A five-foot statue of Gromit, painted up as a strawberry, packed in the punters at The Pump House over the summer of 2013 as part of the Wallace and Gromit Appeal to raise money for Bristol Children’s Hospital. The Pump House needs no gimmicks, though, as chef-proprietor Toby Gritten has transformed the imposing former Victorian pumping station into much more than simply a pub that serves good food.
Downstairs is the pub, with local brews Butcombe and Bath Ales on tap. The restaurant is on the mezzanine level and offers a view over the Floating Harbour, with the tidal River Avon just the other side of the lock gates. In the summer, try your best to get a seat on the sun-trap terrace outside.
Food here is predominantly British, with tasting menus served most evenings to showcase the chefs’ modern cooking techniques, and an à la carte menu of more traditional pub fare. Favourites on the eight-course tasting menu (£50) are John Dory, pink grapefruit and radish, and the pigeon pastrami, salad of Hotwells pear, black truffles, chicory and walnuts. Pub classics done very well include the honey roast gammon, fried duck eggs, pineapple salsa and chips (£11), and the smoked haddock and salmon fishcake served with a hollandaise sauce and poached egg (£9.50).
Keep an eye on The Pump House’s website for announcements of special events, including gin and jazz nights (we highly recommend the Psychopomp gin made in a micro distillery in Montpelier), and a tasting menu banquet of 25 courses featuring foraged and local produce. The Pump House’s sister pub, the Bird in Hand in Long Ashton, is also well worth a visit.