The city was stirring as I met Toots at the train station on Friday evening.

Office staff were making their way to bustling bars as the working week ended.

And party goers were already arriving in their droves for a night of drinking.

Toots was dressed up to the nines and didn’t have a hair out of place as she made her way through the throng.

We were headed to Lychee Oriental, which has won all the plaudits in recent years.

Owned by TV chef Jimmy Lee, star of the BBC’s Great British Menu, the Mitchell Street restaurant has been named Best Oriental Establishment at the Glasgow Awards 2015, Best Newcomer at the Glasgow Restaurant Awards 2012 and Best Asian Restaurant in Scotland 2013.

So, we were expecting a lot from this city centre gem.

Lee’s parents emigrated to Scotland from Hong Kong in the 1960s and the food is said to be inspired by his mother’s home cooking.

She must have a substantial recipe book because the menu is extensive.

From traditional favourites to unique dishes with a modern twist, Lychee Oriental has it covered.

Spoilt for choice, we opted for the mixed starter platter.

Within minutes a mountain of capital ribs, chicken satay, honey wings, prawn wontons and pancake rolls arrived, along with a big bowl of prawn crackers and a variety of dips.

It was just as well we had ordered two pints of Asahi beer to wash it down.

As we worked our way through the platter there were contented noises of approval from Toots.

It was all good but I most enjoyed the tasty capital ribs and sweet honey wings.

The attentive and friendly waiting staff provided welcome wet wipes and, as we cleaned our hands, Jimmy Lee arrived.

“That’s the celebrity chef from the television,” Toots said, eyes wide.

“He’s the owner,” said the waitress. “I’ll bring him over.”

A smiling Lee spent several minutes chatting to Toots about their shared love of food. It was a nice touch.

The main courses arrived and it was time to order more drinks – a Bacardi and diet coke for Toots and a soft drink for me.

I had opted for the Thai Red Curry which arrived in a huge bowl.

Large chunks of veg and chicken were smothered in a rich sauce.

But the flavour was far from overwhelming – a nice balance which suited my palate.

Toots decided on the honey chilli chicken which was sticky and sweet.

I swiped pieces every chance I could get. It was moreish.

“This is delicious,” said Toots as she licked her lips.

As we tucked in my mobile phone rang. It was a local number I didn’t recognise.

“Hello this is Lychee Oriental checking to see if you’re still eating with us tonight,” said a cheerful voice.

My mouth was full but I managed to mumble that we were enjoying the food as we spoke.

I turned around towards the bar and gave a smile and a thumbs up.

Much hilarity ensued when the waitresses realised that their eager colleague was so keen to ensure we took the booking that she had forgotten to check whether we had already arrived.

Attentiveness was certainly the watchword for staff at Lychee Oriental.

They regularly came over to offer more drinks, which we struggled to resist – that Japanese beer was good.

Overall, the experience at Lychee Oriental is very pleasant.

The menu is perhaps a little pricey and with no pre-theatre menu on a Friday night there isn’t a cheaper option.

But Lychee Oriental has the quality which allows the owner to disregard stiff competition nearby, resist slashing prices, and rely on discerning customers to appreciate that you get what you pay for in this city.

Lychee Oriental

59 Mitchell Street

G1 3LN

T: 0141 248 2240


Mixed starter platter (capital ribs, chicken satay, honey wings, prawn wontons and pancake rolls) - £18.00


Thai red curry chicken with Jasmine rice - £15.10

Honey chilli chicken with egg fried rice - £16.40


Orange and lemonade - £3.20

Bacardi and diet coke - £4.60

Two pints of Asahi beer – £9.20

Total – £66.50

‘Tec – £31.90

Guest - £34.60

Food: Excellent

Atmosphere: Good

Service: Excellent