Its National Vegetarian Week so why not mark the occasion with a visit to one of Bristol’s best veggie eateries – 1847, says Emma Dance
When I told my husband we were booked in for dinner at a vegetarian restaurant he wasn’t impressed. I wasn’t surprised.
After all, this is a man who is so vegetable-averse that I have to conceal them in his food as if I was feeding a small child.
But nonetheless I was determined that we should give it a go, in a vain hope that eating veggies prepared by an expert might at least start to cure him of his phobia of pretty much anything with any kind of nutritional value. I just hoped he wouldn’t have a toddler-style tantrum if a piece of broccoli made its way on to his plate and sweetened the deal with a promise I’d buy him a takeaway on the way home if he didn’t like his food. It was a promise I very much hoped I wouldn’t have to keep.
The first thing that struck us when we arrived at 1847 was the aroma – I couldn’t quite place it, but it was rich and deeply savoury – almost umami-esque – and had us salivating almost immediately.
As we perused the menu husband visibly relaxed as he realised, to his surprise, that there were dishes that not only would he be willing to eat, but that he might actually enjoy. But although his decision was easy, I found it much harder. Usually I can easily decide whether I would prefer meat to fish, and there’s certain ingredients that always catch my eye, but faced with a choice between mushrooms or aubergines I didn’t really know where to start. All of the dishes sounded appealing – I just couldn’t decide which were really calling to me.
Fortunately restaurant manager Alida was on hand to help.
She pointed me towards a starter of Goats Cheese Balls dusted with black olives and served with apples, celery and melba toast. The little nuggets of soft, salty cheese were perfectly offset by the apple which had been dried to give an sweet yet earthy flavour and an added texture. Husband chose the Spring Pie – puff pastry stuffed with smoked Cheddar, marrow, beetroot and spring greens served on a bed of cress and marjoram pesto, and loved every mouthful.
I turned to Alida again for advice on my main and she recommended Summer Veggies, a medley of roasted vegetables with a wild garlic veloute, celeriac crisps and pumpkin seeds. It was light and fresh and much more flavoursome than I was expecting. Husband’s “Fish” and chips was nuggets of halloumi in a crisp batter, the saltiness wonderfully offset by the sweetness from the mint and basil crushed peas and some zingy lemon curd.
When it came to dessert we needed no help – that’s one bit of the menu we definitely no our way around. My dark chocolate brownie was rich and comforting with the accompanying chilli brittle providing a vigorous kick. Husband’s Scottish trifle had a good boozy whack from the whisky jelly and made it a proper grown-up pud.
At three courses for £25 (or two for £19.50) 1847 dishes up great value food.
And if my husband was anything to go by it’s food that would satisfy even a confirmed carnivore.
We didn’t have to stop at a takeaway on the way home!
25 St Stephens Street
0117 922 6315