Mathilda’s Chilli Bar has been open for around 6 months, tonight we finally managed make our way to the ever curious Haymarket Walk in Bristol to sample the food.
A word or two first about Haymarket Walk. Built in the late 1970’s as two-story mini shopping centre, linking the bus station with the subterranean pedestrian section of “The Bearpit” roundabout, it has always been an intriguing location. Although a challenging, some would say bleak, setting, it has been home to some much loved Bristol institutions over the years.
In it’s early days Paradise Garage and Boney Moronie would provide provocative clothing and brilliant shoes for those with a punk and post-punk attitude. Later Replay Records, a wonderful Aladdin’s cave of a shop, helped to relieve many Bristolian of their hard earned money (or student grants, it was a long time ago!) in exchange for a fantastic array of music. More recently the Mayflower Restaurant has nurtured a dedicated following with it’s combination of an enormously wide ranging Chinese menu and a 3am licence. Alongside these classics though, many of the other units in the small complex have struggled to establish themselves.
Mathilda’s keeps things brilliantly simple. It’s a Chilli bar and in essence that’s it. There is a Texan brisket meat version with no beans, a 3-bean version with no meat, or the Half and Half, which, yes you are ahead of me here, is a combination of the first two. No time pouring over endless selections then, it’s all blissfully simple. All variations come with a healthy portion or rice, tasty guacamole, sour cream and Jalapenos.
We decided to take the middle ground of the Half and Half and enjoyed a great mixture tender slow cooked chunks of meat in the darkly rich bean laden sauce, a very tasty treat. We also had a couple of side’s. A perfectly cooked corn on the cob, which came with piquant lime butter and some deep-fried pickles with blue cheese sauce which was a slithery delight.
Sadly there was no room for one of the small but inviting selection of desserts. We should also mention that there is an interesting range of bottled beers, lagers amongst the drink choices.
The place is very simply but stylishly furnished and great selection of old soul and occasionally hip-hop kept our necks bobbing towards the enamel bowls that the food came in.
Mathilda’s offers simple, no-nonsense, tasty food that’s well worth taking the time to discover. Hopefully when the work is finally completed on the revamped Bearpit, Haymarket Walk will once again became a place of regular pilgrimage for those who are looking for more than just a short cut to the bus station.
8a Haymarket Walk
0117 329 2626
Wednesday to Saturday 1700-2300