Guys I did it, I graduated! I made it through uni, got my 2:1 and, to top it all off, I managed to make it across the stage without tripping and falling. I’d call that a success, wouldn’t you?
Anyway, it’s been a couple of weeks since the ceremony, I’ve settle back into life in Manchester and now I think it’s time to share with you my experience of Zero Degrees; a micro brewery, restaurant and bar on the corner of Park Row where were we flocked to after the ceremony to toast my graduation.
These guys brew their beer on site and, as you can see, in sight as well! They ferment the hops right in front of you and serve their craft beers straight from the tank.
Zero Degrees doesn’t believe in filtering, pasteurising or adding any nasties like some other breweries do. For them, it’s all about serving up healthy and nutritious (if that’s a thing) great tasting beer.
I gave their mango beer a try and I have to say it was pretty good. Light, fragrant and subtly fruity, for someone who can’t get their head around the popularity of beer (it’s definitely an acquired taste) this brew was enlightening. After a pint of these mango bubbles I reckon, with enough practice (*read boozing), I could get with the programme and eventually join the beer lover’s club… maybe.
Zero Degrees is definitely unique to look at. In fact, when they set themselves up over a decade ago their building won the Architectural Design Award, and you can see why. It’s eye catching, fits snuggly around Bristol’s famous, historic Christmas steps, and the central focus of the interior, these colourful, hanging glass bulbs, are stunning.
These lights really come into their own in the evening. When the sun sets across Bristol these globes begin to twinkle, casting their iridescent rainbow hews across a floor usually packed with punters.
I say usually because, as you can see here, the place was pretty empty. We arrived just after the lunchtime rush and almost everyone had disappeared into the summer sunshine by the time we were seated.
This lull in the service worked both in our favour and a little bit to our disadvantage.
We were initially seated inside the venue, however, after quickly spotting a free spot outside we requested to move. This took a little while to initiate and in the end we had to ask four times if the table we were eyeing up could be cleaned. It took three different staff members to get the ball rolling but eventually we made our move into the fresh air.
Slow service is never ideal but, I guess, if we’d arrived any earlier then we wouldn’t have nabbed our spot on the balcony and we’d have missed out on the sunshine. You win some you lose some really.
All in all, the only thing that was really disappointing here, was this cocktail. I’m all for trying new things and giving old classics quirky twists but this concoction missed the mark completely.
What you see in my hand is a gingerbread old fashioned.
Now some of you might be thinking: ‘well this girl did it to herself, why on earth would you pick that!?’ while others might sympathise and be just as disappointed as I was. Wherever you stand I don’t care but what really matters in this situation is how this cocktail tasted. In reality it was tooth-achingly sweet and wouldn’t go amiss in Starbucks (it tasted that artificial).
I can only imagine that this had something to do with the syrup: the bitters seemed to be nonexistent and the gingerbread flavouring completely overshadowed the whiskey – key components that you really want to at least taste hints of in your old fashioned!
I’m not going to lie though, the drinks didn’t really cross my mind when I picked this place to celebrate my graduation. I went for it because a) its slightly out of the way, thus avoiding the waves of over excited, newly crowned graduates, and b) Zero Degree’s seafood menu looked lush.
As you can probably guess from the pic, I went for the creole mussels. I was craving some tomato-ey goodness with my seafood and these did not disappoint because, fun fact, they serve their mussels in a huge pot by the kilogram. Winning.
Mine were very herby, succulent and fresh. In fact, I enjoyed them so much that I got a little bit over enthusiastic with the shell opening process and managed to slice my finger open (good one Jordan).
Mother and father both went for the risottos. Mushroom for dad and seafood for mum.
Father’s was really creamy and cooked slightly al dente for a bit of texture. The portobello mushrooms, in his words, where ‘lovely and chewy… but in a good way’. However, dad did note that he would normally expect more than one type of mushroom in his risotto (as would I really).
Mother’s was apparently beautifully balanced. With a nice citrusy zing and a great mix of seafood (mussels, squid, king prawns and anchovies with parsley and cherry tomatoes). She particularly enjoyed the anchovies as they provided a nice salty edge to the dish.
Not pictured here is my ten year old sister’s margarita pizza (boringg) and our shared gorgonzola, mozzarella, sage and truffle oil flatbread.
The flatbread was a little too dry and not very pretty to look at (an important factor haha). It was good to mop up my mussel’s sauce but you couldn’t really taste the independent components and it would have been nicer if the bread had risen a little bit more.
The list of ingredients looked interesting and tasty on the menu but it didn’t really perform. This might have been a one off but if I was to visit here again I wouldn’t give it another go, just in case.
Zero Degrees is really affordable. We managed to get 2-for-1 on our mains and we noticed that they have loads of other deals on throughout the week. It’s not really fancy but makes for a pretty setting if you want your celebrations (date / gathering / drinks) to be low key and no fuss.