An inspiration of locality, seasonality and creativity, presented on small plates, writes James Howells
Gallimaufry is often defined as ‘a confused jumble or medley of things’ but The Gallimaufry, (or ‘The Galli’ for those in the know), is far from being confused. Located on The Promenade of the ever-changing Gloucester Road, it is certainly a jumble of food, live music, art and cocktails. The medley of what’s on offer and the quality in which it is executed is what makes this Gallimaufry a glorious one.
While serving as one of Bristol’s finest watering holes for a myriad of clientele, they also serve excellent coffee as well as reputable brunch and a Sunday roast fast gaining respect within circles of connoisseurs.
The warm ambience is accented with trinkets and furniture that boasts confidence in its age, with a lively downstairs area for drinks and music and a charmingly creaking staircase leading to an upstairs 27-cover dining area ignited by the beams of a spanking-clean pass.
In a place where nothing needs to jump out in front of you, the value of the food might be the first thing to do so. The constantly evolving menu is refreshingly seasonal and local (a list of suppliers can be found on the wall-mounted chalk board) and a variety of techniques are playfully displayed on each plate thanks to a well-trained and creative kitchen team. The aptly named Galli-plates are all £9 and under with an option of three ‘selected’ plates for £15 between 12pm and 7pm Monday to Saturday.
As soon as the food began to grace the table it was clear that every plate was refined and had been well thought out, everything was everywhere for a reason. salt fish croquettes and aioli (£5) were crisp and light with the right amount of fishy density. The hake, curried cauliflower, almond and cauliflower bhaji (£6) was paired with wonderfully cooked hake with a crisp skin, toasted almonds and a curried cauliflower purée. The strong seasoning was excellently balanced with the sulphurous cauliflower bhaji and deliciously fragrant micro coriander from local herb suppliers, Grow Bristol.
Next, cuttlefish, Serrano ham, gremolata and smoked aioli (£6). The classic combination of fish and pork, was executed well; crisp Serrano ham against buttery, milky strips of cuttlefish tied together with a good gremolata. Aioli made its second appearance here, and it was certainly a welcome one.
Pigeon, mushroom, cavolo-nero, pancetta and sage (£8) was a wonderful nod to the season. Again, a strong combination of flavours that tasted like walking home in winter. To end the meal was sticky toffee pudding, butterscotch sauce and salted caramel ice cream (£5). Often sticky toffee puddings are too sweet but this one had a bitter richness resonating with flavours of dates, demerara and dark ales.
While many see small plates as a reason to be simple (read, less) the food here is certainly not restricted at all — the smaller plates seen as an entirely different playing field to showcase exceptional Bristol produce and local talent. Like chefs will work within short seasons and in increasingly smaller kitchens to provide the biggest and best they can, the Galli-plate offers a platform of great value whilst being able to enjoy some of the finest ingredients, techniques and flavours in the city.
26/28 The Promenade, Gloucester Road
0117 942 7319