Sticks & Broth, Baldwin Street

Girl in Bristol visits the ramen bar, Sticks & Broth, for dinner … 

We all have those days when we want to go somewhere different – but we’re not quite sure where. And last Monday was one of those days, when my friend and I were discussing where to go for dinner after a long day at the office.

Thankfully, my fellow Bristol foodies were more than happy to point me in a new direction, and this time it was towards the top of Baldwin Street. The home of Sticks&Broth, a non-traditional yakitori and ramen bar (with a brilliant name, might I add)! My experience of Japanese food up until this point consisted of packeted ramen, which could be revitalised by boiling water, from my university oriental store – so I thought Sticks&Broth was definitely worth a go!

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Most Bristolians meander through Baldwin Street often. It’s in the centre of town, there’s loads of restaurants there and it leads to the wonderful St. Nicks market. That said, when we do walk through this street, we’re often bee-lining for a specific place and so a little venue like Sticks&Broth can be easily missed if you’re not looking for it. I somehow managed to walk straight past it even when I was looking for it! Although with my trusty (or not so trusty) Google maps I made it there in the end.

Created by the former owners of Thai Kitchen and Baowow, Sticks&Broth is a pretty chic looking establishment. Outside it has charcoal black walls, white outdoor chairs and tables and a simple but slick looking logo. Inside, it’s a bit jazzier with Japanese themed murals on the walls and dimmed lighting. The tables are placed relatively close together towards the back of the venue and there is a random furry looking lantern which we thought was pretty cool.

For our main course, my friend opted for a donburi dish which included steak, Japanese rice and a teriyaki sauce (£15) whilst I went for the Tantanmen Ramen (£10) which consisted of pork bone broth, minced pork, chilli, ginger and coriander with a thin slice of seaweed ‘paper’. There is probably a more professional term for the seaweed paper but I don’t know it. Both meals arrived fifteen minutes later in large ceramic bowls with a ladle-like spoon (for the broth) and chopsticks. There are no knives and forks around.

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After the first mouthful, I immediately understood the massive ramen-hype. The broth was well seasoned, the meat was plentiful (and not at all soggy given that it was swimming in broth) and the thick noodles were well cooked. My friend’s donburi also went down well. The tender steak was served in manageable strips on top of sticky Japanese rice which was infused with various herbs and spices; A jar of teriyaki sauce was served on the side with a couple of slices of lemon.

Our meal was far from sophisticated as we coiled noodles around our fingers and tried to slurp meat from the ladles. Sauce ended up all over the table and the meal took us about half an hour to eat as we battled with the art of chopstick etiquette. But, it was an all the more enjoyable evening because of it. Though I wouldn’t recommend Sticks&Broth for a first date!

Sticks&Broth is a great place for a chilled out meal. It also has a wide range of meat-based ramen and donburi dishes to try if you’re not so into the more traditional fish options. The portions sizes leave you feeling satisfied and the quality of the food is on point. I shall definitely be returning here to take advantage of their £6.50 lunch deal!

 48-52 Baldwin Street, Bristol, BS1 1QB

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