A taste of summer sunshine

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Muino dishes up some sensational Spanish cuisine, writes Sammy Milton

The long-awaited surge in good weather we’ve been having has seen people flocking to pub gardens after work, scrambling onto roof terraces or spreading out in parks with something long and refreshing to drink. In keeping with this summer theme, appetites have started to lean towards bright, colourful salads and tiny plates of delicious morsels to share amongst friends. So, when we were invited to come in for dinner at Muino on a balmy Wednesday night, we jumped at the chance. It already felt like Spain outside, why not go the whole hog and have some tapas too?

Located on the bustling restaurant strip that is Cotham Hill, we arrived to find all the windows thrown open and plenty of contented looking people seated inside. Muino is a family run business inspired by the sunny, relaxed culture of Galicia, northwest Spain, and their menu runs from breakfast through to dinner – featuring a range of Spanish-inspired small plates and heartier dishes such as burgers.

Seated by the window, we ordered wine whilst we perused the menu. Muino have a range of deals running throughout the week, most notably their early-bird offer until 7pm (or all night Tuesdays and Wednesdays), which features two courses for £17.50 or three/five small plates for £16/£26. A great deal, we’re sure you’ll agree – however, we had free reign of the menu, so ordered some small plates to start and a main each to follow.

Grilled sourdough bread with homemade dips came first – a generous size and bursting with colour. The dips consisted of beetroot and feta, tzatziki, babaganush and hummus, and lasted a solid five minutes – an excellent way to start the meal.

Following this, I ordered a small plate of crispy pork belly with black pudding and burnt apple purée, and let me just say – this was the biggest small plate I’ve ever seen! Two ginormous hunks of crispy pork belly arrived, gloriously fatty with plenty of bite. The apple purée gave way to hues of summer sweetness, whilst the black pudding added earthy, rich depth.

My dining companion went with grilled Galician king prawns on a bed of creamy parsnip purée, accompanied by wilted spinach and sherry caramel. A delight to both look at and devour, the prawns were plump and sweet, buoyed marvellously by the sweet flavours of parsnip and caramel. We were most satisfied.

My main of oven-roasted guinea fowl with pressed potato, broad beans, pea purée and glazed carrots was like having a decadent, midweek roast. Having never tried guinea fowl before, I was bowled over by the expertise of cooking present – the meat was juicy and sweet, the skin pleasantly crisp. Perhaps not the best choice for a smouldering summer night, it was something I would definitely come back for in cooler weather.

My friend’s main of whole pan-fried sea bream with new potatoes, asparagus and sauce vierge, however, was the perfect summer dish. Beautifully presented, the meat fell away from the bone and was fresh and tasty. The asparagus and new potatoes proved to be the perfect trimmings, and every last bite was enjoyed greatly.

We declined dessert simply because we were so full, but they had a rather tempting selection on offer, including an apricot frangipane, a baked chocolate pot and a cheese board that I immediately regretted not ordering the minute we left.

All in all, we had a great time. The staff were friendly, laughing with us and happily explaining the ins and outs of the menu, and the food was both authentic and exciting, using local and sustainable ingredients. So, if you fancy a taste of summertime, get yourself to Muino – you’re in for a treat.

Muino

32 Cotham Hill, Bristol BS6 6LA

0117 907 7112

www.muinobristol.com

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