The Left Bank
- Telephone 0141 339 5969
- Opening times Mon–Fri 9am–midnight; Sat/Sun 10am–midnight
- Bar open Mon–Thu 9am–midnight; Fri/Sat 9am–1am; Sun 10am–midnight
- Food served Mon–Fri 9am–10pm; Sat/Sun 10am–10pm
- Pre-theatre times Mon–Sun 4.30–6.30pm
- Average price £7.50 (lunch); £21 (evening meal)
- Pre-theatre price £13.95
- Website www.theleftbank.co.uk
With its bijou mezzanine dining area and emphasis on accessible, creative cooking, this bistro is a West End favourite.
The Left Bank’s laid-back atmosphere and appealing menu have made this café-bar-restaurant something of a fixture in ever-changing Gibson Street, and it’s now entering its second decade. Brunch – served from 9am on weekdays and 10am at the weekend – runs from a bowl of porridge to a full Scottish, or there’s Indian, Mexican and Middle Eastern-influenced breakfasts, as well as veg and vegan options. This happy eclecticism runs through the day, with curries, noodles and moules marinières rubbing along with burgers and battered haddock. Impressively – given this level of global variety – dishes show the kitchen has a real understanding of the cuisines from which they come - so a plate of 48-hour marinated moorish lamb with Yemeni chickpeas is convincingly Middle Eastern in its warmly spiced, complex flavour, and a classic, tarragon-laced poulet au vinaigre wouldn’t be out of place in a Parisian bistro. Friendly staff and excellent bar (a full 17 different wines by the glass) encourage extended sessions, while the Left Bank is an equally decent choice for a quick coffee.
- High point: Friendly, unhurried atmosphere
- Low point: Dank subterranean toilets
- Notable dish: Pan-fried wild sea bass with turmeric okra fingers, coconut rice and spiced dhal
The Left Bank’s natural tones and textures create a pleasant neighbourhood haven for relaxing with friends over a well-prepared cocktail, decent glass of wine, refreshing pint or cuppa. The brunch menu stands out with the likes of heuvos mexicanos, Lebanese breakfast of shakshuka (spicy chickpea ragout and baked egg), fried halloumi, sautéed potatoes and warm pitta, or poached eggs five ways. For starters, green chilli garlic tiger prawns taste as good as they look, served on a banana leaf with side of aromatic coconut chutney and wafer thin crispy papads. Coriander chickpea fritters, moist and crumbly inside and nicely crisped on the outside are balanced by cooling yoghurt mint raita. Main of pork belly and crackling is a feisty portion, overcrowded by one too many veg which detract from the central ingredient. Scottish-Asian fusion is celebrated in the delicious black salmon fillet marinated in mirin and sake or try West Coast mussels in tam yam broth – a nice diversion from traditional haddock and chips or burger. To round things off it’s a toss up between a hot toddy and warm pecan brownie – resistance is futile.
- Private dining: Up to 30 covers
- Provides: Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Pre-theatre menu, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: Loungecore, chill-out etc.
- Capacity: 78
- Largest group: 30
- Open since: 2006
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 17
- House wine: £16.95 per bottle
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