Review: Bosco Pizzeria, Bristol

Sunday, 8 March 2015
Ah, this is one of those posts that won't be languishing in the draft folder possibly never to see the light of day.  Behind the scenes, there are eleven posts that are sitting in the draft folder.  I jot down a few notes and then flesh it out when I decide it's time to post.  There was a time in the past when this would be a week or so in advance, pre-Roo, but these days this often happens the night before in a bit of a scramble.

Anyway, I digress.  The fact is that this one is one that I wanted to share quickly.  While it's fresh in my mind and while I can enthuse.

Bosco Pizzeria sits about halfway up Whiteladies Road.  When I used to live in Bristol, I visited Zio which used to reside next door, and had a pretty dull meal.  Acceptable but dull.  The first thing that was noticeable as we arrived was just how busy it was.  Getting a table on a Saturday at half one was... tricky.  Partly because they had a large reservation but mostly because they are popular.  It was interesting comparing to eVo next door which was completely empty.  Given that they are both Italian restaurants, you'd think that people who couldn't get into Bosco might move next door but it would seem not.

We managed to prebook a table for 2 o'clock and ambled around the Better Food Company where D declared that we HAVE to make beetroot houmous.... and wanted to keep smelling the orange oil sample.

On returning to the Bosco Pizzeria it was time to check out the decor and the atmosphere.  It's modern Italian - marble tables 'exposed' girders.  I was slightly amused to see the finger prints on the top of these from their installation.  The atmosphere is good.  Busy and noisy enough that your conversation doesn't feel easily heard but not so busy that you can't hear one another.  This also made it a pretty good place for two small children.  Although the place doesn't scream child-friendly it does reflect Italian restaurants in Italy - the waiters are accommodating and there treat them like important guests.  There are no colouring sheets or crayons available but there is a good kids menu with three different pizzas.  Most of the time I tend to have something in the bag to give D to do anyway, so it's no great problem for us - but might be for others.

I can't help but judge Italians by the coffee - and I'm glad to say that the cappuccino I started with was  just right - with a little bit of biscotti on the side.  I often like to start the meal with the coffee and in this case it gave a good taster for what was to come.

We skipped the starters, not feeling particularly inspired by any of them.  It was good to see three decent vegetarian pizza options but I was particularly taken by the Queen Green - spinach, pesto, pine nuts and two types of cheese.  D opted for a Baby Bosco - a standard cheese and tomato.  Check out that face when he received it - completely happy.

The pizzas were a little slow to arrive - probably because of how busy it was.  We did feel that things were a little slower in general than we'd like and sometimes elements of the meal weren't as slick as they could have been - drinks taking a while to arrive, one of the pizzas being a little slower than the others.

When the pizzas did arrive they were massive.  As they had been in the wood fired pizza oven they were slightly blackened in places as expected and authentically thin.  In the distant past I used to prefer deep pan.  Now I know what proper thin crust is supposed to be like, it's thin crust all the way!  The pizzas were huge too - even D's was of a size that could have comfortably fed an adult.  I think in the future we could probably have got away with splitting one between us and getting a salad on the side.

My pizza was delightful.  It was the perfect amount of cheese (the mozzarella beautifully milky and the ricotta airy) balanced well with flavourful pesto that wasn't too oily.  Pine nuts are always a winner for me and I just loved the fact that it was a completely different vegetarian pizza choice.  I should also add that this was one of my proud parenting moments.  Traditional pizza like this has a middle that is extremely difficult to eat with your hands - the toppings from the middle just want to slide off.  Roo decided that she really wanted to be part of the party at this stage but I managed to hold her and eat my pizza.  A little more slowly than Mr K and his mum but successfully.  A win.

My co-diners were pretty happy with their meaty pizza choices too.  Clean plates at the end despite the size.

Then we weren't going to have desserts because we were full.  Except somehow we ended up ordering.  Mr K and I both went for the lightest option - the affogato.  It's the perfect combination of the dessert and coffee courses.  One of those desserts that you really can't make look good in photos.  Or I can't.  I'd already confirmed the quality of the coffee - the ice-cream didn't let it down.  

However, what I really wish I had gone for now was the choice of D and Mr K's mum.  I don't think I've ever come across Zeppole.  These Italian doughnuts were a wonder.  Although I generally avoid citrus the lemon curd was tangy and not too sugary.  The Italian custard was good too - again, not too sugary.  D wasn't really very sure about it as a dessert but he gave it a good go.  He was mostly keen on the sugar on the doughnuts.  The doughnuts themselves were more like a batter than a doughy consistency that you might find in your local supermarket bakery.  That meant that as a desert they didn't feel too heavy.  

For four of us, the meal came to around £60 which seemed like a pretty decent price, not only for the sheer volume of food we got but also because of the quality of the ingredients - good stuff.  

I can see why Bosco is so popular and I'm sure we'll be back.  Bristol isn't short of good pizza places but this is up there with one of the best pizzas I've had in the UK. 

And this photo is up there with one of the favourites that I've taken this year.  Ah D.  Lovely D.  

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