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review on recent Bristol and London visit (long)

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I just returned from the brief visit to Bristol and one day in London. It was beautiful weather too so I certainly lucked out. We started in Bristol and our first day was Sunday so all the places I have decided to check out were closed for dinner, we tried Queen Square first, then walked over to Bordeaux Quay, then cabbed up to One 30, which was open so we got out of the cab, only to find out they were only open for drinks, the very nice server suggested a restaurant 15 minutes up the road... after 30 minutes of thinking there was no hope of eating we found it. It was Bistro La Barrique and I have to say it was pretty good, great service, excellent French inspired little tapas style dishes. We shared, and had a mushroom tart, mussels, scalloped potatoes, and much more, all was well presented and a good value.

The next day we went to London, I had made a reservation at St.John for lunch. We had a great chilled artichoke with mustard sauce, the artichokes were huge but I found the sauce to mustard heavy. I also had a great fresh pea and rocket salad and some grilled squid salad which had a garlic aoli that was way too garlic infused to eat. The dessert made up for the small sauce issues, which was meringue with creme and raspberries...Yum. The waiter looked at the list I had and suggested the Anchor and Hope would be good and gave us directions, so we went off for sightseeing and then tried to find our way to the Anchor and Hope... to no avail, the directions brought us right back to St. John street and no one could tell us how to get there so we settled on a restaurant that was right around the corner it was a 3 letter name, specializing in oysters, but I forgot. It was OK but the bill was steep (I think even for London) the asparagus we had was $10 pounds for one serving and $19 for two. We met someone at the bar who had recommended a place named Moro, said it was great but we were scheduled to go back to Bristol that night.

The next night we ate at Bordeaux Quay, great setting and a great host, unfortunately we had our hotel make reservations for the restaurant and they were full... then the hotel staff did not inform us so we walked over to have dinner and were told they were full so we opted to sit down in the Brasserie section and have dinner. It was still good, I had a wonderful Skate and Greens salad and a lamb stew with Couscous. The Moules also looked great. I also liked their use of local and organic ingredient, even having Organic wines and beers on the menu.

Our last night we opted to go back to the One 30 because the host had been so nice and lead us to the great French place, but we were really disappointed. The food was bland, hummus needed garlic and lemon, the meatballs needed spice and salt, the sticky chicken was hard to classify as chicken and had an odd texture and although the server was very sweet she was incredibly spacey and slow. Wish we had gone to Queens Square or tried upstairs at Bordeaux Quay.... maybe next time... as if I could ever afford to go back, at least not with the exchange rate!

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  1. I am slightly perplexed as to why noone told you that to visit Anchor and Hope you had to get on the tube or bus to Waterloo! It's nowhere near Farringdon, which is where St John Street is. It's a shame you didn't go to Moro - it's fabulous for tapas, which you can have sitting at the bar. You could also have gone to Vinoteca or Comptoir Gascon. There's also a fabulous and very old pub tucked away in that area called The Jerusalem Tavern.

    Anyway, none of that is any use to you now! Sounds like you had fun, despite the frustrations.

    1. Sounds like you ended up at Hix Oyster and Chop House which has only recently opened. http://www.restaurantsetcltd.co.uk/ I agree that it's a bit pricey, as not nearly as good as the places greedygirl mentions.

      2 Replies
      1. re: slonik

        strange

        every critic has claimed to love Hix O&CH and yet every punter (my estimable brother included) has found it over priced and ordinary

        How can that possibly be?

        Surely the critics are not being swayed by some other force we mere mortals are not aware of

        S

        1. re: Simon Majumdar

          That was it, just checked out the link. The funniest part of it was that we sat at the bar and we were given the wrong order ( it belonged to the couple next to us) My dish was the same (Hangar Steak) but my Mom ordered the chop without kidneys and was delivered a chop (but instead of pork I think it was lamb) with the kidneys on the plate, so we took them off, with our fingers and put them on our app plates, the bartender then figured out the mistake, picked up our plates, walked around the bar, reassembled the kidneys and garnish, and delivered them next to us. I don't think the couple had a clue as they were in some in depth discussion but being a server myself I thought it kind of cheesy and unprofessional to reassemble food that someone else has touched and deliver it to another table. I can't imagine.. and they did it in the restaurant, not even in the kitchen... and nothing was comped from our meal considering we had to wait another 20 minutes for the right order to come, which made us miss the train back to Bristol. It's not that the food was bad, it just wasn't that good.. and perhaps had fallen on the floor, or been tossed between the chef and the bartender...

      2. And you so many great suggestions prior to your visit!