This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
( great tapas bars )


Vault Room Bar & Kitchen


Think this Bristol eatery is just another incarnation of All Bar One? Think again. In fact, it’s so good that MARK TAYLOR doesn’t want to share…


FOR A CITY with a large and ever-growing Hispanic community, Bristol has surprisingly few


outlets serving authentic Spanish food. And when I say ‘authentic’, I don’t mean the rubbery, freezer-to-fryer calamari or wooden boards of cheap charcuterie passed off as ‘real’ Spanish food by lacklustre chains offering bastardised versions of tapas classics. Okay, there are a few exceptions – Bravas in Cotham


Hill being the finest exponent of authentic dishes that could be straight out of the backstreet bars of Barcelona – but that’s about it. Or at least it was, until the new team arrived at the Vault Room Bar & Kitchen. For years, this former bank was an All Bar One – that


1990s-style Yuppy wine bar brand owned by Midlands- based pub and restaurant giants Mitchells & Butlers, famous for such successful high street names as Harvester, Toby Carvery and Browns. The Corn Street All Bar One closed at the end of last year and changed its name to the Vault Room without much fanfare. For the first few months it was hard to spot the difference when it came to the menu, which offered the usual bland staples of burgers, sharing boards, and chips with most things. But then everything changed when Spanish chef Imanol Garcia arrived in February. Originally from the Basque country, Garcia used to work


in Barcelona, and he has been joined in the kitchen at the Vault Room by a team of Spanish chefs, as well as several fellow countrymen (and women) front-of-house. Not much has changed in the bar itself – the polished


boards, high ceilings and exposed ducting from before are still there, although the chalkboard that once listed the daily burgers and specials now lists some of the 26 craft beers currently available, everything from local Bristol Beer Factory Southville Hop to America’s Flying Dog Doggie Style Pale Ale. The wine list hasn’t changed much either, although


the waiter revealed that there are plans to introduce more Spanish bottles soon. The same Spanish waiter also told me that the food here had already won the seal of approval from all of his Bristol-based


Spanish friends, and a look at the menu quickly explains why. There are more than 40 dishes on offer here, if you include the paellas, which are made from scratch by an expert paella chef and come with a ‘please allow 30-40 minutes cooking time’ warning for those in a hurry. The tapas dishes are divided into vegetarian, meat and


fish, and these run alongside a concise choice of salads and main courses. Prices for the tapas range from £2.95 for a bowl of Spanish olives marinated with peppers and garlic in olive oil, to £9.95 for a board of Spanish meats including Iberico ham and lomo (cured pork tenderloin), with bread and olives. I ordered a tapas dish from each section, starting


with the tortilla with spinach, roast peppers and alioli dip (£4.75). Tortilla is one of those tapas staples that usually disappoints outside Spain, but rather than the expected fridge-cold, leathery slice of eggs and potato, these deep wedges were warm, layered with spinach and smoky roasted red peppers and served with a carefully made salad and scoop of sweet carrot purée. Served on a piece of slate, croquetas de jamon


Iberico (£4.95) comprised six golf ball-sized, golden breadcrumbed globes of creamy béchamel sauce flecked with salty ham. They were as good as any I have tasted in the UK. Pulpo a la Gallega (£6.45) was a visually stunning plate of overlapping sliced octopus and potatoes liberally dusted with smoked paprika and drizzled with fruity olive oil and lemon juice. Washed down with a glass of chilled Albarino, it was a dish that seemed more at home in a coastal restaurant on the Bay of Biscay than a former All Bar One a short stroll from Bristol docks. Of the puddings, an exemplary Santiago cake (£4.95)


was almost marzipan-like in its moist and almondy richness – it was a far cry from the usual gritty, sand-like cakes I’ve had before. With Spanish food this well-executed and this


authentic, Vault Room Bar & Kitchen may just be the best- kept secret in Bristol this summer. Salud!


✱ VAULT ROOM BAR & KITCHEN,


47 Corn Street, Bristol BS1 1HT; 0117 930 4762; Twitter @vaultroom


88 crumbsmag.com


Afters


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92