Root opens today in the place of the popular Chicken Shed, just how different can it be?
In a bold and exciting move, the team at Eat Drink Bristol Fashion has today unveiled plans for Root, its new restaurant which replaces its popular venue Chicken Shed down at Cargo on Wapping Wharf.
With a company ethos that puts sustainability at the heart of all its restaurant operations, closing Chicken Shed and opening Root in its place overnight has enabled the company to put vegetables at the heart of its new venture, switching convention to make meat dishes the side options on the menu.
With high profile backing from the Sustainable Restaurant Association, transforming the concept is designed to help raise awareness of the environmental benefits of eating more veg and encourage diners to consider the numerous health benefits which are attributed to eating less meat.
Rob Howell, formerly of The Pony & Trap in Chew Magna and Ondine in Edinburgh will be assuming the Head Chef role while Meg Oakley, also of The Pony & Trap will join experienced General Manager Domhnaill Barnes to run the Front of House operation.
Commenting on the opening of Root, Amelia Twine, Operations Director at Eat Drink Bristol Fashion and Board Member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association said:
“For many years it’s been an ambition to open a restaurant that puts vegetables front and centre on the menu and it is exciting to be able to do so as part of Eat Drink Bristol Fashion family.
“In short, vegetables are an amazing food source and there are so many wonderful dishes that we’ll be able to offer. We still love meat and we’ll still serve it, but by giving veg star billing and making meat the supporting cast, we hope to make people think a bit more about the food they’re eating, how it got on their plate and what impact it has on health.”
The U-turn which switches emphasis from meat to veg stems from issues faced in ensuring Chicken Shed remained a truly sustainable operation in serving high grade organic fried chicken.
Josh Eggleton, co-founder of Eat Drink Bristol Fashion and driver behind the restaurant overhaul explained the shift in direction:
“We opened Chicken Shed last September with a goal to become the first chicken shop in the country to serve high quality organic chicken across the whole menu.
“In keeping with the ethos of Eat Drink Bristol Fashion we felt it was possible to serve “guilt free” organic chicken. Chicken that was sustainable, of the highest welfare and sold at a fair price.
“While we feel we achieved that, the reality is that we faced a number of challenges which meant either our values or our whole business would be compromised in the long term.
“As organic chickens live longer, the pieces are larger with thicker skin which ironically does not make for the best fried chicken. In latter weeks we experimented by serving organic crowns and free range pieces which improved our product in taste but countered the initial concept of an organic, guilt free chicken shop.
“We went back to the drawing board and came up with Root, which better aligns with our sustainable aims and company values.”
In the kitchen, Head Chef Rob Howell is looking to put his mark on Eat Drink Cargo and is excited for the new challenge:
“Having spent four years at The Pony & Trap with two as Head Chef, launching and running a restaurant has long been the goal and I can’t wait to get going with Domhnaill and Meg at Root.
“Recently I’ve spent some time doing stages in Denmark, in London at Elystan Street and Outlaw’s at the Capital, and perhaps best of all, Bristol’s very own Casamia with Pete Sanchez Iglesias.”
“It’s no secret that the West country is an unrivalled area for top class produce and I believe that it’s a chef’s responsibility to work sustainably and make that most of that.
“Veg small plates will be at the heart of Root’s menu but we’ll still be using amazing fish and meat from the region to create interesting side dishes. In addition they’ll be an extensive wine list incorporating natural and biodynamic wines that will bring out the best in the food. All in all, we’re confident that it’s going to be a fun place to visit that will add to Bristol’s vibrant food scene which is now getting international recognition.”
Root opens at Cargo this evening Wednesday 2nd August serving a range of small plates in a regularly changing menu.
Check out their social media by following @RootBristol on Twitter and Instagram. To book a table, please call 0117 930 0260.