I am very sad to say that no one has ever been playing the piano when I’ve been to Bramble & Hare. On the back of their menu, it states: “With local cabaret in mind, feel free to delight us with your hidden musical talents, on our piano.”
I was really, really hoping that someone—preferably dressed in a newsboy cap, horn-rimmed glasses and a tweed waistcoat—would amble over to the piano and start playing and belting out a soulful version of something by Mumford and Sons.
Alas, it was not to be.
Thankfully, that was the most disappointing thing about Bramble & Hare (and really, hardly the restaurant’s fault—they extended the invitation!).
The menu is pithy, designed like a cross between a vintage diner ticket and a sushi menu, on which you indicate with a little library pencil the plates you would like to try. Order a sampling of small plates or one of their three-course dinners. Because I firmly believe you should always try as many things as possible, my companion and I ordered a bevy of small plates.
Like the rest of the décor, the plates are an important part of the “casual vintage atmosphere”: vintage, mismatched and charming. My companion was a little taken aback by “actual fur” draped over some of the chairs, but I thought the effect was warming on a cold night. (Though, ask me how I feel about it in July…)
The menu changes often, following the seasons, the bounty of Black Cat Farm, and the whims of the chef. On our visit, we sampled a lovely fresh ricotta served with apple butter, a fruit compote and walnuts alongside slices of fresh focaccia. Next came a shaved pear salad with pomegranate arils and a delightfully salty chevre and a bowl of cream of curried carrot soup—rich and warm, if also disconcertingly grey.
The grilled cheese with pancetta was surprisingly ho-hum. One can hardly go wrong with good quality bread and cheese and bacon melting together, but nothing particularly sang about it. Luckily, all our attention was stolen by the pesto and bacon flatbread adorned with slivers of addictive pickled horseradish. If we had invited another person, we could have sampled the house-cured pepperoni and farm onion rings with abandon.
We ordered the cheesecake with vanilla anglaise for dessert. Miraculously light and fluffy, not too sweet, and an excellent pastry crust knocked out the cheesecake craving from which I’d been suffering for too long.
We were there for dinner, but I can see Bramble & Hare being popular for happy hour, with good drinks and hearty nibbles, and for late night, when Boulder’s hippest crowd roams the streets in search of a locally sourced, foraged and hand-crafted nightcap.
I’ll be sourcing an accompanist and practicing my Adele impression for when I return. You have been warned.