Grosvenor Casino, Anchor Road: Review

 

Grosvenor Casino Bristol - Exterior

 

Have you ever visited a casino before? For many who haven’t, the word “casino” conjures up one of two images: either Ocean’s Eleven-type environments full of glitz, glamour and high rollers spending thousands of pounds in one go, or seedy, underground places best avoided.

I’m pleased to say that the Grosvenor Casino on Bristol’s Anchor Road definitely doesn’t fall into either category.

It’s a pretty dated-looking place from the outside – and, in all honesty, doesn’t look that appealing – but step inside and it’s different. After signing in with your membership card (or registering, either as a member or as a guest) at the front desk, you step into the casino itself. It’s a fairly small place, compared with others we’ve been to in the past, but it has everything you’d expect from a casino environment.

On the right, you’ll find the slot machines with various jackpots (including progressive), while in the middle of the room you’ll find the gaming tables, which include blackjack, baccarat, two types of poker and roulette – both live and electronic. There are screens dotted around the room, showing a variety of different sports, as well as pull down big screens for big sporting events, and an area in one corner with a pool table which can be hired out for groups, with buffet food also on offer. 

There’s a separate restaurant and bar area as you walk into the Grosvenor Casino: a smartly presented area with a variety choice of food and drinks. On the drinks menu, you’ll find a small selection of wines by the glass and bottle, along with a champagne and prosecco list, a huge choice of cocktails, and a variety of gin and tonics. There are draught beers on tap too, along with plenty of hot and soft drinks to choose from.

Food-wise, the menu comprises dishes from across the globe, from Singapore noodles to a salmon nicoise salad, a choice of steaks and other grilled dishes. Between Sunday and Thursday, you can choose two courses for £10.95 or three courses for £12.95 from a set menu, while a sharing menu offers three dishes for £10 if you’re looking for something lighter.

On Sundays between 12pm and 5pm you can enjoy a Sunday lunch (1 course for £9.95, 2 courses for £11.95 or 3 courses for £13.95), with any 2-course or 3-course option giving you a £10 free bet chip, with a chance of winning £10 back.

And it’s worth mentioning the Grosvenor breakfasts too: since Monday, March 6th this year, they’ve been offering breakfast for £1.50 between 8am and 11am. This crazy price gives you bacon, eggs, sausage, beans and a tea or coffee – and you can add extras for 50p each…

We began our meal with bread and olives to share (£2.95): three types of bread, along with marinated olives and a pot of olive oil and balsamic vinegar that was incredibly generous for the price. We loved the way in which it was presented, and it was pretty damn tasty too. All three breads – the ciabatta, baguette (which replaced the promised focaccia listed on the menu, which was a shame) and the flatbreads all tasted lovely and fresh, and were all served toasted – the flatbreads possibly a little too much so. The olive oil was of a decent quality, and the olives were still nice and firm and packed full of flavour – a great start.

 

Grosvenor Casino Bristol - Bread and Olives

 

Chris chose from the signature grill menu for his main: a 10oz ribeye (£19.95) served with skin on fries, red onion slaw, beer battered onion rings, half a grilled plum tomato and chargrilled mushroom. As an optional extra, he also chose one of four available sauces – the red wine and tarragon, priced at £1.95.

His steak was cooked perfectly medium, as requested, was seasoned well and had a lovely smokey flavour – and was mouthwateringly tender to boot. The sides, though, were a little hit and miss: while he enjoyed the sauce (a decent quantity and a strong tarragon flavour), the skin-on chips (cooked well, just not seasoned enough) and the vegetables, the coleslaw tasted like a generic bulk-bought catering version, and the onion rings weren’t great – their coating was too solid and bland. We weren’t convinced by the powdery decoration on the plate either…

 

Grosvenor Casino Bristol - Ribeye

 

Me? I’d not had a fish finger sandwich for a while, so it was the Grosvenor’s “posh” version I went for, served with skin-on fries for the bargain price of £6.95. 

The chips, as per Chris’ plate, could have done with being seasoned, but were still tasty. The fish finger sandwich was a great example of its kind…a good, firm glazed brioche bun that was nicely toasted on both sides, which held together well and had a decent flavour. The cod portions were sizeable and perfectly cooked, their thin layer of batter nicely crisped and not at all oily – delicious, although they again could have done with some seasoning. The tomato and lettuce were nice and fresh, and the tartare sauce (both in the bun and on the side) had the requisite tang.

 

Grosvenor Casino Bristol - Posh Fish Finger Sandwich

 

The only sensible answer to the question, “Would you like dessert?” is a resounding “yes”. From the five offered on the menu, I wasn’t surprised that Chris chose the salted caramel chocolate roulade (£4.25) – a beautifully presented individually made roulade with a good chocolate flavour (although the sponge was a little dry), packed with a sweet salted caramel cream, drizzled with a rich toffee sauce and served with a decent quality vanilla ice cream, dished up in a ramekin to keep it from melting across the plate. The decoration was a little retro, but he was impressed.

 

Grosvenor Casino Bristol - Salted Caramel Chocolate Roulade

 

And me? Much as I’d done with my main course, I went down the comfort food route for my dessert, choosing the apple and Kent cider butterscotch pudding (£4.25).

It was a good, home-cooked style dessert – right up my street. Nothing fancy, just good, honest food. On the top, two layers of sliced apple: the top with more of a bite, the layer underneath softer. The tart but sweet fruit had been set into a good, dense sponge with just a hint of cider, and the whole thing was topped off with a slightly caramelised butterscotch sauce, and surrounded by a sea of traditional custard. I quickly polished off the lot.

 

Grosvenor Casino Bristol - Apple and Butterscotch Pudding

 

Post-meal, it was time to get a lesson on the tables from Jules, one of the amazing guys who works at the Grosvenor. We started by learning the ins and outs of the blackjack table, which was really interesting – although we already knew the basics of the game, it was interesting to hear about the side bets you can add, the mistakes that many players make, and how to determine your strategy depending on the cards drawn by the dealer.

 

Grosvenor Casino Bristol - Blackjack Table

 

After the blackjack came the roulette table, where we were given training chips to play with, and where Jules talked through the odds for different chip placements and minimum bets for different sections of the board, before giving us the chance to “bet” on a few spins of the wheel. It’s a shame they were only training chips again, as I ended up a fair few chips up…never mind! We were then given the opportunity to have a few goes at spinning the wheel ourselves…there’s a knack to doing it, and it’s not as easy as it looks! But I think in the photo they took, I look like I know what I’m doing… 😉

 

Grosvenor Casino Bristol - Roulette

 

We then headed to the slot machines to have a flutter – and while neither of us left a winner, we really enjoyed our evening. It was great to get out and do something different, enjoy a well-priced meal that was surprisingly good, and watch the football in a relaxed, non-crowded environment to boot!

Before we left, we both signed up for free membership of the casino, which also gave us discount vouchers and special offers to use both on the restaurant and on gaming on our first three visits. We’ll definitely be making use of these – it’s a fun night out with tasty and affordable dining options – and it’s a world away from the “seedy” image of casinos that many people still have.

 

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.

 

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