Food 8.5 Drink 7 Atmosphere 9 Overall 8
Love is in the air. If you’re in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to celebrate with your loved one. If you’re not in a relationship, Valentine’s Day doesn't have to suck. Readers falling into either category, we have the answer for you: dine out at the Galli and enjoy an evening of home-cooked grub and plenty of wine... if you're lucky in love, with that special other half, or if you're single, with your mates!
The bustling scenes of Gloucester Road’s promenade are nothing without the beloved Gallimaufry, Bristol’s friendliest independent pub, serving creative small plates and classic British staples. The Galli is an expert at many things, not only in the field of casual dining, but also in its standing as an eclectic art space and music venue.
A true Bristol independent, The Galli prides itself on being a showcase of seasonal food, up-and-coming musical talent and contemporary art, all wrapped up into one brilliantly dynamic space. As you walk into this pub, you see elements of all of these things at once: guitarists gearing up for an evening performance; casual business meetings happening on laptops at the back; and cheery waiters working their magic. An assortment of up-cycled objects cover the ceiling in glistening waves of colour for the Galli's most recent art installation, while a a hodgepodge of antiques and local artwork encasing the cosy room.
The décor within create an undeniably romantic scene: rustic wooden tables decorated with flowers and candles occupy a dreamy spot overlooking the busier scenes at the bar. The charm doesn't stop there, with the Galli's menu boasting comforting, bulletproof - yet seasonable and creative - dishes with a twist. Starters cover everything from Harissa hummus to rosemary salted chips, fried ham hock with pickles, and Padron peppers. For mains, the traditional meets the creative, with highlights including spatch-cocked partridge with pancetta, lentils, cranberry & kale (£14), rainbow trout with fennel, beetroot, oats & anchovy butter (£12), and a butter bean, celeriac, kale & chestnut salad (£8).
While other pubs may pile on the meaty roasts, veggies, vegans and pescatarians are spoilt for choice here. Jerusalem artichoke, leek & brie gratin with chicory & walnut salad (£11) seemed a perfect choice for me, but it was tough to tear myself away from the more simple but equally delicious likes of tagliatelle doused in a tomato, caper, olive and spinach sauce (£10). I have to admit, that while the menu sounded enticing, I wasn't 100% sure how the plate would look upon arrival - needless to say I was sweetly surprised. The artichoke and leek gratin was served in a separate dish, whilst chicory and walnuts spilled deliciously over the sides of the bowl. The woody texture of the chicory was paired brilliantly with the soft crunch of the walnuts, while the artichoke, along with the unctuously creamy leek with brie was a match made in heaven. The Galli’s creative and quirky personality certainly resonated in this dish. While I guzzled up the fantastic veg on offer, my lunch date opted more predictably for the rump steak in a rich Bourguignon sauce, alongside a buttery fondant potato and sprouting broccoli (£15). While this was a pretty good steak (for a student, anyway), the fondant potato wasn't quite up to par and would have perhaps been better substituted for some creamier Dauphinoise potatoes.
The Galli’s desserts deserve as much attention as their mains, with a super sweet handful of tarts, puds, fondants and crème brûlées on offer - sprinkled of course with their creative flare - so naturally, we couldn’t resist. After a full peruse of the puds on offer, I surrendered to the homemade whisky marmalade pudding, drizzled in orange syrup and served with a generous dollop of dark chocolate ice cream (£5). The warm, gooey sponge and the piquant, zesty marmalade paired beautifully with the rich ice-cream: comfort in its truest form. Not shying away from more chocolate, we also ordered their rich chocolate mousse, served with crème fraiche and topped with a layer of candied walnuts (£5). Both dishes scored extremely highly in our books - our student stomachs will certainly be dreaming about them for hungry days to come...
Not only is the quality of the grub at The Galli fine, but their prices are equally affordable, with mains ranging from £8-15 and starters averaging £3. The service was terrific, all the staff were incredibly attentive with big smiles all round. With everything looking, feeling and tasting home-made, it’s inevitable that even Bristol's most experiences restaurateurs will succumb to The Galli’s charm. Make no mistake, it’s an informal place, however there is something seriously enchanting about this pub that makes it the ideal hideout for a lovely, laid-back (Valentines...?) evening.
Sound like your type of place? The Galli is offering up a wonderful 3 course Valentines menu for £30 per person this 14th February.
https://thegallimaufry.co.uk/ 26-28 Gloucester Road