Mug Shot & The Library - Bristol
This place is all about the space you occupy and the experience of eating wonderful food within it.
If you ever fancy a bit of theatre in your food then this place may well be perfect to satisfy that need. Situated in the hipster St Nicholas market area of the city you will def need to refer to your inner caveman for the visit.
I guess our visit here was really just a fluke, I actually just decided to google cool places to eat in Bristol whilst researching new SD targets. This place appeared and the website looked very slick. It has a strong brand and image and the fact they tell you that you might go home smelling of meat kinda made me think... let’s go!
...the building has an impressive gothic surround, you enter through a fairly unassuming door way to be greeted but anything but an unassuming man...
St Nicholas market is synonymous with being a very cool area, lots of eateries and trendy drinking slots are dotted around, the twinkle of fairy lights and the smells of delicious offerings around every corner. By day the vintage clothing shops, Barbers and Tattoo parlours attract an eclectic mixture of people and when the market is open it becomes a hive of activity for everyone.
You have to book Mugshot, it’s defo not a turn up a hope place. We booked on a week day and having negotiated the maze of the market area you’ll find it tucked out the back end of St Nicks. The frontage at night isn't one that pops out even though actually the building has an impressive gothic surround. You enter through a fairly unassuming doorway to be greeted but anything but an unassuming man, tall thick set wearing a leather style bikers cut - two tattoo sleeves and a dark well groomed long beard, he looks sharp very sharp and his welcome is friendly and precise. Turns out Adam is the owner, no Bristolian either he is from the Midlands. He takes us down the stairs into the dimly lit but very warm cosy glitter decorated space that is the lower seating area. Wooden panels, stone floors, warm colours, a small but well adorned bar sits at the end of the room, a lone bar tender already hard at work on drinks. We are seated and Adam introduces us to our server and explains that he will take us through the way things are done. Opulent is the word that comes to mind.
There are a selection of these bad boys, BBQ short Rib , Truffle Croutons, Pork Belly bites or a Mugshot baked Camembert Cheese inside a pizza style crust with a home-made onion relish.
We order some drinks and our waiter explains how they do things. This place is about meat if you don't like meat don't come here, he also explains that whilst they have good ventilation fundamentally they cook meat on a BBQ style basis and the result is that the smell will end up on your clothes... but you won't be disappointed with the food.
Menu wise the waiter just knows it off the top of his head, starters are available if you can handle it (we suggest you go minimal - share one because you will not eat your main if you wade into the starters). There are a selection of these bad boys, BBQ short Rib, Truffle Croutons, Pork Belly bites or a Mugshot baked Camembert Cheese inside a pizza style crust with a home-made onion relish. We share the Camembert cheese and home made relish. It doesn't disappoint - it’s really good.
33 Oz! My brain struggles to imagine this beast
The waiter and owner here are the key to your experience: listen to them because you will get the best from the food if you do.
Drinks service is quick and if you pay attention you will also be able to hear the repeated instructions being given to other tables close by. In the end I decided to simply ask the waiter: "What would you have?" he says that to be fair if you want something a bit special he loves the 33 Oz Tomahawk steak with fries and beets! 33Oz!!!!... 33 Oz! My brain struggles to imagine this beast. He then goes on to tell us that the chef will part cook the steak on the BBQ in the kitchen before it is brought to our table, along with a slab of molton hot granite and a sharp knife, because here you cook the meat on a hot stone yourself to your own liking. We’re sold, this steak is enough for two 😁 it’s half a cow, we can't wait...
You get choose from a selection of house made butters to go with your meat, and they are delicious, we loved the self cooking it’s so much fun. We had to have a second hot stone brought to us, such was the size of the steak. It was perfection, tender, flavoursome and filling, and the sides... well they sort of stayed sides because we struggled to eat them.
You can see from the pictures how big the steak was, and worth the money too.
Beyond just writing more and more about the size of the steak you really just have to come and try it.
"You will see it had an old fashioned street lamp out side and looks like a book shop through the window, push the golden buzzer and they will let you in"
OUTTA HERE... or so we thought...
Having carved and cooked our way through half a cow, we sit back and ponder the idea of desert??? Well the conclusion is: that won’t happen, we can't move! So when Adam (the owner) appears to ask how we found it we politely exclaim… "Please no puddings!" He laughs and says well they have them but "perhaps if you don't want them you might like to enjoy our exclusive bar to relax, it’s just up the road?? "
I mean that was a new one on me you have a restaurant and an exclusive bar up the road?
"Oh yes he explains, it’s 5 mins away and by the time you arrive I will have called them to tell them you are both coming, and you might be able to manage our trio of deserts they have on offer, or perhaps a cocktail"
We are really intrigued by this, there is something in the way he explains it that makes us want to see this bar, up the road.
"Its called The Library," he explains, "You will see it had an old fashioned street lamp out side and looks like a book shop through the window, push the golden buzzer and they will let you in"
Ok ... Ok... this sounds really interesting, so we settle the bill, which is as hefty as the steak and head off up the road to find "The Library"
in the gloom of a dark evening we walk back up the road, looking for the old lamp. It glows yellow tungsten and casts that Dickensian style luminous glow to the grey cobbles and paving slabs of the street
So in the gloom of a dark evening we walk back up the road, looking for the old lamp. It glows yellow tungsten and casts that Dickensian style luminous glow to the grey cobbles and paving slabs of the street, reflecting the recent drizzle that has painted the surfaces.
And there we see this very odd window display... it’s like a film set, or something from Cluedo. We ring the golden buzzer and are welcomed in and asked to sit in the window.
We are perplexed, we sit and we wait, I look at the books on the shelf and then question how we get into the bar. But in truth the wait in the window is all part of the theatre Adam and his team want you to have. Without notice the whole bookcase opens like the secret door in a bond movie to reveal a very opulent bar lit in reds and greens adorned with chesterfield leather and hight bar stools. It’s impressive and great fun.
a random pick from us became a night of food theatre and discovery...
We are made most welcome and order cocktails from the extensive menu, and yes also sharing a set of three deserts. Absolutely delicious.
So a random pick from us became a night of food theatre and discovery. Look, it isn’t a cheap meal out it’s def something to do for a special occasion and of course you don’t need to eat a 33oz steak or go for drinks afterwards, but if you don’t you are missing out on the full package.
Plenty of good thought put into the restaurant and the bar, but suitable for families for those with disability? Well, yes just about, the restaurant has an upstairs area with good access, but not sure if they have disabled access to the toilets so worth checking that beforehand.
The facilities are nice, in keeping with the overall style of the place and clean too. Service is good - really good, they know what they are selling and seem to be passionate about it and that comes over in the food.
SCORE, EXCELLENT - 7.12
Food score 9/10
Service Score 9/10
Comms Score 9/10
Disability Access 5/10 (needs clarification)
Sticky Table 8/10
Value for Money 8/10
What is cost £140.00
What it’s worth - Yes for the full experience
Would we go back ? Yes!