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Monday, 29 April 2013

WestEndGirl Eats: Bar Gumbo

This weekend The Boy and I went to Bar Gumbo on Byres Road after spotting their mouth-watering menu a couple of weeks ago. Promising gumbo (of course), pulled pork, brisket, macaroni and much more, there was no doubt that hitting this relatively new West End eatery was at the top of our to-do list.

Bar Gumbo is situated around the bottom half of Byres Road and can be easily spotted due to their bright orange sign against the rustic wooden exterior. Once inside, we were greeted with a friendly and laid-back atmosphere. Customers were chatting and enjoying their food while the smiley guy behind the bar came right over to welcome us and make sure we were seated right away. I really like being made to feel welcome, especially if I haven't been somewhere before and the staff at Bar Gumbo were really nice and helpful throughout our visit.

When it came to the menu we took a little bit longer than usual to choose what we wanted - it all looked delicious! Bar Gumbo specialises in soul food: warm, hearty, with or without a spice kick and full of flavour. The kind of food that always makes sure I visit House of Blues while on holiday. Finally, we decided to get a few different things so we could both try them. We ordered pulled pork nachos (for 2), a Po Boy sandwich, hush puppies and barbecue beans. While waiting for the food to arrive we enjoyed the bluesy and 50's rock and roll music on the stereo which suited the relaxed mood of the place perfectly.

I also had a nosey through to the back room where the bar extends through to. There are more tables and a small stage area set up as besides being a bar/ restaurant, Bar Gumbo also hosts live music events. You can expect to hear a variety of different kinds of bands play at Bar Gumbo as well as open mike nights. This again, echoes the 'good food, good music' philosophy of my beloved House of Blues, so it's really nice to see something similar in my own neighbourhood.

Once the food arrived I didn't know where to start. The nachos were generously portioned with lots of tender pulled pork hidden under a layer of gooey cheese. After a taste of the barbecue beans we decided it would be the cherry (or bean!) on top to layer these over the top of the nachos. Adding the beans made an already very tasty dish even better - I'd recommend it to anyone trying out the pulled pork nachos. The beans can be enjoyed on their own too as a side. The Po Boy sandwich was served in a huge soft sub roll and was packed with the same tasty pulled pork and house slaw, and served with a salad.

Finally the hush puppies (cornbread stuffing balls, not the shoes!), which were served with a barbecue dip, were just what I had hoped for. Fluffy and very tasty, these were a welcome addition to our lunch. Next time I will order a bit less food and enjoy these little balls of deliciousness more - even though they are fluffy they can be filling and if you have filled up on other food already they won't be enjoyed quite as much.

We really enjoyed all of the food and it is clear from the menu (and taste) that the food has been selected and prepared by people with a passion for Southern soul food flavours. There is also an extensive cocktail menu with the same attention to detail (I really enjoyed reading each little narrative that came with the cocktail description, even though I didn't order any myself). We never had any room left for dessert - deep fried vanilla cheesecake - but there's always next time...

Bar Gumbo are a welcome addition to Byres Road and offer something a little different to what else is on the street. If the menu isn't enough to get you in the door, the love behind their food, drinks and support for music will. We're already planning our next visit to be in a week's time, maybe I'll see you there!

Have you been to Bar Gumbo? Did you enjoy it? What is your favourite blues song?

Thanks for reading!

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