This week, I requested ‘somewhere that does good ribs’ for our date night! I was really impressed with the ribs we had when we ate at Bath Brew House but when I heard another smokehouse had opened, I knew it would only be a matter of time before we tried it out.
This restaurant is the new venture from the guys that owned Banglo, the restaurant next door that unfortunately was forced to close after a terrible fire. I have fond memories of long lunches in Banglo and the food was great so I had high hopes for the GPT Smokehouse, in what used to be the GPT Tavern.
Previously, it was a fairly nondescript pub and it has had a good facelift – lots of colour, exposed brick and cool furniture and art work.
It may have been because it was a rainy Thursday night, but there really wasn’t much atmosphere when we first walked in. Throughout the evening I realised that there is a bit of an identity crisis going on here. Some people were stood at the rather cramped bar area using it as a pub and then there were others who were there to eat but there is a lack of tables and some are in really bright areas of the room meaning it didn’t have that cosy, dining atmosphere you want from a restaurant.
Seeing as we are sticking strong with Dry January (so excited about my first beer next weekend though!) we started with some non-alcoholic drinks and perused the menu. I have to say that first impressions aside, the menu looked really good – lots of meat prepared using the onsite smoker with a definite nod to the American BBQ trend.
For starters, I had some sweetcorn and jalapeno fritters and Ian opted for the chicken wings.
My fritters were really good – just enough spice and served with a cooling smoked paprika dip and iceberg lettuce.
Ian’s chicken wings were amazing – huge and marinated in a spicy, flavoursome sauce and served with homemade slaw…and a water bowl for cleaning those greasy mitts afterwards!
For our mains, I couldn’t resist trying their ribs although I did show some restraint and went for half a rack! These were served with a mug of skinny fries and some great coleslaw. Although the BBQ sauce was delicious, I was slightly disappointed with the ribs. For a start, they were quite dry rather than the juicy, falling-off-the-bone consistency I love. Secondly, the cut didn’t have that much meat on it – I like the rack of ribs plus a big chunk of meat on top so I felt a bit short-changed with these ones.
Ian ordered the ‘Dirty Burger’ and it was jam-packed with good stuff! A rare beef burger topped with smoky bacon, melted cheese and a generous helping of pulled pork – naughty but a delicious treat. This was really filling but I had a bite and really enjoyed the combination of flavours.
For pudding, we decided to share the Oreo chocolate brownie although I wasn’t too impressed with the 25 minute wait for it. I wish I could say the dessert was worth the wait but it really wasn’t anything special. The brownie was quite dry and I wouldn’t have known it contained Oreos at all.
Overall, a mixed review for this place. I don’t think the new owners have really worked out whether they are a bar or restaurant and currently I don’t think they are getting either one quite right. The food and drink are priced like a restaurant but it has the atmosphere and layout of a pub.
The food however is really good and I think if it became more of a restaurant or at least had a dedicated dining room/ area I would definitely go back for more.