You have heard me rave on about how much I love Glasgow before and even more so about discovering new places the city has to offer, but only recently have I discovered Merchant Square. Just a ten minute walk from Queen Street train station and you can have all’aperto dining all year round, whilst not having to worry about Scotland’s changeable weather as it’s all undercover. There are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from too. During our visit at the weekend we ate at Bar Soba for Asian styled street food.
Saturday night, the world famous Celtic Connections festival had started earlier in the week and the Square was already really busy at six o’clock. Lots of people, like us, who had tickets for performances, wanting dinner beforehand.
We were greeted by a young lady who then checked our reservation and led us to our seats inside (rather than out in the Square). There were only a handful of tables empty in the restaurant and the team of staff were busy. Left to peruse the menus we salivated over the many delightful sounding options. Once our drinks were served we ordered our food and as indecisive as always (because of the great choice of food), we asked for a recommendation to help us choose.
Whilst waiting for the food we took in the atmosphere. We had been seated at the long bench seats with tables for two along it, except at this time a large group was already there and were being quite loud. On the other side of us was a man and his wife, who spent no time at all talking to one another because he was too busy watching the large group. Now I know the restaurant cannot be responsible for their customers actions but it did feel slightly to close for comfort, for my liking.
We both chose salt and pepper squid – with chilli, basil and lime mayo. In hindsight maybe we should have ordered two different starters and then shared, both trying something different. A great sized portion, the squid cooked perfectly it was really tasty. It didn’t last long!
I had chosen: Pad Thai noodles with tiger prawns – classic thai rice noodles with roasted peanuts, chilli flakes, wok fried with pad thai sauce. I really my main course. You can tell its all fresh produce too. Only down side to me is that I only had four prawns, in what was quite a sizable portion. After quite a large starter I couldn’t manage all of main, sadly, but I really enjoyed it.
The Dude chose: Teriyaki beef noodles: seared bravette steak, thinly sliced on wok fried hokkien noodles, asian vegetables with a lightly spiced teriyaki sauce. He was advised when ordering that the steak would be cooked medium rare, this is just how he likes it but it’s always good to know just in case you like your streak cremated! Again, another good sized bowl of food. He tells me it was tasty, the steak was good and there were plenty of vegetables in it too.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meals at Bar Soba. The staff were friendly, attentive and helpful, even when they were clearly busy. The food was lovely, well presented, tasty and there is plenty to choose from on the menu. During January (only a few days left! How did that happen already?) there is a 2 for 1 offer on all main courses during week days. Our tickets for the Celtic Connections performance was just next door in the stunning Old Fruit Market and so we didn’t have far to walk after dinner. Bar Soba is perfectly situated for many of the venues hosting Celtic Connections performers and with car parks close by and the train station a short walk it’s the perfect choice for dinner. I would recommend that you book your table too, it is clearly a popular place to eat. We will definitely be going back.
Spread across the city there are another two Bar Soba restaurants so you don’t have to come all the way in to Merchant City if you live out west. There is also one in Edinburgh and Leeds, should you find yourself there too. With offers for Express Lunch menu, student discounts and a pre-theatre deal too. Well worth remembering.
We were given our meal free of charge in return for this review. All views about nosey and loud diners are my own.