Team behind Glasgow's Ox and Finch to serve up south-east Asian flavours with launch of new venture Ka Pao

The team behind the award-winning Ox and Finch in Glasgow are set to get diners salivating once again with the launch of their latest venture in the west end of the city.

Published 22nd Jan 2020
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

Ka Pao - named after the Thai word for holy basil - will offer modern dishes filled with south-east Asian flavours when it opens within the historic category A-listed Botanic Gardens Garage on the city’s Vinicombe Street on Wednesday 22 January.

The team have already introduced Glasgow’s diners to Ka Pao’s style with a residency in the Acid Bar at SWG3 in 2018 and several special pop-up dinners, with a menu that includes dishes such as messy prawns in tamarind and palm sugar; roast duck leg and long pepper red curry; and slow-cooked pork cheeks with shiitake mushrooms, star anise and ginger.

Ka Pao Glasgow

Featuring the management team that opened Ox and Finch in 2014, the 120-cover restaurant and bar will see Jonathan MacDonald take the reigns and Daniel Spurr oversee the operation of the open kitchens at both locations.

Andy MacSween will manage the front of house and bar teams.

Underlining the company’s commitment towards staff development and progression, 12 senior chef and restaurant management roles at both Ka Pao and Ox and Finch have been filled from within.

Ka Pao Glasgow

Jonathan has lived and worked in south-east Asia in the past and several chefs from the restaurant have travelled throughout the region and gained practical experience working in stages in notable kitchens in Thailand in preparation for the opening of Ka Pao.

Jonathan said: “I have had an enormous amount of respect for the approach to food in south-east Asia for as long as I have been cooking.

"My fascination was really ignited when I spent a lot of time working and travelling in that part of the world in my twenties.

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Ka Pao Glasgow

"Some of my most memorable cooking and eating experiences have been in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand: sometimes in impressive restaurants, but more often on plastic stools by the side of the road.”

Daniel added: “Ka Pao is not about trying to be authentic or replicating the food of any particular region or country.

“The guiding principle will be more about taking inspiration from dishes, ingredients and flavour combinations that we have encountered, that have influenced us and combining them with our own local produce.”

Ahead of its highly anticipated opening, Jonathan added that on the first day of their booking system going live, they were fully booked for the first week of launch, he said:  "It's incredibly humbling to have such an enthusiastic reaction to the opening of Ka Pao.

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"We are so excited about this new project and hope that diners will enjoy Ka Pao as much as we have enjoyed welcoming guests to dine at Ox and Finch during the past five-and-a-half years. We are very grateful for such amazing support."


Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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