La Bonne Auberge is something of a local legend in Glasgow, having been running for over 40 years.
Founder Maurice Taylor has been bringing top-notch French cuisine to the masses for five decades now, and the fact that several of my friends frequent it on a regular basis indicate that it’s as popular as it has ever been.
I hadn’t visited La Bonne Auberge in quite a few years (it was a May evening, I recall – on my way to see an evening of James Bond music from a symphony orchestra in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall). My outstanding memories were of the good quality of the food, rather than anything else.
So, I bid it a welcome return with a friend, and were quickly seated by the attentive staff, who ensured we were well looked after throughout out visit. The surroundings are light, without being too bright, conveying the feel of a couple of places I’ve visited in the French capital.
The hors d’ouvres and salades had me spoiled for choice – I love a Caesar salad, and can quite happily eat those as a main course – but in the end chose to go with the melon saison avec crevettes (£8.95). It was a close-run thing, as the chicken liver parfait with cherry jam and Aaran oatcakes were tempting me, as was La Bonne Aubvers salade (chicken and bacon are two of my favourites).
This was a good choice – I’m a big fan of melon and its sweetness, which was a great combination with prawns in marie rose sauce. These were the perfect combination, offering a refreshing starter. Definitely the right choice.
My companion chose to go for the potage du jour (£5.95), and the soup of the day on our visit was cream of vegetable. He too was pleased with his selection, finding it to be thick enough to be substantial, without being too heavy, and the accompanying bread was just what the doctor ordered.
There were tempting options under Les Sandwiches selection, with a choice of burgers (complete with different kinds of cheese), a vegetarian Le Provencale buger, and Le Poulet Bang Bang very nearly had me, with buttermilk fried chicken breast on toasted brioche, and spicy chilli sauce.
We both chose to eat from Les Plat Tradition Auberge, and what a menu it is. If you can decline warm Quiche Lorraine, Gratin de Raratouille, crispy friend haddock and magret do canard, you’ve got a great selection in front of you.
I selected the steak frites – a 200g Scotch rib eye steak, French beans, tomato, pepper sauce and pommes frites (£21.95). I don’t often have steak, but when I do, I make sure that it’s a good one. I like mine well done, so when it was delivered, there were no issues with how it had been cooked – charred on the outside, easy to cook, and packed with flavour. It cut beautifully, and was easy to chew. The pepper sauce was a great accompaniment – not too hot, but nice and creamy. If anything, I felt I could have done with a little bit more, as it helped the French fries go down. If I had one complaint, they were perhaps too crispy, but that is a minor quibble against a first-class piece of meat. And the tomato – cooked to perfection!
My fellow diner decided to go with the Boeuf Bourguignon (£13.95), which comprised braised Scotch beef, bacon, mushroom sauce and red wine, with mash and green beans. The braised beef was perfect – lovely and soft, and full of its own flavour, as well as those it absorbed in the sauce. The mash too was great – light and fluffy, and went well with the red wine of the sauce. He was more than content with his selection. Another winner.
Both of these portions were of a good size, and we did swither as to whether or not we could manage a dessert, but in the end we felt it would be rude not to. After all, the menu was very tempting
Boule de Neige is a traditional Glasgow favourite, with dairy ice cream, Tunnock’s snowballs, and raspberry sauce (£7.95). QUite frankly, this is the perfect dessert for the big kid in us all. This took me back to being a wee boy, getting bought an ice cream in Rutherglen’s Mitchell Arcade, and having my ice cream absolutely drenched in the sweet sauce. The gooey snowball goes well with the ice cream, and gives a nice change in texture.
My friend selected pouding au caramel, a sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce (£8.25). He was like a pig in muck with this choice – the pudding itself was lovely, warm and soft, with the accompanying ice cream sat in a crunchy sweet base, while the caramel sauce was the right side of sickly sweet. Another success.
We left full and happy – the food definitely constituted value for money, the service was good, and the staff had good knowledge of their menu. Tres bonne!
La Bonne Auberge, 161 West Nile Street, Glasgow, G1 2RL
0141 352 8310