Review: Summer nights at Nonya

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Spare a thought for the chefs of Glasgow. It’s impossibly warm this month. Which is fine with us, keep it coming. It just makes working in a kitchen more challenging.

With the sun shimmering through blinds at Nonya it should actually be hot in the dining room too, but they have two roof fans. Not just a design nod towards the Southeast Asian countries that inspire the menu, both units are quietly working overtime to keep the air circulating.

The room is compact and easy to look at. Not overembellished, but everything is in it’s place. There’s a bar downstairs where they serve the bar snacks menu – those bites are also available in the main dining room, which has its own handsome cocktail bar.

We are sitting directly across from this, so when we order a large glass of Austrian Riesling, we’re already thinking about the One Eleven cocktail made with vodka and several preparations of mandarin. Maybe for dessert.

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Some thinking time has to be devoted to the small but perfectly formed menu. Our waitress explains just about everything so we have the full picture. Not all terms or styles of food are familiar,

The main dishes are infused with sunshine, drawn from strands of Thai, Malay and Chinese cooking.

It’s all about serving up straight-forward but enigmatic combinations of spices and ingredients that pack a punch. Dishes can be tailored for taste to a certain extent. Which means if you like it spicy, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking for entry level heat with the zing of quality ingredients, finished with skilful cooking, they do that also.

Bar snacks can be shared as starters – the asparagas and bamboo shoot dumplings are a bit special. We’d gladly spend the day sitting out front on Claremont Street, picking away at plates of these with chopsticks.

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Here’s an example of why people seem to have got very excited about Nonya. Pork or chicken skewers, again from the snack menu, with coconut satay sauce, are £2 each.

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Not much to it. A sprinkle of cucumber for a bit of colour. Shake that off, take the grilled meat, dunk it in the smooth satay sauce and take a big bite. All of a sudden your tastebuds are alive! Repeat. An unexpected highlight.

Elsewhere on the menu: The whole sea bream with three flavour sauce is an eye-catching signature dish, a beach recipe transplanted to Finnieston. The pork jungle curry is the hottest thing on the menu. There’s a fresh light green mango, cucumber and cashew nut salad that offers a contrast of textures.

Dishes can be ordered small or large. It’s that sharing style of dining that is taking over the town. Ensure you have your fork poised to scoop up the finest morsels.

Specials change depending on the ingredients available. On our last visit we had a delicately flavoured fish curry, close to a Thai green style, served in a banana leaf for an added layer of the exotic.

Those aforementioned overheated chefs and restaurant workers mention Nonya to Glasgowist often. They visit on their day off. It’s a compliment. Follow their lead.

Nonya
10 Claremont Street
Glasgow
G3 7HA

Tel: 0141 221 6200



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