Built in 1900, the old fire station at 33 Ingram Street, Glasgow, exemplifies the artistic dynamism, craft, skill and optimism of that period, where no effort was spared for municipal buildings.

The interior was so solidly constructed, so expertly rendered, that it doesn’t seem to have occurred to any proprietor to disturb it in any serious way.

So this herringbone parquet flooring has developed a patina of age that wraps an invisible, protective arm around your shoulder.

The walls, lined with marble and granite in decorative horizontal bands, are like those you’ll see in historic Italian palazzi, as if money was no object.

The firefighters’ old clock benevolently watches over the dining area, part of which is slightly elevated. Most of the seating is in booths rather than tables, adding to a low-lit, intimate ambiance.

A shot glass of pea-green liquid is set down before us as we browse the menu, a minty-cucumber “palate cleanser to neutralise our taste buds”. Swadish is making a point here.

Its watchwords are authenticity, creativity, and innovation and it makes a wholehearted pitch for the vegan market.

India has always been a happy hunting ground for vegetarian dishes, back in the days before vegan zealots claimed retrospective intellectual property rights on the world’s patrimony of vegetable and legume dishes. India has a strong vegetarian culinary tradition.

You’ll see meat and fish dishes classified as ‘non-veg’ – an interesting inflection – but dairy foods, and eggs, are core to India’s cuisine.

The vegan menu lists yogurt as an ingredient, and because I see the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘yogurt’ as mutually contradictory, we ignore the vegan/non-vegan classification and simply choose what we fancy.

Three dishes – tandoori cauliflower steak, chilled lentil dumplings, and kale bhajis – bring more interest to the table than your average Indian restaurant offerings.

The bhajis are the star, less stodgy than the onion sort with the frills of the kale remaining winningly crisp within the batter.

The cauliflower is neatly charred and crumbly, definitely not overcooked, and slightly acidic, with a blob of chana dal hummus on top.

All three have squirty zig-zags of sauces – green (mint, coriander, lime leaf?), one orange (paprika?), one brown (sweet-sour tamarind?). Net effect: they look very similar. This kitchen is mob-handed with the squeezy bottles.

£10.50 is a fair price for these labour-intensive baby aubergines, smoky and near dissolved over their pistachio core. They slouch on a glossy cushion of onion and tomato that’s been patiently cooked so as to offer nil resistance to the fork. The final flourish is these Jerusalem artichoke crisps perched so jauntily upon them.

But for £14, the Hyderabadi lamb korma doesn’t stack up so well on flavour or value. The prospect of “korma as it should be”, that is, “braised for hours” with cloves, cinnamon, browned onions, rose water, tantalises, but doesn’t match our expectations.

The meat isn’t especially tender, and the sauce seems rather straightforwardly tomato-based.

It’s not giving me the complexity I’d expect from this regional recipe that involves so many cooking stages.

I’m also missing the promised mint and fenugreek dimension in this otherwise workaday paratha, but there’s compensation to be had from the peppery butteriness of the pilau rice, and the green mango pickle, which is a knock-out.

Vegan sticky toffee pudding with vegan ‘custard’? I hate to think what ingredients are replacing the eggs and butter, so that’ll be a no thanks.

The least fiddly option is saffron and pistachio kulfi, which turns out to taste primarily like frozen condensed milk.

I’ve had worse desserts than this dark chocolate sphere, filled with white chocolate mousse, that sits on caramel hazelnut crumbs, the net effect though, once you pour on the hot caramel sauce, is cloying, and a clunky end to a meal that dealt out big spicy flavours.

Indian restaurants have been steadily stultifying because of the UK Government’s anti-migrant ‘hostile environment’ and its discouraging restrictions on foreign chefs. Swadish means to be a breath of fresh air in this doldrums category. You have to welcome the effort.

READ MORE: 'A little weirdly unstructured and pricey but fresh and worth a visit' – Ron Mackenna reviews Glorioso, Glasgow

Swadish, 33 Ingram Street, Glasgow 0141 553 0581

Food: 8/10

Atmosphere: 9/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: 7/10