Living in Bristol, there are always plenty of new food offerings popping up. Whether these are restaurants, coffee shops, bars or street vendors – we are pretty much spoiled for choice in this beaut of a city. There seems to be something for any occasion, or every mood. Whatever takes your fancy, you can almost certainly always find it. I personally try and keep my finger on the pulse of the food scene here as much as I can, which is not always an easy task! However, I am not sure an establishment has created quite so many ripples recently as Bulrush.
Since its relatively low-key opening late last year, I had read and heard nothing but fantastic feedback about this place. Rave reviews coming out of my Twitter feed from well-respected foodies, various glowing posts on Trip Advisor and even a write up in the Guardian singing its praises. Saying I was excited to visit is an understatement.
Bulrush has a primary focus on foraging for ingredients and showcasing the finest in produce on offer from the South West. This is what excited me the most about my meal here. I often see pictures posted up on their social media platforms’ showcasing what has been picked that day and what will be on the menu for dinner that week. When so much time, care and attention to detail have gone into the food, it is difficult not to be impressed.
When my friend and I arrived for dinner on a summery Thursday evening, we were greeted with warm smiles as if we were old friends and told we could have the table by the window if we liked. The front windows at Bulrush are frosted; this made me feel as though I was involved in a secret dining experience, with no-one able to walk past and peek-in and leaving me unable to people watch or linger upon what was happening outside. It was just going to be me and my cuisine. The restaurant has an air of simplicity about it without frills or fuss which I liked. You’d be forgiven for thinking Bulrush is quite small from the outside looking in but there is plenty of space inside with the restaurant leaning off to the left and also an upstairs dining space which can be hired for private events, there was a party going on the evening we were in. (Future boyfriend, take note when planning my 30th birthday dinner OK?!)
We chose to go with the 8 course tasting menu option for £45. We also ordered a glorious bottle of Portuguese white wine, ‘Fossil’, which was recommended to accompany our meal (OK so we ordered two bottles because it was so delicious – life is tough sometimes).
What happened next was one of the most stunning dining experiences I have had the pleasure of enjoying for a long time. This restaurant should be renamed ‘Beautiful Bulrush’ because in my opinion, it was just that, and then some.
Fresh oysters served on a bed of seaweed started us off and from thereon it only got better. A mixture of meat, vegetable and fish dishes, my personal highlights included mussels with barbecued leeks, seaweed butter and scallop roe; succulent and delicious pork garnished with peaches and almond puree; the sweet flavours of the fruit working perfectly alongside the soft meat. Plus my favourite course of them all, fresh peas with mushroom, pea mousse, pea granita and parmesan. It may not sound exciting when described that way, but an interesting and experimental course which took one simple main ingredient presented it in three different ways; in short, it was incredible. The combination of the different textures with the cooling sensation of the pea granita was surprising and my only qualm here was that I could have eaten plenty more. Dessert was another highlight, pine yogurt, honeycomb and bee pollen. This dish encompassed summer in a bowl for me, delightful fruit flavour with a bit of kick from the crunch of honeycomb.
Every course was impressive and impeccably presented. It is staggering value for money for food which I personally think deserves a Michelin star.
What topped the evening off was the brilliant service from Katherine and her team. Katherine was genuinely warm and kind, happily chatting away to me about the menu and the food, taking the time to answer all of my questions (if you know me, then you will know I am a chatterbox). She did not once make me feel like I was keeping her. Her passion for Bulrush was written across her face and I felt incredibly relaxed and charmed by the whole setting. She and her team are a real credit to the restaurant. I spent the whole evening enjoying glorious food and forgetting the world for a while. I have already planned my next visit, a pop-up event at Avery’s Cellars (http://www.bulrushrestaurant.co.uk/Events) which promises to be magical. If you are wanting a modern but minimalist dining experience, with beautiful food and a charming atmosphere, then look no further and book into this gem.
Bulrush has well and truly arrived in Bristol.