Graze is known for the quality of its meat, and itâ€™s a reputation thatâ€™s well-deserved, says Emma Dance
With a sculpture of a cow right above the entrance and another of a cow’s head protruding from the wall above the kitchen it’s pretty clear what’s going to take centre stage on the menu at Graze Bar and Chophouse.
The Graze brand (there’s three of them so far – Bristol was the first, followed by openings in Bath and Cirencester) is Bath Ales’ slightly more sophisticated take on the traditional pub – inspired by the chop houses of New York and London – and it’s known for the quality of its meat and, in particular, the beef. Hence the bovine-themed art.
The menu at Graze changes with the seasons and we visited the Queen’s Square venue to try the new spring offering.
The meaty selection sat prominently right in the centre of the menu, reinforcing the point that it’s the speciality, but there were also plenty of fish and veggie options on offer for those with less carnivorous tendencies.
I started with the BBQ pork ribs (£6.50) which just melted off the bone and were smothered in a wonderful tangy sauce with just enough acidity to cut through the rich meat. Husband chose the mussel and lobster bisque (£7.50) and although he was expecting a soup, what actually arrived was a steaming pile of mussels drenched in the luxurious, creamy soup making it essentially a very lavish variant on the traditional moules marnières.
When it came to the main my waiter had guided me in the direction of the Best of British burger (£18), which came loaded with Stilton, onion rings and English mustard. It was a towering beast of a burger and I had to remove one of the giant onion rings to even be in with a chance of fitting it in my mouth! It was soon clear though that Graze is right to boast about the quality of its meat. The burger was well seasoned and juicy and stood up well to the strong flavours of the accompaniments ensuring that it really was the star of the show. It came with a choice of potato-based sides and I opted for the sweet potato fries. They were fantastically more-ish but the burger proved so filling that I barely made a dent in my portion.
Husband found my battle to get my chops around it highly entertaining as he tucked in to his rather more elegant dish of Wiltshire lamb rump with new potatoes, mint hollandaise and pea purée (£16). The lamb was cooked beautifully pink, the purèe was velvety smooth and the mint hollandaise a luxurious addition.
Despite being stuffed I refused to give in without at least trying a dessert and I decided to see if I could squeeze in the peach and honey cake (£6.50). It was light and moist with the peaches adding a summery freshness and the accompanying natural yoghurt a lovely contrast to the sweetness of the honey. Husband’s peanut butter parfait (£6) was wonderfully creamy and struck just the right balance between sweetness and saltiness.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the food was the simplicity. There’s no uber-fancy cooking techniques or wild and wacky combinations. It’s just exceptionally good ingredients cooked exceptionally well. And what’s not to like about that?
Graze Bar and Chophouse,
63 Queen Square, Bristol BS1 4JZ
0117 927 6706