Confession: I’d never been to Bar Soba.
The launch of their menu seemed as good a time as any for my first visit. It was a good excuse to sample lots of things from their menu and meet the head chef Nik, whose travels around Asia inspired the new menu.
We were treated to a delightful mojito on arrival, so delightful it seems, that I was too busy drinking it to snap a photo! *bad blogger* The accompanying shrimp crackers with spicy dip were delicious though.
A platter followed with a cheeseburger spring roll, geisha buns – miso mushroom & Seoul chicken as well as a Balinese chicken satay that required a chopstick for a skewer! Standout was definitely the spicy Seoul chicken.. nevermind the bao, just serve me up a plate of that chicken, please and thank you! My chicken skewer was a little on the dry side but the satay dipping sauce went a long way to alleviate that. I discovered I was too much of a spring roll purist to get behind the cheeseburger spring rolls with their meaty cheesey filling but they garnered many thumbs up around me.
My favourite dish of the night came next, a Thai king prawn yellow curry which replaces the original green curry on the menu. The dish was warming and full of flavour with a slight kick at the end, brimming with big meaty prawns and if you were lucky, pieces of lychee which bring a lovely sweetness. I may have been extra partial to this dish after Nik brought us extra lychees and because I love courgette!
Another yummy bowl soon followed with Crispy Shanghai Pork, I was definitely getting rather full at this stage so the strong anise flavour meant I made a rather feeble attempt to finish the dish. The dish packs a big flavour punch but is heavy in fennel so if you love that flavour, this is not to be missed! The pork is breaded but not crispy after a swim in the thick sticky sauce. I may have noshed all the mini corn, even while saying “oh, I’m not a fan of anise”. Make of that what you will..
The night finished with the Chicken Katsu Curry which is fried in buttermilk and corn flour, and while I appreciate this makes it gluten free, it just wasn’t ‘katsu’ (apparently I’m also a katsu purist). The sauce was great, nice thick consistency, warm with a subtle lingering heat. I quite enjoyed just the sauce on rice. The cucumber isn’t pickled, just popped in a pickling juice before serving which I thought was a shame as having the acidity would have done well to add a bit of pop to the dish.
There is only ice cream if you’re after something sweet after dinner but the Dessert Cocktails are served with pan Asian inspired petit-fours that are paired to each drink, which entirely justifies an after dinner drink. We didn’t get to try these but I was sold at ‘fresh fired pineapple’!
Thanks to Bar Soba for a fun night!