Mud Dock Cafe, The Grove: Review

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This is an advertorial – but a 100% honest review

 

When it comes to Bristol’s best riverside terraces, which gets your vote? For me, Riverstation is definitely up there, along with The Cottage.

One that I always forget about, though, is the Mud Dock Café on the first floor of the Mud Dock Cycleworks on The Grove. Their terrace is pretty sizeable – with both covered and exposed areas – and on a sunny early evening this week, there were plenty of people out enjoying food and drinks accompanied by views across the river.

Mud Dock’s been around since 1994, located in a converted red brick warehouse. When it first opened, there were just a few tables and chairs upstairs, but in 1996, founders Jerry and Beverly moved the rest of the merchandise downstairs to dedicate the first floor exclusively to the café operation – and it remains that way today.

Their inspiration for combining a bike shop with a bar/restaurant came from Spain, so it’s unsurprising that the upstairs (which is only accessible via stairs) has a very Mediterranean vibe. No matter what time of day you visit, it’s a place with a really relaxed feel: the large windows letting in plenty of natural light, the terracotta and blue walls combining with the natural wooden tables and the multi-coloured metal chairs and the strings of fairy lights along the ceiling to make you believe you could be on holiday.

As well as beers, wines, ciders, cocktails and mocktails, hot drinks and soft drinks, there’s a huge choice of food on offer at the Mud Dock Café – all prepared daily, using locally sourced ingredients where they can. There are plenty of clearly marked vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options on the menu too, as well as daily specials on top of the regular menu choices.

Looking for something lighter, I chose from the salads section of the menu, going for the combination of mangetout, roasted corn, rice noodles, cashew, sesame seeds and a lemon/ginger dressing (£9). It was beautifully presented and looked very summery, with the bold, bright colours of the veg contrasting with the white of the noodles.

And it was surprisingly filling too. The portion of noodles was generous, and the flavours were fresh and vibrant: sweet, juicy corn that had been roasted on the cob for an almost creamy texture, the crunch of barely-cooked mangetout, the bite of a scattering of sesame seeds and nutty cashew pieces, and the addition of a tangy, vinegary tomato and red onion salsa that hadn’t been mentioned on the menu. The citrusy dressing was delicious too – although the dish could have benefitted from a little more of it, and the ginger could have been ramped up a little more.

 

Mud Dock - Noodle Salad

 

Chris had far more of an appetite, and was swayed by the Moroccan lamb burger, harissa and Greek yoghurt (£12), described on the menu as being served in a ciabatta bun and chunky chips.

It was a rustic-looking plate of food, as opposed to the more delicate beauty of my salad, served on a wooden board and with no frills. His first thought was that he’d have liked more chips for the price, and while they were tasty skin-on versions, they tasted a little as if they’d been cooked and kept warm.

The burger, though, was outstanding: the ciabatta bun held together well and was soft and fluffy with a good thin, crunchy crust, while the lamb burger – served a little pink – had a good heat from the Moroccan spices added to the meat before cooking. The creamy Greek yoghurt added more heat from the harissa, while the crunchy red and white onion, fresh tomato, lettuce and gherkin slices cooled the mouth and added a traditional burger touch.
 

Mud Dock - Moroccan Lamb Burger

 

We liked the little touches too: mayonnaise in big squeezy Mud Dock branded water bottles, tap water served in beautiful glass bottles, plenty of Mud Dock branded tableware and crockery. The staff were all friendly and helpful, and our food didn’t take too long to arrive after ordering.

One small niggle was the fact that Mud Dock Café add a 10% service charge to every food bill. I’d happily have left a 10% tip on the night, but I’m firmly of the opinion that this should be a customer’s choice and based on the quality of the service, rather than mandatory.

It won’t stop us going back, though – good food, a great atmosphere and amazing views explain why the Mud Dock Café has survived as long as it has.

 

Dining on a budget? The Mud Dock Café is one of the restaurants on the GoCompare DINE scheme. Simply purchase a qualifying product via GoCompare, and you’ll be able to enjoy a range of discounts in independent restaurants across the country (including up to 25% off at the Mud Dock Café!) More information on the scheme can be found at https://www.gocompare.com/dine-card.

 

One Response to Mud Dock Cafe, The Grove: Review

  1. Pingback: Mud Dock Cafe, The Grove: Review – Bristol Bites – Food Blog

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