Broken Dock has stunning views and a brand-new menu to match, writes Sammy Milton
On a (very) brisk Wednesday evening last week, my friend and I sauntered down towards the waterfront, just opposite Brunel’s SS Great Britain. A favourite hangout spot for many in the summer, it is almost unrecognisable in the bleaker winter months. Freezing cold, everyone with any sense was tucked away in their harbourside apartments, apart from a couple of joggers, crazily braving the chilly winds.
Broken Dock, then, acts as a bright beacon in the darkness. With a huge, glass-fronted exterior and pleasing (but understandably, deserted) outside area, it beckons you in from the cold, and this is where we were lucky enough to dine last week.
The restaurant was fresh from a refurbishment, and we were welcomed in and quickly seated, all set to try their new menu. Previously supplying tapas and small plates to the good people of Bristol, they have now moved into the more traditional dining style of serving a small amount of appetisers, mains of meat, fish and vegetables and a selection of sides. This is their bright and shiny new menu, and we were looking forward to trying it.
It has to be said – the suggested starters at the top of the menu didn’t really grab us, but that being said, you can order any of the mains as a starter, so I shan’t be picky. So, we launched straight in with the mains and some sides to share. From the meat section, I ordered the Old Spot roast pork belly with crackling and my friend went with the fish medley. From the sides, we opted to share some salt and pepper squid and chunky chips.
Whilst we waited, we had a good chance to take in the restaurant. It’s of a good size, with cosy, booth-style seating running down one length of the space and, of course, those lovely waterfront views. It’s wonderfully comfortable and welcoming.
Our food arrived and we were most impressed. Presentation is clearly key here, and both dishes were artfully arranged. My pork belly glistened atop a generous amount of Bramley apple sauce and was partnered with a side of kimchi. The meat fell away from the moment it was cut into and was fatty and delicious. The crackling was on the slightly chewy side, but was pleasing none the less. The kimchi baffled me slightly – I didn’t really get that fermented kick you so desire, and to me it was more a pile of well-cooked cabbage. It was still very tasty though, so no major complaints.
My friend’s seafood medley was excellent. An assortment of fried and lightly battered squid, whitebait, octopus and hake was piled high on a plate, with a good dollop of roasted garlic mayonnaise on the side for dipping. All of the fish was cooked to perfection, and worked particularly well with the side of the chunky, double-cooked chips.
What a portion! Value for your money is another of the perks here, and between us we couldn’t finish them. But they were great – crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and perfect for dipping.
The squid was equally as good. The batter was satisfyingly crunchy without a hint of grease and the hot squid was wonderfully springy and fresh. Lovely.
Having failed at finishing our mains, we politely declined dessert, but they have a lovely looking section. This includes the ever-fascinating dark chocolate salami, a dish I will have to come back to try.
Broken Dock has a lot going for it – a nice restaurant and arguably one of Bristol’s best views. This new menu may need a little bit of tweaking, but it still makes for an excellent meal out.
Millennium Promenade, Bristol BS1
0117 325 0898