A new restaurant opening in Bristol is nothing new, but to arrive with the credentials of chef/patron Sam, Pasture seems to be already making its mark. With 10 years of experience working with Jamie Oliver overseeing his UK operations, Sam promises an evening of 'fire, meat and music'!
Having recently attended a cider and food pairing event at Pasture, where Sam created dishes to complement the portfolio of Thatchers cider, my curiosity was definitely peaked. So with my foodiest of Aunties in town, we headed to see what Pasture was really about and to try their 'a la carte' menu.
One thing that really struck me on my first visit was the quality of the staff and this was apparent again as soon as we walked through the door. Enthusiastically greeted, we were offered to either enjoy a drink at the bar or go upstairs to our table. It seemed a shame not to soak up the chilled vibes and take a look at their extensive drinks list under the watchful eye of many bottles!
Offering gin, rum, bourbon and whiskey cocktails, I opted for a classic prosecco cocktail with a twist called the Pasture Violet. With local psychopomp gin, lemon and prosecco and creme de violet which gave a heady hint of parma violet sweets! (Remember the little purple sweets?)
We also tried a smoked Negroni which was finished with a sweet smoked vermouth to achieve the smokey note. It was great to see a selection of English wines, and syrups from the Bristol Syrup company.
Starting to feel the need to have a little something to eat my memory cast back to the amazing little beef short rib croquettes that I'd tried the week before. Rich, crunchy and slightly salty and perfect with a drink. Served on a spicy (gochujang) chilli paste, sharing a plate of these was a perfect pre-starter!
As Pasture is about the meat we had the intention to order off the house cuts board, but we also wanted to try out one of the starters as well. With the choice of crispy wings, duck liver mousse, crispy squid, cured trout, mussels and pork belly, we decided to go light and try the ash baked beetroot.
Notes of ash from the fire with garnishes of goats curd, elderberry vinegar and pecans looked as pretty as a picture and tasted delicious too. With a beautiful mix of earthiness from the beets, sourness from the goat's cheese, and fruity vinegar twang and pecan crunch, it was a delight and left enough room for the main event.
If a house cut isn't your thing, there are burgers and classic cuts of steak, as well as chicken, seafood and vegetable options. On the house cuts board, you can select the weight of the steak you would like, which is perfect for two to share (or 1 big man versus food moment!). Cut fresh each day and served with 2 sides and sauces it seemed a great way to capture the essence of what the restaurant is about.
After hearing about the porterhouse steak (sirloin and fillet served on the bone) and the tomahawk cut (essentially rib-eye on the bone) it was a close call but the tomahawk was just too intriguing! Served off the bone but bone on the side (there were far too many delicious nuggety bits of fat and meat to gnaw on!) it was a sight to behold.
We ordered a selection of sauces, classic bearnaise, peppercorn and a chimichurri just for kicks! Cooked medium as requested the steak was meaty, tender and succulent. The fat was sweet and delicious....surprising I know! But this was the most moorish steak I'd ever eaten.
The classic sauces for me worked perfectly, the chimichurri just kicked my tasted buds out a bit too much to appreciate the flavour of the meat but would be fine for some. And with humble sides of seasonal greens and coal roasted sweet potato we couldn't have ordered better. Options of truffle or dripping chips, spinach gratin and mac and cheese amongst others are available too if you want to indulge.
As far as wines we were fortunate to find English wines being sold by the glass that week. So we tried the Bacchus (Woodchester Valley) which was dry with tropical and citrus notes which worked really well with our starter. With the steak, we opted for the Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz, which had a lovely deep red berry flavour and was delicious with the steak! The wine list has a great selection to suit all palettes and budgets.
Now you'd be forgiven for thinking that after eating all of that these ladies wouldn't have room for the dessert menu, right? Wrong. Granted we shared but with seasonal delights like pannacotta with rhubarb and gingerbread, it was a shame not to give the dessert menu some love. Again the presentation and attention to detail was 'en pointe'.
In the shadows of St MaryRedcliffe church, Pasture has a great deal going for it. Downstairs on the weekend, things get lively with live bands or a DJ and upstairs in the restaurant you can see the chefs hard at work, cutting and cooking the meat on the grill. It has a cool vibe, with tunes adding background ambience and a buzz about the place which really gets you in the mood for a good time.
It's good to remember as well that if you want a quality but quick lunch they offer an express lunch menu too and if provenance is important to you, ingredients are locally sourced or from within the South West. All in all, Pasture is already proving to be popular, so if you're hoping to go on the weekend make sure you book a table!
I wish Sam and the Pasture team all the best in the coming months (and years!) and hope to see you again soon. Keep up the great work!
This review was not at the request of Pasture and all opinions and finding were my own! I hope you will go and see what you think!