongst you can opt for the banquet experience, in which the restaurant team pick your dishes for you for £30 a head. It’s a great way to explore the full menu without having to hem and haw over all the options – if only all of life were that simple…