Signing up to mailing lists is definitely the way forward. Last week saw an email from The Mall pub in Clifton winging its way over, announcing that they were offering a limited number of complimentary meals for two. Why? Well, they’ve recently relaunched their menu and want customer feedback. It would have been rude not to help them out, really…
The Mall is one of our regular Clifton Village drinking haunts. Set over two floors with a great garden (which closes at 10pm – it’s in a residential area), the place defines itself on its website as “Clifton’s most cultured pub. The Mall offers free room hire for party bookings and hosts regular events on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday nights – check the website for more details.
Drink-wise, you can treat yourself to one of up to 10 ciders and 4 real ales, a selection of wines and spirits, and even their own homemade seasonal soft drinks.
We weren’t there for the drinking, though – the food was the focus of our evening and we were keen to check out the new menu that they’ve been shouting about. Big claims once again from The Mall, – a Mitchells & Butlers pub – saying on their website that they think their food is “the tastiest in Clifton Village”. Ingredients are sourced from artisan producers and selected British farms, but with no apparent commitment to local ingredients across the board. The main menu changes daily, and on the night did have hints of ingredients of a West Country focus in places (Gloucester Old Spot sausages, West Country beef burger and a Cotswold lamb leg steak)…but the Sunday lunch menu features lamb from Norfolk, and the mussel dish is cooked in Aspall cider – why choose a Suffolk cider when there are so many great varieties produced nearby?!
Prices are fairly standard for Clifton pub food – around £5 for starters and desserts, £8-£15 for mains, and sides around the £3 mark. We decided to stick with our complimentary mains as we were in a bit of a hurry: I chose the roasted chicken breast with a chargrilled vegetable tart and a Stilton and chive sauce (£9.75), while my friend opted for the Cotswold lamb leg steak with red lentils, chilli and peppers (£12).
The chicken was perfectly cooked on the bone, and I was glad to see that they were generous with the sauce, which was beautifully creamy with a strong Stilton flavour – I couldn’t really taste the chives, though. The pastry base of the vegetable tart, I was happy to see, was homemade and lovely and crumbly, and filled with a base of sweet softened white onions, aubergines, courgettes and peppers. The one issue I did have (as you’ll see in the picture if you look closely) was the hair on the right hand side of the plate – not nice!
My friend’s lamb was perfectly tasty and the lentils were full of flavour, but she wasn’t asked how she wanted the meat cooked when she ordered. As a result, her main course turned out to be very pink and bloody – far more rare than she would have gone for.
We were given the dessert menus after our meal, and as tempted as I was by the chocolate and beetroot brownie (£4.75), time restrictions meant that we had to settle up and leave.
Overall, an enjoyable meal but with a few niggles – not enough to put me off a return visit, though. A great place for a relaxed meal with friends, and if the weather stays like this, it’s worth taking advantage of their garden…
The Mall Pub
Address: 66 The Mall, Clifton Village, Bristol BS8 4JG
Telephone: 0117 974 5318