Severnshed Tasting Evening, October 18th

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A revamped menu, a complete refurbishment and a huge new wine list. The Grove-based Severnshed have a lot to shout about at the moment, and they chose to do so last night by inviting a bunch of Bristolians down to the restaurant for an evening of wine tasting and food sampling.

The restaurant was bought in March this year by Charterhouse Leisure, the firm behind Cabot Circus’ Coal Grill and Bar, but the change of owner led to relatively few changes to the venue’s menus and branding.

Severnshed’s extensive wine list is provided by Matthew Clark, and Wine Category Manager Simon Haywood was on hand throughout the evening to talk us through the wines that we were offered to accompany each of four samplers of dishes featuring on the restaurant’s menu.

After a welcome cocktail of Appleton rum, champagne, orange juice, lemon and honey, the tasting evening began. We were presented with a  skewer of tiger prawns and pineapple with lime, served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce . This was paired with an Australian Riesling (Leasingham Magnus Riesling, Clare Valley, Australia – £23.95/bottle) – a wine featuring grapes grown at altitude to increase ripeness and maintain acidity. Simon had made this selection as the sweetness of the wine complements the sweetness of the prawns, with natural lime flavours in the Riesling matching those in the starter.

The next wine, a fantastic Raimat Abadia Cabernet Sauvignon-Tempranillo Rose (£18.95), accompanied a skewer of warm chorizo with red onion and green pepper, while a lobster risotto was matched with a Chilean Chardonnay (Errazuriz 1870 Pacifico Block Chardonnay, £23.50) – a wine that fellow attendee @nigellegg – normally an avoider of Chardonnay – was raving about.

Onto the final taster of a skewer of steak, cherry tomatoes, peppers and courgettes, and its Macon Rouge partner (Macon Rouge, Louise Jadot, £23.95). I wasn’t 100% convinced that this pairing worked, but enjoyed both individually nonetheless.

I have to admit that this was the first time that I’d ventured into Severnshed, despite regularly walking past on the way to Temple Meads. I’m still not too sure about the lurid turquoise colour of the outside, but the interior is warm and welcoming, with a fantastic terraced area overlooking the river.

The arrangement of the wine list was something that stood out for me: rather than the bog standard red/white/rose/fizz groupings, the 40-odd varieties stocked by the restaurants are grouped by flavour. Our selections last night included those from the “Full-flavoured, nutty and oaked whites” list (the Chilean Chardonnay), and the “Light, simple, delicate reds” section (the Macon Rouge). Prices range from around £15 to £35, with a full list available here.

With a fantastic wine list, a warm, welcoming interior and an amazing terrace with a river view, I’d be keen to visit again for a drink. The one niggle for me was that while the food was cooked and presented well, the majority of the dishes (bar the chorizo, which stands up perfectly well on its own) could have done with a little more seasoning: a sentiment echoed by those I spent the evening with. With a great value pre-7pm prix fixe menu, I’ll be heading back in the near future to see if this was a one-off.

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