No Manâ€™s Grace is doing something really special on Chandos Road, says Sammy Milton
Nestled away on Chandos Road, a street that’s quickly become one of Bristol’s most sought-after restaurant locations, is No Man’s Grace. Famous for their award-winning roasts on Sundays, they’ve marketed themselves as a cosy, forward-thinking place to come and eat small plates in the evening, followed by decadent desserts that will tantalise your taste buds.
We arrived on a quiet evening, and were immediate welcomed in by the fantastic Leanne, who instantly made us feel right at home. The interior was candlelit and atmospheric, and we had a great seat by the window that was perfect for people-watching. After ordering a glass of Picpoul de Pinet each (£5.10/£6.95), we kicked-off our meal with a complimentary appetiser of a choux pastry made with cauliflower and filled with Marmite. If this sounds strange, I can assure you it was not, and it made us all the more excited for our meal. We also tasted the crab on toast, which was light and intensely fresh, and chicken liver pate on a piece of chicken skin with a pickled shallot. Both were divine.
My boyfriend started with the salt cod and potato brandade, gremolata with crispy shallots (£7.00). The dish was the consistency of perfectly made mash-potato; full and light, the salt cod really adding a depth of flavour with flecks of pea green and the shallots adding lots of texture. Unusually for me, I started with a soup. Beef and onion, a real classic but an absolute masterpiece. Warming and comforting, it was rich and flavoursome and among the nicest soup I’ve had to date. It came with a small, perfectly formed loaf of brioche, the sweetness of which cut through the savoury soup (£7.50).
Our mains were equally as impressive. My boyfriend opted for the brill, salsify cooked in seaweed, with artichoke, potato gnocchi and crab bisque (£18.00). The fish was perfectly cooked with a light, delicate flavour and a crisp skin, and the accompaniments added colour, texture and depth to the dish. Prettily arranged, it was a treat for the eyes as well as the stomach! I went with the stuffed chicken thigh with leek, chanterelle and field mushroom (£16.00) which slightly blew me away. So seasonal and delicious, the chicken thigh was expertly cooked and rolled with the bone removed, the mushrooms meaty and wholesome and the leek fresh and light.
Reeling slightly, but knowing we were still yet to be defeated, we moved onto desserts. Sadly, I’ve never been good at desserts, so all I could manage was a scoop of their finest toffee ice cream (£2.50). Oh, but what a scoop it was. The toffee flavour was rich, the ice cream suitably creamy and my stomach satisfied. My boyfriend was more adventurous, and opted for the Yorkshire forced rhubarb with yoghurt and pistachio (£9.50). A beautiful plate of colour, the rhubarb was so vibrant and tart which the fresh yoghurt cut through and the pistachio was crumbled over the top, adding the appropriate nutty finish. I don’t even like rhubarb, and I loved this.
We left feeling full, but not overly so, and had the warm, happy, fuzzy feeling of people who have just encountered something very special. Because we had. In fact, I would go as far to say that this was the best meal I’ve had this year. So go. Go now and eat everything.