Seven. That’s how many businesses have moved in and moved on from this glass-fronted location at the foot of Byres Rd. Cursed? Probably not, but it does raise some questions. Could there be something inherently off-putting about 2 Partickbridge St? Is it just too much effort to cross that busy junction? Who knows, but the guys behind this place will be hoping the early buzz translates into bums on seats. Paul Sloan has had a busy few years. Most recently he’s the brains behind Mezzidakia, completing the St Vincent St triumvirate that also includes Chaakoo and Topolabamba. Kevin Campbell of Rotunda Group has an equally impressive portfolio, including the likes of Rioja, Temaki, and, one of our favourites, Halloumi.
Credentials established, so what about the restaurant? Nam Tuk Tram Stop describes itself as “pan Asian” which gives me immediate cause for concern. The website seems clear: they’re all about creating tasty mash ups that celebrate the diversity of Asian cuisine. A decent marketing blurb sure, but too often “pan Asian” is a description that translates to “jack of all trades master of none”. Problematic nomenclature aside, the interior is the sort of eclectically curated jumble of bamboo and primary colours that we’ve come to expect from these self-consciously fresh and funky joints. It’s a look several steps beyond the comfortingly dingy environs of Hanoi Bike Shop a short stroll up Byres Rd.
Eyeballs suitably assaulted, it was time to see whether the food made the same sort of impact. Sharing portions are in, so we went for orders of gyoza, korokke, Korean tacos, green chicken curry and chicken pad prig gaeng. It takes a decent dumpling to make an impression these days but the gyoza here were pretty standard fare and those four crispy little parcels of pork were dispatched in jig time. The Korean tacos looked appetising and were generously filled with beef, although there was little sign of the promised Asian salsa. Top marks for what seemed like a corn tortilla but the beef lacked spice and had an oddly gelatinous texture. Next, and probably the best thing on the table, were the korokke. These breaded, deep-fried pumpkin croquettes were perfectly crispy with a fluffy sweet and savoury filling. They were similar to the pumpkin fritters adorning Panko’s incredible veggie katsu curry.
Still to come were the green chicken curry and chicken pad prig gaeng. The latter packed a satisfyingly pungent kick of red curry paste that made my nose run. It was an enjoyable dish without hitting any heights. The green chicken curry was pretty standard fare and unremarkable as green curries go. Like so much of what we ate, it was tasty without being outstanding.
If the food had its ups and downs it’s fair to say the same of the service. On the night we ate here (shortly before Christmas) there were probably more staff than customers. Despite that, the requested steamed rice only appeared at the third time of asking. Ditto the bill. The one thing that drives me up the wall in a restaurant is being made to wait to pay my bill. I asked once and then watched as the waitress proceeded to clean tables while her colleagues had a pleasant chat. After 10 minutes I asked again and 10 minutes later I gave up and paid at the till.
For the food plus a cocktail and a beer it was £44.70 which isn’t bad. While there were obvious problems, it wouldn’t put me off popping in again. I wouldn’t make a particular effort to dine here but there are enough intriguing sounding items on the menu that I’d be willing to risk it.
Nam Tuk Tram Stop
2 Partick Bridge St
0141 357 0330
Service was poor