We’re always on the hunt for a good sturdy brunch, and Bristol certainly has no shortage of excellent options, but when we were invited to come and put the menu at Racks in Clifton to the test, well, we jumped at the chance as you can very well imagine.
Racks is a cavernous bar located underneath The Clifton Hotel, and despite having popped in a few times for drinks, I’d never been in for food, despite having heard good things about their Sunday lunch.
On the day I went it was gorgeous sunshine, so I opted to sit out on their front terrace; it’s decently sized and has enough room to seat a few large groups. This being Clifton, it was also nice and quiet, so I could get on with perusing the menu in peace.
At this point, I should tell you that my intended brunch companion had cancelled, and so I found myself munching alone.
I ordered my breakfast favourite of Eggs Benedict, especially pleased to see that the Racks version comes with Parma ham instead of the usual cooked ham which almost always ends up a bit bland and uninteresting.
The dish arrived looking very appetising, and I’m pleased to say that everything on the plate was very tasty indeed.
The Hollandaise sauce was spot on and the Parma ham was generously piled on, which complimented the rich sauce and egg perfectly. It was a decent portion and left me feeling that most satisfying of words: replete.
Now, this is where the brunch story should end, no? However, following on from my earlier point about having been abandoned by my friend, I found myself being persuaded by one of Racks’ charming employees that as much as my choice of Eggs Benedict was a good one, their pancakes were excellent and that I must try them.
Not one to dodge the chance for pudding (even if it’s at 11am), I accepted, saying that a couple of small scotch pancakes should be fine.
Look what arrived:
I mean, that’s lovely, isn’t it? And I felt more than a bit ungrateful when my heart sank once the plate arrived at my table, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish it, and leaving food makes me unbelievably sad.
Take another look at that picture. It’s glorious, and it wasn’t even going to get appreciated to its full extent. What a travesty.
In any case, as you’d expect the pancakes were lovely – good texture, not too heavy, and offset by the sharpness of the fruit compote and creaminess of the creme fraiche.
It was nice to have some fresh fruit on the plate too, just to help take away the guilt factor of eating dessert before noon. In any case, I tried to conquer the plate, and I got almost half way through before accepting defeat. But it was a tasty dish, and I’d recommend it.
It’s hard to choose between that and then Eggs Benedict, because I tend to prefer savoury breakfasts, but if sweetness is your thing, you can’t go far wrong with these beauties.
Other items on the Racks brunch menu include the obligatory full English (choose from The Bristolian, a veggie breakfast or the humongous Racks Breakfast), breakfast baps or granola.
Overall, it exceeded my expectation, and I’ll definitely be back for that Eggs Benedict (and someone to share some pancakes with!) – I also liked the look of some of the other food deals at Racks, including Burger Monday (2 for 1 burgers), Steak Night (Ruby & White ribeye with chips for £10) and their daily £5 lunch deal.
It’s famously hard to give a hotel bar much character, and there is certainly a bit of a hotel feel at the main entrance to the bar, but if you get cosy in one of its cubby holes, or sit out on the terrace you’ll be more than happy – the food is good & decently priced and the service is helpful & friendly – what more could you want from a neighbourhood kitchen?
Racks Bar & Kitchen
St. Pauls Rd
Disclaimer doodle: This meal was provided free of charge, but we were not asked to write a positive review, or asked to send any copy in advance, or do anything else that would compromise our mega integrity and professionalism*.
*Apart from the fact that I ate two massive brunches to myself.