Every so often, I am invited to join my Mum, Auntie and their friends for what they refer to as their 'Tart's Night Out'. This is an evening which typically consists of good food and gossipy banter as well as the odd glass of wine or two. Due to living in varying areas of Bristol's suburban network, the group usually pick a centrally-located eatery for the evening's proceedings but on this occasion had opted for chain restaurant giant, Beefeater Grill at Emerson's Green. I had heard mixed reviews of this particular branch and of the franchise (owned by the Whitbread group) as a whole so thought it only fair to tag along and suss it out for myself...
Date and Time: Thursday 5th May 2011
Name of Establishment: Beefeater Grill*
Location: 200-202 Westerleigh Road, Emerson's Green, Bristol
Reason for Visit: 'Tart's Night Out' Celebrations
Attached to the Premier Inn Hotel and seconds from the Emerson's Green exit of the expansive A4174 ring-road, the Beefeater Grill is conveniently located for residents of Bristol's South Gloucestershire region as well as visitors to the City arriving from the nearby motorways; M4 and M32. Upon entering, my first thought was how large this venue was and despite spanning two floors and laden with tables throughout, I was surprised that it did not feel at all claustrophobic. Quite the contrary in fact as the general ambiance was airy and comfortable - suitably created, in my view, by a well-lit and tastefully decorated space. The downside, however, was the level of noise which drowned out any trace of background music. Despite the bar area being situated in an adjoining room, the main restaurant area had obviously been geared up for families and large parties of diners, packed in to take advantage of simple char-grilled favourites and money-saving meal-deals.
On the subject of Beefeater's meal deals, it is important to note here that all six of our party opted for the 'two courses for £10.99' offer, (alternatively, we could have chosen three for £12.99). The selection provided here was not extensive but adequate and I have to admit that I had a somewhat negative preconception of what the food would be like. I needn't have been so judgemental though as any apprehensions were eradicated as soon as my Paprika Chicken Burger was put down in front of me. This constituted a whole chicken breast which was both moist in texture and seasoned to perfection with the smoky sweetness of paprika spice alongside that familiar just-barbecued taste. This was served in a lightly toasted and seeded bun with the usual suspects in terms of salad garnish and finished with cool sour cream. I had to de-construct the burger in order to maintain a lady-like dining etiquette but this just allowed for savouring the multiple flavoursome elements to this dish. Accompaniments consisted of twice-baked chips (hence, twice as crispy) and a side-salad which was presented in a neat bowl with a ranch-style drizzle and sprinkle of crisped onion pieces – yum!
|Paprika Chicken Burger|
Beefeater Grills pride themselves on being the 'experts in steak' and yet none of our party opted to find out whether this the case so I'm afraid that I can neither support nor disprove this assertion. However, it was reported that the 6oz beef burger was rich and juicy (cooked to a middle-of-the-road rareness) and diners had enjoyed the choice of toppings, most preferring the flat mushroom and 'black and blue sauce' with the rich and earthy tones this combination created. The Salmon also created a little food-envy on my part as it was perfectly pink, with the visible flaky texture of a well-cooked piece of fish.
As with main courses, desserts were tasty and generously portioned pub-grub classics. My chocolate fudge brownie was served warm and indulgently drizzled with a thick chocolaty goo. The caramel apple crumble pie was the winner of the night however with the warmed tart fruitiness contrasting the cloying sweetness of old-school tasting toffee stickiness. All puddings were also served with 'Mr Whippy' style ice cream (whether they were advertised to or not), I'm not a huge fan of this as I find it to be rather tasteless but it proved quite a novelty for other diners at our table.
|Caramel Apple Crumble Pie|
To wash down our food, our party took advantage of the current drink offer which entailed a glass of (unidentified) 'pink fizz' with any main meal for just £1. This was suitably chilled upon serving and provided a delicate accompaniment to our meals. After-dinner coffee was courtesy of the 'Costa' brand and was also well received by the group.
Service throughout our visit was friendly and yet at times, a little rough around the edges, (as an example, I had to ask for tap water three times as our server repeatedly forgot to bring it) That aside, Beefeater really did provide us with a top night out. Sure, food is simplistic and to deviate from the meal-deal promotions could prove a costly experience. Also, I can imagine that if you visit during the daytime, especially on the weekend, it will be chock-a-block with diners; predominantly families with children. But, what Beefeater does, it does well and the food served is well-prepared, appetising and provided in ample portions. If you come expecting too much you will be disappointed but this venue does what it says on the tin, well the website actually, it delivers, 'freshly prepared char-grilled food' – can't say fairer than that really!
And now for the second opinion...
This time, I asked my Mum for her view and she gave Beefeater Grill 8/10 and in three words, described this venue as 'value for money'.