It’s not everyday you turn 21, so I told Eve to choose a restaurant and I would treat her to lunch for her birthday. She settled on Bar Soba, about two minutes walk from our class at Glasgow University, so we headed there early Thursday lunchtime. It was, unsurprisingly, quiet when we arrived, although it did fill up with couples and groups as it got closer to 1 o’clock. Bar Soba have a couple of nice lunchtime deals going – their express menu is compact, but ideal if you’re in a hurry. The deal we took advantage of, however, was the 2 for 1 mains for students offer. Not all the main courses on the menu are included in the deal, but there are many decent offerings which are, meaning we didn’t feel tied down to only one or two choices. All you have do to take advantage of this deal is buy a drink (doesn’t have to be alcoholic) and flash your student card when asked – easy!
Eve’s choice was the classic Japanese Katsu Curry – strips of chicken coated in nice, crispy breadcrumbs and served with rice and Katsu curry sauce. Each element of the dish was kept separate, meaning Eve could choose exactly how much sauce to use – a nice touch which also prevents the crispy chicken from turning into a soggy mess. Eve’s only real complaint about the dish was the lack of dressing on the accompanying salad – like me she can’t get excited about a bit of limp lettuce with no dressing.
My choice was another fairly classic dish – Nasi Goreng. The huge bowl that arrived contained spicy fried rice, grilled chicken, a fried egg, peanut sauce, and some shrimp crackers. The dish was full to the brim with food, and I didn’t quite know where to start – it’s not all that easy to cut chicken in a bowl, you know! The chicken itself was well cooked with a very subtle flavour, which went well with the smooth, creamy peanut sauce. The rice was full of chunks of veg and had just the right level of spiciness, with any extreme heat tempered by the thick sauce which surrounded it. The egg was well fried with a lovely crispy outer edge, although the yolk had probably had a few seconds too long and wasn’t quite as runny as I would have liked. The shrimp crackers provided a nice contrast in textures, adding crunch to what was otherwise a predominantly soft dish. Shockingly, the portion was so big that I couldn’t finish it but that was definitely due to size and not flavour.
Between us Eve and I also shared a portion of Salt and Pepper Squid. The squid was well cooked and not at all rubbery, and was served with a rather nice chilli, lime and basil mayo. As in many places, I didn’t particularly get a salt and pepper flavour from the squid itself, but the accompanying mayo was flavoursome enough to make me forget about this.
A generally good experience in Bar Soba, with good food at very reasonable prices. My only other issue was with the tables on which you are forced to balance your food – made from strips of mismatched wood, they may look rustic and cool but make it very difficult to balance cutlery and crockery without sending anything flying (which I did, by the way). At the end of the day, however, the food was all good and my overall experience in Bar Soba was one I’d be happy to repeat.