Eats: The Ashville Steakhouse, Bristol

Hidden a little off the beaten track in Southville, but in actual fact only a few minutes from bustling North Street (and my home, super handy!) is The Ashville Steakhouse. Independently run and owned, it originally opened as The Ashville in 2014 (although many moons before it had been the ‘Try Again’) before rebranding as a Steakhouse last year, and has since been featured on a number of websites for it’s challenges including LadBible and FoodBible. I’m ashamed to say however, that while I have visited several times with friends, my parents, my husband and even my step children (their chicken goujons are now a thing of legend),  up until last week I hadn’t actually tried one of their steaks… Doh!

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Steak to me is a treat, not an everyday food, and tends to be reserved for celebrations. Unfortunately over the last couple of years I’ve had a number of rubbish ones when out (not including my fillet at San Martino of course – review here), which have put me off a little. I wanted to take friend and colleague Silvia out for her 30th Birthday, so when the opportunity to visit The Ashville with Socialight came up, I was excited to visit again. I’d had some of the best burgers in Bristol here (the meat full of flavour and easily rivalling, nay bettering! some of Bristols more popular burger restaurants) and I knew the chips were incredible, but it was time to try what they were famous for.

Despite living all of two minutes away we were five minutes late (sorry again guys) having had an aperitivo in my garden, but this was absolutely no problem for Jade and the team and we had our choice of two reserved tables. The restaurant is relaxed with stripped wooden tables, jars of fresh flowers and pretty lights dotted around – no pretentiousness here! It was light and airy (I like to see my food – wow I do sound old ha!) and while it was a busy Thursday evening the acoustics were such we could have a conversation without overly straining to listen/having to shout. A good start!

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For our first course we decided to share the creamy mushrooms. A generous portion of mushrooms, the creamy sauce was well seasoned, and served quickly enough that the artisan bread didn’t get a chance to go too soggy. (A pet hate!) The restaurant is informal and there is no wine list per se, customers instead let the server know their preference and are told which wines are on offer in their selection that day. Controversially we went for a white – a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, which was crisp and fresh and to my uneducated wine palate, very complimentary to the mushrooms and steak! I’d probably rather have had a wine list to peruse and I know some (probably my mum!) would find this annoying, but it helped get that glass of vino in my hand all the quicker – I can be indecisive – so it was all good.

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The main event however, was always going to be the steak! We both went for the fillet, which when normally priced £22.95 for a quality 10oz fillet is incredible value. It comes with dressed leaves, a grilled tomato (bleurgh, not a fan!), mushrooms and my absolute favourite – their triple cooked chips. We also both went for the option of adding a sauce (only £1 each, has to be the cheapest in Bristol?), both going for the peppercorn which comes in a little gravy jug (meaning we didn’t need to request any extra, woohoo!)

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First impressions were ‘this is ginormous’… I’d say your usual steak portion in Brizzle – feel free to correct me – is maybe six to seven ounces, so the extra few ounces made a huge difference, essentially being fifty percent larger? My knife sliced through like butter, and I was pleased to see it was cooked to perfection (medium-rare for me!) despite it’s well cooked appearance!

The meat was full of flavour with no fatty or chewy bits (I know there shouldn’t be with fillet, but you can’t take it for granted based on previous steaks I’ve been served elsewhere!). Underneath were the much loved (by my husband at least, he was very jealous of our visit) triple cooked chips, which as always were absolutely delicious! While they may look hidden in my picture, I can assure you they were plentiful, and we both struggled to finish our plates. The salad, mushrooms and (dreaded) tomato were generous and welcome accompaniments, while I’m a huge onion ring lover (and they are so reasonably priced – ordinarily only £2!!) I’m glad I wasn’t gluttonous as it would have been a waste. Maybe next time though? Yum.

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We were both ‘worried’ we wouldn’t manage pudding after our incredible meals, however when we spotted the waffle on the dessert menu we decided we might just have room if we share (although we were drawn to the homemade brownie too… it was a hard call!). This was the perfect end to the meal, classic combo of a fresh warm waffle with a crispy exterior and fluffy insides contrasting with ice cream, chocolate sauce, and finished off with raspberries and strawberries. It was possibly a bit on the thin side? As when it cooled down it became a little hard to cut into, but it was still very tasty.

As we finished our meal, it was lovely not to be rushed, we were allowed to finish our drinks and continue nattering without any pressure to leave, which appeared to be the case on many of the surrounding tables too. Had we not had work the next day I believe Silvia may have been tempted to finish our dinner with one of the fantastic range of gins available! Personally not a gin fan (I know, shock horror), but I have on occasion enjoyed their cider tasting board, with a great selection of cider available to suit all tastes. Alas, despite the enjoyable atmosphere and temptation to stay for another, we were aware it was a school night and made our way home with full bellies and happy hearts. A glorious evening, with delicious food in a wonderful setting, and I even enjoyed the company (Silvia is far more bearable outside work). Kidding – Happy 30th Silvia! xxxx

Food: 9
Service: 9
Ambience: 9
Value (based on if we had paid): 10
Overall: 9/10

Where: 15 Leigh St, Bristol BS3 1SN

Disclaimer: This meal was provided by Socialight, but the review is totally my own, based upon my own views which are honest and unbiased. This review has not been checked or edited by either The Ashville or Socialight prior to publishing.

Thanks for reading!

Lizzie xx

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