Inside Bristol’s first halal steakhouse, the staff are keen to chat and share stories. The manager tells tales of gambling owners after sharing tips on the best ways to grill, but he unfortunately can’t share the history of this compact building squeezed next door to the Victoria Rooms.
The Chopping Court is a restaurant with real character where it’s easy to stay for far longer than it takes to eat
Admittedly, the décor is a bit tacky. Fairy lights are a staple of outdoor dining in Bristol, with every outside space twinkling as the sun sets. There’s no change here, as the small patio at the front of the restaurant is draped with white shining lights.
The only difference is that these flash continuously on and off, which at first seems rather quaint, like being surrounded by tiny shooting stars, but becoming increasingly distracting and it is not advisable for anyone who suffers from epilepsy.
Inside, the listed building that resembles an old chapel with wooden beams running along the ceiling, has a mixture of plump red chairs, Texan shuttered blinds and a selection of wheels pinned up on a wall.
With a car boot sale feel of no determinable theme, it’s friendly and comfortable with an edge of quirkiness.
The space is small so the staff multitask. They are all keen to check up on us, and it doesn’t seem to be just because we’re the only ones there. Bringing out free olives as we chat, they are generous both in their food and advice.
Offering options beyond the menu in the way the meat is cooked, they go out of their way to make sure we get what we want.
The medium-rare rib eye steak is juicy and soft. Though the medium-well-done sirloin is slightly too tough, that is the fault of the buyer ordering anything but medium-rare in a steakhouse. A choice of sauces are available, with the sweet wine sauce and slightly more bitter peppercorn sauce being favourites.
All the steaks come with tender mushrooms sautéed in onions and garlic, which complement the steak beautifully, as well as a choice of mash or chips.
Beware the chilli chips if you’re not good with spice, but you can ask for as much or as little chilli as you’d like. There is also a generous attempt at a salad, but it’s not needed as the mushrooms and meat work so well together and are more than filling alone.
Portions are large, priced between £11 and £17 for a steak. Non-steak options include burgers, and there are vegetarian options such as a mozzarella burger.
No alcohol is sold or able to be taken inside but there is a selection of mocktails and milkshakes. There is even a range of shisha on the menu if you fancy it, with colourful pipes on display in the front window.
The Chopping Court haven’t made a lot of noise about their opening and are small and tucked away enough to miss. But if you go, you’re sure to have an evening of welcoming, knowledgeable and attentive staff, a juicy steak done exactly to your order and a restaurant with a lot of personality.
88A Queen’s Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1SA
0117 974 1700