Urban Bar and Kitchen, Mercure Holland House: Review

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Hotel restaurants aren’t the first place I’d consider going when I’m planning a meal out – but sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised. After a recent visit to the new Urban Bar and Kitchen at the Mercure Holland House Hotel and Spa, I posted some pictures on Twitter and Instagram, asking people to guess where I’d been. The picture below was the one that I posted – and none of my followers had any clue where it was, but plenty wanted to find out…


Urban Bar and Kitchen - Interior


The picture above is of the former lounge and bar area of the hotel: an area that has been transformed into a seriously relaxing space. Booth-style seating sits alongside standard restaurant tables and chairs, hanging chain curtains separate some tables from each other while ornate screens do the same on the other side of the room, and a range of different light fittings add an atmosphere that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from the Mercure hotel chain. The one downer, though, was the music – lounge jazz versions of songs such as Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” didn’t really seem to sit well with the new environment…

For our midweek evening meal, we were seated in this lounge area rather than in the main restaurant, which had been commandeered by coach parties, and were impressed that the seating not only looked comfortable, but felt it too.

The menu at the Urban Bar and Kitchen (click here to view) is short but all-encompassing: expect the standard sandwiches and salads, grills and burgers, along with a selection of lighter bites, “unsung heroes” (which include bangers and mash, fish and chips and other old favourites), and their “urban food” menu, which features a range of dishes from across the globe.

It was from this section of the menu that I chose my main course of nasi goreng (£13.50) on the recommendation of our waiter. Served in a cast iron bowl, there was plenty going on: a soft-yolked fried egg, tender grilled chicken pieces, succulent prawns, peanuts, spring onions, green beans, carrots, red onions, peppers and crispy onion pieces, garnished with coriander. The rice itself still had a nice bite and was well seasoned with just enough heat, and the bowl in which it was served kept the dish warm throughout. The portion size was certainly generous too.


Urban Bar and Kitchen - Nasi Goreng


Chris opted for a more traditional option, choosing a classic beefburger (£11.50) from the burger menu. The customisable burger menu allowed him to add any topping for 80p or three for £1.95: going for the latter, he added blue cheese, crisp streaky bacon and Bath Gem onion rings.

The burger itself was dense and well seasoned, although possibly a little overcooked for his liking, and the toppings generous and full of flavour. The chips were crispy and nicely salted, and he was a fan of the vinegary tomato chutney with which his meal was served. The presentation was pretty impressive too.


Urban Bar and Kitchen - Burger


We’re always swayed by mac ‘n’ cheese when we see it on the menu, and here was no different: ordering a side (£2.50) to share, we were impressed at the way in which it was presented and the amount of cheese on the top…but it was a bit of a disappointment. The melted cheese topping was too mild to have much discernible flavour, while the sauce itself seemed to be devoid of cheese, more like a white sauce. I was also a little confused by the addition of peas to the sauce…


Urban Bar and Kitchen - Mac and cheese side


Dessert more than made up for that lack of cheesiness, though. We both ordered the strawberry ‘n’ sherry trifle with warm doughnuts (£5) – and again, were impressed with the presentation. The doughnuts themselves were liberally coated with cinnamon, hot and the perfect texture, while the trifle was pretty good too: vanilla-flecked sweet cream, a smooth and silky custard and a (albeit slightly artificial tasting) blend of strawberries and sponge pieces.


Urban Bar and Kitchen - Trifle and donuts


All in all, we were pretty impressed – especially for a hotel restaurant. The prices were very reasonable, the presentation fantastic and the food pretty good on the whole. Service was friendly and welcoming, although slightly too pandering at times, and we’re both agreed that we’d definitely head back in the future.


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 Urban Bar and Kitchen, Mercure Holland House: Review

  1. Pingback: Mercure Holland House Hotel, Redcliffe Hill: Review - Bristol Bites | Bristol Bites

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