Eat Drink Bristol Fashion

26 04 2012

This is a big week for Bristol’s food scene as Cosmo’s all-you-can-eat buffet reopens on the Triangle and Flavourz introduces another Dolly Mixture to their dessert selection. Meanwhile, in Queen Square, Eat Drink Bristol Fashion is now open for business; a group of tipis the arena where some of Bristol’s best chefs will showcase their food during the course of the next fortnight.

The Pony & Trap’s Josh Eggleton is the brains behind the ambitious project which sees some of our finest restaurants and gastropubs present their food for one night at a time. So it was only fair that the Pony & Trap would be first on the list for the evenings’ entertainment.

Last night saw three sittings staggered by an hour to give Josh and his team a bit of slack, all of which were serenaded by singer songwriter Nuala Honan and DJ Type Sun. Other musical offerings over the next fortnight include Moscow Drug Club on Friday and El Patio Primo next Saturday.

Before yesterday evening’s feast, however, it was only right and proper to experience the tipis’ other facets. Tapas I sampled during Tuesday’s soft launch included a miniature shepherd’s pie (£3.50) and “sausage and beans from the tin” (£4), a cut or two above the Heinz version.

You can wander into the tipis between now and May 6 to enjoy the tapas menu, and also a light lunch of open sandwiches on artisan sourdough bread with what was originally going to be a choice of three salads, but what is now a taste of all the salads: new potato, spring onion, lemon, parsley, char-grilled brocolli, green beans, chillis, hazilnut, beetroot, feta and  shallots.

My sandwich of smoked salmon, cream cheese and parsley pesto (£6.50) was piled high with its contents and impossible to cut with the flimsy wooden knife and fork on the table. An outrageosly decadent chocolate and orange torte (£3.50) proved hard to resist with the rain beating down outside yesterday lunchtime, but the Brian Wogan espresso to follow was too watery and didn’t pack any sort of punch.

What certainly did pack a punch was the Pony & Trap’s seven-course tasting menu served yesterday evening as the rain continued to lash down. (For those concerned about these sort of things, the toilets required barely a few steps outside, up a few steps into the kind of facilities only found within the VVIP in the VIP area at Glastonbury)

Josh and his team cooked up a treat which included spiced lamb faggot, “textures of beetroot”, deliciously tender lightly salted cod with chicken and mushroom pie sauce, saddle of red deer, and to finish, salted peanut butter and chocolate mousse cake.

At £55 for most of the tasting menus from the restaurants including Casamia in Westbury-on-Trym, Bell’s Diner in Montpelier and Ronnie’s in Thornbury and Clifton, to name but three, it’s not cheap, and there’s an optional wine flight as well.

But this is a concept that has never been seen in Bristol before, bringing many of the best restaurants from within the city and further afield to a unique city centre location.

If you can’t go to one of the evening events, I urge you to step inside the tipis on Queen Square, even just for a coffee and a slice of cake.  Eat Drink Bristol Fashion will no doubt be one of the Bristol events of this year.



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