AINT-NO-BO-DY, love-me-better, boom. The Ibiza mix batters every fibre of my body as I scan the menu, distracted by three baby-faced barmen to my left rattling out cocktail after cocktail almost, weirdly, in time with the beat.

And now the waiter is at my elbow asking if I am ready to order sir, like 10 seconds after he sat me down, pointed to the menu and left, seemingly just to zip round the block and return: hello.

Is it even the same guy I’m thinking as I ask: “Thai Donuts”. And look beyond staff rapidly criss-crossing this tight Tikki bar meets Thai restaurant on towards the front door where people are still queuing to get in at 8pm on a, wait for this, Tuesday night.

WTH? Is exactly what I thought when I ambled in here say an hour ago, expecting yet another tiresome city centre theme restaurant, loads of empty tables and a mediocre meal.

Five minutes after that I’m being sent to cool my heels across the road in All Bar One which is sign-of-the-times deader than a very dead dodo, having received instructions to return in say 30 minutes at least when a table might, just may be free.

“It will have to be a high one sir,” comes the warning. I resist the temptation to reply that’s no surprise boom, boom given the average age of the customers tonight because I think he’s actually suggesting that I may not be able to climb up to one. Ugh. Oh, oh, oh. Ain’t Nobody, Makes Me Happy.

Fast forwarding, a waitress squeezed by moments ago dropping off a trayload of neat little dishes with a smile and a muffled explanation.

Ah, small plates, I remember, looking at the £7 Sunshine Beef. I see hewn peppers, lots of chilli, squares of dark meat. I taste fiery heat, crunchy peppers then crispy edged beef, tough but small enough to be okay.

In my other hand I’m holding one of three actual doughnut shaped, er doughnuts, wondering if any cuisine in the world has resisted the march of the deep fat fryer and tasting, firm shrimp and minced pork, doughnut and dipping into a tangy, quite vinegary, but much better for it, house sweet chilli sauce.

Uh-oh. I’m reluctant to admit I’ve already forgotten what I ordered but have to stop another waiter and ask what are the three round things, topped with micro-meat, crunchy bits, coriander and doused with sauce squeezings.

Pin Pin King Prawn, I’m told. Ah yeah, nine bangers a portion. I remember having to use a knife and fork to get at them, them being so floppy and juicy and slippery, chopsticks are a no, no.

Moist, sweet, crunchy, there’s some coriander, meaty textures. Pleasant enough I’d say.

No mistaking the Poh Pia Tod or crab and prawn spring rolls which get a special “New In Town” label on the buzzy menu and come with a vibrant Nam Jim Jeaw sauce that is all salty, fishy lime flavours.

As for the Khao Pod Tod a.k.a Thailand’s famous corn fritters? Full disclosure here? I don’t like these. At all.

They’re big rough balls of dough, way too gooey on the inside for me, and despite the promise of red curry paste through the mix are simply bland and pretty unpleasant.

It’s worth pointing out at this point two things. 1) Other textures are available at Panang. I simply ended up with a lot of fried food because I avoided the noodles, the curries and the grills.

I would probably have gone round the corner to Ting Thai Caravan if I had wanted them.

2) The staff are very good, even though nobody seems to be allowed to move slower than gentle-run.

I’ll have a conversation later with one about how nobody under 23 apparently drinks beer anymore, cocktails all round, and on how this place is so staggeringly busy. Apparently it’s cool. Ah.


71 St Vincent Street


Tel: 0141 221-0202

Opening: from lunches til late, seven days.

Menu: Thai food meets small plates meets Glasgow cool kids, meets the youth cocktail craze. Thai donuts, sunshine beef, plus the usual suspects. 3

Price: Small plates, very occasionally small prices, usually mean big bills. Most dishes start at £6, and can hit £8.50. Weirdly, they seem to charge £2 for extra dips and there’s an auto-service charge. 3

Atmosphere: It’s pretty big, like a theme bar, and mobbed on a Tuesday evening with a 30-minute wait and a great energy to the place. Certainly doing something very right. 5

Service: Impressive. Nobody moves slower than sprint pace, yet they’re all chirpy cheery and friendly and chatty if detained for more than 30 seconds. 5

Food: Unthreatening, prettily presented on small plates; includes crunchy crowd-pleasing takes on Thai staples including those Thai Donuts and Sunshine Beef. 6

Total: 21/30