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There are a handful of places in Bristol which I walk or drive past almost on a daily basis, and every time I do so I always think to myself “I need to try it there.” I’ve been saying that about The Rose of Denmark, at the end of Hotwells Road, for as long as I can remember, so when my brother came to stay last weekend and the question “Shall we go for roast dinner somewhere?” arose, I practically shouted “LET’S GO TO THE ROSE OF DENMARK!”
For quite a while The Rose of Denmark had a sign outside proclaiming that they did the best roast dinners in Bristol. Now unfortunately I don’t think I’m in the least bit qualified to pass judgement on this, as despite being a bit of a fiend for eating out, I’ve been out for very few roast dinners in the city. I’ll blame this on my Mum, who quite frankly DOES do the best roast dinners in Bristol, so I’ve rarely had the need to seek one out elsewhere. However, whether it’s the best in Bristol or not, The Rose of Denmark does one hell of a bloody good roast.
The pub itself sits on the corner of Dowry Place (not technically Hotwells Rd, but near as damn it) and it does the whole ‘proper pub’ thing really well. Think roaring fire, chunky mis-matched furniture, great beers, a stack of old board games teetering in the corner, and above all else, really good pub grub. When we visited at the beginning of December they were also serving hot mulled cider, so they were off to a winning start with me before I’d even seen the menu.
The selection of roasts is your standard fare; beef, pork, lamb and a vegetarian alternative, and everything is just under a tenner. There were six of us when we visited, so as everyone chose something different I got to try a bit of everything – hurrah!
I went for the pork (based purely on the fact that it came with crackling) and I think out of all of the options I got the best deal. The pork itself was beautifully cooked and there was plenty of it, served with almond and apricot stuffing, a generous dollop of home made apple sauce and a sizeable wedge of perfectly salty, crunchy crackling.
The beef came in a close second, and was served medium with a whopping Yorkshire pudding which thankfully wasn’t too soggy and wasn’t practically cremated – perfect! The lamb was erring on the side of a bit too fatty, but the lean meat on the plate was delicious.
All dishes were served with roast parsnips, gravy and roast potatoes, and were then accompanied by a huge steaming dish of mixed seasonal veg, which included stewed red cabbage, buttery mashed swede and some of the tastiest, creamiest leeks I’ve ever had – I’ll definitely be attempting to recreate those at home. The crowning glory for me (and something which was commented on by everyone) were the roast potatoes, which were deliciously crispy on the outside but perfectly fluffy on the inside – winner!
The only disappointment, as is so often the case, was the vegetarian option; a Moroccan spiced vegetable pie. Although it was great that they’d gone to the effort to put a bit of thought into offering something a bit more inventive, it was still served with all of the standard roast dinner trimming, included gravy. This, coupled with the Moroccan flavourings just didn’t work, but our resident veggie was still pretty chuffed that she’d been given the option of roast potatoes and gravy in the first place!
We all left The Rose of Denmark happily stuffed, and well and truly ready for a lazy winter’s afternoon on the sofa. We’ll definitely be going back again soon, and if you’re looking for somewhere snug and friendly with some great, un-fussy grub then The Rose of Denmark should be your first port of call.
You can follow The Rose of Denmark on Twitter @roseofdenmark.