Taste Of Transylvania: Review

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Saturday, August 13th. The sign up outside Taste of Transylvania no longer informs passers by that it’s ‘opening soon’, but rather that its opening day was today. Intrigued by the prospect of a Romanian restaurant in Bristol, we decided to head down for lunch – and ended up being their first customers…

This is the first restaurant venture for Romanian owner Daniela Somlea, and her passion and enthusiasm for her country and its food is clear. Apologetic for the fact that the venue wasn’t 100% ready, she showed us through to the second of the two dining rooms, with pale grey walls, exposed brickwork and chandeliers – simple and homely yet smart.

Daniela was equally excited when taking us through the menu – we’re Romanian food virgins so were keen to ask for guidance! The menu is huge, divided into appetisers, house specials, pork, beef, fish, chicken, mixed dishes, salads and desserts. According to Daniela, the menu is only a quarter of what she would have liked to have included, bemoaning the fact that too many restaurants offer too little choice! Be warned, though – the food isn’t cheap. Starters are around £4 to £7, and mains upwards of £8…

We were also interested to see that the wine list is made up purely of Romanian wines, ranging from £24 to £41 per bottle.

On Daniela’s recommendation, we both decided to choose a main from the house specials menu…

My dining companion opted for the Sarmale (£12.60) – cabbage leaves stuffed with a mixture of pork, beef, rice and spices, and served with sour cream and a side salad. A good choice, from her point of view. Although the cabbage was fairly light on the flavour front, the rice and meat were well-spiced and the filling salty but not overly so, and the sour cream was a welcome addition. Not too sure about the side salad, though…

I decided to go for the Mamaliguta (£9.10) – a traditional Transylvanian dish, better known to most of the rest of the world as polenta. The polenta itself was soft and unseasoned, but the melted cheese, rich and smoky house sausage and tender but crispy chunks of pork back fat (and more sour cream!) with which it was served provided plenty of flavour and texture.

It was a completely new experience for us, and we’re definitely keen to go back and try more of the extensive menu. It did seem a little on the expensive side, which would be our only complaint, but the food was well-presented and beautifully cooked, and a refreshing change: I’ve not seen anything else like this anywhere in Bristol. Definitely worth a try if you’re keen on finding a new food experience…

Taste Of Transylvania

Address: 42-44 St Pauls Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1LR

Website: http://tasteoftransylvania.co.uk

Telephone: 0117 923 8788

Find Taste Of Transylvania on the Bristol Bites Directory…

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18 Responses to Taste Of Transylvania: Review

  1. Mains upward of £8 not cheap? £8 is at the very bottom of what I'd expect to spend on a main course. Even at £10 the restaurant is not exactly fleecing you. It breaks down roughly like this:
    £2 goes straight to VAT
    1/3 the remainder is spent on ingredients = £2.66
    another 1/3 of £8 is spent on wages = £2.66
    Which leaves £2.66 which covers rent, gas, electricity, license, wear and tear on fixtures, cleaning products, any additional costs like hiring a fridge engineer, and sundries like laundry, flowers etc. What's left after that is profit, but it's often about 10%, so out of your £10 maincourse they might earn a quid. Though as they've only just opened they'll probably make nothing.
    Pubs can offer half decent mains for £8-£10 but they rely on wet trade so it's not a fair comparison.

    • Thanks for the comment, Sam. Should probably have been a little clearer – most of the mains are priced between about £12 and £15, which seems like a lot considering the ingredients used (and bearing in mind that they don't have a separate lunch menu).

      Completely see your point, though, don't get me wrong! But when you've got a doughnut-based dessert on the menu for £11.50 you do start to wonder…

  2. Really good restaurant, very delicious and generous portions, and the prices are quite ok!!- I think there were some changes regarding the prices if I am to compare with the prices from the first review.
    It's worth giving a try, at least!
    And they have now special lunch menu starting only from 5 pounds…

  3. have been to the restaurant on a few occasions now, the food is very good, generous portions and the prices do not compare with the original review, so perhaps there have been some changes!!

    Anyway would recommend this to people worth a try and I would recommend the "Gulas" or the beef stew dish

  4. I feel Miss Bristol Bites idea of value may have been warped slightly by the use of so many vouchers.

    • Not at all! The prices were very high, and this was obviously recognised by the restaurant, as they've been reduced since my last visit. We're heading back there tonight for another meal so it'll be good to see what they're doing now.

      According to their website, their Sarmale dish is now £7.20 rather than £12.60. They previously had a dessert on the menu that was £11.50 – now £6.70. That's quite a difference.

  5. Went here last Saturday. Having lived in Romania on and off in the last ten years, I have to say the restaurant is very typical modern Romanian. I felt like I was back in Brasov living with my romanian family. The food was completely authentic and finally satisfied my craving for sarmale. Don't forget to try the Mici (pronounced meech) a type of sausage that is to die for! When going for wine, romanian wine is better when its red, the most popular being Murfatlar. The most common beer is Ursus (bear beer) and its perfectly drinkable as beers go. Daniela offers all her customers a complimentary cup of palinka as they arrive, this is a typical local drink that is drunk at the start of a meal and actually I always found it to be a good way to start a meat laden meal. Romanian's are a bit light on the vege front, but when you think about it, as a country they don't import much in the way of vegetable produce (too costly), so they have to eat very seasonal and pickle for the winter! Lastly, just to say that Daniela was a perfect host, very polite and friendly. She told me that for some of her ingredients (like the palinka) she actually has to go all the way home and bring it back herself to keep it authentic. I wish her every luck in her restaurant. We will definitely be coming back.

  6. Briliant food
    Lovely ROMANIAN FOOD.

  7. Glad people making comments seem to have had a good time and enjoyed their food. Went last week (four of us) and were very disappointed. Two of us had what for all the world looked and tasted like a plate of baked beans with a few bits of tomato around the edge. One had mushroom stew that looked and tasted like a tin of mushroom soup, with a side order of Smash. Good job we ordered some chips (these were fine) but not my idea of a good night out.

  8. Glad people making comments seem to have had a good time and enjoyed their food. Went last week (four of us) and we were very disappointed. Two of us had what for all the world looked and tasted like a plate of baked beans with a few bits of tomato around the edge. One had mushroom stew that looked and tasted like a tin of mushroom soup, with a side order of Smash. Glad we ordered chips (which were fine), but not my idea of a good night out.

  9. Hi, went there last night and although I absolutely loved the interior and the friendly service, I was very disappointed by the food. First of all I don't think the English food description on the Menu is accurate. As a starter I had the aubergine salad, which turned out to be a baba ghanoush type of dish served with white toast bread. Although the aubergine paste was quite tasty I was a bit surprised by their choice of bread, which I assume is not very typical Romanian? As a second I had what they advertise as a traditional mushroom stew with mashed potatoes on the side. The mash was nice but I don't think it was home made. When it comes to the mushroom stew (I must apologise if this is my misunderstanding of a stew)…well it was a couple of mushrooms soaked in cream. It had no flavour and all in all tasted like some cheap ready made meal. My friends had the meat wrapped in cabbage and spicy rice dish and were struggling to find a piece of meat as all they got were bone. Dessert (pancakes) however was really nice and so was the coffee. We also loved the Romanian wine we ordered and appreciated the free traditional drink we got from the lovely lady who served us. I would like to go back as I really enjoyed the whole setting and service but I just wish the food was better. Portions were really small and although at first we thought that 10 pounds for 3 courses was extremely good value for money, I have to admit that I wouldn't have paid a penny more considering the taste and size of the dishes. You couldn't however put a price on the excellent service.

  10. my friend,if u want something cheaper go to some kfc and buy a hundred years old chicken.
    …or get a better job.
    I was on this restaurant and is not expensiv at all.

  11. My boyfreind surprised me by taking me to this restaurant while u were in bristol. I like romania food and this one was just like my boyfreind mum cooks. Good food and value for money. Was fresh and I could say home cooked .

  12. " After reading some poor comments about ' A taste of Transylvania' i thought we were going to get chips on the way home"
    However myself and three friends went to this restaurant last week and it was a pleasant surprise to be served a delicious starter for 4 persons (waitress choice) offering a selection of cold meat, stuffed mushrooms, asparagus (perfectly cooked) with cheese balls and a delicious salad (Yummie) For the main course i had a pork and sausage dish with roasted potatoes, it was very flavorsome nothing like i have ever tasted before .
    For desert i had ice cream in pancakes one chocolate and the other i thought was lime but was later corrected that it was apple (never tried apple ice cream before)
    I don't recall what my friends had but they all seemed content with there selection of foods.
    The staff were very supportive when we were choosing our dishes. In fact the Manager and his wife came and talked to us which was lovely….At the end of the meal He brought us some Romanian alcohol made from plums (plum moonshine i would call it) and it warmed us all up before we ventured into the cold and finally went home.
    We were there for about 3 1/2 hours enjoying a slow relaxed meal with great hospitality. I recommend the Beer, very tasty i managed 2 pints of it….. Had a gr8 time

  13. Oh my god , what a disaster.

    Booked for 4 at 8pm . Sat down restaurant full. 1waitress only . I bar , I chef.

    1.30 hour later we had our mains . The waitress apologized to the large table next to us (15) , by the time she spoke with us she was crying , her words ” I’m alone looking after bar , restaurant & helping chef , my manager gone home early ” I’m sorry . Food not very nice , menu changed and a LOT more expensive . Coffee was cold and we still had to pay for 4 of us , £98.40 , I was shocked and we had 2 jugs of water , 2 beers !!!! £3 for a small latte .

    Not going back that’s for sure

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