GNOCCHI, those little pellets they sell in the supermarkets that we give to the kids and which don’t taste of very much?

They don’t have to be like that. My mum used to make them for me. All that boiling of potatoes, sieving them, mixing with flour and then poaching. What an enormous faff for her, I realised once I grew older. Done right, as she did and as they are done here, with the added extra of some braised rabbit, the gnocchi seared a little in the pan? Soft, buttery, delicious. Fresh, crushed, seasonal peas on top too.

It's a funny place, Riverhill. I wander in at the fag-end of a midweek lunchtime. Outside, on a rare dry day, people scurry by from nearby Gordon Street, occasionally peering in. The place is semi-busy. There's a group of lawyers over there, eating and making me hungry; a couple with a baby, fussing; a man sitting alone on a high stool beside the bar, his skip cap beside him on the bench table. I take a seat and wonder if that’s a dirty glass on my table and wonder when the waiting staff – two good-looking youngsters – are going to notice me. I’ve got friends who insist it’s rarely a good sign that – attractive waiting staff. Many’s the bar in Glasgow they insist that has been ruined by hiring on looks alone. Ha-ha. Maybe …

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Here's Joanna Blythman's verdict on Riverhill

Tick-tock goes the clock. Rumble, rumble goes my tum. Is there a bit of a dead service area here beside the door? Actually, is two staff enough, even though lunchtime is almost over? The waitress is very busy behind the bar and the waiter equally busy dealing with tables. Then he gets a moment and points out the glass isn’t dirty at all – it’s for me to fill with water from the carafe. D’oh.

Shouldn’t it be upside down to keep the dust out, the carafe covered too, I think in an attempt to save some food-critic face, but I’ve forgotten all that by the time the ribs arrive. Charred, crispy, palm-sugar-and-mustard lamb ribs – sweet, juicy – with labneh, za’atar and quinoa mint tabbouleh, all piled up fabulously on the plate. A spicy, minty fresh and zingy accompaniment to the meat. With all those zeds and nehs I’m thinking Yotam Ottolenghi and those cookbooks, padded, pretty, best read and admired at leisure and then given as a present to someone else. Someone with the time to cook them. And to source the ingredients.

There’s lavosh, an Ottolenghi cracker if ever there was one, studded with seeds, crisp and shiny and beautiful. I last saw lavosh piled artfully in Ottolenghi’s Knightsbridge shop, but didn’t buy it. Do you think I’m crackers? In here the lavosh comes with seared cauliflower florets, delicious creamy skordalia or mashed cauliflower around it.

A woman has come up from downstairs, the kitchen maybe, and service has switched up a gear to flawless. I have a coconut roti, a potato nan, hot and sour ginger chutney and cucumber, peanut, pomegranate yogurt to follow. It’s an interesting menu, this. Haggis croquettes rub shoulders with Riverhill crowdie and chanterelle pierogies, grilled octopus bumps up beside banh mi. There’s a curry of the day too on the chalkboard. A little bit mwah, mwah dahling? I dunno. We live in a world awash with global flavours. A culinary dictionary might come in handy to make sense of some of it, but there’s no denying the flavours are there.

The chutney’s excellent but the roti and the nan? Nope. Hard, perhaps reheated. Disappointing. A dangerous thing to make in Glasgow is a nan if it’s not going to be bubbly and fresh and soft from a tandoor. A risky thing to venture is a roti in a city full of ethnic restaurants that fire them out effortlessly. A dish too far? Probably. But do they spoil an otherwise interesting meal? Nope.

Riverhill Restaurant

3 West Nile Street, Glasgow (riverhillcafe.com, 0141 248 3495)

Menu: Take your food dictionary to steer you through skordalia, za’atars and pierogi. The dishes are interesting and even borderline exciting. 4/5

Atmosphere: Feels like a long, narrow converted bar, with plain tables and muted soothing colours. Comfortable enough, though. 4/5

Service: Slow out of the blocks at the fag-end of lunchtime, but pleasant, friendly and on the ball when they got up to speed. 4/5

Price: The ribs cost £6.50 and were worth every penny. The gnocchi cost £11.50 and would probably have been just as good without the rabbit. Great value. 5/5

Food: Different. It's bit like journeying through your favourite celebrity chef cookbook, but it's none the worse for that. 8/10

Total: 25/30