Miller & Carter, Cribbs Causeway: Review

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Steakhouse Miller & Carter, with restaurants all over the country, only opened in Bristol in November 2016, taking over former Harvester premises The Lamb and Flag. It’s a Mitchells & Butlers brand (the same people behind Harvester, Nicholsons, Vintage Inns, All Bar One, Browns and a whole host of others), but with more of a premium feel: there’s a great focus on quality which you’ll see from their website, their menu and their decor.

Walk through the door, past the ornate bull sculpture by the outdoor seating area, and you’re faced with shiny glass cabinets packed full of wine. The cosy-looking bar (complete with bull horn decor, comfy sofas and a real buzz) is on your right, while the restaurant is to the left and ahead – it’s an enormous place with waiting staff for each individual area of the building.

We were sat right at the top of the building on what was a very busy Saturday night, dining in an area with lovely low level lighting and a cosy and welcoming feel. Our seats were comfortable, and there were plenty of photos and prints of cows all over the walls – every one different – giving us plenty to look at while we browsed the menu.

The menu makes it clear that Miller & Carter’s aiming for a more upmarket approach compared with some other M&B chains: there’s information on what rare, blue, well done etc. actually mean, a pictorial guide to different cuts of steak, and details of the meat they served (it’s all 3o day aged, grass and grain fed and from British and Irish farms, with 12 different cuts to choose from).

It’s not just steaks on the menu, though – you’ll also find other grilled dishes (including chicken, brisket and lamb options), a range of burgers, plus fish, pasta and salad dishes – with a few veggie options on offer too. Younger diners have their own menu, while there’s an extensive drinks list to choose from as well.

While browsing the menu, we ordered our drinks – a Coca Cola (£2.65) for Chris, and a small glass of Malbec (£5.10) to enjoy with his steak. There were a few different Malbecs on the menu, and we were surprised that our waitress didn’t clarify which one he’d ordered – it was lovely, though: fruity and full-bodied, and the perfect pairing for the steak.

Me? I ordered the Elderflower sherbet softail (£2.95) from their non-alcoholic cocktail list: a blend of elderflower cordial, apple juice, lime juice and lemonade that was wonderfully refreshing.

We ordered two starters to share, the first being the salt & pepper calamari (£6.75). We were expecting a more generous portion for the price, if truth be told, and the chunks of squid themselves were surprisingly small, rather than the rings you normally get elsewhere. The coating was lovely and crisp, but the flavour was more of batter than of squid, and the whole thing could have been warmer. We loved the preserved lemon aioli that it came with, though: the combination of the pungent garlic and sour lemon was lovely.

We also shared the pulled brisket croquettes (£6.75): two croquettes in panko-style breadcrumbs served on a generous helping of more of that pungent preserved lemon aioli. The coating was lovely and crispy, and the bourbon-infused filling very sweet with fantastic BBQ flavours – if we had one negative, it would be that we’d have preferred a less smooth, more shredded consistency, and a bit more of a meaty flavour. 

We couldn’t exactly visit a steak restaurant and not order a steak – especially when they’re all served with a huge number of sides (parsley butter, seasoned fries, an iceberg lettuce wedge with a choice of dressings, a slice of onion loaf, half a balsamic-glazed tomato and a choice of sauces). We loved how the menu gave recommendations for how each cut is best cooked, and we ran with their suggestions…

Chris went for the 12oz ribeye (£20.95), served medium. The steak was amazing: perfectly cooked and seasoned well, and it sliced like butter when cut. He loved the flavour of his sweet potato fries (you can upgrade from regular fries for an extra £1) but they were a little cold, sadly. His choice of iceberg wedge dressing was bacon & honey mustard: a beautiful blend of salty and sweet, with a generous amount of crispy bacon chunks.

I wish I’d chosen his steak! I opted for the bistro rump (£16.75), and asked for it medium rare, as recommended – I chose the cut as it was described as having “the tenderness of a fillet with the full flavour of a rump”. There’s no denying that it was packed full of flavour, but it wasn’t as well seasoned as that ribeye – and it was rare rather than medium…and I don’t do rare steak. It was also quite gristly and hard to cut, meaning, unfortunately, that I left most of it on the plate. Sadly our waitress didn’t come to our table to ask how our mains were, and offered no apology when I explained once we’d finished, simply saying “OK, I’ll take it back to the kitchen” – I’d have asked for something different if I’d had the opportunity. 

I enjoyed the accompaniments though – my chips, again, were a little cold, but seasoned nicely. I’d chosen a blue cheese and truffle oil sauce with my steak which was packed full of flavour and had a beautiful consistency, and I loved the onion loaf – essentially stacked deep fried onion rings in a loaf shape – a little oily in places, but very tasty indeed. The iceberg wedge was well chilled, and the Stilton & blue cheese dressing I’d chosen for it was beautiful: rich, thick and creamy with plenty of crumbly chunks of cheese. The parsley butter had plenty of flavour, and the balsamic-glazed tomato…well, it was just half a tomato drizzled with balsamic glaze – you can’t really go wrong 🙂

We’d decided to push the boat out and order a couple of extra sides too – sadly the tempura soft shell crab that we were hoping to try wasn’t on the menu on the night of our visit, so we instead opted for the lobster mac & cheese (£4.95) and the garlic & parmesan tenderstem broccoli (£3.50). The former was lovely and cheesy (but again a little cold) although could have done with more lobster – the latter was lovely, charred on the edges and with a generous amount of parmesan, but it seemed quite a small amount of broccoli for the price.

We decided we probably had enough space for dessert…and Chris’ choice was the banoffee Bakewell tart (£5.95). The presentation was great, although we both agreed it could have been better if the banana had been grilled rather than served raw. The tart itself was decent: the pastry tasty and crumbly, the filling with plenty of almond flavour – the only banoffee element was a hidden centre of caramel coated banana, though – it would have been better if this had run throughout the whole tart to prevent it from being too dry.

For me, the chocolate orange brioche bread and butter pudding (£5.50) – again, attractively presented, with the vanilla-scented custard served in a mini pan at the side of the plate. The pudding was beautiful: plenty of melted chocolate running throughout (and extra choc chips scattered on top), and just the right amount of orange flavour. The top could have done with being cooked a little better for added texture, but a decent pudding on the whole.

 While Chris ordered a post-dinner coffee, I was intrigued by the after dinner cocktails listed on the dessert menu…my After Eight-Thirty cocktail (£6.95) was a boozy blend of Baileys, crème de menthe, crème de cacao and cream…it felt nice and decadent, but I’d have loved the chocolate flavour to be a little more pronounced for a true taste of After Eights.

Some elements of our meal were a little hit and miss, but in all honesty, I think the major issue (my steak) could have been ironed out if we’d had better service while eating. Would I head back? Yes, I would – it’s pretty good value for a steak and all the trimmings, and Miller & Carter have worked hard to create a great atmosphere that’s a world away from some of the other Mitchells & Butlers brands. Next time, though, I’ll be ordering a ribeye…

 

 

Please note: our meal was received free of charge, but this in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.

 

One Response to Miller & Carter, Cribbs Causeway: Review

  1. Pingback: Miller & Carter, Bristol City Centre: Review - Bristol Bites | Bristol Bites

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