My New Year’s resolutions tend to quickly crash and burn.
In 2016 I failed to eat out in Bristol more often.
In 2017 I didn’t eat less meat.
In an attempt to partly put things right, my final meal out in 2017 was at Root, a vegetable-focused restaurant in Bristol.
Root is located in the funky Wapping Wharf cargo container development. Heading up the kitchen is 25-year old Rob Howell, previously head chef at the Michelin-starred Pony & Trap.
The small plate menu puts vegetables front and centre. However, for dedicated carnivores there are a handful of meat and fish dishes tucked away at the bottom of the menu.
Whilst 2-3 dishes per person is recommended, Mrs G and I flexed our waistbands and had a feast.
Super-light and creamy whipped cod’s roe (£4) had just the right balance of fish and salt. It was served with first rate sourdough.
A gorgeously savoury mushroom duxelle (£7) was topped with creamy Jerusalem artichoke puree, a luxuriously runny fried egg, crunchy artichoke crisps and shavings of raw mushroom.
Soft and earthy beetroot pieces (£6.50) were flecked with the crunch of hazelnut and sweetness of blackberry. Discs of pickled beetroot brought balance to the dish but the advertised seaweed was anonymous.
A lush smokey aubergine puree (£6.50) was topped with slices of charred aubergine, tangy pickled ewe’s curd, sweet date pieces and crisp sourdough croutons.
A deep flavoured onglet tartare (£7) was well-seasoned with the classic accompaniments of red onion, caper and mustard. A bundle of crisp shoestring potatoes provided great texture contrast.
I don’t think I’ve ever had salsify (£6) other than in a puree. I’ve been missing out. The sweet, firm-textured root vegetable was served as a hyper-crisp tempura and a herb-marinated piece. It was joined by briny anchovies and uber-savoury parmesan.
A pair of crisp-skinned Cornish sardines (£5) were as perfectly fresh as you could hope for. They were served with a simple squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of smoked rapeseed oil.
Sweet parsnips and soft pears (£7) were matched with delicately acidic pickled artichokes, pokey stilton pieces and parsnip crisps.
An uber-smooth, tangy and creamy lemon posset (£6) was up there with the best Mrs G has ever eaten. It was topped with blobs of lemon curd and pretty shards of meringue.
My dessert was infused with the warmth of sweet booze. A crisp-based vanilla cheesecake (£6.50) was topped with sherry jelly and served with punchy sherry puree and soaked raisins.
The final (and totally unnecessary) dessert for the table was a a textbook squidgy, current-spiked spotted dick (£6) that was accompanied by hyper-smooth vanilla-fragranced custard.
We had a fantastic meal at Root. In fact, it’s the kind of bold-flavoured and interestingly-textured food that would make it easy for me to eat less meat. Hopefully more places of its ilk will spring up.
Address - Root, Cargo, Gaol Ferry Steps, Wapping Wharf, Bristol BS1 6WP
Telephone - 0117 930 0260