The bistro at the Hotel du Vin is another of those places that I’ve been meaning to visit for a while. A two minute walk from my flat, unobtrusively nestled between its neighbouring buildings in the city centre, you’d be forgiven for not realising it was there: it certainly took me a while to spot it after I moved to Bristol.
An invite to a complimentary midweek lunch was gratefully accepted by me and local food blogger Abby from Bristol Eating Adventures – the pair of us were quite keen to sample the food that we’d heard so much about!
Previously a collection of Grade II listed warehouses dating back to the 1700s, Bristol’s Hotel du Vin is accessed via a beautiful secluded courtyard, which leads through to the building itself. The maze of corridors, adorned with photos of the Sugar House throughout the centuries, lead to 40 bedrooms and a range of differently-sized meeting rooms.
Adjoining the courtyard on the ground floor, the amply-stocked bar leads through to the Bistro: an elegant and stylish room, but one in which we felt completely at ease for a relaxed midweek lunch.
After being seated, we were brought our own individual baguette (served on the lid of an old wooden wine box – a nice touch), the menus and the wine list. The wine book, created by head sommelier Ben Austin, features hundreds of wines from the hotel’s well-stocked cellar, while a shorter wine list on the reverse of the main menu lists some of the more accessible options.
Along with the standard a la carte menu that can be seen on the HdV website, there is now a set lunch option available, offering one course for £9.95, two for £12.95 or three for £14.95 – far more accessible pricing that I had expected from what I’d previously heard about the venue.
We chose to dine from the a la carte menu, and I continued on my quest to eat as much asparagus as possible while it is in season! The specials board featured a starter of asparagus with a poached egg and Hollandaise for around the £7 mark – no complaints whatsoever here. The asparagus itself still had a lovely amount of bite to it, the Hollandaise was perfect, and the yolk of the egg still beautifully runny.
Continuing my attempts to choose more dishes that I wouldn’t normally go for, I opted for the roast cod with buttered leeks and salsa verde (£14.95) for my main. A big, meaty slab of cod, and the leeks were lovely and tender. I’m a massive fan of salsa verde, and was pleased to see that they were generous with the capers, which made me happy.
We were persuaded to order a side of Lyonnaise potatoes each (£3.50) after they were recommended by Ben, and I’m glad we did. The portions were huge, though, so we struggled a little!
Despite feeling increasingly full, we had one look at the dessert menu and couldn’t say no. Each dessert is matched with a dessert wine (at an extra cost) – a nice touch.
We declined the option of more booze, and just stuck with the sweet. For me, the Chocolate Pave with candied pistachio (£6.95). It was enormous – a little too large, if I’m honest, as it was incredibly rich.
I was intrigued to see a layer of sponge at the base, underneath the creamy chocolate ganache, but it worked. The thick dark chocolate layer on the top was delicious, but incredibly hard and virtually impossible to cut with a spoon without it flying across the table. It was also disappointing to see a few instances where the ingredients hadn’t been properly combined, leading to floury pockets in the dessert. A shame.
And Abby? Well…she chose the chicken liver parfait to start, followed by the confit duck and then a HUGE creme brulee. You’ll have to head over to her write up to see what she thought…but here are some photos to whet your appetites!
All in all, an enjoyable meal, let down (for me) slightly by the dessert. I’m definitely keen to go back and try their lunch menu – which seems like an absolute bargain, especially considering the quality of the venue. Recommended.
Please note: this meal was received free of charge, but in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.
Find Hotel du Vin Bristol on the Bristol Bites Directory…