Review of Grillstock, Bristol

A few weeks prior to my recent wedding, I went to Bristol with my stag party – the perfect excuse to go for some “man food” if ever there was one! I was excited then when we decided to visit Grillstock in the rather hipsterish end of town, Clifton.

The Grillstock website promised that we should: “expect elbow to elbow, down home proper southern style BBQ at Grillstock Smokehouse. A meaty experience with loud music and low lighting.” Ideal for me and a few mates who all love our meat, especially as we needed a good feed before we went Go Karting later in the day.

We arrived at Grillstock around 3pm, however we were told there would be around a 20 minute wait to get seated. Inside the restaurant there is just one long bench stretching across the room – of course, the limited space means means that if the bench is full, you aren’t going to be seated. With no reservations, you need to expect to wait for a while, particularly if you are going at lunch or dinner time.

Waiting around does feel a bit awkward as there isn’t really anywhere you can sit or stand comfortably with a drink – instead it kind of feels like you are staring at everyone else eating. Either way, we ordered bottles of the Grill Stock Pale ale, and fortunately were only eventually waiting for around ten minutes before getting seats at the end of the bench.

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I like a beer that isn’t too heavy before I’m about to tuck into a decent portion of meat, so the light-tasting pale ale on offer at Grillstock is a great accompaniment to the food experience. It’s also worth noting that they keep jugs of water on the tables, meaning you don’t have to pay extra for a drink if you don’t want to, making the visit very affordable considering the surprisingly low prices of the food on offer.

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As it was lunch time, I didn’t feel like eating anything too huge, so opted for the popular Smokestack Burger. With a 5oz burger, pulled pork and accompaniments, this sounded ideal at that time of day. I do think it will be worth revisiting to give the rather challenging Lockjaw Burger a try at some point though!

When the burger arrived, I was seriously impressed. In fact I can safely say it was one of tastiest burgers I have ever had the pleasure of eating. The burger meat and pulled pork were both perfectly cooked, and neither out-did the other. Instead they perfectly complemented each other in terms of flavour and consistency.

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One thing I hate with a burger packed with various components is when the bun ends up becoming soggy and falling apart. There was no such issue with the Smokestack – in fact it was so easy to eat it felt like I finished it off in a few short bites!

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The burger came with well-seasoned skinny fries and a delicious coleslaw, both of which were included in the £8.50 cost. Considering how good this burger is, £8.50 is an absolute steal, and well worth any wait you need to endure to get seated.

Overall I would highly recommend getting yourself down to a Grillstock – with two restaurants in Bristol, one in Bath, as well as East London and Leicester, they’re growing quickly. With their BBQ and music festival getting bigger every year, meat eating challenges and burgers that taste this good, don’t be surprised if you see one pop up near you sometime soon.

Review information

Grillstock can be found at 41 Triangle W, Bristol, City of Bristol BS8 1ER. This review took place on 30/05/15.

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Sean Butcher

Sean is a lover of all things man-food. He especially like his burgers cooked medium, placed within a tasty brioche bun.

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