I was going to get the place to myself over the weekend as my other half was heading to London to watch Adele the next day, so it felt like a good excuse to treat the Friday as a date night.
Date night and steak sounded right, so I booked a table down at the Ox on Corn street nestled comfortably below a bustling witherspoons, a boozer in fair contrast to the relaxed atmosphere of the OX in their intriguing little premises that looks like an old vault for someone’s riches, or potentially somethings! I’m quite happy thinking a dragon now works in their kitchens.
We opted for the early evening deal, fifteen pounds for a 6oz steak , fries and glass of wine. Definitely quality over quantity but the portion control is decent, you certainly feel enticed to sample more from their menu but can also leave it as is quite comfortably.
With your steak you can have a choice of sauces and a choice of wines, so we both went with the house red, just feels appropriate, girlie went with the peppercorn sauce for her steak and I the anchovy butter. Although tempted to get a starter we fell on sharing a side of charcoal roasted mushrooms.
The steak was good, I mean really good! Tender little juicy hunks still nicely reddened in the centre with that caramelised crust on the exterior edges. I savoured every mouthful intermittently sipping my wine to increase the pleasure, plunging every slither of tender beef into that flavoursome butter adding that complexity and richness of flavour that can rewrite constitutions. The fries were perfectly seasoned and the mysterious punchy flavours of the mushroom were just gorgeous. In a weird way it feels like grown-up food.
We had asked for some mustard and ketchup but both little containers went back untouched, we really didn’t need any additional sauces with what that dragon had cooked up.
After the ox I didn’t really want to tamper with the pleasant feeling we had by rinsing by risking a crazily busy bar and a 3 deep wait for drinks.
The wriggle app came to our aid and guided us to the playground cafe of all places, one street away but not what I would have considered as it is a games cafe by day. Turns out at night they also do cocktails.
It actually felt perfect following up our nice meal with cocktails, scrabble and some people watching from our window seating, the actual seating being swings attached to scaffold networking above our heads.
Cocktails were good as well.
I have to say one downside to playing scrabble is my girlfriend is a bit too good at it, a typical mid game conversation will almost certainly include:
G/F: “Can you check if xi is a word as my battery is low”
ME: “Oh c’mon it seriously isn’t!”
ME: “Alright I’ll check hang on”
ME: Waits for google
ME: “Seriously! For fuuuu….YES it is valid”
I didn’t win. I rarely win.
A few cocktails later the swings we were perched on were helping highlight our inebriation as we’d both began to slip off them more often, twas clearly time to move on.
Took us a while to decide on where to finish our evening , we naturally progressed onto the prince street social after debating on somewhere on king street, the grain barge or Whapping wharf, none seemed all that appealing or were too far.
Our decision was rewarded by an impromptu meetup with on an old friend ( old housemate ) of my girlfriends, a cheery Tunisian tango instructor with his girlfriend/tango partner and another of his friends. Wine and cheery chatter ensued.
So our Friday had been good , hopefully the trip to London and Adele concert would be good if not much better the next day.
Next day and Adele had cancelled.
Instead of sticking to her day off which was already booked, girlfriend decided to go into work as normal. I think she is testament to the dedication nurses have to their job going into work when she didn’t have too. I think they are special people, put up with quite a lot, not really treated all that well by the gov, anyways , enough said.
While Girlfriend was at work I slouched , watching random stuffs on youtube unable to do anything constructive with my time lacking the mental capacity to watch anything with a plot. It is rarely a good sign when I stay in watching youtube , especially on a Sunny day.
Anyways , after a day of work ‘A’ had finished her shift and fancied heading out, so we went and sat down by the waterfront to get some sun/air and to think of where to go for our evening.
As we wandered up to the wine bar I suggested we nipped into Colston hall as at that time there is usually a ‘free in the foyer’ performance and I’d seen good stuff there before.
This time it was a solo accordionist who seemed to be a little nervous, talented guy but I think this might have been his first public performance as he stuttered a little between tracks describing what they were and then seemed to play the music a little too fast. we stayed for a couple songs then moved on.
The wine bar le Poivrot is quite small , very clean minimalist setup but also managed to make itself feel cosy. The sound system was by the way is great! The music as clear as the wine.
Their menu does feature some very expensive offerings, we definitely weren’t rinsing 112 pounds on a bottle, maybe if we knew our wines and had a big celebration. Otherwise it is around 5 pounds for a glass, I just think that a beer can be around the same price so easily justified for something different.
I felt civilised sat in a wine bar for a change. Definitely a place for couples to be or pre-theatre groups, certainly felt immune from stag and hen dos that are more likely back down in the centre where there is more action.
Asado, totally different vibe, as we walked in they were playing some real old skool drum and bass. The menu was quite small, which was appreciated as sometimes you want the food decisions made for you. I just went with their standard burger and fries.
Asado’s burger looked tasty, all the dishes we ordered did, neatly stacked burgers with a bun that appeared to be in a higher definition to other burger buns I eaten, I think the slight burn on the bun made the seeds appear sharper to the naked eye. The burger had indeed been covered in overflowing melted cheese like the video, definitely a few colours going on inside from the chimichurri and ketchup, lettuce, pickled red onions and tomato, check out the menu here
The fries looked ‘dirty’ in a vice munchies kind of way and a side of slaw , well is hard to really read until you get in there.
The burgers are damn good. They cook them pretty rare with some nice char on the outside , they are real juicy with a massive amount of flavour coming through from the toppings from the fresh herbs and depth of the umami packed ketchup, just reminiscing makes my mouth water.
The fries perfectly seasoned (I sense a theme occurring over this particular weekend), the slaw , was really nice , had a good kick to it that caught you out as it slowly built up with every mouthful , had some nice little touches as well like a few….you know what you can go find out for yourself.
The meal was really good , staff were really friendly as well , seemed genuinely happy to be there, no fake and forced smiles.
So after that meal and with a few hours left of the evening we fell upon the sugar loaves at the bottom of christmas steps.
I love that old bar with the ancient looking wood beams and across the way the old building housing the chippy, the beautifully old and saggy 16th century building with windows quite small suggestive of a small race of folk back in the day.
With the doors wide open a clear view of the busy bar and some really chilled tunes as a live DJ set was well underway the Sugar loaves really was inviting
We sat and just soaked in the ambience, there was enough seating even though the place was busy , but it didn’t feel hurried at all a far cry from the frenetic harbourside bars like the v-shed.
I had a couple decent IPA while girlie went for more wine and we sat, relaxed and chatted, no hassles with that nice feeling you get when you are on holiday, normal regular life routines were forgotten.
Sunday , well now unfortunately there was a cost to going out two nights in a row, luckily it didn’t look like such nice weather as we were not going far either way, this was definitely a day of slouching.
So it became the perfect day to finish season 5 of game of thrones possibly one of the finest fantasy dramas ever! That evening we finished our perfect little weekend with a chinese takeaway.
For one little weekend we felt like tourists in our own city. The weekend of the dragon cooked steak , perfectly cooked fries and hurried accordionist.