The Bristol Good Food awards 2014

Thursday, 3 April 2014
The place where we eat out the most is obviously Reading but further afield, we're making our way around a good quantity of places in Bristol, where Mr K's mum lives, he grew up and I spent a year whilst learning how to teach.

The problem, as with anywhere, is that there are so many places to go that we rarely go back anywhere twice.  I've been really keen to return to The Stable (but as I can't drink the cider, that might be worth saving for a few months) and longingly remembered those gorgeous almond mojitos at The Cuban.

The one place that we have returned to, three times in fact in the last year, was Meluha, who have an amazing taster menu.  So when I first heard about Bristol Good Food awards, I had a few places in mind and one particular Indian in mind for a few of them.  

Yesterday, after the voting process was closed, the shortlist was announced.  The full list can be found here.  

Here's some of the categories that caught my eye.

Best Restaurant (Sponsored by Nicholas Wylde)

Casamia, Cherry Duck Harbourside Bistro, Flinty Red, Glassboat, Lido, Rosemarino, Souk Kitchen, The Pony & Trap, Wallfish Bistro, Wilks

I've heard of many of these restaurants, or walked past them.  Wallfish Bistro is unsurprisingly of little interest to this blogger but on occasion I've wondered if Flinty Red might be good - it's certainly always packed out and it's not too far from Mr K's mum's house, so it's a possible future option.  Again though, as it sets some importance on the wine that it serves, it seems to be one that is worth saving until after Eggy appears.  We've walked past Glassboat and I've heard good things but we've never quite managed it.  Probably because we are normally at an event like the Harbour Festival when we walk past it and there are too many tasty options available from the various market stalls to want to try something that is available more constantly.  Wilks is another one that I'd really like to try but it really has to be on the right day.  They have a small menu which only features one vegetarian option.  If I don't like the look of that, I'm out of luck.  It's also worth visiting for its Michelin star and because it's also a stone's throw from my MiL. I haven't heard of any of the others on this list - but I intend to check them out... or at least check out their menus which lead me to making a decision about whether or not to visit quite quickly.

Best Newcomer (Sponsored by Sanderson Weatherall)

Bells Diner, Grillstock, Koh Thai Tapas, Meluha, Romy's Kitchen, Somerset House, The Ox, The Kitchen, Volunteer Tavern, Wallfish Bistro

I'm really pleased to see Meluha here.  Very well deserved - and I really hope that they manage to get it.  They have some of the friendliest staff I've ever met and definitely the tastiest Indian food I've ever had.  Here's a picture of the fluffiest coriander based food I've eaten: -

Best Indian

4500 Miles from Deli, Meluha, Myristica, Romy's Kitchen, Thali Cafe

Having said that, I might find it a little difficult to pick between Meluha and Thali Café (review to follow), just because they are so very different.  In terms of innovative clean dishes, Meluha wins hands down.  In terms of slightly cheaper options that generate much messier plates in a slightly more intimate surrounding, it would be the Thali cafe.  I'm a bit torn!  Here's a sneak peak of the food offered by the latter: -

Best Pizza

A cappella, Bocabar, La Grotta, The Stable, Zerodegrees

I'm surprised I haven't heard of more of this list.  Mr K isn't so bothered about pizza but I like it and D will make a good dent in one.  Zero Degrees speaks to me of slightly kooky beers (mango beer that didn't quite work rings a bell...) rather than pizza - maybe we should actually check them out for their menu and not just the beer.  I'll investigate the others but The Stable should get this one.  Not only good pizzas but great service and excellent cider to boot.  Here's one of the Stable's Pizzas, an Avon Gorger without the blue cheese.


Best Front of House (Sponsored by Wine and Spirit Education Trust)

A cappella, Bird in Hand, Giraffe, Glassboat, Lido, Piccolino, Riverstation, Rosemarino, Somerset House, The Swan Hotel (Almondsbury)

Ah... well... until this last weekend, I loved Piccolino.  Now I feel really rather let down by them.  You see, we booked them for Mother's Day lunch and while the food was great (I haven't found anywhere in the UK that does ravioli in sage and butter sauce as well as they do), we were put upstairs, where the air conditioning wasn't working, in the direct heat of the sun.  After eating our mains, we ended up all trying to sit on the same side of the table, with D looking a bit like a boiled lobster and me wondering if I would ever cool down again.  Despite the temperatures, we really weren't tempted by the desserts, wanting instead to escape to the breeze outside.   All well and good if the downstairs of the restaurant was full... but it wasn't.  All well and good if we hadn't been put right by the boiling hot windows... we were.  I like to pride myself on my photography being better than it once was.  Shadows on photos are a thing of the past.  Except I actually couldn't even see what pictures I was taking when I took this.  That's how bright it was.  Like I said before, tasty food just not delivered in the best surroundings.  

Courgette fritti - very tasty (D was even fooled into thinking that they were chips) with a perfect level of seasoning but difficult to enjoy when you are hotter than the inside of a pizza oven.

Front of house did acknowledge it was a problem but didn't really do very much about it.  I felt they could have offered some water or something.  Turns out after we left that we were entitled to a free prosecco as we had booked.  This was never offered to us.  We wouldn't have taken it but we should have been offered it.  The whole meal was really marred by the experience.  We might be back when they offer their al fresco tables in the summer but we won't rush back... even if they provided a very good quality kid's pizza for D - all this for £3.  He didn't manage more than about a quarter but it was good quality and looked great.  Once again, my apologies for the shadow.  Poor show.

Best Vegetarian

Biblos, Falafel King, Maitreya Social, The Thali Café, Romy's Kitchen

I'm disappointed in myself that we haven't ben to more of these.  I have a feeling most of them are in a completely different part of Bristol - but that isn't a great excuse.  I've never visited the Falafel King's café (the Khan) but I've always really liked the van that they have on the docks.  Probably where I first fell in love with the humble falafel.  The Thali Cafe  definitely makes sense as a competitor to the crown though.

Best Burger (Sponsored by The Story Group)

Atomic Burger, Grillstock, The Burger Joint, The Hobgoblin, The Kitchen

I'd really love to see The Burger Joint win this one.  It's a rare place we've visited more than once and their new location on Whiteladies Road is a great fit for them.  They do a good range of veggie burgers and their milkshakes are good - if a little quick to disappear! It's somewhere I keep meaning to review and then time slips by and it doesn't happen.

Have you been to any of the nominees?  Any that I should particularly make a beeline for?

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