Bar Soba review: Pan Asian perfection
I admit to being taken aback in early 2015 when I heard a new bar brand was heading to Leeds from Glasgow to serve up pan-Asian street food. We’ve got plenty of decent Thai, Japanese and Chinese restaurants here as it is, so what could Bar Soba really bring to the table?
Well, first off they do some awesome cocktails. The Lemongrass and Chilli Mai Tai shouldn’t work on paper, but it’s darn tasty and makes a nice alternative to my usual Old Fashioned. The dishes on offer are also surprisingly unpredictable, with a nice mixture of Thai, Malaysian and Japanese influences, fused together to form an eclectic menu with something to suit all pallets.
I headed down to sample the brand new menu, which was cooked before our eyes by the head chef. Bar Soba’s expert mixologists were also on hand to shake up some of the showstoppers from the revised cocktail selection.
First up was the Coconut and Chilli Daiquiri (6.25), which I might add is not for those with sensitive taste buds. The chilli and lemongrass sugar rim had an almighty kick, which was complimented by the cooling Koko Kanu coconut rum and fresh lime and lychee syrup. Yes, it’s a bit of a girly looking drink, but it’s a welcome addition to the already adventurous drinks list.
For starters we enjoyed Steamed Beef War Tip Dumplings (5.00), which are served up with red bean sauce and crispy shallots. As tasty as they were, this is a dish I wouldn’t normally order, and still prefer the Salt and Pepper Squid and Vietnamese Sticky Chicken Wings I’ve tried on previous visits, but as dumplings go, they were on point.
As the chef rustled up the main, we were treated to an experimental cocktail which included plum jam and various spirits. It wasn’t to everyone’s taste, but I really liked it and thought it was a perfect accompaniment to the main, which was the Aromatic Red Duck (13.50).
Whilst the name suggests this dish would be hot and spicy, like say a Thai red curry, it was in fact a sweet main and packed with flavour. It came was beautifully presented on a bed of Asian greens, lotus root crisps and delicious crispy rice blocks.
The duck was cooked to perfection, with the meat literally falling off the bone. Although I tend to go for spicier Asian dishes, the sweet sauce was amazing and tasted like nothing I’d ever had before, a real triumph, and a definite menu highlight (check out Bar Soba’s menu here).
We finished the evening off with the Deep Fried Coconut Bananas (5.00), which were a glutton’s treat, accompanied with a rich, salt peanut caramel ice cream, washed down with the rather refreshing Mango-Tango cocktail (7.00).
So Bar Soba have once again pushed the envelope again in terms of producing exciting new flavours in both their food and cocktail menu, and comes highly recommended.
The lively atmosphere and large, glass atrium upstairs make it the ideal location for food and cocktails with friends prior to a night on the tiles in the buzzing Norther Quarter. Eat, drink, dance and get lucky is their motto, and who can argue with that?
Head down on Monday’s, and you can enjoy 50% off their entire food menu, courtesy of Pink Gorilla.
Bar Soba , 9A Merrion Street, LS1 6PQ, 0113 2425128