Nam Tuk Tram Stop is a quirky pan-Asian restaurant which has just opened at the foot of Byres Road in Glasgow. This new restaurant – the first collaboration between Paul Sloan and Kevin Campbell – is managed by Denny Pereira.
Paul, who has owned a Chinese restaurant in Oban since 2015, and Kevin, who has a couple of pan-Asian restaurants in Glasgow, have created a bright and colourful eatery, which not only cheers you up but that serves up really tasty pan-Asian food. It is already proving a hit with Chinese students in the area and locals.
Says Denny, “We opened on a Wednesday at 6pm and by a quarter past, we had a queue waiting to come in. The great thing is that they come back and come back again – in fact some of them come three to four times a week.”
He continues, “It has been a challenge. We turned Nam Tuk around in four weeks, normally it would take about twelve weeks from getting the keys to getting a new business up and running, but not only did we do the fit-out in that time, but I also had to recruit the management team and floor staff too.”
Says Denny, “Paul and Kevin wanted the place to have a funky atmosphere.” And that is exactly what designer Dominic Paul has achieved. Dominic told DRAM, “I came up with the concept. I got the inspiration from Thailand’s Nam Tuk railway station, which is basically a hut in the middle of a bamboo forest.”
Bamboo is certainly very prevalent in Nam Tuk – thick bamboo struts act as a room divider between the eating areas and bar area and above the bar, there is a bamboo roof feature. A quirky addition to the bamboo struts are the brightly coloured ribbons, which are tied in threes around the staves throughout the restaurant. Explains Dominic, “The three ribbons not only stand for friendship but they also have a remembrance connotation.”
As well as the ribbons, there are luggage stickers on the bamboo – in fact, luggage is a recurring theme throughout. Old suitcases with travel stickers are prevalent. Unusually they have been used for the back bar and the joiner has reinforced the edges of the suitcase to allow bottles to stand there, and some of the suitcase backs have been replaced with Asian-style aged fabrics. Even the electrical box – situated at the side – is cased in an old suitcase. If you look closely, the travel tags on the suitcases have also been designed so instead of locations, the letters stand for drinks categories… ie WHK and BRB and so on.
The furniture is basic but funky. Brightly coloured melanin-topped tables are scattered throughout. Some have red tops others a lime/yellow. The chair seats have also been upholstered in quirky retro type fabric and squares of the same fabric have been used as pockets on the staff’s aprons. The attention to detail in Nam Tuk even extends to the coloured pens which are used for order taking.
The main dining area has lots of fans situated on the ceiling. Says Denny, “We bought a collection of fans and then we painted them ourselves to fit in with our colour theme.”
As well as fans, brightly coloured Vietnamese lanterns, which are a bit smaller than traditional Chinese lanterns, are dotted around and were specially imported for the restaurant.
The artwork really stands out in this venue – there are various illustrations by Artisan Artworks on the two opposite walls – to the right as you come in, there is a slightly raised dining area which has a large mural on the wall, and on the opposite site of the main dining area there is another raised area, which also has a large colourful mural. The walls not featuring illustrations, are painted really vibrant colours cyan/turquoise and vermilion red, and the wallpaper matches the upholstery on some of the chairs – very retro.
The open kitchen has a clever feature – when the kitchen lights are off, the window features an illustration, but when the lights are on, you can just see through the illustration to the chefs working away.
The kitchen area has been increased. Says Denny, “We now have around 110 covers, which is slightly less than before the refurbishment, because we wanted to have a larger kitchen area. We also have a prep kitchen downstairs. We have put totally new kit in, which was supplied by Catering World. I have to say we use them all the time and they are great. Nothing is too much trouble. They even source things for us that we ask for.”
The frontage of the new Nam Tuk Tram Stop is very vibrant and there is an outside space which says Denny is a ‘work in progress’. He explains, “We are putting an outside platform there, which ties in with the name of the business. We are also going to be promoting our take-away business, which we will have up operating fully in a few weeks. We will even do deliveries – it’s called Tuk In.”
There is no doubt about it, the new Nam Tuk is already proving to be a success. Says Dominic, “Seven businesses have failed to work on the site, but hopefully we have now broken that jinx. There is a fantastic team behind it.”
There certainly is.