After several years of calling Merrion Street home, iconic cocktail and street food bar, Bar Soba, has upped sticks to Greek Street. What could possibly go wrong?
I head to Bar Soba’s new digs on one of those Tuesday evenings. You know, the ones that cry out for a grown-up drink and an hour or so’s pretence that the weekend isn’t four long days away? Yep, one of those.
Now residing happily opposite Greek Street stalwarts Gusto and The Lost & Found, Bar Soba has found itself a prime location. Splashes of vibrant colour adorn the walls, seating and window displays. Metallic lights catch accents of neon, and bold patterns make their mark along a glittering bar. This place is paradise for every fun-seeking magpie out there.
We take our seats in the spacious upstairs area, perusing a dazzling cocktail menu and pausing to gaze down at the hordes of well-dressed newbie graduates shuffling past with families in tow. Bar Soba’s menu is a smorgasbord of Japanese-inspired street food and innovative flavour fusions – with the odd indulgent wildcard thrown in for good measure.
When I say wildcard, I mean something like the Cheeseburger Spring Rolls that kick off our dining experience. These unexpected parcels are showing up on menus across the world right now, and Bar Soba’s more than hit the mark – best dipped into a bit of sweet chilli dip for an extra kick.
Never ones to go half measures, we sample Korean Popcorn Chicken, Tiger Prawn Tempura and Bang Bang Belly Ribs along with the cheeseburger creation, and I can vouch for them all. Small plates are the highlight of Bar Soba’s menu by a mile – I’d recommend selecting a good few and sharing to get the ultimate street food experience.
The cocktail menu here is extensive and colourful – boasting disco creations, classics with a twist and a decent list of mocktails to sweeten the deal. I opt for a Ping Pong Pornstar Martini (yes, they somehow managed to make the trashiest yet classiest cocktail even more embarrassing to order) which comes laced with vanilla vodka, lychee, passionfruit and pineapple – and of course, the obligatory shot of Prosecco. We also sample a Smoked Vanilla Old Fashioned, which arrives in a slightly underwhelming cloud of – you guessed it – smoke, but didn’t disappoint with a bold hit of bitter, sweet and strong.
Mains arrive, and we tuck into Pad Thai with tiger prawns and Teriyaki Beef Noodles. The prawns are succulent, pairing perfectly with the classic sweet, sour, peanut-laced flavours of Pad Thai. Everything is seamless until it comes to the veg, which is fresh but disappointingly undercooked in both dishes, and sadly the beef, which goes the other way – a well-done slab requiring more chewing than is polite.
Wok Fried Asian Greens make a refreshingly healthy side dish choice, and some of the meal’s toughness is made up for with a spicy spiral of Coconut Onion Rings – an innovative take on a pub food classic.
Overall, it’s the street food, the cocktails and the immersive, multicoloured world that make Bar Soba special. Now in a thriving nightlife hotspot, I have no doubt that dishes will sizzle and glasses will brim for many happy bottomless brunches, weeknight drinks and crazy weekends to come.