Far East delights in a West End setting

Bar Soba
Bar Soba
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There are some things you learn with age, like that buying razors from the pound shop is not a sound investment.

Another, very worthy lesson, is not to drink on an empty stomach, a life lesson I chose to ignore on my visit to Bar Soba West End.

My friend and I went to the pan-Asian street food restaurant for a cocktail master class using Hendrick’s gin. For £25 all students received a welcome drink, learned how to make – and drank – three Scottish gin-based cocktails then enjoyed a two-course dinner.

I’d eaten at Bar Soba’s Glasgow city centre restaurant dozens of times over the past decade, but this was my first visit to the Byres Road branch – they also have an outlet in Hanover Street in Edinburgh - although I had enjoyed many drinks in the building’s former occupant, Whistler’s Mother.

The bright dining room is covered in Japanese style comic art work and is a bustling place from early on thanks to the good pre-theatre and student deals.

We arrived to a Hendrick’s and tonic then were taken to a separate bar for our lesson in mixology from bartender Andy MacPherson.

He was very knowledgeable on the spirits used and clearly passionate about good drinks, teaching us how to make a Victorian mojito, a Singapore sling and blackberry bramble.

With only four pupils, the atmosphere was relaxed and by the end of the 90 minute class, we - fuelled by the cocktails - were the best of friends.

By now, we were all rosy-cheeked and ready for dinner. I had Thai fish cakes with a sweet chilli dipping sauce followed by the vegetable Pad Thai. The fish cakes were delicately spiced and the huge bowl of noodles came with separate servings of chilli, crushed peanuts and sugar so you can adapt to suit your tastes.

Jacqui - an amateur sushi maker herself - was suitably impressed with the sushi and said the basil chilli chicken and jasmine rice was fantastic.

By now, we knew ourselves it was time to go home and sensibly avoided a stop at the pub on the way to the train station.

Looking after a toddler the following morning wasn’t fun, but the sore head was worth it.

Bar Soba run monthly cocktail masterclasses at its three venues. The next is a Sailor Jerry rum event on October 15,16,29 and 30 and tickets priced at £25 for a two-course meal, a welcome drink and three cocktails are available now.