Much to the dismay of my best vegan friend, I really love beef.
The thing is, I come from a family of beef fanatics. From steak and chips, to yakiniku, to beef tartare, I ‘m a big fan of it all. Anyway, what I’m saying is I’m well versed in good beef.
It’s only natural, then, that my first attempt at a restaurant review on this blog is for Pasture, a steak house located in Bristol.
Usually, I’m based in Cardiff and the name Pasture has been flying about quite a bit, as they’re opening a Cardiff venue pretty soon. Alas, thanks to Covid-19, I was back in my hometown, on the outskirts of Bristol. When the Eat Out to Help Out scheme arrived being back in Bristol was a blessing, as my boyfriend and I used it as an excuse to eat out as much as possible the week before I left for France, and Pasture happened to be at the top of our list.
When we phoned to make a last minute booking (I’m a student and a creative, I don’t plan) it must’ve been fate because they’d literally just had a two person cancellation just before we phoned, and outside of that they were fully booked.
Anyway, enough of the backstory (I’m not usually a restaurant review writer but everyone needs to try new things from time to time), and on to the steak!
We arrived a little early, desperate for the loo (I was on a drink-more-water health kick) and were greeted by a member of staff who was more than happy to oblige to our need for the toilet at THAT VERY MOMENT PLEASE THANK YOU. Then, once I had an empty bladder, we returned and were given a seat to wait at until our table was ready.
When our table was all sorted, we were shown there by a lovely lady, who asked us if we were out for a special occasion. From some people watching, Pasture did seem to be the sort of place that people came to for special occasions. My boyfriend and I had indeed spent the journey justifying our fancy night out – an early 6 month anniversary date, a celebration of his new job and new car, simply the fact that the Eat Out to Help Out scheme applied here and also the fact that I was going to France for a month so it was out last date night for a while. We settled on giving the final answer and the lady showing us to our tabled engaged in a quick conversation about my upcoming holiday.
The thing about going to restaurants as some one who works in the hospitality industry is that you are very aware of all the nonsense you have to chat when you’re working, and it becomes very evident when someone is no good at it, too overzealous or simply not actually interested. The nice thing about all the staff at Pasture is the sense of genuine interest that they give their guests, paired with an air of sophistication that means they don’t feel too in-your-face.
Once seated, our waitress explained the menu to us and gave us some time to decide on drinks. We opted for some soft drinks before our meal, and asked for a glass of wine each to be brought out at the same time as our food.
Next it was time to think about food. I decided that a starter would compromise my ability to finish the main, so we went straight to look at the mains section of the menu. Of course, we were obviously here for the steaks, so despite a ‘Classics’ selection that boasted a burger, chicken, fish and two vegan options we jumped straight into discussing beef.
Pretty quickly, it was evident that we were most interested in one of Pasture’s house cuts, that came with two sauces and two sides, so was ideal for sharing. Eventually, we settled on a porterhouse and decided on the classic peppercorn and garlic butter as our sauces. For sides, we opted for truffle chips and a spinach gratin.
Now it was time to wait in anticipation. As mentioned earlier, the night appeared to be fully booked, so we settled in for a fairly lengthy wait. However as we bought a house cut, we were gifted with some short rib croquettes with gochujang aioli. I am a sucker for both croquettes (I love the croquette bun – yes that’s potato croquette in a bread roll – from 7/11 in Japan) and aioli so at this point I was already in heaven. This definitely made the wait feel shorter, and in the end it didn’t take as long as I would’ve expected from the business around us.
With food in front of us, it was now time for the second most important part of the night. You know, we eat with our eyes first, so obviously in my head that translates to “photo opportunity”. Sue me, I wanted to remember the impressive slab of meat that was in front of me.
When I was happy with the selection of photos stored in the memory of mine and my boyfriend’s phones, we could begin with the most important part of the night, eating. Obviously.
As I mentioned earlier, my taste buds have been subject to a lot of beef in my 20 years on this earth. I mean, for one, I am no stranger to Kobe Beef. So far in my life, the local yakiniku about 20 minutes from where I lived in Nagoya had probably been the best beef I’d ever tasted. But that all changed.
Now, writing about food from memory three weeks after you’ve eaten it is a pretty hard thing to do. I can’t exactly remember the flavour (and to be honest, I’m no food critic so I probably couldn’t describe flavour very well anyway). But what I can remember is that despite our doubts about our ability to consume all of the beef in front of us, my boyfriend and I demolished it. It was cooked perfectly and tasted like everything you’d want a steak to taste like. The accompanying sauces were beautiful alongside the meat, though for me I have to say I would’ve been happy with only the garlic butter.
And as well as the steak, the two sides were lovely as well. If I was to be completely brutal, the truffle chips could have had a stronger truffle flavour but that’s probably because my sister has recently started cooking everything with truffle oil (we’ve become obsessed). Otherwise, I couldn’t fault the meal in the slightest.
Overall, my boyfriend and I had an absolutely fabulous night, with delicious food, brilliant staff, a delightful atmosphere and the company was okay too (hehehe, nah always a great night with Fraser). I do have one major problem, though: there’s no way I’ll ever be able to stay away from Pasture for too long but my student loan just won’t cover that!