December 21, 2012 Broughton Street, pub grub, soup 1 Comment

I tend to be quite organised about things, when eating out. More often than not, if I have a plan in the diary, I’ll make a reservation. With the exception of Restaurant Martin Wishart (where we must actually visit in 2013), which is understandably rather busy, the only other place where I’ve been told that they’re fully booked for the time I wanted to dine is the Basement Bar. This has happened a few times, reflecting that it’s a very popular lunchtime spot.

Interior metalwork

Today, at the start of the last week before Christmas, regular quester Jane and I walked up and found the place relatively quiet, so finally got to try their wares.

The subterranean bar setting is quirkily arrayed with metalwork sculptures that blend in to some of the tables with caterpillar tracks. It’s certainly interesting. The bar is split into two main areas, a bar and a dining room, with the odd cavernous nook and cranny secretly stashed about the place.


We sat in the bar area (the same menu is served across both rooms), and contemplated the choices. The options are wide and varied, covering a lot of pub favourites, as well as a few specials of the house. Their fajitas, for examples, had plenty of sizzling theatre as they were brought to a nearby table.

We settled upon soup to open, with parsnip and honey offering a suitably seasonal starter, then Jane decided upon the stuffed chicken salad, once it was revealed that the stuffing of the day was chorizo. I opted for the steak pie, as I was in the mood for hearty pub fare.

Chicken salad

Our soups swiftly arrived. These were generous portions, with two good-sized slices of bread for mopping up purposes. The soup was admirably restrained, with the honey gently enhanced the parsnip’s natural sweetness, rather than overpowering the dish. It had a good peppery kick to it, but it did lack a little salt. Still, it was really very good.

Main courses won no prizes for looks, but were packed with satisfying flavour. Jane’s dish was full of moist chicken, and an impressive array of salad leaves. My steak pie proved rather good, too. The top-crust pie dish was full to the brim with rich gravy and tender steak chunks. The roast vegetables, featuring yet more parsnips, were good, and although the mash did not look bonnie, at all, it provided a pretty tasty accompaniment.

Steak pie

So overall, I’m glad we finally made it along to the Basement Bar. The quirky pub surroundings are matched with a menu that combines classics with fresh spins, and offers a breadth of choice that’s hard to match. The lunchtime menu isn’t quite as good value as it once was, and the dishes could use a little refinement, so that they look a little more elegantly rustic, but that’s easily fixed. I’d happily recommend that you pop in here, next time the pub grub bug grabs you.

Blythe scores The Basement Bar:
4/5 for food
2.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 13.5/20

Jane scores The Basement Bar:
4/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
3/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 13.5/20

Today’s questers were: Jane, Blythe

We ate: parsnip and honey soup (2); stuffed chicken salad; steak pie

We drank: lime and soda; sparkly water

We wore: smart black dress; blue suit

Total bill: £28.55

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Written by BKR