Review: Steak and Bourbon Night at The Milk Thistle

I have reviewed many things in my time on earth – theatre, music, comedy, coffee, a room you escape from by putting codes into locks, articles on Cosmo and The Huffington Post, washi tape, but I have never reviewed a meal or craft drink.

I am a writer with a premium wordpress blog (not too sure how it works yet guys, just purchased it) who lives in Bristol and has never reviewed food or drink. Bristol – land of the cocktail bar, the craft beer bar, the burger bar, the pulled pork bar, the noodle bar, the hats made out of bacon bar, the bakery bar, the artizan pizza, the salted caramel nut cake bar, the ‘what was that cartoon called about a French elephant who wore a crown called? Oh yeah – babar’ bar, and yet I have never gone adjective crazy over a foie gras 12% organic cider drizzle cake.

Where have I been living? Under some kind of blogging rock?

What am I? Some kind of low functioning alcoholic, too busy drinking not to report on the drinking? The answer is simple. I have no palette. When asked how I would like my food served, I go with ‘mushy.’

Now is the time to stop. Now is the time to drag out the dictionary, look up some synonyms, and review some kind of food. Or at least, get better taste in food.

So here goes: My first ever food review.

I went to The Milk Thistle for their Bourbon Bonanza evening – a 3 course meaty meal, with whisky inspired cocktails, all served in the attic of their domain. All the food was being prepared by their sister (could be brother) restaurant The Ox, and all booze was supplied by Beam Suntory.

The Milk Thistle, if you haven’t been it has lots of pictures of goats in suits, and you have to ring on a doorbell to get in. Myself, my partner and Barry sat on a long table with 12 strangers and were told that tonight would vanish away any Monday blues. Or cause you to forget how to operate your hands. Either way.

The menu looked like this…

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My first drink looked like this.

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My Face looked like this:

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Actually an expression of joy

The first tipple of whisky was Maker’s Mark – A Beam Santory Kentucky Straight Whisky.

There was a lovely representative of Beam Santory at the evening, who told us a bit of history about the various drinks they manufacture and how they came to be. She informed us that Makers Mark’s infamous wax seal is actually made from the blood of the singer seal, and side note: he never waxes. And that’s why Heidi left. He has quite the bushy pubic area.

The Makers Mark tasted woody and smoky. Like I had just made out with a guy who had just got a promotion and smoked a cigar in celebration, and that cigar was the second most expensive one they had in his local Tesco’s.

Before you could say ‘my what damm fine whisky we have here Wilson, let us retire to the lounge and talk of war tactics’ another drink was bought out.

The Smoked Corndog Sour.

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It contained Jim Beam which has been aged for 38 years in a barrel in the middle of the earth. The foamy top was made from egg whites. I was like ‘Urgh, who am I? Like, Arnold Schwarzenegger? I don’t want to drink egg whites.’ It also had sweetcorn syrup in it. I was like ‘Urgh, who am I? Some kind of lame cat? (apparently they really like sweetcorn. Honest. Google it) I don’t want to drink sweetcorn.’ It contained no corndog.

I took my first sip in nervous anticipation, and then broke forth in a wide smile. It tasted like joy. Like frothy, sweet, orangey joy. Although it did look a little cummy.

It came with a canape I forgot to take a picture of. But it was some pork on a very small spoon.

The spoon looked like this.

white-canape-spoon

 

The pig probably didn’t look like this. But I wanted you all to know what a seapig looked like.

This is a sea pig.
This is a sea pig.

It tasted like a pig had fallen into a trough of sugar and then jumped into my mouth.

Then – the starter, which was accompanied by the booze lady talking about the history of Jim Beam Signature Craft. She told us all about the wondrous history of Jim Beam, and how he used to be a fish, but was granted a magical wish by a fish god, with apples for eyebrows and beetroots for eyes – whose face was represented by the starter we were eating.

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The face of the fish god

Fish Beam wished to be a man, and the fish god (who was a bit of a drinker) made it so – BUT on one condition. He could only be a man as long as he made damn fine whisky and delivered it to the fish god every other Tuesday. Thus Jim Beam was born, and his hideous toil began.

The booze lady then began to cry, and told us that if Jim Beam’s ancestors ever stopped making the Whisky they would all turn back into fish.

Our main course was served with a Beetroot Manhattan.

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By this point I had started feeling quite drunk and was trying to work out where my mouth was, but I was sober enough to know I did not like the beetroot manhattan as much as the sourdogcorn.

It confused me – both sweet yet beetrooty – and it didn’t make me feel like Joan from Mad Men. My dining companions loved it though, so I think this is one of those taste preference things you hear about.

Next: The main course. Steak and stuff.

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I have never ordered steak in a restaurant ever. If I was locked in a room and I was hungry and it was there, then yes, I would eat it, but frankly it reminds me of the eating habits of my red meat loving knob of a ex stepdad. He loved nothing more than a chewy pub steak, so solid that he would sit matriculating for an hour whilst eating them. This was often a blessing in disguise because otherwise he would just talk about yogurt.

He was an engineer at Yeo Valley Foods you see, primarily based in the yogurt producing department, and he was often home late because of ‘yogurt emergencies.’ This use to cause much hilarity in my household, which he did not get. When my mums computer broke he told her he would take it into work and fix it, and I said, ‘what are you gonna do? Dip it in yogurt?’

He sent me to my room.

I realise only now though the reason I have never appreciated steak is because I had never had it THIS good before. I had only been witness to those chewy pub steaks. But the steak we ate that evening… Yum. Eating only bad steak and never eating steak again is like losing your virginity and then swearing off sex for life. This steak was melt in your mouth delicious and all the gratins and stuff were good too. I was licking the plate.

The last drink was a spiced walnut milk punch, which the booze lady explained contained almond milk and had been punched.

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It tasted like a thousand good Christmases, the ones where you watch muppet movies and everything is wrapped in bacon, not the ones where you all fight and go to bed early and you’re left alone watching your Sex and the City box set. It was a boozy milkshake, with hints of cinnamon and German Christmas Fayre’s.

The booze lady told us some more stories about Jim Beam and Makers Mark, and it was thoroughly interesting, but then my boyfriend accidentally lent on Siri, and Siri was all like ‘HOW CAN I HELP YOU.’ And everyone else was like ‘OH GOD THE REAL WORLD JUST CAME PUSHING IN AND MADE US REALISE WE HAVE TO LEAVE THIS DELIGHTFUL ATTIC AT SOME POINT AND GO TO WORK TOMORROW REALLY HUNGOVER.’

The pudding – I took no pictures of because by this point I was super drunk. The menu describes it as being a ‘bitter chocolate and windsor.’ I don’t know what the Windsor part was, but it was really dense and moist. In a good way. The ‘marmalade ice cream’ however can fuck off. I hate marmalade.

We were then left to our own devices with a bottle of Jim Beam Extra Boozey, free pouring our own measures. By this point I had gone into the mens toilet by accident and I knew it was time to go home.

Overall I enjoyed my experience at this bonanza, I found new respect for steak and I would love to fill my world with Jim Beam and Makers rather than Sainsbury’s basic spirits, but I am not quite there yet financially.

 


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