There are very few things I do not like about Christmas (it’s mainly about eating and drinking for me, which you may have picked up amongst my favourite pastimes). Panto however, is a no from me! Luckily, a Christmas feast at The Old Market Assembly and and a show at The Wardrobe Theatre could not be further than the “He’s behind you!” moments synonymous with festive shows.
Let’s first discuss how absolutely SPOILT we were the Old Market Assembly festive menu. With a glass of fizz in hand and stretchy waistbands at the ready, we were ready to get stuck in to some scrumptious sharing appetisers. Their Christmas menu reflects there overall food ethos of offering seasonal and sustainable flexitarian options. They are passionate about showcasing local supplier produce and, whilst mostly plant-based, they offer ethically farmed fish and meat from farms as local as possible. I am excited to see this ethos reflected more and more across Bristol restaurants, making my choices as a consumer much easier.
Now for those non-food sharers amongst us (I am aware they exist) DO NOT PANIC! There is plenty to go around. We began with individual pots of roast Jerusalum artichoke and garlic soup, warming the hands and the soul. Little goats cheese and cauliflower bon bons were perfectly balanced with the delicious apricot chutney to dip into. The mushroom and chestnut pate was a firm favourite – with its depth of flavour and match with blood orange jelly topping. Whilst the majority of the sharing elements are vegetarian (which suited our mostly vegetarian table) there was a lovely salad of smoked ham hock, watercress and apple salad for the meat eaters.
For the main I chose the red wine braised short rib with pink onglet steak and rosemary gravy. It was absolutely HUGE – enough for two to share I would say. The sides were almost the star of the show though. A mountain of roast baby potatoes with hard herbs and garlic was quite handily placed close to me. I LOVE POTATOES. The roast truffle parsnips came to life with the dukkah topping. No boring sprouts allowed – they were mixed in with kale and pink pink peppercorn and tarragon brown butter. Caramelised celariac was matched with festive flavours of shallots, apple and chestnuts. Saving the best until last though. Roast beets with orange, dill and candied walnuts. OH MY.
Just when we were ready for our post festive eating belly rub and nap, it was time to call on all the powers of the separate sweet stomach as sharing puds were on their way. Anyone ever struggle with the sweet dessert vs cheese board debate? Never fear… you get it ALLLLL here. Delicious selection of cheeses with an excellent cracker to cheese ratio (I feel this is important and often a failing….) The pumpkin cake was deliciously moist (moist is allowed in cake context ONLY). The ice cream was creamy, sweet and salty – perfectly balanced. Chocolate and orange truffles were little mouthfuls of joy.
A final note on their scrumptious and sustainable wine list – continuing the ethos of their food, they make it so easy for us to make more sustainable choices. Their wine list includes organic and biodynamic and a ‘natural’ category. They have also sourced some exceptional organic box wines, which enables them to massively reduce waste materials! We had a quite dreamy Vinho Verde.
What I cannot prepare you for is the subsequent show. Drac and Jill shows until 19th Jan and is like nothing I have seen before. Hard to say much without giving any spoilers away, but lets just say I laughed until I cried, did a full chair dance to some epic 80s classics, blushed to maximum crimson colour and left with a giant grin on my face.
Don’t sit in the front row if you are easily embarrassed…
Do sit in the front row if you have a bit of a thing for vampires…
Book tickets to see Drac and Jill here: http://thewardrobetheatre.com/livetheatre/drac-jill/ – and let me know when you have gone so we can talk ALL ABOUT IT!
And check out the menu and book some delicious festive treats at The Old Market Assembly here: https://www.oldmarketassembly.co.uk/food/
Disclaimer: I was provided the food and show tickets free of cost, however I was not asked to send any copy in advance and this didn’t affect my opinion of the event – all thoughts are my own.