Autumn Gourmet Evening @ City of Bristol College: Review

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The idea of going out for a meal cooked and served by 16 and 17 year olds may not be the most appealing at first glance – but when it’s a meal that has been prepared by City of Bristol College catering students and served by the College’s hospitality students, you’ll look at the idea in a completely new light.

As they enter a new academic year, the level 3 catering apprentices, under the guidance of chef Richard Grinyer-Power, and NVQ level 3 hospitality students faced the daunting task of serving a crowd of hungry diners that included Chris Wicks, the Bristol Good Food Awards team, BBC Radio Bristol, Vincent Castellano and other well-known names from the Bristol food and drink scene.

Real Work Environment and Restaurant Manager Adrian Kirikmaa greeted us on arrival at the Autumn Gourmet Evening at the City Restaurant (College Green Centre), which was designed to showcase the work of the students before a new series of theme nights kicks off.

We’d had no idea of the menu before the evening itself, but were more than pleasantly surprised when it was set at our table…


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A serving of two types of bread – parmesan and thyme, and walnut and raisin – was accompanied by a surprise amuse bouche of a silky smooth and earthy rich wild mushroom soup shot with truffle oil: a wonderfully autumnal dish that was the perfect introduction to the evening.


City of Bristol College - Mushroom Soup


Our slow cooked salmon starter was served cold, which surprised us, but flaked beautifully under the fork, the flesh still translucent. The wasabi puree could possibly have been a little more fiery, but we loved the various guises in which the beetroot was presented: a puree at the base of the plate, a slice of cooked beetroot and a small cylinder of pickled beetroot, which added a bit of zing.


City of Bristol College - Salmon


The monkfish course featured a strong Indian influence, with the three slices of the meaty fish sitting on an earthy coriander-infused dhal, topped with finely grated shavings of burnt coconut.


City of Bristol College - Monkfish


We also loved the following course of roast grouse, served pink and with fresh blackberries, a stunningly textured celeriac puree and a meaty bonbon: a dish that showcased the range of techniques that the students have mastered.


City of Bristol College - Grouse


The venison was probably one of my favourite courses, with the meat again served pink and accompanied by sweet and sticky figs, a potato fondant, braised endive and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts: a well-balanced dish that showcased these seasonal ingredients perfectly.


City of Bristol College - Venison


While the presentation of the dessert was nowhere near as impressive as that of the previous courses, the flavours more than made up for it: the chocolate and peanut mousse cake rich and indulgent, the gingerbread ice cream feeling equally as naughty and served with a scattering of crumbly gingerbread pieces.


City of Bristol College - Dessert


It was an evening not only of great food, which wouldn’t have been out of place in a number of Bristol’s top restaurants, but also of great service. Our table was served by a number of different students, all of whom were smiley and friendly, with service attentive but not over the top.

As the meal drew to a close, it was only fitting that both the kitchen and front of house teams were brought out in front of the diners for a well-deserved round of applause: if these students are performing so well at the tender ages of 16 and 17, it bodes incredibly well for the future of the Bristol food scene.

The City Restaurant at the City of Bristol College centre on College Green is open to the public for lunch from 12-2.30pm Tuesday to Friday, with a weekly changing menu priced from just £7.95 per head – an absolute bargain. However, it’s also definitely worth checking out their gourmet and themed evenings, with a number of different nights – again, incredibly reasonably priced – confirmed for the rest of 2014, as you’ll see below.


City of Bristol College - 2014 Theme Nights


Full booking details can be found on the City Restaurant website – I know I’ll definitely be booking in before the end of the year. Highly 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.



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