The Bungo Bar & Kitchen
Despite having been open for just a few weeks, The Bungo Bar and Kitchen – the third outlet in the Left Bank and Two Figs chain run by Jacqueline Fennessy and Catherine Hardy – is already jumping. Midweek, cheerful regulars can be found enjoying a Staropramen or a Rioja in the smartly kitted-out bar, while diners chat away in the warm sandstone-lined dining room at the back. The secret of its success may be in the name. Bungo – the nickname for the surrounding neighbourhood – feels like a village within a city and has long held its own local festivals. By bagsying the Bungo moniker the place has endeared itself immediately to the locals – something reinforced by a large street map painting on the wall on which visitors have marked out their cribs with pins. The owners have also drilled deep into the Scottish psyche to create the menu, serving up the ultimate comfort food of burgers, curries and creamy puds. Some of the details are great – such as tender mussels served in a rasam style sauce and a coconut syllabub with pineapple. While the food on offer won’t change the world, the place is certainly brightening up the Bungo.
This review is taken from the current (2016) edition.
A relative of the West End’s Left Bank and Two Figs, the Bungo fosters the distinctive identity of a neighbourhood bistro in its Southside locale with a menu that is competitively priced, innovative and versatile enough to suit a three-course meal or a few leisurely drinks. Brunch runs from 10.30am and ranges from the traditional, including varietals of eggs mornay, to the more adventurous offering of shakshuka, which boasts the delights of a baked egg, halloumi and batata harra in a spiced tomato-based stew. Small dishes and mains from attest to a kitchen that isn’t necessarily bound by the restraints of theme or food-groups. A starter of braised squid and chorizo is all Catalan goodness in a light broth (even if the advertised cannellini beans may not make an appearance), while pineapple and wasabi-glazed duck breast, served with miso noodles and broccoli, makes for a sweet and punchy stir-fry. Desserts are perhaps a little less imaginative than other dishes – think sorbets and cheesecake – yet an alluring after-dinner drinks list makes up for it.
- High point: Vegetarians and vegans well catered for
- Low point: Toffee apple pie very mediocre
- Notable dish: Sesame crusted salmon
Neighbourhood dining is a concept the southside is growing increasingly comfortable with and few venues have played a bigger part than Bungo. A relation of The Left Bank and Two Figs, Bungo has created a convivial personality of its own, one where dogs are as welcome as paying customers. A cosy bar area complete with booths and tables and bare brick walls shares a menu with a more refined restaurant area. A number of small plates can either be divvied up or treated as starters, and it would be remiss not to tuck in: beetroot gnocchi is stunning; sweet and full of harmonious textures from pesto, parmesan and salad. Mains include variations of pub grub along with more creative dishes. A chickpea and vegetarian haggis burger is smooth, nutty and smoky, while densely seasoned Goan seafood curry comes in a huge bowl stuffed with mussels, prawns and masala fish. A number of deals and themes throughout the week ensure Bungo is always bustling with diners and locals enjoying a decent range of beers and cocktails - particularly an awesome Bloody Mary.
- Private dining: 25 upstairs, 80 downstairs
- Provides: Halal options, Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Live music, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: Indie, pop
- Capacity: 70–100
- Largest group: 50–70
- Open since: 2011
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 14
- House wine: £15.50 per bottle
Events at this venue
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The Bungo Pub Quiz
Sir James and his sequinned jacket host your chance to get your mits on a load of mystery prizes.