Shop 3 Bistro is as good as it gets, writes Sammy Milton
A bistro is classed as a small restaurant, serving moderately priced, simple meals in a modest setting. It makes one think of Paris. Bohemian little places, with cosy, misty windows lit up with candlelight and from laughter within.
Now we may not be in Paris, but surely the leafy area of Clifton Village will suffice? Regent Street features a range of independent shops, cafes and a couple of restaurants. Enter the newest addition to the block — Shop 3 Bistro.
From the outside it is delicate, almost adorable. Large windows with white-painted frames reveal a beautiful up-and-down place, that, on a rainy evening, positively draws you in off the streets. Upon entering, it was immediately apparent to see just why this restaurant is making a name for itself. It is just lovely; a small seating area up front, a more intimate dining area up a flight of stairs towards the back and a large dining room downstairs.
The staff were unashamedly brilliant. Owner Kathryn met us at the door and settled us in and we were delighted to be waited upon by none other than a delightful Frenchman with an extensive knowledge of good food and even better wine.
We went for two of the slightly more unusual starters — wood pigeon with cherry and liquorice root, vanilla and espresso tart, beetroot and red vein morrel (£7.80) and lamb’s tongue with crisp onion rings, pickled shallots, passionfruit mustard and micro basil (£7.50).
The pigeon was among some of the most unusual and delightful dishes I have ever eaten. The meat was perfectly cooked and tender, arranged prettily over the deep red cherries and juxtaposed perfectly with the sweet, creaminess of the tart. If one mouthful was heaven, the whole plate was the stuff dreams are made of. The lamb’s tongue was an artfully arranged plate, the kick of the mustard paired beautifully with hearty meat, whilst the onion rings added a crisp, emphatic depth to the dish. Excellent.
Mains were equally as stunning. I went for lamb with chorizo bon bons, fresh peas, pea shoots and homegrown mint sauce (£19). Two lamb chops, perfectly pink, lay on a bed of fresh peas, flanked by lamb fillet, bon bons and a lamb spring roll. It was a masterpiece. The meat melted in your mouth and the peas were so fresh you could have seen them being picked that very afternoon. The chorizo bon bons — or croquettes – added a deep richness to the dish that made it sing.
My dining partner opted for the market fish (cod) with white asparagus, elderflower, arrowgrass ash and wild asparagus (£18). Such a wonderful, delicate plate, the fish was full of flavour and the asparagus added welcome texture and bite. We could not find fault with anything.
Desserts are simple yet effortless at Shop 3 Bistro. We opted for the summer fruit and frangipane tart, peach sorbet and orange blossom sponge (£7.50), and the chocolate lamington, elderflower bavois, chocolate and rum sorbet, raspberry coulis and gingerbread (6.90). Both were an absolute delight.
Fresh flavours from the fruit dessert tasted of a summer's garden, whilst the slightly more decadent chocolate-themed plate brought you back to childhood treats.
Shop 3 Bistro is one of those very rare places that is doing absolutely everything right. Everything, from the food right down to the dining experience (we had a lovely conversation with some fellow diners that made our evening), is perfect. It is now one of my favourite places in Bristol. Paris, you’re missing out.
Shop 3 Bistro
3 Regent Street, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4HW
0117 382 2235