Restaurant Review: La Bonne Auberge

editorial image

The eagle-eyed and dedicated foodie readers among you might recognise this week’s review.

Yes, we have paid a visit to La Bonne Auberge before — and it was a glowing recommendation from then reviewer Gregor Hollerin, who commented on the old-fashioned atmosphere, and added: “What really stood out was the service — second to none to what I’ve experienced anywhere else in Glasgow.”

Talk about setting the bar high.

With the city centre staple celebrating its 40th anniversary, we thought it time to pay a return visit to classic French cooking to see if another 40 years are on the cards.

I suspect the decor hasn’t changed much in that time — and that’s no criticism.

Soft red furnishings and warm wood dominate, with art nouveau posters giving a further French accent — like you’ve stumbled off Glasgow’s Theatreland track and into some timeless Parisian cafe.

The menu has a bit of the same tone to it but with a little Scottish thrown in, haggis and Scotch beef making welcome appearances.

The other half went full Gallic with a twice-baked cheese soufflé and raved about it; melt-in-the-mouth and lighter than air, perfectly paired with forest mushrooms and asparagus.

I couldn’t resist the call of French onion soup, and was presented with a steaming, wine-rich bowl topped with the obligatory crouton and gruyere — hard to get hold of with only a soup spoon, but well worth it for that final, melting bite. It may be more of a winter warmer than a dish for a (semi) dry July day — but La Bonne Auberge can serve it to me any time, anywhere.

The same applies to a raspberry sorbet palate cleanser; a sour ice masquerading as an early dessert, and an ideal way to introduce rich classic mains.

The OH went for fillet of beef; a towering hunk of dark-roasted, meltingly tender meat served with smoked bacon and onions, cauliflower puree, spiced carrots and a red wine sauce.

The sauces were very good — but the pièce de résistance (come on, we had to get it in somewhere) was a sizeable side of boulangère potatoes, slices surrendering to savoury mash at the touch of a fork.

My pan-fried hake was well cooked too, and gorgeous with a pea and tomato beurre blanc and creamed spinach. Even better were sweet and moreish morsels of lobster ravioli — although the dish could probably have done without the mash soaking up that lovely sauce.

There was no need for dessert — but being something of an anniversary celebration, it seemed rude not to.

My frangipan tart was a little dry but beautifully presented and still tasty, bitter orange and chocolate chips pairing well with a cleansing mango sorbet.

The OH gave in to an impressive cheese board — ample crackers, smooth tomato chutney and four decadent hunks of cheddar, goats, camembert and creamy blue — and gave it a (very Scottish) thumbs up.

What can I say? La Bonne Auberge has still got it — and with a £9.95 set menu on throughout July to celebrate 40 years in Glasgow, I recommend raising a glass and wishing the kitchen (and, indeed, friendly front-of-house staff) bonne anniversaire.

The bill:

French onion soup - £7.75

Twice baked cheese soufflé - £8.95

Pan-fried hake fillet - £21.95

Fillet of Scotch beef - £27.50

Bitter orange and chocolate frangipan tart - £6.95

Selection of cheese - £7.95

Total (without drinks) - £81.05

La Bonne Auberge

161 West Nile St

Glasgow

G1 2RL

0141 352 8310

La Bonne Auberge website