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A Guide to Bristol’s Best Restaurants
Image Credit: The Pony & Trap

A Guide to Bristol’s Best Restaurants

11 July 2017 | Josh Barrie

It is becoming a cliché to extol Bristol’s food scene. In recent years, reviewers have been descending en masse on the West Country stronghold, with its intimate, casual spaces and elegant food, and urging others to jump on the train. It is wise to do so. If you book a seat in advance and are lucky enough to have friends there (everyone seems to) who will put you up, you would likely save money gorging on what Bristol’s chefs are turning out that weekend. After all, it is still cheaper than London.

Box-E
 
Box-E was one of four Bristol restaurants that made it into this year’s National Restaurant Awards (NRA) top 100. Housed in a shipping container, head chef Elliott Lidstone slinks about in just a few square metres of space crafting brilliant things like smoked trout with heritage beetroot and fennel. It is suitably aromatic and lively, with punchy discs of radish dancing around the delicate fish. His steak tartare is revelatory, galvanised with chilli and lime and topped with sesame. It’s a steak tartare that proves that the classics can truly – albeit just occasionally – be outdone by progress.


Image Credit: Box-E

Box-E is located at 10, Cargo 1, Bristol BS1 6WP.
 
The Pony & Trap

The Pony & Trap is an altogether more robust time at the table. There are pub classics alongside some more sophisticated dishes, where offal has been celebrated and cucumber compressed. The whole thing is quite majestic. Go for a filling. I can’t remember what I ate exactly, but I do know I had a whole fish (that wasn't cod or hake) for under £25.


Image Credit: The Pony & Trap

The Pony & Trap is located at Chew Magna, Knowle Hill, Bristol BS40 8TQ.

Casamia

To be transparent, it is from here in which I’m going by reputation, accolades and reviews – sadly, I've not dined at all of these restaurants. In any case, Casamia is a dead cert. It scooped sixth place in the NRA, and boasts a £98 tasting menu full of refined-sounding dishes. The standout point is ‘lamb: part one’, which is excellently followed by ‘lamb: part two’. Haters will call it pretentious – I'd bet you a train fare the sequel is as tender as the first.

Casamia is located at The General, 8 Lower Guinea St, Bristol BS1 6FU.

Bulrush

Bulrush also has a tasting menu: it’s just £48 for nine courses. Right now, it has things like mutton with leeks, barley, and turnip tops, and rhubarb with goat’s milk yoghurt. Not enough to convince you? The Guardian’s Marina O’Loughlin gave it 8/10.


Image Credit: Bulrush

Bulrush is located at 21 Cotham Rd S, Bristol BS6 5TZ.

Birch

Oh look, Birch was also given a sterling 8/10. No wonder – who wouldn’t want a smoked turbot roe crumpet for £5.50? Or a nice bit of celtuce (earthy stem lettuce) paired with Old Ford cheese, made just outside Bath. It is exceptional cheese – the type that makes you think fondly of Christmas.


Image Credit: Birch

Birch is located at 47 Raleigh Rd, Bristol BS3 1QS.

No Man’s Grace

I’ve heard a lot of people wax lyrical about No Man’s Grace. The most common proclamation is the affordable wine. But the food is probably worthy of recognition, too. The online menu suggests that pollock is on the menu at the moment, which is always a refreshing sign.


Image Credit: No Man's Grace

No Man's Grace is located at 6 Chandos Rd, Bristol BS6 6PE.

Wilsons

No better restaurant blurb underpins the Bristolian vibe than that of Wilsons: ‘Small independently owned and run restaurant in Bristol. Exceptional ingredients gathered, grown, and hunted by ourselves.’

Wilsons is located at 24 Chandos Rd, Bristol BS6 6PF.

Sky Kong Kong

Sky Kong Kong, having been established a few years, is a Bristol stalwart when pitted against many of the others. It’s also different in that it doesn’t conform to the now typical modern British style, where humble marries sexy and there are lots of green things everywhere. So, if you fancy pickled things à la Korea, it’s one to consider.


Image Credit: Bulgogi, Sky Kong Kong

Sky Kong Kong is located at 2, Haymarket Walk, Bristol BS1 3LN.

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