Sink into the salubrious surroundings of Graze Bar & Chophouse, where you’ll be treated to attentive service, locally reared steaks and a relaxed setting – the perfect choice for a mid-week lunch or an early, alfresco dinner.

Situated just off Queen Square in Bristol, this eatery is a real gem in the heart of Bristol’s harbour side quarter with Pero’s Bridge, the Floating Harbour and the vibrant buzz of Park Street just a stone’s throw away.  Whether you are seeking an informal dining experience for a long overdue catch up with a friend (and a glass of wine to loosen the conversation) or an impromptu business meeting over lunch, Graze will welcome you.

Arrive early, for the pick of your choice of table, and stay for a leisurely afternoon.  Soak up the atmosphere, and while away the day, with your own front row seat, overlooking their open kitchen.  A spacious and roomy interior but never austere – with warm lighting, comfortable leather seating and window-view sofas, given a personal touch with archival, rural and farming photographs peppered across the walls.

They say that the heart of a home lies in the kitchen and dining areas – after all, food, conversation and community are all born out of these shared experiences.  Dining in Graze conjures up similar feelings of inclusivity, genuine hospitality and homeliness.  The sort of place you will settle into, and before you know it, the sun will be setting as you sip on a steaming, after-dinner coffee.

If, like me, your eyes gravitate towards the dessert menu before anything else, I would suggest you think very carefully about your choice of main course.  I tend to suffer from the ‘eyes bigger than my belly’ syndrome which inevitably results in that feeling of needing to hire a crane to retrieve me from my seat at the end of my meal.  However, if you are confident in your own appetite and enjoy a challenge, there’s no reason why you cannot tackle a three course meal at Graze.  No, make that four courses, with coffee too.

Hearty helpings of blue cheese melded in an unexpected duality…

I started off with good intentions, choosing the Peach & Prosciutto Salad to start.  How substantial can a salad be?  Upon its delivery, I was pleasantly surprised at the generous slithers of Prosciutto that threaded through not only the top layers, but through the entire bowl of crisp, peppery rocket and baby leaves.  Hearty helpings of blue cheese melded in an unexpected duality, really complimenting the freshness of the peach slices and the perfect combination of depth, strong and salt flavours and subtle after tastes.

I took a personal recommendation and opted for the Flat Iron steak cut, accompanied with buttery new potatoes, and topped with delicate shavings of crispy seaweed.  Simply presented on a flat, white plate, it felt like a clean slate from which to carve into this rare dining opportunity (not only did I order my steak medium-rare, I also rarely dine out, so this was a treat on both accounts).  The silky texture of the Cognac and peppercorn sauce simply melted into the beautifully seared slices of steak, adding a punchy kick to the flavour combination.

Sparkling elderflower from Devon company Luscombe provided the much needed respite between courses, to refresh the senses and rejuvenate the old taste buds.  With a book to relinquish any feelings of ‘lone diner’ syndrome (I suffer from that, too), I was able to talk myself into ordering a dessert upon my waitress, Johanna, arriving at my table to tempt me with a belt-busting third course.  With my newly found peace of mind garnered from the pages of my book (Jack Kerouac – Wake Up – musings on Buddhist teachings, if you were curious), I felt that it was my duty to live in the present moment.  Safe in this knowledge, I took a chance on the delightful sounding lemon meringue posset.

The tart and zesty nature of the raspberries brought a welcome bite to this decadent dessert…

Served in an understated glass, so as not to detract from the taste explosion therein, what struck me initially was the unusual, lime coloured shavings sprinkled atop of the sticky, featherlight slabs of meringue.  This would remain a mystery, and certainly didn’t cause any offence.  To the contrary, it only illuminated the chefs’ adventurous spirit and competence in matching unexpected ingredients, flavours and textures.  No complaints, there.  A truly luxurious option, not unlike the smooth texture of Panna cotta, my spoon literally glided through the tangy, creamy frenzy.  The tart and zesty nature of the raspberries brought a welcome bite to this decadent dessert, which I found myself diving into much more enthusiastically than my belly might otherwise have allowed.

A very moorish choice.  Finished off with a steaming, rich cup of freshly brewed coffee.  Possibly the only way to round off a rare, Thursday afternoon dine time at Bristol’s Graze.

Graze simply have the right balance.  Locally reared, succulent steaks, reasonable prices and generous servings, all presented with a real attention to detail by chefs and staff who genuinely care about your dining experience.  I’ll definitely be visiting again.  I hear their Sunday roasts are a winner, too…

Graze have recently launched their new spring/summer menu.  Offering a wide variety of steaks, chops, and fish courses, they also offer vegetarian options, a set lunch menu and an enviable selection of desserts.  A popular choice for business meetings, family gatherings and solo diners alike.

What’s on the Menu?

STARTERS

Peach & Prosciutto Salad:  £6.50 with blue cheese and a honey dressing

Fig Bruschetta:  £7 with Glastonbury goat’s curd and hazelnuts

Mussel & Lobster Bisque:  £7.50 with tiger prawns, rouille and toast

TO SHARE

Baked Somerset Brie:  £12 with onion marmalade, roast garlic and toast

Ploughman’s Platter:  £16 with potted chicken, pork pie, baked ham, pickles, Cheddar and oatmeal bread

STEAKS & BURGERS

Graze beef is sourced from rare breeds across the West Country and Cotswolds.  The meat is dry-aged on the bone for at least 28 days to maximise its flavour and tenderness, and cooked in the Josper charcoal oven.

Flat Iron (225g):  £15 – shoulder cut, served sliced with your choice of potatoes and side

T-Bone (450g):  £34 – sirloin and fillet on the bone, served with your choice of potatoes and side

Chateaubriand (450g):  £55 – prime centre-cut fillet for two to share or a hungry one

PUDDINGS & CHEESE

Peach & Honey Cake:  £6.50 with lavender honey. thyme and natural yogurt

Strawberries & Cream:  £6 with clotted cream and shortbread

Lemon Meringue Posset:  £6.50 with raspberries and toasted almonds

Graze Cheese Board:  £7.50 (a varied selection of cheeses with seasonal accompaniments)

Graze also offer a wide variety of Bath Ales (Special Pale Ale, Summer’s Hare, Gem and more), bottled Beerd Brewery beers including Silvertip.  For every pint of Gem sold, Graze will donate 10p to The Hare Foundation, which was established by Bath Ales to support local children’s, environmental and cancer charities.  For more information visit:  www.theharefoundation.org


Graze are owned by Bath Ales and have restaurants in Bristol, Cirencester and Bath.  For more information on Graze, please visit:  www.bathales.com

All words and images:  Demelza Durston (unless otherwise stated).