For bangers and mash at their best head to The Clifton Sausage, says Emma Dance
It’s easy to forget about just how good some of the British classics can be.
We often talk about going out for an Indian, or a Chinese, or a pizza – but when was the last time you talked suggested an English? (Unless in the context of breakfast). Chances are it’s never crossed your lips. Which actually seems a bit remiss – especially when there’s somewhere quite as fantastic as The Clifton Sausage right here in Bristol.
We arrived on a sunny Thursday evening and were seated at a lovely sunny table by the window. The décor very much has a country pub feel, and had it not been for the view of Clifton Village it would have been easy to forget that we were in the middle of a city.
As the name suggests, sausages take centre stage on the menu, although there are plenty of non-banger-based alternatives, including fish and veggie options.
We decided that we’d embrace the spirit of the place though and go for a sausage-y feast.
We started with the Grazing Platter to share (£13.50) which was a board laden with delicious morsels including chorizo, salami, Manchego cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. The real gem though was the sausage roll. Cuddling the soft sausage was perfectly thick pastry – crisp on the outside and soft, almost verging on underdone in the centre, so there were lovely layers of texture. The slight doughiness reminded me of the sausage rolls of the parties of my childhood and brought a wave of nostalgia and a smile to my faces.
At any one time there’s at least six different sausages on the menu, including a veggie option and usually a special which changes regularly.
The choice almost proved too much, so I chose the tasting plate (£13.95) which consists of Clifton (pork, cider and wholegrain mustard), Old Spot pork, lamb and beef sausages. I’ve tried different varieties of sausages before and almost always been disappointed at just how similar they tasted, but this was absolutely not the case on this occasion. Every one had a very distinct, (and very delicious) flavour but my favourite was the Clifton. The cider and wholegrain mustard added an extra flavour dimension but without being overpowering. My accompanying champ was a wonderful combination of smooth, creamy mashed potato with some added texture from the peppery spring onions, but I really loved the sweet and salty parsnip crisps which came sprinkled over the top.
Husband chose the toad in the hole (£11.95) and opted for the Beef and Butcombe Ale sausages. The Yorkshire pudding was the perfect vessel to cradle the sausages and gravy – crisp on the outside and light on the inside and he devoured every last crumb.
Puddings are just the kind of naughtiness you’d expect. My chocolate and salted caramel torte (£6.50) was rich and decadent with the saltiness wonderfully offsetting the sweetness. His sticky toffee pudding (£6) was the perfect marriage of stodginess, gooiness and sweetness.
The Clifton Sausage is dedicated to showing that when it’s done well British food can compete with the best food in the world for taste and satisfaction and it achieves its aim remarkably well. It truly is the best of British.
The Clifton Sausage, 7-9 Portland Street, Bristol BS8 4JA