THIS is the dead end of Glasgow’s Victoria Road, but Nanika might as well be in central London, an oversubscribed hole-in-the-wall in Shoreditch or Peckham, where pavements echo with the footfall of Millennials. You can’t book; service is so fast that it’s hardly worth putting down your handbag; a pager alerts you when your food is ready, or you can join the text-based queuing system.

Nanika has a good excuse though: it’s tiny. That’s potential mitigation too for the pungent frying odour that hangs in the air outside and within. Chefs on trains probably have bigger kitchens. Arriving early, we haven’t had to queue, so there’s a blessing, but given that we’ve actually got a table- well, more of a plank in the window where we’re perched insecurely on high stools, we feel that we need to order fast, with no intention of lingering. Nanika asks: “Please try to limit your dining time to 30 minutes (from the time your food arrives) so that others can enjoy the same experience”. It’s a place where you eat efficiently then leave promptly; street food, with a roof over its head, cheapish, and tonight, cash only, until the card machine arrives. So much for all those financial pundits telling us that we’re moving to the cashless society. I’ll resist it to the last. How do you leave a tip that a waiter can be sure of collecting? What banks will provide buskers and homeless people with debit cards?

Everything comes all at once, too fast and furiously for my liking, at the chef’s pace. Unless you have only one dish, which is probably what most diners here do, this edible avalanche means that we can’t possibly eat everything when it’s hot.

Almost instantly my corruption of the old adage, Beware the Greeks bearing gifts- Beware occidentals cooking oriental food- comes to mind. Caucasians (I’ll make an exception for Australians) have a habit of messing up south East Asian food big time. They don’t understand how to deploy ingredients so they’re heavy handed. Asian condiments can be powerful, they should be used with cultural know-how informed by authentic eating experience. Nanika’s chef shows no such aptitude.

Sichuan noodles, which initially look promising- athletic noodles, loads of roasted-looking cashews, a handful of some spiced minced meat- deliver the jolt that triggers the warning sensors aligned to my tastebuds. Sichuan pepper is a spice that must be used with particular restraint, if not, you get this sensation in the mouth that’s somewhat akin to licking metal, chewing bicarbonate of soda, or mild anaesthesia. Tastebuds nuked, only the soy-drenched, therefore ludicrously salty Togarashi Brussels sprouts, hard-fried to amber and black tones, can really hold their own in taste terms.

We persist nevertheless with the fat rib that sticks out from a vaguely aniseed-flavoured pork and papaya broth, but both the rib and the dry meat in the soup taste reheated. I guess that working in a space that’s so small, you’d have to prepare and cook most of the ingredients ahead of time. The noodles are overdone and pulpy. They’ve lost their bounce. Like the Sichuan noodles, they come in a bowl so perilously stacked high with Chinese leaves and spring and red onions that we inevitably spill the broth over the side when we try to mix up all the elements. What’s the point? An exaggerated demonstration of value-for-money?

What might have been more cooling, palate-soothing propositions- salads of seaweed and green papaya- don’t do the trick. The former looks like cold green worms with a low-level oyster taste; the latter works that refreshingly sour Thai formula: fresh mint, roasted peanuts, heaps of lime. But both are belligerent with excessive raw chilli.

It’s a shame about the Bao buns. They are reasonable in the big, bad world of Bao, one with black pudding, fresh pineapple, Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce), and the other with smoked haddock in a not unpleasant kedgeree-like treatment. They would make a nice change from a morning bacon or egg roll. It’s just that our palates are so stunned, thanks to Nanika’s off-the-wall salt, spice and chilli bombardments, that we’re left craving fresh lemonade clanking with ice cubes, and ice cream. 30 minutes here is quite enough.

Nanika, 72 Victoria Rd, Glasgow 07383 716676
Food: 4/10
Atmosphere: 5/10
Value for money: 6/10
Service: 6/10