Wild Beer, Bristol

Now before I get on to the food at Wild Beer, I take full responsibility for the dismal lunch we had. Given the array of talent at Wapping Wharf you could put a blindfold on and find a cracking meal within one of the navy blue cargo containers, even on a Monday when the big hitters are mostly closed. Yet we were driven by the rarest of British finds: Sunshine. That’s right, we picked our lunch choice based on available chairs in the sunshine over where might actually be edible. The bill of £90 for a round of four drinks and food that I paid is entirely my fault. But my face does now have a lovely bronzed glow, so swings and roundabouts and all that.

The wait on the food this fateful Monday afternoon is one hour, a time they were extremely keen to emphasize in between messing the drinks order up. We keep the order simple; fish tacos, chicken tacos, calamari, a couple of sides. Everything is deep fried and as greasy as a door-to-door salesman. Everything is beige, both in colour and as a metaphor for the food.

After two failed deliveries to our table for food that others had ordered we get tacos. The better of two has a firm white fish (Pollock, I think) set to an Ike Turner level of batter, resting on shop brought tortilla and a smattering of undressed sweetcorn and beans. It’s pathetic but at least at it’s not the chicken, southern fried, a description that suits its appearance given that it looks like its been left at the bottom of the fryer for an age. The outside is burnt, the meat dry, but hey, we get more of those sweetcorn and beans! We joke that the kitchen has given up and just wants to be outside in the sun before concluding this is more than likely true. Chips are good, the hot sauce better. They are the saviours on this afternoon.

The sides fair worse. We have frickles of such girth the heat gets nowhere near the centre, with not enough of the liquor coming through. It’s just battered gherkin, which sounds like a component in the next evolution of a Scottish burger. They are very unpleasant. Fried cheese curds succeed in having a coating to cheese ratio highly in the favour of the former, with a ketchup style dip too competent ever to have come out the kitchen. The squid is so bouncy my adolescent girlfriend wants to play on it. I console myself with £3.50 measures of brilliant Cotswold gin. No one asks how the food is as the plates are removed.

Our fleeting visit is not a total disaster. On the way back to the car park we stop by Pizzarova to pick up a cheap pizza. Even cold, after three hours on the back seat of the car on the way home, it is a mile away from the shit we had for lunch. Nice elastic crust, good sourdough flavour, and good toppings. My friend who we visit tells me that the beers at Wild Beer are ace. My suggestion is simple; go for beers, bypass the kitchen and go elsewhere in Wapping Wharf for your dinner. Anywhere but here.

Wild Beer 2/10

Pizzarova 7/10

I am up for Best Food Blog at the forthcoming MFDH Awards. Please vote for me in category 17.

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