This meal gets off to a flying start when Joe texts me to say he and Leo are already in the restaurant and have bagged a table. This happens at exactly the same time as I text them and say I am already in the restaurant and have bagged a table.

Cue much expectant looking about, peering into corners, cartoon question marks above heads and then dawning realisations. 

Oh. We are in entirely different restaurants. Ah. This may be my fault. 

Having told them it’s the Non Viet on Great Western Road we’re eating at – umm – when it’s actually the new (vegan) Non-Viet on Dumbarton Road. 

How we laugh. Well, I do. Awkwardly. They make their excuses, pay for their soft drinks, get into their respective cars (uh-oh there goes the carbon neutrality) and traverse Glasgow’s west end.

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Now. I may also, umm, have forgotten to mention out loud to them the vegan bit. Experience telling me that even nowadays, when veganism is super-fashionable, few words in the culinary language can dampen expectations and clear a room faster. 

Anyway, while they’re roving up and down looking for parking spaces, I’m getting the order in with the chirpy waitress (Australian perhaps), hiding the menu (beach resort style and full of touristy-style glossy photos anyway) and wondering how long it will take them, if they notice at all, to spot this is even more than meat-free. 

Answers on a postcard from Ha Long Bay please. 

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Well, the truth is, this place – a long, thin shop-front with a small kitchen at the back – is mobbed tonight and by the time they jostle in, we arrange ourselves round this little table, and I apologise for the location mix-up, the food is already here. It looks great too. A  biggish white plate containing khai vi dac biet – or, the house sharing platter.

Salt ‘n’ pepper crispy tofu, summer rolls (more tofu), Ho Long fried cakes, crispy spring rolls and mixed salad. We pick and we mix. The spring rolls (one each), crisp, light and fresh; the baggy texture of translucent summer rolls (one each) giving way to crunchiness, only the fried tofu, still slightly wobbly, causing anyone to pause. Finally the sweet and sourly dressed, shredded salad, bean-sprouty, crumbled peanuts atop is cleared from the plate. 

Verdict? Fine. But … It’s only later I’ll look at the bill and realise this sharing platter cost £14. Not in total. Per person. 
And therefore it was £42. Wow. You have been warned. Of course when the main courses arrive there can be no pretence that we’re not eating vegan food. 

The repeated presence of tofu for a start (more an ordering blunder by moi) is a pretty strong hint. 

It arrives in the, erm, tofu coconut curry though I still have to ask the waitress which is which when Ha Noi caramel and banana is placed beside it.

There are some unusual textures, of course, and at least they don’t involve death, yet the curry is all creamy, coconutty, hunks of sweet potato and pleasant if not much more.

The caramel and banana though is a whole different level of flavour with a delicious balance of soy and sweetness, chunks of banana, chill and seagrass (apparently) that sees me spooning the very last remnants  from the bottom of the bowl. I’d have this again. Today even. 

Not so keen on the special fried rice Com Rang Thap Cam (£14.95 like all the mains), which comes in a parchment, promises lotus and sweet corn but is simply chunky, occasionally claggy and overwhelmingly bland. Vegan eating then? Hold on. It’s no longer the hottest food on the culinary planet if the latest news stories are to be believed and that’s, apparently anyway, to do with an ultra-processed food backlash.

Frankly? I’m becoming somewhat tired with meat these days – for the processed horrors it involves and it so often adds little to a meal – and found this meal reasonably satisfying. If rarely that interesting. 

But these prices? 

Ooft. They do leave an aftertaste.


279 Dumbarton Road


Tel 0141 -261-3892

Open seven days 

Menu: Becoming super fashionable in the last few years veganism is given the Vietnamese magic with banana and caramel sauces, summer rolls, fried cakes yadayada. 3/5

Service: Pleasant and chatty, food brought swiftly, reasonable understanding of what was being served. 4/5

Price: Still not quite sure how a (relatively modest) platter of fried starters for three hit £42, or why main courses are all just shy of £15. Expensive. 2/5

Atmosphere: Bustley, small, hand-knitted shop-front restaurant which has a bit of a that touristy back-packer feel. 3/5

Food: Passes the taste test that you don’t have to be a vegan to eat here and enjoy it, just. Muted flavours tho.  At these prices would have expected organic veg. Liked the caramel and banana dish. Otherwise just okay. 6/10

Total: 18/30