I love it when a plan comes together.
When The Old Butcher’s first opened its doors on North St in early 2017, it played host to Carol’s Crab Kitchen, with a menu inspired by the American Deep South, including soft shell crab, gumbo and crab boil.
I liked the idea of the Crab Kitchen, but it was always going to received a mixed response due to the focus on seafood, and many of us just want to enjoy some familiar stodge with our beers.
Which is why I was very happy to hear that the menu was switching to tapas dishes, instantly broadening its appeal to most of my friends – now I wouldn’t have to dine alone!
Platos is the work of chef Scott Hislop – a chap whose food I have happily consumed at various venues around Bristol, including gorgeous pasta dishes at No.1 Harbourside and a damn fine roast at The Old Market Assembly. He’s now turning his hand to Spanish plates, and as usual, he’s smashed it.
The menu is split into larger dishes and smaller ones for sides/snacking. There are also a couple of desserts on offer. The menu swaps dishes in and out fairly regularly, so the pic above is just a guide, but you can expect favourites like the bravas, jamon butter (yes, ham butter. Essentially a porky fat spread, unnnf), padron peppers and croquettes to be on at all times.
Four of us were invited down to try the menu, so we ordered a grand ol’ mix, keen to do some top notch research, and not just because we’re greedy, you understand.
Everything that arrived at our table looked appealing – particularly the larger plates of the baby back ribs (which I’d been recommended by several people already) which were sweet, succulent and completely melted in the mouth.
The chicken stew and beef cheek stew were both absolutely wonderful too – both really bursting with flavours & textures. These dishes were definitely more for the people happy to stay for a while and digest after filling their stomachs with comforting, homely dishes.
We also tried the bravas (cubes of triple cooked potato with a tomato sauce – not as picante as I’ve had before), which was a nice accompaniment to the other dishes and perfect for mopping up sauces, as was the pan tomate.
Believe it or not, a dish of morcilla (the Spanish version of black pudding), chorizo and pineapple (yes, I know, but wait) was one of the most popular, despite several reservations – most of my buddies are firmly Team No Pineapple when it comes to pizza, so I expected similar dismay at this dish, but no, the sweet acidity of the pineapple worked so well with the fatty, paprika-y chorizo and the stodgy morcilla. Another dish I’d happily order again – sometimes it’s worth taking a step out of your comfort zone!
As mentioned before, the jamon butter was a deliciously indulgent snack – whereas the other items were better suited to a full meal, you could easily munch on this whilst enjoying a couple of after work beers without spoiling your appetite for dinner. Same with the croquettes – they were tasty and satisfying, but not too stodgy or punchy, so again another great bar snack.
I was too full to indulge in much of the desserts we shared – a portion of churros with chocolate (the chocolate was a bit runny for me, I like it really thick and creamy) and a Tarte de Santiago (a light almond cake with Chantilly cream – very tasty, I’ll save more space next time!), but they were duly polished off by the group.
Platos offers a high level of Spanish nibbles and heartier fare for a great price in a nice, relaxed bar setting. I’m already planning my next visit, whether it’s to get through a few rounds of that jamon butter and pan tomato over a few beers, or ordering a whole plate of those damn fine baby back ribs to myself.
Go – and then tell me what you had. Just so I can be jealous.
The Old Butchers
57 North St
Disclaimer doodle: We were invited to try these dishes free of cost, however we were not asked to send any copy in advance and this didn’t affect our opinion of the meal – all thoughts are our own! I’ve also been back several times since and can confirm it’s just as tasty when you’re shelling out. Good times.