I struggle when it comes to recommending pubs to our guests; outside of that classic Sunday Roast fireplace sort of vibe I’d rather visit a dedicated restaurant than chatting over a pint of old badger ale (insert real beer name here) so I was really surprised when I visited the recently refurbished Hole in The Wall.
Its part of the wide ranging Mitchell and Butlers group and is part of their Premium Country Pubs range which includes The Botanist, Ashton and the The Golden Heart in Bristol.
The last time I visited here was on my way to a Grillstock Festival and it was a bit rough and ready and certainly in need of some love and if I’d had a bet I would have suggested it was destined for the same fate as the Grillstock empire.
I was really impressed; to use the local vernacular the interior is Gurt Lush and I loved the stylish seating and ambient lighting in the comfortable lounge bar that was perfect for cosy cocktails, pints or something from their extensive gin range whilst you peruse the menu.
I tried the Roku Gin relatively newly released from the Suntory Whisky? people and loved its elegant aromatics that worked with my de riguer Fever Tree Tonic. I love meeting any one in hospitality who is passionate about what they do so its a credit to the bar team that every cocktail I tried was broken down perfectly so I could understand the different taste profiles making me slightly squiffy as we tucked into the tasting mezzo platter. A lovely combination of small plates of roasted lentil falafels, beetroot hummus with omega seed sprinkle, miso sesame glazed aubergine, Lebanese-style dip, spiralised carrot salad, coconut tzatziki and flatbread.
We moved onto our dining table and this is broken up into a few different zones that could easily accommodate groups, events, private dinners or just couples. The interior designers had continued the sophisticated look and classy feel here and its pretty clear this is less ‘pub’ and more for foodie drinking.
For starters I loved the Karaage fried Chicken with little cucumber ribbons, mooli, kale & cauliflower couscous salad and a warm Katsu sauce. It was crispy and flavourful with the lovely Katsu sauce a perfect accompaniement. My guest ordered the deep fried Brie and it was pretty much every deep fried Brie you have ever eaten so I shan’t waste words on it.
For mains we ordered the Pork Belly and Scallops served with potato dauphinoise, butternut squash purée, green beans, toasted almonds, crackling and red wine jus. It was a good dish and the surf and turf worked here. It was a big plate and not for the faint hearted and could have taken a little more refinement but the flavours were goos and as ever I envied their cheffy ability to get that crisp belly pork perfection.
We also ate butternut squash tart one of the veggie options that was a perfect combination of roasted peppers, leeks, confit tomato, topped with Cropwell Bishop custard and Stilton & walnut crumb in a decent pastry. This was really tasty and again very filling so maybe its for people having two courses rather than three as I did.
Dessert we shared the fun melting chocolate and peanut bomb – a golden chocolate dome filled with sticky toffee pudding and peanut butter cream. Served with Bourbon vanilla ice cream & hot salted caramel sauce. Its one of this things you see on a foodie shows where you pour the sauce to melt the chocolate. Lots of theatre and clapping and cheering eventually happened because our sauce wasn’t quite hot enough. Still its never really over until the fat food blogger sings so we got there and I can share that if you have a very very sweet tooth then this is for you.
The Hole in The Wall its newly refurbished surroundings and good food would definitely make me think again if I was over that part of Bristol give it a try; I think you’ll like it.