Some might say that having a guest writer in to write only your 6th post is a little lazy, and I would wholeheartedly agree, however, here we are! Recently some colleagues at work were visiting Bristol for some training, and as one is a content writer for a top tour operator, I thought it really would be a wasted opportunity if I were not to ask him to write about one of the great Barbecue joints in Bristol which they would be visiting for dinner. I guess I also kind of felt I could live/taste vicariously through Tim, said writer, this way too! Tim may not be quite as obsessed with BBQ as myself, but (like anyone?!) certainly enjoys some fantastic food. Read on for his thoughts on Spitfire Barbecue in Bristol…
“Spitfire BBQ in Bristol harbour is one of those restaurants that is so good you even eat the salad. But you carnivores out there needn’t look so concerned – the courses of succulent and delicately flavoured meat are served in generous portions. This is a macho, meaty establishment where even the staff are beefy.
Spitfire is tucked away in a discrete corner of Bristol’s modern harbour front, facing the waterside. As you enter the stylish interior you are immediately greeted by an old motorbike, and contemporary décor influenced by the kind of American bar you would expect the Hells Angels to frequent. Light bulbs hang from near industrial electric cables and at the back of the restaurant a huge, illuminated sign reads “Spitfire” in the graphic designer’s font du jour. Groups at nearly every table were photographing their food and posting to Instagram – something we were later to realise was impossible to resist.
The initial impression was a confusing mixture of post-industrial swagger mixed with hipster pretension. And the setting was perhaps the weakest element of the restaurant but not, if I’m honest, entirely unenjoyable. Spitfire has created its own bizarre atmosphere which balances the contemporary with the nostalgic.
When the plates started arriving on our table we found ourselves following the other patrons in photographing the food. The meals were hearty and plated with precision. Heaps of meat was drizzled in sauce to give the biggest theatrical impression. Most impressive was the pulled pork hot dog, the Hog Roll, which was piled high with pork and finished with thick mustard that artfully dripped down the sides. Its appearance was mouth watering and the flavour was equally impressive.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First up was the Buffalo Cluckers, southern style pieces of chicken awash with Spitfire’s own buffalo sauce. The lightly bread crumbed and boneless pieces of chicken were moist and so delicious I burnt my hand trying to stuff them in my face. However, it was the fantastic sauce that was the standout balancing southern spice with a subtle sweetness.
For mains we ordered the Hog Roll and the Pit Boss burger, a 6oz beef burger with added rib tips, pulled pork, sausage, and smoked cheese. We weren’t messing around. Both were presented with flair, although of the two the Hog Roll was the most satisfying.
The succulent pork sausage was full of flavour, which was a genuine surprise, and it was beautifully complimented by the rich pulled pork. We had expected the burger to be little more rare but in the end there was no redness to it at all. Fortunately this did not detract from the quality of the meat which simply melted in the mouth.
We did have to wonder: with beef tips this good why did they not exist as a starter? The slices of Texan ribs were so mouth watering they could have easily occupied their own spot on the menu.
The Spitfire menu has an exciting looking selection of adult milkshakes, but after our rich, gourmet adventure the idea of further indulgence seemed excessive… Nah – what the hell! Chocolate Peanut Butter Stack!
Sure it’s not a cocktail but anyone who knows me will recognise my appreciation for all things peanut butter. And the Chocolate Peanut Butter Stack perfectly blends peanut butter with ice cream and chocolate brownies. It’s essentially the world’s most delicious desert combination, the kind of thing I’d eat to get over a break-up. And, yes, it tasted as good as it sounds (the desert not the break-up!)
As I’m writing this I’m carefully studying the Spitfire’s online menu and planning my next meal there. Unfortunately for me there is only one branch of Spitfire, several miles away in Bristol. But perhaps this is a good thing, because if I had such a fantastic BBQ restaurant on my doorstep you’d have difficulties ever persuading me to leave.“
So you’re probably here feeling about as jealous as I was when Tim kindly sent me his write-up (and especially pics) over..! I also did promise him a ‘High Steak BBQ’ – in the very literal sense, so really should get on that. Tim is also pretty nifty with a camera – if you’ve got a few minutes, check out his stuff on his web portfolio here.
The menu for Spitfire is pretty extensive – if you’ve had anything there you loved, let me know below so I can hopefully enjoy it when I go!