Saturday, 6 January 2018

Root, Bristol restaurant review

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. 

The Details:

Address - Root, Cargo, Gaol Ferry Steps, Wapping Wharf, Bristol BS1 6WP
Telephone - 0117 930 0260

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