Another trip to Bristol’s Hotel du Vin for us this week, this time an invitation to try out their al fresco menu which is running till the end of August 2013 alongside their standard a la carte menu. We weren’t brave enough to eat al fresco in the courtyard, but can honestly say that we would have thoroughly enjoyed our meal wherever we ate it.
The menu offers a selection of three starters, four mains and four desserts, along with side orders to accompany the main meal. For a three course meal, you’re looking at a price tag of around £30, with cheaper options available. The range of dishes may be limited, but there are starters and mains that are suitable for both vegetarians and pescatarians, along with a few meaty options too.
I went for the homemade gravlax for my starter (£7.50) – a generous portion of salmon with a crust of fresh herbs – I’m a massive fan of dill, and the flavour was powerful but not overwhelming. This was served with a thinly sliced cucumber salad and a sweet and tangy mustard sauce, again flecked with dill: a generous helping and one that I happily mopped up with the contents of the bread basket.
For Chris, the Serrano Teruel Ham D.O.P., served in a bowl with slices of grilled nectarine and a shallot and sherry vinaigrette (£8.50) – a winning combination of salty ham and sweet fruit, plus the inevitable tang of the dressing. A beautiful dish, but the ham was a little bit lost amongst the other flavours.
For my main, the Normandy chicken breast with pommes frites and a Longueville cider sauce (£14.95): presented beautifully, as you can see from the picture! The chicken breast had been butterflied and cooked to perfection, the skin well seasoned. The sauce was a lot thinner than I was expecting but tasted beautiful, with a sweet edge, and the chips were among the best I’ve had in Bristol recently. Just salty enough and with the potato skins on (a definite plus in my book), they were served in a conical metal dish that had been warmed, meaning that the chips retained their heat for the duration of the meal.
Chris ordered the sirloin steak (£17.95) – a 180g steak that was served medium rare as requested, and had obviously been well rested before serving. His béarnaise sauce was creamy and tangy, and I’m pretty sure, from his clean plate, that he enjoyed the chips just as much as I did…
We accompanied our meals with a glass of wine each, chosen by the sommelier with a detailed explanation of why he had chosen those particular wines. The man knows his stuff.
Service was friendly and polite throughout, and while the Bistro at Hotel du Vin Bristol is a relatively formal setting, we enjoyed a relaxed evening without the need to talk in whispers or behave any differently to normal.
The al fresco menu is running until the end of August: if you’re looking for something different, I’d certainly recommend booking a table. Those who are Gromit-hunting this summer will also find a surprise in the courtyard while they’re there..
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 Hotel du Vin Bristol on the Bristol Bites Directory…