Even on a grey-white day, Glasgow's architecture is so pleasing to the eye. This photo was taken just off Byres Road in the West End of Glasgow - a short subway ride from the city centre and well worth the gander away from the overwhelming bustle of shoppers swarming the streets.
It's in the West End I recall some of my fondest memories. As my dad commented on my last post - nothing beats eating a pie in a roll (sausage roll for me) while walking down Byres Road scouting out old Broons books in Arthur's shop (closed now, sadly). If you're a fan of vintage clothing, junk shops and cute coffee shops, this is the place for you. It's like nothing ever changes here, except the addition of some even more brilliant gems - one of them being The Hanoi Bike Shop.
If you know me then you'll know I am a huge fan of Vietnamese food. The love stems from trying summer rolls on my sister's recommendation a few years ago in my first visit to Pho with my then boyfriend. We were hooked, and I have been obsessed ever since. You can find these summer rolls - also known as crystal rolls or rice paper rolls - in Waitrose and M&S. My mum made them for me for my 21st birthday and they were brilliant - ingredients all available at Waitrose, too, (if you have the patience for that kind of thing).
Unfortunately, Vietnamese food hasn't quite broke the UK's food market just yet - in fact, The Hanoi Bike Shop is the only Vietnamese restaurant in Glasgow, but I'm hoping that will change soon. From light pho (a kind of noodle soup) to zingy salads, it's such fresh, flavoursome food, it's impossible not to like it.
After much deliberation I ordered two starters: Goi Cuon - rice paper rolls with prawns, omelette, herbs, pickles and noodles and the Cha Gio Heo - crispy pork spring rolls with nuoc cham.
I loved the summer rolls (obviously) and the fish sauce, lime and sugar dip was amazing, but I was especially impressed with the pork spring rolls - they were crispy, packed with pork and paired with the chilli dip, an absolute dream to eat.
Impressively, The Hanoi Bike Shop makes their own organic tofu - something I didn't even know was possible - and everything on the menu is made fresh to order. Beautiful, authentic decor and an array of sauces and drinks to choose from makes this place worth visiting and visiting again, bringing someone new each time to share the goodness.
It's not cheap - I paid about £12 for two relatively small starters - but it certainly is tasty and way better than any chain restaurant you'll find on the high street and for that, I'm happy to fork out a little extra.
Do you think you'll give Vietnamese food a try? I highly recommend The Hanoi Bike Shop if it's your first time - the staff were super friendly and attentive and the food is fantastic. Find out more here.