On occasion, we at TGE towers don’t just go out for dinner; we go out for a show too! It was on a whim (and luckily it turns out, with a substantial Travelzoo discount) that Mr TGE picked up a couple of tickets for the multi-award winning ‘Slava’s snow show’ promising magic, wonder and Christmas whimsy at the Bristol Hippodrome. There’s a whole host of ‘pre-theatre’ speed dinners on offer near the Hippodrome but we decided to shun all of them in favour of trying out somewhere we’d had our eye on for a little while – Chomp.
Located discreetly out of the way on St. Nicholas Street, Chomp started life as a pop-up restaurant before setting up a permanent residence as a ‘modern British steakhouse’ with the emphasis squarely on meat and bourbon. The menu is split into ‘steak or ‘not steak’ (by which they mean burgers) alongside a powerful selection of Malbec or bourbon & rye. This is so far up my street it’s difficult to put into words, though admittedly less preggo-friendly than is ideal at the moment.
We pre-booked a table for 6pm which of course we were early for as I inherited a crippling fear of being late from the P-Rents. We’re those people that are there the full 3 hours before a flight leaves, even if it’s just to Europe. Mr TGE has often sat, bleary eyed at arse o’clock at Bristol Airport on his 3rd coffee while I chirp brightly that, “isn’t it nice to be here so early, no need to rush!” Mothership, I know you’re proud of me for this. On this particular freezing night it did mean that we were shivering on the doorstep of Chomp before the doors were even open… nothing wrong with being keen though eh? Bang on 6pm a very lovely waiter opened the door to usher us into the warm. Well, it was warmer than outside but the heating clearly hadn’t kicked in yet so we struggled to thaw out. Although the restaurant was empty for the first few minutes it quickly began filling up with a few walk-ins, the last of whom were only just squeezed in due to the amount of pre-booked tables. Definitely one to reserve.
Lovely Waiter talked us enthusiastically through the menu and was especially animated about the special which was a blue cheese burger… though he did notice bump and quickly moved on to more preggo-friendly options. Mr TGE decided to try an old fashioned cocktail served ‘sweet and smooth’ (£8) with Maker’s Mark and orange bitters – seemed rude not to in a bourbon bar. I had a good old sniff of it and it certainly smelled gorgeous but obviously I stuck to soft drinks.
Steaks are split into ‘soft & tender’, ‘juicy & fatty’ and ‘lean and beefy’ and although I was tempted by the ribeye (juicy & fatty for the win) I just can’t bear a well cooked steak so have put that on the back burner until rare meat is back on the menu. Instead we checked out the ‘not steak’ option of burgers (there is one veggie burger option here made with a spicy bean burger). Served with fries and slaw we both opted for the House Classic (£11) which Lovely Waiter advised was usually served medium pink. Mr TGE was fine with that, while I requested mine to be well done. We were pretty tempted to try the black pudding beignets (£6) from the starters but decided to be restrained (pfft) and just stick to a side order of onion rings (£3.50). There was also the option of ordering a side of steak, which again is just so far up my street it’s untrue. Who doesn’t want steak with a side of steak??
The food arrived and looked incredibly appetising, these guys clearly take their burgers seriously. The fries were really well seasoned and nice and crisp. The slaw I could take or leave but it was nice to have something a bit fresher on the plate. The burger was clearly the star of the show with parmesan mayo, a thick juicy beef patty, American mustard, ketchup and pickles. I’m not always the biggest burger fan but this was exceptionally tasty and I wolfed half of it down in record time. The cheeze oozed perfectly and the brioche bun kept things from getting too messy. However it was only when I had reached halfway through that I noticed that the patty was cooked as standard – medium pink. I can see why, it was bloody lovely cooked that way but it’s always a little annoying to have your meat cooked differently to how it was ordered. Lovely Waiter appeared to check how things were so I did have the opportunity to say something but, in for a penny, in for a pound, I decided not to faff with sending it back and instead decided to enjoy a slightly naughty treat. Talking of naughty treats… Those. Onion. Rings. They were more bangle sized than rings, proper whopping slices of onion with a sinful crispy batter coating. They should come with everything.
When Lovely Waiter arrived to clear the plates I did let him know that the burger hadn’t been cooked through as requested and he looked so disappointed I thought he might cry. He immediately offered a complimentary dessert by way of apology, and much as I had been eying up the banana chocolate cake, we decided to decline as the meal had been delicious and incredibly filling. I agreed to have my arm twisted and compromised on taking away a chocolate bar (£2.50). Of course, not just any chocolate bar… this was made by the chocolate fairies at Zara’s chocolate on North Street. Made of Venezuelan bittersweet dark chocolate and mandarin it was maybe the classiest chocolate bar I’ve ever tried – apparently it goes very well with bourbon.
So overall although a slight hiccup with the cooking, Chomp was a winner for us. I have a sneaky feeling we’ll be back next year for the full experience…
Oh and Slava’s snow show (or shit show as Mr TGE renamed it)? It’s a show that only gets 1 star or 5 star reviews, there’s not a whole lot of feeling in between. Without wishing to spoil it for anyone it opens with a desperate looking Russian clown slowly putting a noose around his neck and things didn’t seem to get anymore cheerful than that… we cut our losses and left at the interval. I’ve heard the ending is spectacular and I’m sure it is (traumatised children aside) but an hour of slow moving sad Russian clowns with accompanying jazz was enough for us.