So there’s a moment where I’m eating ox heart laab and googling ox heart laab and texting David Lueng and asking him what is bloody ox heart laab when I realise it’s very good.

Not the fact it is made of ox heart because if you ask me there’s a special part of pseuds’ corner reserved for those foodies who claim that offal is the best tasting of all dishes. Unless they were brought up on it, of course. The mind does have a curious way of convincing us that nothing seasons a dish, adds that glut of umami, like nostalgia. Incidentally, and to underline the pseuds point I can exclusively reveal that those chicken hearts I just ate, arranged like little olives on a kebab skewer, don’t really taste of anything at all. Pop, chew, gulp and they’re gone. But I tried them anyway. Like I’m trying the laab. The latter because David who knows these things texted that it was reputedly great and whilst apologising for not being able to make it to Nonya tonight (and I gave him a good 20 minutes notice) is now challenging my assertion that the chef may be Scottish.

No way, says he, after seeing the exotic food photos I ping over. He may have a point. There’s something quite strange happening tonight in this little place clinging to the edge of the Finnieston strip: it doesn’t matter what I ask the waiting staff, when the reply comes I can’t quite follow it.

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Now, they are completely Scottish. Speaking perfect English. It may then have something to do with the swoosh, plop, swoosh of the background hipsterish music slushing every second word away.

It could perhaps be that this cool place has filled up dramatically on this otherwise quiet Tuesday night, so they are speaking fast. They’re certainly nice guys. A bit of beanie hat action which I take no issue with – even though it is indoors. I’d wear one more often myself if I didn’t always look like Bennie from Crossroads.

Anyway, in amongst the hard to follow answer I receive when I ask what is in the laab I do pick up that the chef is in fact a she and is from Hong Kong, or Malaysia, or possibly via London.

Hey, it matters not. The flavours are from somewhere in goodland. Maybe not those fried cashews with lime leaves and chilli. Not anyway until, in frustration, I tip them into the bowl of house pickles, sweet, coconutty, limey, cucumber, carrot, shallots and passion – and that fires it all into life. But definitely the onglet (rare slivers of hanger steak) with lemongrass, toasted chilli and fistfuls of coriander, dollops of fish sauce and goodness knows what.

I think the waiter tried to warn me earlier that I might ignite if I tried it without cooling rice. I did anyway. And I’m still here. Relaxing on soothing shores of steak marinated to melting point, but only after surfing through tidal waves of big punchy flavours.

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There was some story about the Chinese chive and bamboo shoot dumplings that frankly I didn’t catch. Did he say no gluten? My heart sunk. Actually they have a scintillating smokey flavour, a surprisingly rich filling and zing when dipped in the soy-based sauce.

How I end up with a spring onion pancake when I order coconut chicken wings is another story, but let's just say the staff probably can’t understand me either.

It’s a lucky break anyway as the pancake is crisp and flaky, dry fried yet still moist, fiery when dipped into the searingly rich coconut curry sauce. There’s a whole mackerel as well, skin attractively bubbled on the grill, three dipping sauces; minty, fishy and sweet.

The best though? That laab. Or larb als, as David has texted, making it suddenly, magically appear on Google. Refreshingly minty anyway, more chill and fish sauce power; lush toasted ground rice. That finely chopped ox heart? Just another texture. But this one’s not just for pseuds. Give it a whirl.


10 Claremont Street


G3 7HA

0141 221 6200

Menu: Cool Asian stuff. Papaya salads, siu yuk roast pork, rare onglets and even ox heart laab. Interesting and bold. 5/5

Atmosphere: Got that part-cafe, part-bar and part-resto feel which is all the rage for new starts. Comfortable, fresh and bright. 4/5

Service: Little bit of a young hipster vibe but in a good way. Pleasant, friendly and knowledgeable if hard to follow. 4/5

Price: At the bargain end of the basement with dishes available in small or large portions from around £6 up to £12. 4/5

Food: Lots of very big flavours with sophisticated presentation. The onglet is a powerhouse, the ox heart laab a sensation. 8/10