Restaurant review | No-waste cocktails and ethical eats

Yurt Lush by Temple Meads train station is serving up a rich menu of outstanding homemade dishes

Sunday lunch in a Mongolian tent – it doesn’t get much more ‘Bristol’ than that. Yurt Lush is known for its award-winning weekend roasts but there’s a whole lot more on the menu to explore.

After existing as a pop-up cafe at Creative Common, Yurt Lush relocated to Clock Tower Yard next to the station a few years back, with local farmer and environmentalist Luke Hasell and team building the iconic tents by hand.

The place is a fantastic welcome to new arrivals alighting from their trains – in the summer the yard is a sun trap perfect for sipping IPAs and snacking on tapas, and in winter the tents are a cosy retreat from the weather outside. 

We start with a couple of cocktails crafted by general manager Jamie Crowley whose skill matched with a zero-waste mindset results in truly unique concoctions. Leftover beetroot skins from the kitchen have been soaked in vodka and added to vermouth and coffee cherries to create the beetroot martini, which goes down easily and is a lovely combination of flavours. 

The second is a bloody Mary variation made with head chef Karina Brauns’ new chilli jam – meaty and satisfying, it would better be described as edible rather than drinkable, and is simply delicious.

The escapist experience of dining in a tent complete with log burner in the middle of the afternoon, knowing the metropolis is just outside, feels like we’ve popped into a festival for a few hours.

First up are the pork croquettes with their crispy fried exteriors and soft insides, the meat infused with fennel and served with spicy mayo. The soup of the day is tomato served with well-buttered sourdough toast courtesy of Mark’s Bread on North Street – the tomatoes slow-roasted with thyme produce an incredibly sweet, full flavour.

Salmon cakes with tartare sauce are just the right amount of smoky and salty. All sauces, jams and condiments are made onsite by Karina from seasonal ingredients, the kitchen and bar often swapping garnishes and ingredients resulting in an unusally cohesive and holistic menu.

The best-selling buddha bowl is packed with chimchurri, Puy lentils, roast carrots and cumin, roast squash, Israeli couscous, feta and roasted pumpkin seeds. Every mouthful is fresh and the colours are fantastic. A drizzle of cumin, lemon and yoghurt dressing is the final flourish.

It’s no wonder the food is this tasty – each menu is curated by talented Karina in collaboration with Michelin-starred Josh Eggleton, the chef patron of the Pony & Trap, and all ingredients are sourced from sustainable and reputable south-west suppliers. Happily, the minimal food miles and local sources mean each dish is bursting with flavour.

The tents, which would make a beautiful wedding reception or party venue, are available for private hire. 

Caitlin Bowring

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