Sharing, Scandinavian-style

dela bristol

Dela may be tucked away, but it’s breaking boundaries when it comes to the way we dine, writes Sammy Milton

Set in a delightful neighbourhood of the very up-and-coming area of Easton is a revolutionary restaurant doing very clever things. Dela is a Swedish-inspired restaurant tucked away on Mivart Street, close to good pubs, Stapleton Road station and famed establishments such as Sweet Mart.

Meaning ‘share’ in Swedish, it should come as no surprise to those dining here that the concept of the food revolves around sharing. With that in mind, it makes for a perfect date night or a place to visit with family and friends, very much a concept I can get behind. We arrived on a chilly Tuesday evening into the warmth of the restaurant to find it pleasantly busy – a few aforementioned date nights were taking place, and the atmosphere was incredibly welcoming.

Seated towards the back near to the open kitchen, we started to warm up and looked over the menu. Dela change their menus throughout the year, and make an effort to highlight seasonal produce at its best. I can certainly confirm that this was present on that evening – the menu we were presented with reflected the changing seasons with many autumnal twists and turns.

Dela offer a good selection of small plates, three different sharing boards (designed for two), and three puddings. On our incredibly friendly waiter’s recommendation, we went with a selection of the small plates and one sharing board. And so we begin.

A selection of Dela pickles and a portion of sourdough bread and butter arrived first. Jewel bright and expertly done, the pickles were a delight. With carrot, beetroot and radish among others, these were an excellent way to start the meal – the perfect palate cleansers to make way for more to come. The bread and butter was just as good, a perfect-sized portion of sourdough alongside lovingly homemade, creamy butter – we scraped the bowl to get the last smear out.

Tomatoes, monk’s beard, pumpkin seeds and crab dressing was a perfectly executed dish. An admirable homage to the end of the tomato season, these were plump, sweet and juicy, everything you want from a tomato salad, decorated daintily with the glossy monk’s beard and dotted with seeds. The crab dressing was an unexpected delight – more of a decadent spread really – deeply flavoursome and unctuous.

The final small plate was beans, curd, whey and lovage. One to order if you’re hungry – it’s a surprisingly large and filling portion – this whispered of the end of the summer months, and was very pleasing – even more so if you have some bread to scoop up the cheesy mixture.

Onto the main event. A trout sharing board arrived, complete with the fish in its many forms – pan-fried and topped with greens, fennel and samphire, cold-smoked in a little bowl, and fried into little salt-pollock croquettes, accompanied by more bread and butter, mustard and seaweed crackers. This was a real smorgasbord of food, perfect if you’re looking for something to linger over with a partner or friend.

I couldn’t find fault with any of it. The pan-fried trout was delicate and light, cooked perfectly and gone all too quickly. Even better were the croquettes – after all, croquettes are the way to my heart – softly smoky and very indulgent. The meaty slivers of cold-smoked trout worked incredibly well when laid on the bread with the butter and exceedingly delicious mustard, and the seaweed crackers were the perfect snack – something I could munch on happily all night long.

We were too full for dessert, as often is the way, but everything on the menu was on-point for the season and sounded delicious.

All in all, Dela is a real experience. It’s the first Nordic-inspired restaurant I’ve visited in a long time, and they have everything down to a very fine art here. So, if you ever find yourself in this bustling little neighbourhood, make sure you pop in and pay them a visit.

Dela,

Mivart Street, Easton,
BS5 6JF

0117 951 1499

www.delabristol.com

Image credit: Benjamin Pryor

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