Wednesday nights, for me and an ever-increasing group of friends, are pub quiz nights at The Scotchman And His Pack on St Michaels Hill. The starting time of 8.45pm means plenty of time to grab a quick bite to eat pre-quiz, and this week we opted to head up the hill to the Chin! Chin! Bar & Kitchen at number 155…
Previously Bar 155, the venue changed hands in 2010 and describes itself as a “great cafe bar by day and lovely, intimate & cosy eating establishment in the evening”. Intimate and cosy indeed – the size of the place means that it almost feels like you’re eating in someone’s living room, albeit with a bar to one side of the room.
The bistro-style menu changes weekly, and is very reasonably priced. On the night of our visit, starters were around the £4 mark, and included a carrot and coriander soup (£3.95) and a chicken liver parfait with onion jam and toast (£4.25). Mains varied between the £8 mark for the two vegetarian options (pea & rocket risotto, and asparagus and Brie frittata), up to £11 for an 8oz rump steak with a three pepper sauce and hand cut chips.
Two of us opted for the pre-theatre menu, available from 5-9.30pm Tuesdays to Thursdays, and 5-6.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays, with the choice of either main course and selected drink for £10, or two courses for the same price. The dishes on the pre-theatre menu are taken from the main menu, with a choice of three starters, four mains and three desserts.
Laura and I both opted for a starter and a main, and both went for exactly the same thing. A starter of home cured salmon and toast first of all: two beautifully thick slices of beetroot-cured salmon, served with salad leaves and a slice of lemon. The fish itself was lovely and sweet, the toast lightly browned and the perfect thickness for the size of the fish. I could happily have ordered another one of these for my main…
Instead, I opted for the ballotine of chicken, a large portion of chicken, boned ,rolled and stuffed with a rich, meaty filling, before being wrapped with bacon. This was served with a sweet parsnip puree, seasonal greens, and what purported to be Lyonnaise potatoes – but in barrel shapes rather than sliced. Still very tasty, though – a very well put together main course, my only complaint being that it could have done with a bit of sauce as it was slightly dry.
Another friend who joined us on the night ordered the seafood linguine (£8.95) from the a la carte menu, and seemed impressed despite the slight under-seasoning of the dish.
I’d been to Chin! Chin! once before, but after a large lunch so only had a ham hock terrine starter. Now, having tried the place properly, I’m pretty impressed with the quality, the variety and the portion sizes available for just £10 a head for two courses. Drinks prices are fairly standard as well, at £1.50 for my Diet Coke, £3.65 for a 175ml glass of Pinot Grigio and £4.85 for a 250ml glass.
The log fire drew in the punters in the winter, and now owner Darren Armstrong has big plans up his sleeve for the summer months…make sure you stay up-to-date via their website or Facebook page. I’ll definitely be heading back in the near future to try out their Sunday lunch – I’ve heard great things…
Chin! Chin! Bar & Kitchen
Address: 155 St Michaels Hill, Bristol BS2 8DB
Telephone: 0117 973 9393