Just off the M5 motorway, round the corner from Cribbs Causeway and next to Miller and Carter Mollie’s motel and diner in Bristol is one of the chains 3 outlets in the country. The other two can be found in Oxford and Manchester. Their attempt at importing a much loved American feature has been well received judging by the crowds there for lunch on a Sunday afternoon.
The restaurant is cleverly divided in to two main aisles with a series of booths along the main central line and smaller cosy tables for 3 just on the outer half of the restaurant area.
Steak and Fries
Rum steak with béarnaise sauce, grilled tomato and mushroom served with a generous portion of fries.
Mollie’s rump steak and fries were served with a grilled half tomato and Portobello mushroom. The steak was a generous portion and perfectly done ‘medium’, with a just slightly pink middle. Both the tomato and mushroom were grilled to perfection.
The accompanying béarnaise sauce was beautifully smooth and creamy although bland and lacking in the typical herby flavours of tarragon and missing the slight vinegary tinge. The French fries were served in a cup which disguised the large portion that it actually was.
Mollie’s steak and fries is a substantial meal for any steak enthusiast. As it was the rump, it was probably not the most impressive piece of steak, but overall, it proved to be good value.
Half Rack of Ribs
Roasted pork ribs smothered in BBW sauce served with charred corn on cob, coleslaw and fries.
BBQ rack of ribs happen to be one of my favourites and it is something that is not exactly difficult to make at home, but it always seems to be better at a restaurant. At Mollies, the half rack of ribs, smothered in BBQ sauce was served on a generous portion of fries accompanied by a half cob of corn and coleslaw.
The half rack was a ‘horizontal’ half so in total there were about 10 ribs although they were shorter in length. Despite the ‘half’, this was a substantial meal with its generous portion of fries pretty much covering the entire plate. The accompanying charred corn and coleslaw, made for a beautifully presented platter.
The BBQ sauce is a good balance of just enough oomph without being overly sweet or sour and had the right amount of ’smoke’; slathered on to the ribs it made a great combination. The ribs came off the bone very easily which was a good sign that it was done well, unfortunately it erred on the side of being slightly over done, and drier that it should be. It was edible although not as juicy or tasty as it could have been.
The coleslaw was refreshing and had a nice mix of white and red cabbage with small shards of carrot. The surprise here was red onion which was not visible but was strong in taste. Fortunately I am a fan of onion so quite enjoyed the slight twist on a classic coleslaw. If you don’t like raw onion, this would not go down well. The charred corn looked amazingly succulent. Unfortunately this too was quite a let down. Its was very dry and had a slightly sourish taste. It tasted a lot like defrosted sweet corn cob, but not in a good way.
Thankfully, the fries were brilliant. Perfectly golden fried with just enough salt to make it tasty but not overly seasoned.
Would we recommend it: potentially – if you’re desperate for ribs, it’s not too bad. But if you find something else on the menu that you’d prefer – go for that instead.
Chicken n Waffles
Buttermilk fried chicken breast on freshly made crispy waffle served with crispy bacon and maple syrup for pouring.
A tremendously American offering, battered fried chicken served on a waffle with crisp streaky bacon and an enticing pot of maple syrup was a difficult temptation to resist, especially considering that Mollie’s brands itself as one of the few ’true’ American diner/motels this side of the pond.
The waffle was perfection with its thin, crispy edges. It paired perfectly well with the bacon and maple syrup. The streaky bacon was done ‘just right’ with a crisp but not burnt finish. The saltiness of the bacon perfectly complemented the maple syrup.
The buttermilk battered chicken pieces while also crispy but were unfortunately slightly over done. This made the chicken dry underneath the layer of crispiness. If taken out of the broiler just slightly earlier it would have been a perfect combination of crisp batter and juicy chicken.
The maple syrup itself, served in a mini pot was wonderfully sweet although it was somewhat runny and did lack the often strong aroma of maple. It would be advisable to first try out the combination of the syrup on the waffles and bacon and chicken without completely drowning the dish.
All in all, chicken ’n’ waffles were an interesting choice to try – especially given its American ties. If you’re up for trying something new and different, definitely have a go.
Personally though, it was difficult to shake the expectation of waffles being a sweet dessert and served with butter, honey and ice cream. So while it was an interesting experience, it perhaps might take a few more tries before it becomes a favoured combination.
We ordered milkshakes (strawberry and Oreo) and an Elderflower Spritz mocktail (elderflower syrup, apple juice, fresh mint and soda). The milkshakes were optionally topped with a voluptuous mountain of whipped cream and drizzled with strawberry sauce and Oreo crumbs respectively.
The shakes were thick and came with bamboo straws – necessary to withstand the thickness of the shake. The strawberry milkshake although pale in colour was very authentic in taste and did truly taste of fresh strawberries blended with milk and ice cream. The Oreo milkshake was nicely textured with crumbs of the biscuit blended up well. On their own the shakes were very filling.
The elderflower spritz was light and tasty and perfect afternoon drink. The mint and spiralled cucumber strips added to the flavour, contributing to the apple and elderflower mix.
Interior – Indoor Seating
Seating options include bar with high stools, Cadillac booths, standard round table seats and raised breakfast counter seating. The vibe was very much laid-back and easy going with many families with young children coming in. The globe lighting and some Tiffany-style lamps in the corners (not pictured) made the space feel classy. The central booths aisle of booths were interesting in that they were not ‘disconnected’ from each other as booths usually are. They still provided the cosiness of a dedicated space but the lack of a high divider made the overall space feel more open.
Exterior – Outdoor Seating
Just outside, there is a covered space with outdoor seating which is perfect for the summer and hot weather. When we visited, in winter, this area was not in service.
The motel has its own dedicated parking spaces but there is a separate car park reserved for diner patrons. In this car park there are several electric vehicle charging bays. There is also a dog’s drinking point if your pet is parched on a hot summers day.
Website: Mollie’s Diner Bristol
Telephone: 0117 374 7740