Scoff Saturday Strikes Again {Review – Bell’s Diner and Bar Rooms, Bristol}

It’s been a few months since our last Scoff Saturday. For people who haven’t heard of Scoff Saturday before, basically three of my really good university friends and myself meet up (meat up) for a food and prosecco blow out. We eat really good food largely meat based, gossip about people we went to uni with , drink an obscene about of prosecco and laugh until our sides get sore. Previous Scoff Saturdays have been at The Duck and Waffle, The Potted Pig and Meatliquor. Now it was my turn to host one in Bristol.

Unfortunately one of the girls couldn’t make it this time, which meant although she would be greatly missed there would also be 25% extra food and drink up for grabs. I wanted to make sure we went to a restaurant that would impress and satisfy theses food mad girls in their short visit to Bristol. My boss actually recommended the place we ended up at, the main selling point – prosecco ON TAP! You had me at prosecco.

But I blame the prosecco for some of the worst food photography I’ve ever done in this post, and that’s not that hard to beat. I apologise to Bell’s Diner and Bar Rooms for the terrible pictures of your utterly delicious and gorgeous presented food.  Bell’s Diner and Bar Room’s isn’t ultra flouncy and intimating but with super friendly staff and a menu that is drool worthy.

Between the three of us we ate through the menu, the dishes are reasonably priced so I didn’t feel too bad splurging in January on such great food.  Our starter nibbles were the Bell’s pickles, Castellano’s fennel and garlic salami,Salt cod fritters with aioli and Jamon imberico butter. You heard me right that was just our nibbles before ordering the serious stuff like main courses.

I loved the crisp vinegary crunch of the pickles and was a nice mix of veg rather the usual silver skin onions and gherkins. The salami vanished in a blink of an eye with it’s subtle garlic note and aniseed punch.  I wish I could have the the Imberico butter on warm bread every day but I don’t think my heart would massively thank me for it. Slathered on the warm bread, melting in leaving the meaty nuggets behind. Dreamy.

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The cod fitters were a beautiful contrast of textures from the silky fish flaked centre with the ridiculously crisp outer paired with the garlic hit from the aioli and sea note from the cod was a perfect balanced little dish.

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Of course I checked out the menu before booking and this dish was one I was most excited about ordering and trying out – Clams cooked with smoked ham hock, white beans and parsley. The sweet tender flesh of the clams coupled with the slightly smoky meaty ham hock just worked so so well. Simple but so flavoursome.

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Next up was a simple pan fried mackerel with a green apple slaw. The oily mackerel was cut through with the freshness and crisp green apple. Beautiful dish.

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All meals should have at least three pork based elements for you to get your pork quota for the day. The pork rillons with celeriac remoulade was amazing. Just amazing. Slow cooked pork belly cubes crisped to have slightly chewy fat, melting tender pork, to just rock your world. With the aniseed note from the celeriac and sharpness of the mustard helped balance the fatty belly. (The pork’s fatty belly not mine!I wish.)

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Sorry poor roast Cornish scallops with slow-cooked oxtail and capers for the ugly picture below, you deserved so much better when you tasted that good. Perfectly cooked scallops with a meaty rich bed of the oxtail, incredible dish.

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This was our last main dish and it was the fork tender slow-cooked lamb shoulder, saffron, potatoes and apricots with pistachios and pomegranate. A flash of middle eastern flavours, a sunny dish in the middle of a rainy January evening.

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There was three of us. Please remember that we absolutely love food and when the waiter recommends a dessert that we had over looked, then we are definitely going to order it as well. This is how we ended up with five desserts between three of us. I regret nothing.

First of the five desserts was the treacle tart with clotted cream. It was everything you wanted in a dessert, sticky, rich, comforting and very naughty.

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I had to fight my friends spoons off this dessert to capture this beauty – Chocolate nemesis with plum sauce and mascarpone. I liked the use of a seasonal fruit for the sauce rather than the over used raspberries and the plum had the tartness to hold it’s own against the serious dark and plain amazing torte. My friend did declare her love for this sexy little number.

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With our five desserts we also went all out and ordered a dessert wine to go with them. I went for the Dandelion Vineyards ‘Legacy Of The Barossa’ Pedro Ximinez 30 year old sherry coming from South Australia.  Rich, with dried fruit, caramel, hazelnuts notes that went fantastically with the chocolate torte.

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The other two desserts were actually ice cream so maybe they can be taken off the dessert tally to make us look like less of a group of pigs but the homemade ice cream was so rich in it’s own rights that it has to be called a dessert. Darn back to five desserts. Recommended by our waiter we went for the Toasted marshmallow and Clementine marmalade ice cream. The marshmallow ice cream looks a little sinister in the lighting but was heavenly. The fresh clementine flavour was vibrant with a jammy caramelised sugar flavour that just made it vanish far too quickly.

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We had a fantastic evening with the welcoming friendly staff, the food was so good that as soon as we had finished we could of happily came back the next day to do it all over again. I would like to say our evening ended as classy as the food at Bell’s Diner. I would like to say that but it would be a lie. Scoff Saturday strikes again.

Where do you recommend we go for our next Scoff Saturday?

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