Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Review - Bar Soba, Mitchell Lane, Glasgow

Myself and Nicola travelled into Glasgow on Saturday to check out a new craft fair venue that was opening in the city centre. As we had no other plans for the afternoon, we decided to have a few drinks before getting a bite to eat. The craft venue was just around the corner from Browns Bar & Brasserie at George Square so we popped in for our first refreshment of the day and through the wonders of social media, we were able to catch up with a couple of friends who were also in the city centre.
Nicola wanted to have a quick look around the shops, especially the new Paperchase flagship store in the recently developed Buchanan Quarter in the city centre. I've never been sure why girls have such a big attraction to paper and pens, but it was weird to see a grown woman acting like a kid in a sweetie stationary shop.
We had once again use restaurant deal site,, to book our dinner for later in the day - this time we booked the pre-theatre option at Bar Soba, a restaurant that we used to visit regularly. After a little shopping we still had an hour to kill before our dinner booking so took the opportunity to check out a brand new bar and club located in the heart of Glasgow’s City Centre, Swing - which serves up a blend of live jazz, dancers, performance acts and contemporary DJ music. We enjoyed a couple of well priced drinks, soaking up the atmosphere and elegance of the roaring 20’s, whilst listening to Swing's in-house chanteuse Hannah Jackson lay down a few songs with her own unique twist.
We could have happily spent the rest of the evening in Swing but as time marched on we made our way to Mitchell Lane for dinner.
When we walked into Bar Soba, the bar area was already buzzing and it was only six o'clock! We made our way downstairs to the restaurant to find a large group of girls on a Hen Night occupying a large section of the area, fortunately for us, they were still in the early stages of their night so weren't too loud or outrageous yet. We let staff know that we had a booking through and for the second time in a row, the booking hadn't been fed through to the restaurant yet. Thankfully, this wasn't a problem for our waitress and were were quickly seated in the corner of the restaurant. (Far enough away from the Hens)
Bar Soba has an imaginative Asian fusion menu which is served up in a cosy, minimalist setting. The 5pm deal is priced at £13.95 for two courses and a glass of wine from a good sized Pre-Theatre menu.
We always struggle to choose starters and tonight was no different. In the end we chose two dishes that we could share between us, Chicken Sate Ayam and Coconut & Szechwan Pepper Crusted Prawns Skewers. Both dishes were well presented, served on a banana leaf with an Indonesian cucumber salad. The Javan spiced chicken skewers were nicely blackened from the grill and smothered in a wonderful spicy satay sauce. Nicola used the words 'Oh My God' to describe the flavours, and was also disappointed that she had to share the rest with me.
The Coconut & Szechwan Pepper Prawn skewer contained four large tiger prawns encrusted in a spicy, crispy coating served with a garlic & chili aioli. Athough the prawns were very nice, there was definitely room for another skewer on the plate.

With two delicious starters demolished we were looking forward to our mains. Nicola had order Singapore Noodles whilst I was interested in trying one of the vegetarian dishes from the menu. The dish that caught my eye was Malaysian Potato, Paneer & Aubergine Masala Curry in a rich cinnamon & last tomato gravy. This sounded delicious so I was gutted to be told that this wasn't available and had been replaced with a Red Thai Vegetable Curry. With vegetables on my mind, the red Thai curry sounded good to me.
Nicola's Singapore Noodles was a huge bowl filled with sticky pork, chicken and cured beef with spicy curried noodles, black bean and shredded vegetables. The combination of flavours worked well and the addition of black bean gave the dish an earthiness that Nicola really enjoyed.
As Nicola struggled with her chopsticks, I dived into my red Thai vegetable curry. The sauce was full of flavours that I love, with lemongrass & kaffir lime leaves helping balance the thick coconut milk sauce. I'm not sure what combination of vegetables I was expecting to be bobbing around in my sauce, however I was dismayed to find nothing more than two thin slices of mushroom, a few small chunks of aubergine, a solitary cherry tomato, and lots of potato. As I looked jealously across at Nicola, who had ditched the chopsticks by this point, I regretted not rethinking my main course strategy. Don't get me wrong, my dish tasted great but had I known that it was 90% potato then I would not have ordered it.
After two courses I was stuffed but Nicola seemed to have hollow legs tonight and decided that she was having a dessert to finish off her meal. After much deliberation, she decided to order the Banoffee Cheesecake yet I was actually so full that I declined the waitresses offer of '2 spoons'.
When the cheesecake arrived, I was allowed to sample it and immediately regretted not ordering my own! My sister-in-law makes a brilliant Banoffee Cheesecake but Bar Soba's offering definitely runs a close second. Buttery ginger biscuit base topped with a light cream cheese filling, layered with slices of fresh banana before being smothered in sweet sticky toffee sauce. Simple yet delicious!
By the time we finished our meal, the restaurant was filling up nicely and the 'Hens' were beginning to come out of their shells, so instead of making a start on the extensive cocktail list we settled the bill an made our way home.
Overall, we had a great meal. The highlight was, without doubt, the Chicken Sate Ayam starter - one of the best combinations of flavour that we've had in a long time. My only disappointment was missing out on the Malaysian Potato, Paneer & Aubergine Masala Curry, but that just means that we need to get back in the near future.
Bar Soba had always been a place that Nicola and myself have enjoyed visiting and based on our experience from Saturday night, Bar Soba still sits nicely in our favourites list.
Keep up to date with Bar Soba on FaceBook & Twitter.


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