California soul

quay street diner tacos

Quay Street Diner is serving up some stateside sunshine, writes Sammy Milton

As the summer is starting to dwindle, we search for sunshine wherever we can. Luckily, we don’t have to venture too far. Quay Street Diner opened in the city centre just a couple of months ago, taking over the previous Roll for the Soul site, and has been delighting customers ever since.

With its open-plan floor, wall-to-ceiling windows and comfy booths and tables, it’s a welcoming place to be on a slightly nippy Tuesday evening. Delicious smells emanate from the open kitchen the moment we enter, and we slide into one of the comfortable booths and settle in. It feels like a very safe place here, despite being so central.

Quay Street Diner offer a very impressive, and somewhat unique, menu. Californian-inspired, there’s a sizeable range of options to choose from, including nibbles, small plates, mains, tacos and desserts. We’ve actually been once before – the previous month when they were offering their generous 40% opening offer, and enjoyed the experience so much that we were in a rush to come back. We ordered a couple of strawberry margaritas to kick-start the evening and started ordering food.

We decided to go with a few things from the smaller sections and one main to share. Light and crispy fresh corn tortilla chips and homemade guacamole came first. The guacamole was zesty and smooth – a very decent snack to share. Grilled sourdough garlic bread was equally as pleasing, rich and buttery and gone in seconds.

From the small plates we tried jumbo king prawns with mojo de ajo and some of their very special extra thick-cut, char-grilled bacon. We made short work of the prawns, peeling them from their shells and trailing them through the delicious oils they were cooked in, but lingered over the bacon. This was proper stuff indeed – very thickly cut and incredibly meaty. The accompanying salsa of pineapple and scotch bonnet chillies was the sweet and spicy kick that the meat so desired, and we found ourselves holding some back, so we could ration it throughout the meal.

Two tacos topped with deep-fried, popcorn shrimp with lime and a fruit salsa came next, light and dangerously edible. These were very good, the crispy shrimp beautifully offset by the fruity flavours, whilst the lime added a welcome tang that cut through the dish. This is exactly the sort of food I want most of the time, be it tired, hungry, emotional, happy or hungover. That is what is so good about tacos. They’re always a great idea.

We shared just the one main, because we were getting very full by this point. Enter the Philly cheesesteak – a thing of beauty. Seasoned and grilled beef rump, onions and peppers were piled into a fresh brioche roll, toasted, and covered in cheese. What’s not to love? This was a hearty meal, one that I would’ve inevitably struggled to eat on my own, but between two it was perfect. Scorching hot, it was absolutely delicious, and gave a firm nod to the American heritage of the menu.

They may be the new kids on the block, but the team at Quay Street Diner have well and truly found their niche. Pumping out plate after plate of excellent, Californian-inspired food is a first for Bristol, as far as I’m aware, and they’re certainly very good at it. So the next time you’re in need of some Cali sunshine, pop in and take a seat. You won’t be disappointed.

Quay Street Diner

No. 2 Quay Street

0117 403 1152

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