It seems I’d missed the memo about Miller & Carter – these steakhouses have been popping up all over the country, but it was only earlier this year that I discovered there was a ‘Miller & Carter Cribbs Causeway’. This was the first I’d heard of the chain, which I was surprised to discover is owned by the same brand that runs Harvester, All Bar One and Browns.
This carnivore loves a good steak, so I was keen to see where Miller & Carter fitted into the spectrum of Mitchells & Butlers’ restaurants – I don’t think much of the Harvester experience but always consider Browns a good choice for a high quality meal.
Miller & Carter Cribbs Causeway
Miller & Carter Cribbs Causeway, Bristol is oddly placed just off the motorway, on a street just outside of the mall complex ‘proper’ and next door to a Travelodge. I did think this was a bit of an odd spot for a speciality steakhouse, but all that was forgotten when I walked past the gleaming bull statue that greeted me at the entrance and into the stylish, multi-tiered restaurant within.
With a warm welcome we were taken up the stairs, past several different levels to our booth table, one stop from the top. I loved the décor – reminiscent of a high-end ranch it was all wooden beams, deep reds and funky lighting – from hanging glass lights to old fashioned-style bulbs. The theme is bold and in your face, with art adorning every wall (and all featuring bulls) and even the bathrooms have quirky leather-bound mirrors.
Once we’d got settled and ordered some drinks (Justin was happy to discover they had Peroni on draft – and at pub prices, no less!) we then perused the menu. Justin chose the hoisin sticky duck wings (£6.50) for his starter, which was a nice taste of the orient, with a flavoursome, slightly sweet sauce. I decided to start off with garlic king prawns (£6.95). When these came I loved the presentation but was slightly disappointed as the giant prawns I expected were, well, less than large! Although this did let the starter down it still tasted delicious and I mopped up every drop of garlic butter with my slice of ciabatta.
Go big or go home
When you go out for a steak, in our household it’s a case of go big or go home, so we decided to push the boat out and order the 30oz long bone tomahawk steak to share (£49.95). We both chose the beef dripping sauce from a variety of options which included béarnaise, cracked peppercorn and porcini mushroom and black garlic. The steak is recommended served medium rare, which our server Laurence explained to us is because the cut comes marbled and by cooking to this level the fat cooks and melts into the meat. Any less and you risk leaving the fat chewy throughout.
We took her advice and while we had a bit of a wait for the food to come (Laurence popped by to update us that the chef wanted to cook the meat a little longer as it was a pretty big piece) within seconds of being served we knew it has been worth it.
We’ve got a winner!
One mouthful of that rich, juicy steak, dipped in that sauce and I was in that special happy place that I only go to when I see a cute animal, get a soft kiss, go on a holiday or eat a really, really tasty bit of food. Yes, I’m a gal of simple pleasures.
Seriously though, in that moment they had me. If there’s a meaty gravy or sauce option I’m there, but until that day nothing had ever topped Heston Blumenthal’s marrowbone gravy at the Hind’s Head in Bray. Now, however, it’s got some strong competition.
I enjoyed that steak, and especially that sauce, so bloody much that it was on my mind all of the following day and I kept trying to find excuses to go back. Birthday? Special occasion? Need cheering up? From now on this will be my go-to restaurant choice when I’m craving meat.
Lettuce quarters and onion bread
Anyway, enough of my ramblings, perhaps you might like to hear what else comes with the steak? As well as your choice of sauce and fries, each meal comes with a lettuce quarter with topping – pick from bacon and honey mustard, stilton and blue cheese, garlic mayonnaise and parmesan and classic cocktail with croutons. You also get Miller & Carter’s special onion bread, which is onion tossed in flour and then fried – essentially a non-spicy onion bhaji. Both went down well, and although we found the concept of a chunk of lettuce as a side salad slightly odd, it definitely had a place making a great palate cleanser.
Justin found the lettuce especially useful as he ordered the stuffed marrowbone side (£7.75). This was slightly spicier than he expected as rather than just marrowbone, the dish was topped with beef brisket that picked a punch. He felt this sadly overpowered the wonderful marrowbone (on its own, rich and meaty goodness), and so the poor, gentle soul (he’s a korma man, if you catch my drift) used this unique side salad as a way to stop the heat.
In order to feel ‘healthy’ we also ordered the roasted root veg (£3.50), but were left disappointed with the small bowl we were served, which had a few limp, soggy veggies within. Quite a contrast to the brilliantly cooked steak.
Unsurprisingly we didn’t manage to finish everything off laid before us, however, we did devour every last bite of the steak, sauce and fries. We both agreed that actually we thought a 30oz steak would be bigger still, and wondered if the weight of the bone made a difference. But, even so, it was enough for two to comfortably enjoy.
Room for dessert?
Having spent some time chilling and digesting our epic main we decided it would just be wrong to not try a sweet before we left. I’m the one with the sweet tooth in our relationship, but Justin couldn’t turn down a crème brûlée and so went with miniature sweet and coffee option (£4.95). I, on the other hand, chose the Silverpail ice cream, which comes with a freshly baked cookie (£4.75). Winning!
I chose vanilla and chocolate but should have just stuck with the one flavour. Both were lovely, but I found the double chocolate overly rich after the steak, whereas the vanilla tasted so fresh and smooth it would have been perfect on its own. The cookie was also delicious when I finally ate it, but I actually took it home to eat the following day as I was just too full to properly enjoying it then and there. See, I do have *some* self-control!
Although the steak and sauce was by far the pièce de résistance of the evening, the service definitely added to our experience. Laurence always had time to stop and chat with us, was knowledgeable about the different cuts of meat and how they should be cooked and we had a good laugh with her throughout the night.
Throw into the mix that for the quality of the food it’s very reasonably priced and I can see why so many people have good things to say about Miller & Carter steakhouses. I for one will definitely be back at Miller & Carter Cribbs Causeway and although I’m keen to try a different cut of beef there’s one thing I’m sure to always order, and I bet you can guess what it is!
Our meal at Miller & Carter Cribbs Causeway was complimentary for the purposes of review. However, as always, all views are my own.