Unlike most of my culinary ramblings, the post that you are currently reading is not based on my first reaction. There is no need for me to type whimsy about the décor into the notes of my iPhone for later reference, nor did I need to study the menu on-line prior to eating. I knew exactly what I was getting before I sat down in the sparse landscape of bare concrete and metal that is Pure Bar and Kitchen, because I have been eating there well before this blog reared its ugly head. I should have wrote about its virtues long ago had I not been drawn into the blackboard listing endless beers time and time again. It’s the place I always start with the best intentions and leave disappointing myself.
I go frequently because the food seldom disappoints. The menu has clarity, though it should having been designed by the man behind local Michelin triumphs Simpsons and The Cross. There are nods to ales on taps and suggestions for what beers to drink your food with that all tie in nicely with its links to Purity. A small plate of barbecued chicken sees cuts from the breast, leg, and wing cooked accurately. The bird is of obvious quality, the skin crisp and with a back note of Dunkel lager that sits well without overpowering. Soured cream provides the little amount of acidity needed to level it all out.
I always turn to the scotch egg here. The runny yoke glistening against the still warm layer of minced pig never fails to disappoint. Here was the worst example I have had at Pure Bar, with the yolk all but missing from one half, which still makes it the best scotch egg in the city. What sets it apart from its competition is the beer ketchup, full of umami savour, which should be bottled and sold on every street corner. A thick slice of toasted sourdough with haricot beans steeped in a spiced tomato with pancetta was good, though all it succeeded in doing was make me remember how great the version at Lewis’s was.
Scotch eggs, beans on toast and bbq chicken. The more deft of you more may have noticed that the small plates all reference classic pub grub, a theme that continues into the mains. Chicken Kiev stayed true to its roots with a breast that oozed a garlic heavy sauce when carved. Its richness countered by a well dressed salad. Best was the fish, chips and mushy peas. The firm Fish of the Day (Coley, I would guess) flaking apart at the suggestion of a prod, with good crisp batter. The peas had enough texture to create interest, whilst the tartar was piquant and sharp.
We have no room for dessert, though I can tell you from previous boozy excursions that they never fail to deliver on a sweet hit of sugar. If ever there was a bar and kitchen that was ready to expand its Pure Bar; the food and drink set-up makes All Bar One look like a Weatherspoon. The food is well judged and deserves a wider audience. In a market littered with sub-standard chains, it is a refreshing change to see thought gone into every process. I wouldn’t be surprised if Pure Bar finds its way to other major cities, which, quite frankly, would be a good thing for everyone.