We’d been looking forward to this one for ages! After having attended the Portuguese Supper that Gloucester Road’s Tart Cafe & Foodstore recently hosted, we booked our tickets for their Retro Supper as soon as the email about it pinged into our inboxes. Just as well, as owner Jennie told us on the night that tickets had sold out within 48 hours…
The evening promised to be an homage to all things 70s, but with chef Andrew Griffin promising to put a unique twist on the dishes that many of us will (fondly?) remember from a few decades back.
On arrival, we were treated to a Gregg’s Pit Blakeney & Butt Herefordshire Perry, Tart’s more up-to-date take on Babycham (which, incidentally, you can still order over the bar at the King’s Head on Victoria Street!). While drinking, we perused the wine list, which had been specially selected for the evening by Darren at Grape & Grind, and decided to go for the Chateau Tour de Biot 2008 (£14.50) which, as we discovered, matched very well with our appetiser: a mushroom vol-au-vent.
The vol-au-vent was enormous! Incredibly tasty, though, with a ridiculously light puff pastry, and filled with button mushrooms and ceps enrobed in a creamy, garlicky sauce. Delicious.
Fortunately the portion sizes for our starter were more normal. Our seafood cocktail was a feast of prawns, crayfish and small chunks of smoked salmon, served with asparagus and in a light dressing of homemade cocktail sauce. The cocktail had the perfect amount of dill and lemon juice running through it, with the seafood tender and tasty.
Back to the huge portions for the main course! Tart’s take on the classic Duck A L’Orange featured grilled but still beautifully pink duck breast and a massive confit leg: the skin crispy and salty, the meat rich and full of flavour. This was served with peas and Chantenay carrots, along with Duchesse potatoes…I can’t remember the last time I had these, but loved the crispy potato on the outside and used the soft centre to mop up the sauce, which was of the duck stock-based port and orange variety.
Onto the dessert, which we’d really been looking forward to…particularly after Andrew had teased us on Twitter earlier on in the day with a picture of the remnants of the Black Forest Gateau that Tart staff had demolished that afternoon! We certainly weren’t disappointed when the desserts arrived: a stack of Swiss roll-style chocolate cake filled with whipped cream and sandwiched with black cherries. We may have been getting very full by that point, but there’s no way I was leaving any of this on my plate!
If that wasn’t enough, Andrew then brought round something that wasn’t on the menu: a mini lemon meringue tart for each of us. Topped with a delicious soft meringue and filled with a zesty lemon curd, the pastry was slightly overcooked but it was delicious nonetheless.
At just £30 per head (plus wine), the evening was great value for money: fantastic food, very friendly service and even a few tables who had incorporated the 70s theme into their clothes for the evening! If you haven’t yet made it to a Tart After Dark event, I highly recommend that you do. They’ve just announced the next one: a “Tastes Of Summer” supper evening on June 23rd which looks fantastic. You can see the menu by clicking here – make sure you book quickly, as I can guarantee that places will sell out quickly…and deservedly so.
Tart Cafe & Foodstore
Address: 16 The Promenade, Gloucester Road, Bristol BS7 8AE
Telephone: 0117 924 7628