I can not tell you how much I’m loving Gibson Street in the West End at the moment. It feels like such a little hidden haven for food lovers, which is packed to the gunnels with heaps of great places – Stravaigin, Eusebis, Chaiwalla, Toni’s Pizza and popular south side restaurant Catch, which are due to open up there soon, which I think is super exciting.
For me it is a location, especially because it is the halfway point between my buddy Becca’s flat and mine, so it’s one of our favourite meet up spots. And a few weeks ago we decided that we should go check out The Left Bank since I hadn’t been in AGESSS!
Now I first reviewed Left Bank way back in February 2014 after I popped in for brunch, when I gave it a 9 geek star review. And I thought now that we are 4 years later it’s probably time for a little update.
Left Bank screams cool westend spot. It’s full to the brim of hipsters working on their Macs, yummy mummies having a catch up, young beautiful people in sexy gym gear, and ladies who lunch, like Becca and I.
And it’s no wonder it’s such a draw for the fine folks of the west end, because even though it’s not really had anything done to it in the last 4 years, I don’t feel it looks tired or dated. It’s still very much has a casual stylish vibe – The huge glass windows flood the restaurant with light which is always lovely. The exposed brick walls & distressed wooden floors, and double height ceilings gives the whole place an airy, New York chilled out, welcoming feel which I enjoy.
Staff wise, they were friendly enough when they came to our table but seriously painfully slow. I did have sympathy because there appeared to be only 2 staff on, and every table in the place was full so they were busy. But it took a while for them to actually take our order, then we sat for 30 minutes with finished food in front of us, which I thought was pretty bad.
Now let’s chat about the most important aspect of every restaurant….. The food!
We visited at 12pm on a Wednesday and the list of menus available to us was extensive and a bit overwhelming. We were able to chosen from either the large brunch menu, the lunch/sandwich menu, or the a la carte menu. It’s safe to say that I was seriously struggling to pick, because there were so many options (I would say about 30 different dishes) and my brain couldn’t settle on anything. It turns out there is such a thing as too much choice!
In the end I decided to go for the sandwich menu (mostly because that’s what Becca was having and I couldn’t settle on my own) having narrowed down to the lunch time menu, I finally managed to pick a dish – the North Sea Haddock Fingers, crispy gem & fresh tartare on a ciabatta(yet another choice because I also could have had it in a wrap or with a salad), a side of rosemary chips…because when there is anything rosemary on the menu you better believe it is getting ordered!
Again the staff weren’t quick in taking out order, but the food did arrive in a reasonable time and after having a little drool (and photoshoot) over how succulent and delicious the big hunk of fish looked I dove right in.
Let’s start with the sandwich which was a bit of a mixed bag – The fish was described as fingers which is wasn’t it was just one large piece of fish, however it was nicely flaky and I enjoyed the crunch breadcrumb coating. But it was possibly a wee bit on the dry side of over cooked for me. The tartar tasted lush and tangy, but there wasn’t nearly enough of it, for me on a fish sandwich the sauce should be oozing out the sides and it definitely wasn’t, it was more of a light smear on the bottom of the sandwich.
The ciabatta which was grilled on the inside could have done with being toasted or something on the outside too, because with the dry-ish fish, and the less than generous portion of tartar sauce, added to the cold chewy ciabatta, the whole thing was just REALLY dry. And if I am honest a bit of a struggle to get through.
The rosemary chips were good enough chips, although there was zero sign or taste of any rosemary, which was a real disappointment as I love rosemary. I think my resounding opinion of this dish was that it wasn’t offensive and it filled a hole, but was a bit lacking in flavour/seasoning generally.
For dessert Becca and I both decided to order the Cheesecake, which was Peanut Butter and Oreo….a food combo straight outta my dreams! Again the food arrived in good time and was a nice sized portion.
Now this cheesecake is a dish I could get behind – the oreo base was deliciously buttery and crumbly with hint of chocolate, and the peanut butter filling, which was light and amazingly smooth had small pieces of crunchy oreo crumb dotted through it. The cheesecake was pretty dang tasty.
Now price – I forgot to take a picture of the bill because at times I am a bit of a doofus and was too busy gabbing. But I am about 94.8% certain that it came to about £37 for the two of us because I left £20 to cover half the bill. Which included two sandwiches with chips, two cheesecakes, three lattes, and an irn bru. Was it good value for money? No. Was it overpriced? No – I would put this somewhere around the okayish price. At £20 each for what we had it was right up at the top of the acceptable price range tho.
Would I rush back to Left Bank based on this lunch alone…probably not. But I will definitely trying popping back again at some point in the future. Because even tho this isn’t a regular haunt for me and I haven’t been in well over 12 months, in the past I did enjoy some nice food there and dessert was really lush. But sadly that day for £20 I feel I could have gotten something much better right across the road.