On St Nicholas St, the Elephant public house opened up at the beginning of June in the bright, white building that once was home to the Market Place. Ben Bartrip and his partner Sarah Eskins opened the bar after returning to England from Melbourne, Australia and they have refurbished the place so it sports a more natural look with the purple of the bar stripped back to the light wood underneath.
The music was easy listening pop and the Australian influence was subtly played out with a song by Icehouse which I hadn’t heard in years.
We were the first in the pub as we arrived for lunch on a Saturday at 12pm. We chose two courses each and a soft drink rather than any alcoholic beverages. No starters this time but the choice included two seafood selections that I may try next time: Steamed Cornish Mussels with Cider & Cream (£5.95) and Pan fried Chilli Prawns served with Aioli and Homemade Bread (£6.95).
For my main I chose the lamb rump served on a bed of sauteed potatoes with green beans, smoked bacon lardons & spinach with a roast onion puree (£12.95). The lamb, as requested, was cooked medium rare and came out quite tender. The bacon lardons helped the seasoning of the dish and the potatoes and green beans were beautifully done. The roast onion purée was interesting but probably redundant.
My eating companion had the African chicken curry with Basmati rice (£9.45) which looked and tasted like a proper curry and not a pub dish made with uncle Ben’s rice and an unidentifiable brown sauce. The rice was fluffy and the sauce, or massala, had distinct traces of oils and herbs and spices. I thought it was lovely, especially after being a little doubtful about ordering a curry in a pub, and he was impressed.
The sad news about dessert was that there were no creme brulees left after a party of 13 the previous night ordered the last of them. My second choice was the warm chocolate brownie with ice cream (£5.50). A nice effort with a rich chocolate flavour but dry and not exactly inspiring. My colleague Hannah had brought in some of her own brownie creations to work the previous week and they were the best I have tasted. Moist, delicious, just the right edge of sweetness with chunks of good quality chocolate throughout. As soon as she starts selling to the public I will let you know, for now it was a shame that the Elephant had to compete.
Graeme chose the cheese board with crackers although it could be served with homemade Breads as well (£8.95). The price seems a little pricey but the quantity was fitting.
The meal was tasty and the setting was comforting and pleasant while the service was quietly courteous. A couple came in and just ordered cappuccinos while someone else ordered a half pint of beer. The Elephant seems to provide variety and more than just your average public house. I would definitely go back for the food and the music.
The Elephant Public House, 20 St. Nicholas St, Bristol BS1 1UB, 0117 929 3561. http://www.theelephantbristol.co.uk/
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