The Roast dinner at Start the Bus
The cajun style Roast dinner at Start the Bus – something a bit different.

We’re now into winter proper; and the only reasonable ways to spend your time are either under a fleecy blanket searching Netflix, or ensconced in your favourite warm & cosy pub with friends, enjoying a comforting plate of food. As I’ve said before, food doesn’t come much more comforting than a roast dinner.

You can read my first guide to roast dinners in Bristol Here, but as it was so popular I decided to go all Hollywood and do a sequel. Feel free to enlighten me with your own tips for where to enjoy a good roast in Bristol (or Bath – we all like an adventure of a weekend sometimes), and let me know what you think of the places I’ve listed below. I’ve linked to the pub’s website in the title for each section if that’s helpful.

Volunteer Tavern

This is a real hidden treasure of a pub – situated on a tiny side street in St Jude’s just behind the huge Cabot Circus car park and Future Inns hotel. Despite being small, there’s a lot on offer here: a cute beer garden, a simple but tasty menu, beer festivals throughout the year, and the staff are lovely too. But most importantly, it is home to The Trinity; a roast with 3 types of meat, for those of you who can’t decide which to have – reason enough to pay the place a visit, surely?
Pro: Massive portions, fantastic gravy, 3 TYPES OF MEAT (Chicken, beef, pork belly – technically four types of meat if you include sausage stuffing), nice garden, great drinks selection.
Con: Quite small, so you’ll have to show up fairly early to ensure you get a table (or book, if you’re an organised sort). The size also means it can get quite noisy, so if you want a sedate Sunday meal it could be best to consider other options first.

Photos of The Rummer Hotel - Restaurant Images

This photo of The Rummer Hotel is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The Rummer Hotel

One of the finer dining and drinking establishments in the centre and nestled in the middle of St Nick’s market, The Rummer has won awards for its bar and is famous for its wonderful cocktails. The food is just as good, mind, and a chilled Sunday afternoon is probably one of the best times to savour their lovely menu and take in the stylish but traditional surroundings.
Pro: Great central location, lovely simple decor, attentive staff, fantastic bar. The food is of a high standard (the Yorkshire puddings are large enough to house a small family), with good veggie options too – good value for the quality too.
Con: The roast is presented on a wooden board – looks impressive but is fairly impractical, especially if you’re sat on one of the smaller tables. Again this is a popular choice so you may have to book to avoid disappointment.

The Flyer

For the North Bristolians who are too tired/hungover to venture in to the centre, there are plenty of good options dotted along Gloucester Road and Stokes Croft (The Robin Hood’s Retreat, No.51 Stokes Croft and The Prince of Wales are favourites, or maybe try something a bit different and book a place at the Bishopston Supper Club?) but one of the more reliable options in terms of size (and therefore table availability), drinks on offer and good food is The Flyer.
Pro: Good portions, lush pudding selection, great drinks, nice interior.
Con: Dull gravy, lacklustre crackling with pork option (they may have just run out on the day we were there).

The fairly grand roast at TFRNV - tastes as good as it looks.
The fairly grand roast at TFRNV – tastes as good as it looks.

The Famous Royal Naval Volunteer

Still not even 6 months old in the pub’s latest incarnation as a superb craft beer & cider venue, but this place is already a highlight of the Bristol pub scene and its dining room is gaining popularity. Get yourself settled in one of their leather armchairs or settle in a corner table by the fire to make the most of the setting as one of Bristol’s oldest and best-preserved watering holes. The wine selection is just as exciting as the beer and ciders listed floor to ceiling at the side of the bar, and if you’re feeling brave the pub also harks back to its sailor-serving history with an impressive selection of navy rums.
Pro: Good portions, excellent gravy, cosy location, great drinks selection and helpful staff.
Con: Not the cheapest option in the centre; you may find the extensive list of beers and ciders a faff if you’re not sure what you want.

Start the Bus

After a few recent changes to its menu, Start the Bus has settled on an American-style offering, including an unconventional take on the roast dinner – choose between cajun beef brisket, roast chicken or nut roast, all served with greens, sweet potato mash and corn on the cob.
Pro: Tasty meat, interesting take on traditional roast, excellent Bloody Marys.
Con: Slow service (an ongoing problem at STB); the Americana food options won’t be to everyone’s tastes, especially the sweet syrup in place of gravy.

The Mother Mary cocktail at Start the Bus - one of their impressive Bloody Mary variations which contains Shiraz as well as vodka.
The Mother Mary cocktail at Start the Bus – one of their impressive Bloody Mary variations, which contains Shiraz as well as vodka. Rousing stuff.

Other recommendations I’ve had are The Lansdown in Clifton, The Kensington Arms in Redland, The Cadbury House in Montpelier and The Old Bookshop on North Street; as well as The Hillgrove behind Stokes Croft which starts serving at 5:30 to give you a chance to get over Saturday night in proper fashion! So, my work is not done yet – let me know any other tips you feel like sharing 🙂

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