Bristol is one of my favourite cities, not least for its amazing food scene!
I lived in Bristol for a couple of years when I was at college, and have always felt really at home here. Of course Cornwall is my TRUE home, so luckily I have friends who live in this city which makes a great excuse to visit regularly!
We recently headed up to Bristol for my friend Abbie’s birthday, and the night before visited one of the city’s three Michelin star rated restaurants – Bulrush in Cotham – to try their 9 course tasting menu.
The restaurant itself is in an unsuspecting location, about a 20-30 minute walk from the centre of Bristol, and has a cosy, modern-casual vibe inside. The first thing I noticed was that they have a very reasonably priced cocktail list, with drinks ranging around £6.50 to £8.50, and they were delicious too! Even in Cornwall it’s hard to find a good cocktail for less than £9, let alone in the fancier-style restaurants (we’ve been somewhere recently where the cocktails went up to £27!!).
I also think the tasting menu itself is very reasonably priced too – you essentially get 9-10 courses when you add everything up, for a total of £70, which works out at excellent value per dish!
First up, alongside our drinks, we were served a pre-dinner consommé, which I can’t say I’ve ever had before! It’s a type of clear broth or soup, and is packed full of flavour, and this was certainly no exception. I can’t remember exactly what they said was in it (this wasn’t one of the listed courses on the menu!) but I think there was a hint of seaweed or miso… totally delicious and unlike anything either of us had tasted before!
Then arrived our amuse-bouche; a selection of small bit-size starters which included a smoked pea chawanmushi (this was the green one with wild garlic; a Japanese-style dish), crab & elderflower tart, and a duck liver macaron. It’s been a couple of weeks since this meal as I’m writing this, but I remember particularly that the crab tart was unbelievable!
Next was the bread course, which featured a Montgomery cheddar cream, onion marmalade, served with warm sourdough. Unfortunately for Alex, this was very cheesey! He is not a cheese man, but I am definitely a cheese woman and I loved it. Very rich, and very tasty indeed.
This next course was something really different, and while I can’t recall exactly what was in it, it featured an incredible homemade cheese ice-cream and these amazing beetroot shards as well. So good!
I LOVE scallops, so was really looking forward to this course! Perfectly done, of course, and served with pike roe on top – however we both felt the sauce (which had a strong smoked flavour) was a bit overpowering here. I also found the sauce on the next dish (BBQ monkfish with smoked mussels) was a bit salty, but I’m sure it must depend on your personal preference.
After this, we had a selection of duck dishes, including a duck yakitori (marinated skewered meats) which very much reminded us of our trip to Japan! We visited a yakitori restaurant in Kyoto and ended up eating chicken gizzard and liver which was NOT the right match for our Westernised palate 🤣. Anyway, this was a tasty selection at Bulrush and a much more pleasant experience!
At this point in the meal, you’re able to add the optional extra cheese course for a £9.50 supplement, but Alex not being a cheese fan, we didn’t opt for this (although I’m glad we didn’t because we were both extremely full by the end!).
Our desserts were next! The rhubarb and rose brulee was absolutely incredible, and one of my favourite dishes of the meal, and this was followed by an anise and blueberry sorbet which was lovely too.
Finally, we finished off with our ‘petits fours’ with a coffee before heading home. Overall it was an amazing meal and I would definitely recommend a trip there – the value is fantastic! Just remember to leave enough time if you do visit, as we were there between 3.5 – 4hrs, which is what they suggest on their website as well.