I feel like I should make a disclaimer about the fact that this review was written entirely without setting foot in the restaurant. My recommendation can therefore only extend to the outdoor seating. But sitting here, next to the river, on a beautiful sunny evening, was what made the atmosphere so magical.
You may already know that the waterfront is one of the best places to appreciate the beauty of the city. From the pastel-coloured houses of hotwells hills, to boats and the old industrial cranes of the docklands, the view gives a snapshot of Bristol life that it is very easy to become absorbed in. Unfortunately, most of the restaurants and bars on the bars on the waterfront have inexplicably become associated with budget prices and rowdy hen nights.
Not so with Bordeaux Quay. They are refreshingly different from the norm, and not just for the Bristol waterfront. Along with other recently-acclaimed British restaurants they cook simple European dishes with seasonal, locally-sourced produce. This depends on high-quality ingredients and a skillful style of cooking, with no fancy gimmicks to hide behind.
Bordeaux Quay are proudly dedicated to environmental sustainability, and, perhaps more importantly for a mid-range restaurant, to good food. Their menu is dotted with Great Taste Award products, and they also run a cookery school, teaching cookery skills to any enthusiast willing to pay for the privilege.
Due to their reputation as a cookery school I definitely had high expectations for the food. If there is a nice-sounding fish on the menu I struggle to order anything else, and I do think that a dish of simply-cooked fish is a perfect test for a restaurant that prides itself on quality ingredients and skillful, simple preparation. The dish was simple, but the taste was exquisite, the skin crispy, and the flesh that wonderful combination of flaky and firm that indicates perfect cooking. The potatoes kept their shape just enough, and added a saltiness that greatly complimented the plain cooking of the fish. On top of this, the roasted cherry tomatoes in the salad added a flavour of sweet juiciness that pervaded the rest of the dish.
The only slight criticism would be our dessert of local cheese – my sister and I are huge cheese fanatics and were laughingly wondering how little cheese we were going to end up with for £5. Bizarrely enough, this wasn’t the problem. Instead it was the oatcakes that were rationed, so we had to either pile the cheese on to a tiny bit of oatcake. Or just eat it on it’s own. Not that we minded.