First Impressions Can Sometimes Be Ignored
My first experience of Bar Soba was back in April this year, when me and the other half headed down to their Merrion Street restaurant to get a taste of their pan Asian street food.
I'll be honest I thought the food was okay but not enough to make me go back there in the 5 months since. But that's not surprising really, I was a little bit (alright a lot) of a non adventurous eater back then and ordered the same old dish I always did in Thai restaurants - anything with a sweet and sour source basically. TYPICAL, I know. It's not that I didn't like the meal but it didn't wow me (but then I was being a boring Betty!).
If there's anything that my more recent visit to Bar Soba has taught me, it's to stray from your usual menu choice and find something new to enjoy.
Here's how it went when I was invited down to try out their new menu, including some pretty sweet cocktails and food demonstrations from the chefs themselves!
A Wicked Venue
There's no denying that they've got a pretty unique space down on Merrion street. My favourite part is the upstairs seating area - by day you have the bright lights flooding in from the glass ceiling, and by night the stars shining down whilst their light projections fill the walls making the artwork come to life. A very cool atmosphere, whatever the time of day.
Cocktails That Pack A PunchWe were first given some of their star cocktails to try.
A Coconut and Chilli Daiquiri - which was a mixture of coconut rum, fresh lime juice & lychee syrup garnished with a rim of chilli and lemongrass sugar. This went down really well...once I drank it through a straw. Yesss I completely whimped out of any kind of sipping/putting it near my lips, as the spicy chilli round the rim blew my head off. Plus, I like keeping my lipstick on. God this is starting to sound rude.
Anyway, it did actually work well together, and for the non whimps out there it was a great combo - the BF really loved it.
We also tried a pretty tasty Japanese Plum Sour which was lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white garnished with homemade Plum Sake, lemon foam and plum bitters.
Plus a Mango Daisy which was Beefeater gin shaken with mango puree, passionfruit syrup and fresh lime - right up my street and definitely one for any super sweet cocktail lovers like myself!
Bar Soba Food: Creating A Duck Convert
So lets start with the starter we sampled. A perfect portion of Steamed beef war tip dumplings with red bean sauce and crispy shallots. Full of flavour and texture, it was just the right amount and made me eager for the next course.
And then came the main that changed it all. The main of heavenly duck goodness.
I've never ever liked the taste of Duck. It's always been something I've avoided or been secretly disappointed with when offered at Christmas. That is until the moment the Bar Soba duck passed through my lips and I was made into a duck convert like some sort of meaty epiphany.
I realised it wasn't that duck was shit, it was just everyone else was making it shit. (Sorry family). The dish was a Malaysian duck leg confit with a tangy red sauce, lychees, Asian greens, and some gorgeous little crispy rice blocks which I couldn't get enough of. The meat was so tender it just fell off the bone perfectly. Just writing this makes me wish I hadn't had tea already so I could Deliveroo it to my door!
We finished off the meal with some deep fried coconut bananas with salted caramel and peanut ice-cream which made for a pretty good desert. I would say the batter was a little too thick and heavy for my liking, however that salted caramel sauce made up for it.
By the end of it all I had a serious Thai food baby, but I was in a happy place.
Chef Demonstrations & Getting To Know Bar Soba
With each dish and cocktail we got a demonstration from the chefs themselves, which was pretty cool. Although with each cocktail I forgot more and more of what they'd said...I'll just have to buy a Thai cookbook! Maybe that could be Bar Soba's next venture? Do the duck. Please the duck.
We also got some insight into how Bar Soba all started, which was back in 1991 in Scotland. They had such great success at their Glasgow and Edinburgh locations they decided to head down to Yorkshire to take advantage of the current Leeds' food and drink boom.
Not only is this the place to go to get some amazing pan-asain street food, but also a place to put on your Friday and Saturday night going out list too. We actually went down this weekend just gone and had a great few hours there dancing and taking advantage of the massive cocktail selection.
I've heard they have some good Dj's lined up for the next few months too, and with a 4am licence you could easily spend your night out in Leeds there.
Right well, I'm off to raid the fridge for snacks now since I've made myself hungry again writing this post. Thanks for reading and if you want to check out the Bar Soba website just click here.