Feast on this

flatlay of mezze board

Stacey Black heads to the harbourside to sample some top-notch pub grub

The city has enjoyed a recent boom in foodie pop-ups lately, and more often than not, these establishments place an emphasis on healthy fare. However, No. 1 Harbourside has been at the forefront of this movement for years, dishing out hearty and wholesome plates since it opened in 2010. With the philosophy that food should be “Good, clean and fair,” I headed back to revisit this Bristol favourite.

Situated smack in the city centre, and overlooking the water, No. 1 Harbourside is a place that’s hard to miss. The sprawling bar is nestled just beside The Watershed, and has beautiful views across the glittering harbour. Heavy footfall along this pretty stretch of the city means that the place is quite often swamped with people enjoying a leisurely drink after a day of shopping, or tucking into a first-rate dinner. Buzzing with activity, this was one such evening.

After ordering a glass of wine each from the bar, my dining partner and I were shown to our table. A cosy little spot, tucked into the corner of the stage, we enjoyed lovely views across the space. Propped up by candy-striped pillars, and in the glow of the strings of twinkly lights that hung above, this is surely one of the most attractive bars in the city. And with a range of ever-changing seasonal dishes that promise not to break the bank, this place has it all sewn up.

Scanning the menu, and pretending that I hadn’t already checked online several times in anticipation of my visit, I knew what I was going to order. It had to be the spiced cauliflower burger. A friend had visited earlier in the year and it came highly recommended. Going for the meaty option, my dining partner chose the smoked cheeseburger. Now all we had to do
was wait.

Not too long as it turned out. Even though the bar was very busy, our friendly server Archie returned quickly with our order. Now, I love a big plate of food, but this was something else. My burger was immense, and the Assembly Bakery bun alone could have been a whole meal. The huge burger was piping hot and crispy, made up of a hearty mix of spiced cauliflower and chickpeas. More like a mammoth-sized fritter than a patty, it was impeccably seasoned and piled high with lettuce, vegan mayo and Dorset sweet pickles. Those pickles! Tangy and sweet and with a gratifying bite, they perfectly complemented the ample burger. Amazingly, there was still room on my plate for a serving of fresh dressed Severn Project leaves, and a monumental portion of chips. I love a carb, and these chips were heavenly. Sometimes, there is nothing more comforting than a mountain of homemade, skin-on fries, and these were delicious. It was a feat, but I succeeded in making a sizeable dent.

Meanwhile, my friend was attacking her own substantial burger with a similar vigour. Her choice of grass-fed Hereford Cross beef patty, accompanied by sweet pickled cucumber, Dorset-red smoked cheddar, dressed leaves and more of those incredible fries seemed to hit the spot. She was kind enough to share some of the Tracklement’s sweet mustard ketchup that arrived on the side, and I smothered it on my chips. I had been forewarned that this ketchup was irresistible, and it lived up to the hype. Even though the pudding board was tempting, after all this hearty fare, we were so full that dessert was absolutely not an option. But I’ll be back.

Ingredients are locally sourced and seasonal, and all dishes are reasonably priced. Main meals usually cost between £7-18, so this offers real value for money. With robust dishes such as chicken pot roast sitting alongside an ever-changing Buddha bowl, there is something for all appetites.
If you haven’t already sampled what’s on offer, No. 1 Harbourside is absolutely worth a visit. Even if it’s just for those chips.

No. 1 Harbourside

No. 1 Canons Road

Bristol

BS1 5UH

0117 929 1100

www.no1harbourside.co.uk

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