Food: 8 Drink: 7 Atmosphere: 9 Price: ££ Overall: 8
Up for tasting some funky fresh food with summer vibes to match? Ram Jam your way down to Bambalan’s rooftop terrace for classic cocktails, party tunes and summer fun.
If you are yet to discover Bambalan, you’re in for a real treat. The team behind the beloved Pata Negra and The Ox have kindly brought the perfect summer dining experience to Bristol, conveniently located in the city centre on Colston Street. Upon entering you are welcomed by summer tunes, al-fresco foosball tables and table tennis with outdoor tables outlining the perimeter. Once inside, you are greeted by a smiling face within the bright and bustling atmosphere. The interior is a real mishmash, with industrial fittings, colourful booths and an open plan kitchen - all adding to the lively feel. The place is also incredibly spacious, giving you the option to sit on raised tables for two, big blue booths, long wooden tables or lazy wicker chairs. If you fancy catching some rays, wonder on up to their fantastic terrace with its own rooftop bar, playing feel-good holiday jams with stunning views overlooking the city.
Bambalan’s food menu boasts an impressive range of fresh and healthy with mezze plates, flatbread pizzas, grills, salads and kebabs. The variation of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean inspired dishes, each individually bursting with flavour, complements the colourful collection of decor and the beautiful murials gracing the walls. Turkish flatbread pizzas are a popular choice, each packed with zesty flavour and served at a generous price of £8. Their impressive range of dips, such as their beautifully coloured muhammara dip with roasted red peppers, walnuts and onion, are served with flatbread at the price of £4. For committed carnivores choose from the rotisserie chicken, charcoal roasted lamb or meaty kebabs on freshly baked flatbread with salad & smoked chilli sauce. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options too, such as their roasted cauliflower with tahini, pomegranate and rose mezze dish, house falafel kebab with tahini, or charcoal roasted aubergine with spiced tomato sauce, feta, baba ganoush, and garlic yoghurt dish. With a vast amount of choice on display, all beautifully presented and reasonably priced, the food is guaranteed to offer something new and exciting for everyone.
The best way to enjoy the drinks are ordered at the outdoor bar on their sweet sun-trap. The place claims to hold an ‘expertly crafted drinks menu’, and you can certainly see why. Firstly, they offer quality local beers and cider, with interesting choices such as their chocolate and salted caramel milk stout, along with standard favourites such as Orchard Pig and Norcotte’s Elderflower Cider. Their cocktails, however, give the real taste of summer, such as their ‘Pomme Collins’, with beefeater gin, apple juice, fresh lemon, spiced apple syrup and soda; ‘Blood Orange Americano’ with Rosemary-infused Campari, sweet vermouth and San Pellegrino orange; and ‘Banana-Maple Old Fashioned’, with banana-infused bourbon, maple syrup, and walnut bitters. Served by the glass or by the jug, this place thrives on creating top quality cocktails, with great deals also on offer all throughout the week. By adding more wacky and wonderful concoctions to their constantly evolving menu, there’s plenty of reasons to come back for more.
Bambalan offers a great summer hide out for celebrating over a drink or two, but perhaps misses the mark in providing laid-back vibes for chilling out with friends. The speakers out on the terrace tends to play its music very loud, and starts to become distracting by playing throughout the day and into the night. ‘Bambalan’ in fact translates to ‘lazy bum’ in Puerto Rican slang, however the hustle and bustle atmosphere, which never seems to slow down, begs to differ. The place struggles slightly in striking a balance between party and chill, which is a reminder that it is still new to the scene and gauging the right vibe. However, they are certainly on the right tracks to becoming the perfect kick-start to summer with their tasty dishes, carefully crafted cocktails and stunning views overlooking the heart of Bristol.
http://bambalan.co.uk Colston Avenue
Photography: Helen Salter & Bambalan