When tasked with looking for a cheapish, relaxed restaurant in Clifton to catch up with a friend over an early evening weekday dinner, Bauhinia seemed like a good option. There were three key reasons for the choice: it had been recommended by friends and colleagues, it’s somewhere I’d not been before, and it offers an early evening menu of a starter and a main (from a selection from the main menu) for £8.90 per head – including Saturdays and Sundays…
Describing itself as a ‘pan-Asian bar-restaurant’, Bauhinia offers ‘well-made, well-sourced and delicious food to locals at midweek prices’. Nestled on Boyces Avenue in Clifton Village, a relaxed bar area at the front leads through to a cosy and comfortable dining area in the back room of the restaurant: an intimate, relatively dark room more reminiscent of a cocktail bar than a restaurant. They also have a downstairs dining area that is available to hire. Our very friendly and smiley waitress took our drinks order (elderflower presse for us – though there is a substantial alcoholic drinks menu and you can bring your own wine) and left us to browse the menu.
The menu offers South-East Asian food, including Japanese, Thai, Singaporean, Chinese, Malaysian, Mongolian and more. The range of dishes is extensive (you can see it on their website) and averagely-priced for a restaurant of this type: you’re looking at £4-£8 for starters and about £7-£13 for mains. We also had a small blackboard left on the edge of our table, inviting us to try Bauhinia’s seasonal specials…including a monkfish tempura starter (£7.50), and a pan fried scallop and asparagus main (£14.50).
I mentioned in my review of Thai Classic that I’m a big fan of Tom Yum soup, so I was glad to see that Tom Yum Gai (chicken, but veggie option also available) was on the early bird menu. We both went for this option in the end.
Normally £4.50, we were amazed at the size of the portion that we were presented with, and the generosity in terms of the amount of chicken that we were given. They were huge chunks of chicken, though, and quite difficult to eat with a spoon!
The flavour of the soup was lovely, and the huge pieces of galangal and sliced lemongrass really stood out. I’m not entirely sure why there were quartered tomatoes in there, though, and we both thought the heat was quite mild for Tom Yum.
Onto the mains, and Thai basil chicken for my friend (normally £8.50), which she enjoyed, but again thought was a little mild on the chilli front.
I chose the Singapore fried noodles (normally £8.50) -a mound of tasty, slightly crispy vermicelli noodles topped with two king prawns and stir fried with beansprouts, peppers, spring onions, ribbons of egg and slices of fish cake. I really enjoyed my main, and cleaned my plate…again, however, I was expecting a little more heat from the dish. But again, they didn’t skimp on the portion size – something that normally tends to happen with early evening menus.
All in all, an absolute bargain for just £8.90 each, and I’d highly recommend Bauhinia as a stylish venue for a relaxed and friendly early evening meal. Service was fantastic throughout the evening, and the number of diners that passed through the door while we were there is testament to the place’s popularity. I’d recommend giving the place a go if you’re a fan of Asian cuisine.
Telephone: 0117 973 3138
Address: 5a Boyces Avenue, Bristol BS8 4AA