You may remember that Hotel du Vin recently launched their “Le Brunch” menu, featuring four courses for £19.95. This weekend was the third weekend that The River Grille at The Bristol Hotel had offered a similar menu: £19.95 for soup, a buffet starter, a main and a further buffet for dessert. We were invited to pay them a visit and try it out…
I’ve visited The River Grille a few times before, and have been more than impressed with the food. Head chef Kai Taylor produces menus that are a fantastic combination of classic and innovative, and it’s great to dine in a hotel restaurant that doesn’t feel like a hotel restaurant!
We walked in on a Sunday afternoon to be greeted by the strains of songs from musicals being played by an older gentleman on the piano – a great backdrop, if a little loud, to a relaxing Sunday afternoon. The restaurant filled up fairly quickly – well, with such a fantastically priced menu for four courses, I’m not surprised.
The regularly changing soup of the day was, on this occasion, vegetable, and we were presented with a choice of five main courses: two traditional roasts (turkey or beef), pork belly, “posh fish and chips” or a vegetarian gnocchi option.
The soup itself was warming and hearty – perfect on a cold Sunday afternoon – and topped with a balsamic drizzle. Creamy in texture and with a decent quantity of mixed herbs flavouring each bowl, we were both perfectly happy. Not show-stopping by any means, but enjoyable.
Onto the starter…and the choice was overwhelming. The buffet incorporated a range of options: quiches, pâtés and terrines, salads, pasta salads, crostini…the list goes on. The one thing we noticed was that there weren’t really any particularly healthy options on the day of our visit – it would have been good to have some salads with a non-creamy dressing as part of the buffet. It would also, we thought, have been better if the bread were pre-sliced, rather than having customers handle the loaves to slice their own!
Saying that, we did enjoy the starter. As I say, there was a great amount of choice, and we particularly enjoyed the ham hock terrine and the Waldorf salad – the only real let down was the quality of the pastry in the quiche.
Our main course of turkey with pigs in blankets was enormous. Two huge, juicy slices of turkey breast were accompanied by a chipolata wrapped in streaky bacon, three large roast potatoes, cubes of root vegetables, a Yorkshire pudding and a decent amount of gravy, served with a bowl of broccoli, mangetout, cabbage and green beans for the table to share.
The turkey was perfectly cooked, the gravy full of flavour and plentiful, the veg still with a bit of crunch (if maybe a little bland) and the Yorkshire pudding by far one of the best I’ve had recently. The only real let down was the potatoes, which lacked the satisfying crunch that really makes a roast dinner.
Waistbands by this point bulging, we made our way over to the dessert buffet to choose from a selection that included fruit salad, creme brûlée, sticky toffee pudding and bread and butter pudding. Between us we went for a combination of a mixed fruit crumble (the perfect combination of tart and sweet, served with a delicious vanilla custard…but with the bizarre addition of pineapple to the fruit mixture!), and a Baileys cheesecake which didn’t disappoint in terms of flavour but could have done with a thicker base with a bit more crunch.
At £19.95 for four courses, the weekend lunch deal at The River Grille is a bit of a bargain for those with a large appetite, and for those who have no plans other than collapsing on the sofa after they’ve eaten! While enjoyable, it’s not one of the best Sunday lunches I’ve had in Bristol, and by no means compares to the outstanding quality of the restaurant’s evening meals. At the time of writing, however, it was still a new venture for The River Grille, so we’d happily go back and give them another go at a later date.
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 The River Grille on the Bristol Bites Directory…