Category Archives: restaurant review

Restaurant review: Rockfish Grill

The main problem I encountered while eating at Rockfish Grill is that now I want to eat there every day for the rest of my life. I’m sure it’s obvious from my previous reviews how much of a big seafood fan I really am, but I have never had fish so fresh, so perfectly-cooked, so imbued with flavour as I have here.

From the moment we stepped in the door, we were struck with the exceptional service. When spending this sort of money – mid-range for some, expensive for recent graduates – you want the service to make you feel special, and it did. A waiter came to our table with a silver platter of the fish available that day. A simple touch, but one that really made a difference to our experience, demonstrating not only the freshness of the fish but also the passion of the producer (Rockfish Grill is also a fishmongers). The fact that we felt like we were learning something was a bonus, and the wall charts of fish splashed around the stylishly decorated room added to that.

For my starter I felt as if I’d somehow cheated by ordering one of my favourite dirty snacks, calamari, described on the menu as ‘Devon squid fried crisp with aioli.’ When it came, however, my guilt faded away. It had little in common with their typical greasy, rubbery pub counterparts, but instead had a delicate freshness, a light batter and a lovely aioli. My boyfriend had a generous portion of mussels steamed with white wine, garlic and parsley, which were amply sized and well-seasoned.

I’ve been told by others that they don’t order fish in restaurants as the cooking of it is so simple, which may be so, but it was worth it for the freshness and flavour of my main, a John Dory grilled over charcoal, coated with a special herb blend of parsley and garlic. The outstanding quality of the fish was evident. Hake, cooked in paper with cider and chanterelle mushrooms, had absorbed a richness of flavour I haven’t encountered before in fish. All this along with a wonderful wine selection, I honestly couldn’t recommend Rockfish Grill any more.

Rockfish Grill & Seafood Market, 128 Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2RS t: 0117 973 7384

Photo: Flikr cc PaddyMurphy


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Restaurant review: Bordeaux Quay

Bristol harbourside, Flikr cc: Larkery

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.

Line-caught pollack, cooked to perfection, with crushed potatoes

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.

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