Our trip back from Cardiff was already during the night as the damn winter hour applies everywhere in Europe. So now, when the clock shows 17:30 you already start feeling sleepy like a baby that just got his milk and bath and is ready to hit Dreamland.
We knew that we had a booking somewhere but really, none of us (something like 7 nationalities) knew the place. None of us has eaten there before and in spite of the fact that there were recommendations and Google helps in terms of reviews and what to expect about a place, the hunger we had inside our stomachs made us feel really uncomfortable about it.
Pasture – the bar to give you sweet dreams
The only thing that might have given away what was about to happen a little later during the evening when we’ve entered in “Pasture” was the smoke… and the smell overall. But downstairs there’s only the bar and the restaurant is upstairs so we couldn’t put a face on the smell yet, especially because we arrived about two hours earlier than our booking was. We had to stay in the bar and consume “finger food” to kill the total hunger and drink our minds out.
It seems that Bristol is full of immigrants as well as London because we found out that the bartender and the waitress in the bar were Bulgarians (thanks to our Bulgarian colleague) while one of the waitresses upstairs was Italian (we had some Italian guys with us too so they found out about this pretty fast).
So we went on and ordered drinks. Some of us went for one of the many gins brands they had in the house. Me instead, decided that I need to try one of their artisan beers, hidden somewhere behind a wall, with the taps coming out of it and only the brands of those totally unknown beer brands… to me. Soon enough we were drinking as English people do: loud talking, eating some nibbles like there was no tomorrow and socialising with the waitresses and the bartender. I think that the only thing I really missed was the fact that we couldn’t smoke inside. I know it’s not healthy but having a pint of beer can go great with a pack of those damn cigarettes and the smoke in the air, thick enough to be cut with a knife.
Instead, we had to get outside and smoke our lungs out while the cold wind sends shivers down our bones and St. Mary Redcliffe Church’s bells were singing to us every other half an hour.
Pasture – the restaurant that gives cows nightmares
As soon as you get upstairs, you can see why you’ve been waiting for the hour of the booking: it’s damn full. There’s no table bigger than for two that is free but as soon as the booked hour was hit, one nice lady came and took us to our designated table. And to put things into the future culinary perspective of the evening, we were seated underneath an artisanal cow’s head.
It all began with the nice ladies bringing us the menu and then, after not more than 5 minutes, presenting us those meat cuts from the first picture in this article. Just so we know what we are going to spend our money on.
I must admit I’m not really a beef eater. That’s mostly because I have a set back when I see blood and having a steak well down is not only offensive to the chef but also (from what I understand from the guys that know the trade) is untasty and counterproductive. I guess I can understand that ruining a nice piece of meat with overcooking it and making it as hard as a piece of a shoe sole is not the solution to the blood I’m seeing. So in the sense of the above, you’ll understand why I was sceptical about the fact that my colleagues already decided that we’ll all eat beef, in all the forms that the menu allowed and with all the combinations possible in terms of sauces and side dishes.
What the hell… I decided I’ll go for it together with them. If the plane didn’t kill me, meat is not going to do it either.
It didn’t take long until the food started coming. At first, with some nibbles, so we’d continue the trend from downstairs and not to serve alone the fine wines we’ve ordered. We started with a Spanish wine and moved on to Italian later. God damn, they had a very nice selection of reds and whites. Not cheap, that’s for sure, but for sure the selection was handpicked in order to move nicely with the types of foods they are serving in this place. Soon enough, after the second bottle, we started receiving the beef we’ve ordered and the hunger was there, again, stimulated by the wine, added to the alcohol already consumed downstairs.
Somehow I suppose they want you to wait at least a little bit in the bar, consuming beverages, so in the end, when you go upstairs you will be ready to devour the meat they slam in your face.
Those sauces were incredible. I know that they say that good meat doesn’t need help to taste great but for me, a human being who doesn’t really like to put into his mouth “red, bloody” meat, they came in very handy. And delicious. I don’t know to tell you what I ate. What part of the animal or what is the name of the sauces I’ve used on my plate but beat me and leave to die, the tastes were incredible. Also, I took advantage of the fact that none of my colleagues went for the veggies they brought as side dishes. Those were delicious also and for me, they replaced successfully the need for bread (which I really need when eating meat usually). Of course, there were other side dishes brought to the table, like some incredible french fries and macaroni and cheese. The latter wasn’t touched by anybody though. Really, I don’t know why you’d spoil the taste of the great meat and sauces with macaroni and cheese in the oven.
Already on the second platter of beef, a different cut than the first, I was full. This fullness would normally make not to go forward and put another piece of meat inside my mouth, especially if it were beef but something inside me told me that I have to at least try it. Who knows when I’ll be in Bristol again to try this, in this atmosphere and more importantly, to have the company paying, right?
So I went on and took a piece. Poured that special sauce on it combined it with the vegetables and eat it. And then another piece. At the third one, my internal voice told me “Stop motherfucker or you’ll die!”. So I thought twice about it, poured another glass of wine and stopped eating. Really, if I wouldn’t have stopped, I risked not getting to the point where I could tell my story so I decided to do what’s best for me and my stomach. Stop eating! It was a hard choice, I’ll have to admit but nonetheless, I did it.
Moreover, through the industrial windows of the place, taken from some Victorian-era maybe, the tower of the church across the parking and everything it represented, was looking at me and in my nearly drunk head, God was telling me that I should better stop. Too much it’s too much.
I don’t know what the bill amounted to. Somehow I guess I don’t even want to know. It would have only ruined my dinner and the nice feeling I got after. Yeah, I know I didn’t pay so it shouldn’t touch me but I’m an easily impressed person when it comes to money so it’s better that I don’t know. Anyway, from what I could tell from the menu, a normal couple could get out of this with about 50-60 pounds, including some glasses of nice, red wine, which in my opinion is not the worse amount you could pay for a VERY special culinary experience.
Anyway, if you find yourself in Bristol, don’t go around these guys and gals. You will be totally satisfied by the food, the wine and the overall atmosphere of the place.
And if you don’t usually eat beef, this place will change your mind about it.