Walking into the bouncing Bar Soba, the upstairs definitely appeared to be the area more suited for a few drinks with friends than a meal. With multi-level seating areas it is buzzing and atmospheric.
Walking through the back and down to the basement level, the atmosphere changes immediately, and with a cool interior and jazzy background music it is fun and relaxing.
Choosing from the extensive cocktail list, we ordered a Blackcurrant Affair (£5.95) and a Peroni (£3.95). My cocktail was a vodka-based Mojito with fresh blackberries and mint and a splash of apple juice – very refreshing and light. Around 20 minutes later the drinks were still on their way, perhaps due to the high volume of people upstairs. This all changed with the food, however, with ordering and arrival occurring within less than 15 minutes.
Starting with some delicious shrimp crackers with a spicy chilli dipping sauce (£1.95) we looked through the menu. Although burgers, sushi, curries and salads were all available, we had heard that the noodles were a stand out. We chose the Singapore noodles (£10.95) and the holy basil chilli chicken (£9.95). Both came in seemingly bottomless dishes full of steaming noodles that took perseverance to finish. Quality and, a tad too much, quantity were given.
The chicken dish was fragrant with deliciously tender green tea, steamed chicken and al dente vegetables. With just enough chilli to give a pleasant but not overpowering kick, this was nicely combatted by the sauce.
The Singapore noodles were different to those we have tried previously. Again the vegetables were faultlessly cooked and the meat particularly tender. It was a slight challenge differentiating between the chicken, pork and beef, which were all heavily curried. The taste blend was good but we would choose a different option next time.
Unable to even finish the bowls, we had to skip on desserts. Although seemingly on the pricey side, you do get your money’s worth if you go with an empty stomach. Staff attention wavered but everyone was very friendly. With booths as well as long tables, Soba is more suited to groups for a relaxed supper and a few drinks.
• Bar Soba, Hanover Street, 0131-225 6220, www.barsoba.co.uk