A bunch of us went out a couple of weeks back to Mapperley Top. We were venturing for drinks and food so opted for Bread and Bitter, a Castle Rock venue, that promises both. We booked a table in advance as there were 8 of us and from previous experience I know it can get pretty busy in there.
First Impressions of Bread and Bitter
It was a pretty cold night so the warmth was the first thing that hit me as I walked in, shortly followed by my heart bursting seeing all of the dogs in there! As a true Castle Rock place it’s dog friendly and there were at least 4 in my eyesight as soon as I walked in the door. We headed straight to the bar to announce our table and then ordered some drinks to take back.
The pub has a lot of exposed brick in the dining area and wooden floor throughout. As soon as you walk in the bar has a huge stained glass window which is different to what I’ve seen in other pubs. The result is a warm and cosy venue. Bread and Bitter actually used to be a bakery back in the day and there’s a large iron cast oven in the walls with a sign above it saying that it is the original. They’ve also got a lot of brewery memorabilia stuck to the walls from a lot of different places (not just Castle Rock who own it).
The menus were already on the table, on a small board with several A5 pages clipped at the top. My eyes went straight to the bean burger and chips, pretty much everybody else on the table went for fish and chips. One couple on the table ordered a side of fried black pudding, which I thought was a really random dish to offer and purchase alongside fish and chips.
Looking around there are a few dishes on the specials board (including vegan fish and chips) but none of these took our fancy. As soon as we were ready we all went up and ordered food at the bar, a simple process. Whilst we were there we bought another round, naturally.
The food arrived just over an hour later so we were starving by the time it appeared. My bean burger looked immense though so I was keen to tuck in. We had to do the whole British thing of waiting until everybody had their dish before eating so I was probably drooling by the time I was able to have my first bite. Sorry for the rubbish photo, I obviously didn’t keep my camera still enough. The bean burger was stacked high in a brioche bun with salad, avocado, apple-smoked cheese and relish. There was a side of chips and a side salad too. It was a pretty decent portion!
Taste-wise this hit the spot. It was a little messy to eat as as soon as you bite into it (after squashing it down) it crumbles everywhere. Still, I held off using a knife and fork as it is a burger after all and cutlery is not needed. The chips were really good, the right size and cooked exactly how I like – crispy and fluffy. I do have a disliking for brioche buns, I prefer a standard burger bun but this seems to be the trend nowadays (or the new standard?) Overall this was a good pub meal.
One of the people who chose the fish and chips was my boyfriend who was envious of my portion size. In comparison his fish looked relatively small and he complained he was still hungry afterwards. Potentially this was due to the long wait for food and our lack of starters as those who opted for the black pudding starter were content with their bellies at the end. The dish featured a homemade beer battered cod and homemade tartar sauce.
There was a bit of a disagreement around the table about whether the chips were good with the fish, some like the thin fries, others would have preferred something a little chunkier.
I didn’t have a try of the black pudding as they were on the opposite side of the table from me but they looked really good – they actually looked like a dessert in my opinion. Although the pot of mayonnaise contradicts that! The couple who ordered these really enjoyed them, they said they were different and they would definitely recommend ordering them. Who am I to argue?
We didn’t opt for any desserts as none really took our fancy, in fact if memory serves there were only 2 and they were on the specials board.
The staff are friendly enough in there but the service is minimal due to the set up. You order at the bar and then the food is brought out to you rather than table service. This does work well but I’ve already spoken with the manager in regards to the slowness and lack of communication about how long this would take. The manager seemed eager to get my feedback and was looking to amend and better the pub where he can, he did say waiting times should have been passed on but it seems like an error. I really like the fact that the Bread and Bitter have already been in touch with me to see how my evening was and to get feedback – to me this is the sign of a venue that will do even better than it is now in the future. The manager is actually relatively new to the pub so I’ll look forward to seeing how it improves as a food venue as time goes on.
bread and bitter rating: 7/10
£15 pp/£121 in total for a main and a drink each x 8 plus starters x 2
I didn’t have any qualms with the food or the venue, I love the pet-friendly aspect, the food on offer and the atmosphere. My improvements are to the waiting times, the communication and to add more exciting desserts to the menu please. In fair, if they smash these things then it might become my new favourite pub!
Recommended for: groups of all sizes, young families, simple eaters, veggie, vegan, dog owners
Not recommended for: posh diners, expecting a full restaurant experience, in and out diners
Why not try: the battered black pudding
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Love for you all x