This city centre steak house offers up a different dining experience entirely, writes Sammy Milton
Bristol boasts some of the finest steak restaurants for miles around. The Cowshed, The Ox and Pasture all have loyal followings, but as we know from the Bristol food scene, there’s always room for another one. Enter Mugshot. Tucked away snugly on St Nicholas Street in the old city, this small but perfectly formed steak house opened in the height of summer, and has been pulling in heady reviews ever since.
Late to the party, as always, we arrived on a wet and wild Wednesday night just last week. Stepping into the restaurant is like stepping back in time – red velvet drapes mask the entrance, and the dining space is full of intimate booths and comfortable tables set against oak-panelled walls.
It’s very speakeasy, New York-style, and it works.
The 1920s theme continues downstairs, with huge, opulent toilets and a separate dining area. It seems that, whatever the occasion, the team at Mugshot have you covered.
Once seated at our table, the immensely friendly staff preceded to explain how the restaurant works. There is a selection of steaks on offer, along with sides, salads, pizzas and desserts, with the meat being the main event. Once you have chosen your steak, it arrives at the table on a volcanic hot plate, which you can then use to cook your meat to your own liking. The steaks come served alongside a rocket and Parmesan salad and a perfectly sized portion of triple-cooked chips. With this, you get a choice of a sauce, and two of their homemade butters – trust me when I say, you’re in for a treat.
Our sirloin steaks arrived sizzling on their hot plates, accompanied by two gorgeous butters – honey and garlic for me, and lemon and herb and another honey for my dining companion. Following our server’s instructions, we removed the steaks, cut them up, then lay them back on the hotplate to infuse with the butters – and what fun this was! As well as being more interactive, it allows diners to cook their steaks to their own preferences, perfect for any picky eaters out there. The butters themselves were gorgeous, with the honey coming out top – sweet and balmy, it mixed perfectly well with the marbled steak.
The steak itself is exceptional. Selected from Ruby and White butchers on Whiteladies Road, it’s of the highest possible quality, and was melt-in-the-mouth good. The chips that came alongside were equally as pleasing, even more so when dipped into the rich beef dripping sauce that we both selected, and the salad was light and refreshing.
We couldn’t resist dessert, and went for three individual scoops of ice cream from neighbours Brozen – peanut butter and pretzel, pecan and praline and chocolate and toffee treacle. I haven’t tried anything from Brozen before, and each of these ice creams were as delicious as each other. And in true Bristol fashion, it’s great to see local businesses supporting each other.
In keeping with its namesake, you can opt to have a ‘mugshot’ taken of you when you’ve finished dining – there is already a wall inside adorned with happy diners holding up their boards – which is a great little touch. Plus, it’s fun to look out for friend’s faces when you visit.
Mugshot is an exciting, vibrant place to be, and offers a very different dining experience. Definitely a place to go if you want a fun dinner with friends or a new take on date-night, the food, and service, is truly top-notch. Go forth and feast.
18 St Nicholas Street,
0117 954 4944