SUNDAY SESSION AT BAR SOBA, A VERY BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO BE!
We unwittingly picked a bloody brilliant day to visit Bar Soba, arguably one of Leeds’ best looking bar/restaurants and the latest addition to the newly fashionable Merrion Quarter. The first Merrion Street Carnival – right up my street, pardon the pun.
Bank Holiday Sunday and it’s the usual “where are we going for lunch?” discussion going down at our house. There are plenty of restaurants lets face it, infact that often hinders my decision making as there are literally too many to choose from. However, since visiting for drinks previously and seeing the food at Bar Soba from drooling distance, I took the bull by the horns and directed husband to the city centre. I was made up with my choice when we arrived and realised it was the Merrion Street Carnival, just as the sun came out! If you haven’t visited this end of the city in a while you really ought to. I am championing all the fantastic places in this area to eat and drink and I was pretty excited to road test Bar Soba’s culinary offerings…here goes then.
This is the 4th Bar Soba to open across the UK, the rest of the venues actually being in Scotland, so it’s great that the guys behind this concept have chosen Leeds to make their debut in England. My first impressions – they obviously know what they are doing with regard to creating a beautiful place to be. A good looking bar area downstairs complete with live DJ most evenings, precedes the AMAZING upstairs restaurant and bar. The glass roof just adds so much to the already beautiful space. The menu is a tantalising mix of Pan-Asian street food haling from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, China & Japan. We love this type of food so I was really excited to see the menu. There was so much I could have chosen and was slightly disappointed when husband didn’t want to share a platter as he’d spyed the Vietnamese Chicken Wings. Eyes bigger than my belly quite possibly, I went for the Salt and Pepper Squid……..AND the Steamed Prawn Crystal Dumplings! So basically – I got my sharing platter of sorts. I cannot tell you how good those dumplings were, that good infact I was on the verge of ordering a second portion until husband kindly pointed out I had a main to come out yet and I was frankly being greedy! His chicken was really good too as was the calamari, all served with beautiful dips and presented perfectly.
By this time (around 2.30pm) there was a nice mixture of people in the restaurant and the atmosphere was laid back with the cool hum of well chosen music lulling us into more drinks and a pretty relaxed state of bank holiday mind! The service was really good – I would expect no less really, it wasn’t packed and there were plenty of staff about so if anything had fallen short I would definitely point it out, but nothing did. The girl that served us (the same girl the whole time, which I like) was friendly, attentive and happy! Far too many people work in hospitality when they would be better suited to meet and greet at the mortuary. Our main courses turned up with neither rush nor haste and we are starting to think this could be a regular haunt for us! I ordered the Dirty Bangkok Burger and I devoured it like I hadn’t eaten for a month. A really clever take on the ‘gourmet burger’, this succulent patty is infused with lemongrass, chilli, coriander and garlic and served in a brioche bun ( I didn’t like the look of that actually but it worked out fine!) stuffed with shredded veges and chilli mayo. It was a truly flavoursome burger and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did have a little food envy when I saw Husband’s dish, but he begrudgingly let me sample his Jungle Curry, a curry infused broth with fish sauce, lime juice, chicken and huge juicy tiger prawns. It looked more like a ramen to me than the Jungle Curry I have tried before, but however it looked, it tasted sublime! The flavours were intense and just the right heat. We both absolutely loved it. There are plenty of options to go at on the menu from small platters and sharing plates, to wok dishes, curries, robata charcoal grill and house specialities. In fact the idea was banded about that next time we visit we would maybe order all the small plates and have Pan Asian Tapas.
There definitely will be a next time for Bar Soba and we will be taking friends to sample it to see if they think it’s as super cool as we did. Whether it’s just for drinks as part of the ‘Merrion Tour’ as I’m naming it, or, and I fully recommend this, for lunch or dinner, you will be hard pushed to find a thing wrong with this place. It’s the kind of place I’d book for my ‘out of town’ friends, just to be a show off.
Welcome to Yorkshire Bar Soba, we wish you every success with your wonderful venture, and we hope we are invited along for the ride……
Reviewed by Joanne Brook-Smith on May 3rd 2015
T 0113 242 5128
Merrion Street, Leeds