Seven Lucky Gods brings a taste of the Far East to the streets of Bristol, writes Sammy Milton
Bristol has seen an influx of new Asian restaurants opening over the past few months. From Woky Ko taking over the city centre to Beijing Cooking Pot on Perry Road and It’s Not Hot Pot near the fountains, it seems that this city just can’t get enough of eastern cuisine. And why should it? With Japan becoming the world’s fastest-growing travel destination, it seems sensible that this is the direction that Bristol’s restaurant scene is heading in.
New kid on the block Seven Lucky Gods opened in Cargo 2 some weeks ago, to much acclaim. A Tokyo-style izakaya bar from the minds behind Hyde & Co, The Ox, Bambalan and Milk Thistle, it is situated across from Woky Ko Kaiju, sharing a terrace that could easily sit 50 people, if the sun ever decides to make another appearance. Despite the terrible weather, we visited last week to see what all the fuss was about.
One of the largest ventures in Wapping Wharf, Seven Lucky Gods takes up six shipping containers, yet seems even larger. Upon entering on this wet Wednesday evening, it was already heaving, with people sat at the bar surrounding the kitchen for after-work drinks, and tables of people poring over small plates of delicious looking morsels.
Myself and my friend were sat at a table to the side, with a good view of the open kitchen and the impressive hand-painted mural on the far wall. Two frosty pints of Asahi were brought over, and the friendly staff were happy to explain the menu to us. Separated into six sections, it comprises snacks, grilled meats and vegetables, raw dishes and sushi, crispy fried plates, salads and desserts.
On our server’s recommendation, we decided to share six dishes across the whole menu. From the izakaya snacks, we tried the much-talked-about chicken katsu arancini, sat in a dollop of kewpie mayonnaise and topped with a dusting of aged parmesan. You could come here for these alone – perfectly formed balls of chewy rice encase piping hot curry with small pieces of chicken. The parmesan adds an Italian twist – if this is fusion food, I’m a convert.
From the robata (grilled) section, we tried miso-charred aubergine and chicken heart yakitori. I’m not going to lie, I’m not a fan of aubergine, never have been. And even though this dish was so tender, and deeply flavoured with miso, it still couldn’t win over my heart of stone. But I know a good plate of food when I eat one, and this dish is perfect in every way – my dining partner finished it in seconds. The chicken hearts were excellent. Springy and light with just enough bite, they’re brilliant for those who feel a little squeamish about offal – a must-try in my opinion.
From the sushi section came six rolls filled with soft-shell crab, avocado and cucumber – impossibly fresh and ever so slightly fishy, these were the perfect beer snack. I still see soft-shell crab as such a treat, and these were no different – use the smear of wasabi to give it an extra kick.
We went to town on the crispy and fried section – spicy Korean-fried chicken, kimchi fries and Iberico katsu sando all arrived in quick succession. The chicken was pure decadence – crispy, salty with a spicy kick, it’s the sort of thing that you want time and time again. The kimchi fries were surprisingly punchy, covered with spring onions, more of that delectable kewpie mayonnaise and a smattering of tangy kimchi, they were great on their own but also proved helpful for mopping excess sauces throughout the meal. Finally, the star of the show, the Iberico katsu sando – a hunk of juicy, rich pork tenderloin slipped between two slices of fluffy white bread and a layer of cream cabbage doused in a tonkatsu sauce. This was the standout dish for me, something that I’ll crave and will have me crawling back through the doors for more. Order it, or regret it later.
It’s no secret that Wapping Wharf is the most exciting place to dine in Bristol right now, and the addition of Seven Lucky Gods has just raised the stakes. Escape the mundanity of everyday life and take a trip to the Far East – it’s an experience you’ll treasure.
Seven Lucky Gods
Cargo 2, Museum Street, Wapping Wharf, Bristol, BS1 6ZA
0117 929 1310
Image credit: Kirstie Young