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Review - The Beer Emporium, Bristol
Author: Victoria Jones

The Beer Emporium, Bristol – Visited 11/12/13

Wednesday night saw me enjoying a lovely festive night out in Bristol with family. Four of us set out, with no end destination or set plan in mind. We started the night by meeting in The Ostrich in Redcliffe, with a vague idea we might be able to have some food there (some of us had eaten before an fully recommend the Sunday roast!) – however they were out of draught beer, my fathers drink of choice, so decided to move on out into the crisp December night to find somewhere different. A meander along the riverfront provided plenty of options – all very full of revellers, office parties and festive cheer, so we continued on to St Austine’s Parade and were offered the choice – up the hill to Clifton or across to the older quarter of Bristol?

We decided to opt for the older quarter, and headed for King Street, bustling with pubs and bars. We looked into Graze, King William Alehouse and the Famous Royal Naval Volunteer, and while all seemed lovely they were either far too full or didn’t have a veggie option (we actually went and sat down in the King William – but they had sold out of their only veggie option).

Finally we came across the Beer Emporium – somewhere I’ve been meaning to try out for quite a while. The menu sounded delectable, and as we descended the stairs into the funky cellar bar we found a table almost straight away. Cellar bars are often very atmospheric as they echo noise so well, but as we nabbed the last table in a room full of Christmas parties the ‘atmosphere’ was overpowering – I was having to shout across the table to have a conversation. Not great when I’m suffering with the obligatory December sore throat!

By now we were starving, so got a round in and picked up the menus. The Beer Emporium stock over 40 international beers in bottle, draught and keg so the earlier problem of no beer was definitely resolved. They also stock Orchard Pig Reveller, one of my favourite ciders so I was definitely happy too.

Two of our party went for the 8oz rump steaks of varying preference, served with pepper sauce, chips and salad. I ordered a Portobello mushroom with duck egg, a gorgeous pesto and potato gratin with green beans, mint and lots of other herbs that blended beautifully. The other had a seafood platter, packed with mussels, king prawns, chorizo, samphire and HUGE chunks of crab meat (they had managed to get out a claw out whole!).

All four of us thoroughly enjoyed the meal – It makes such a change for me to enjoy a meal out as veggie food is often so predictable (normally veggie lasagne or macaroni cheese…) and I don’t like Goats Cheese or Brie, which also seems to get included in a lot of veggie options. The duck egg was poached beautifully and sweeter than a hens egg – perfectly complementing the otherwise earthy herb & mushroom dish.

We enjoyed it so much, in fact, that we were (almost) too full for pudding – but we had to try the apple & gooseberry crumble as it just sounded too good! We all had a try – the tart gooseberries went with the sweet apple and nutty, oaty crumble perfectly to clear the pallet after a delicious meal.

My only criticism of the night was the noise – but I suppose it is to be expected in a vaulted cellar full of festive cheer! I must make a point to go back on a slightly quieter night next year to see how it compares. There was a delicious sound Mint & Rosemary Polenta on the lunch menu…

Article by Victoria, loving Bristol veggie food scene


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