M is beside himself. We’re dropping his sister back home after dinner and all he can talk about is the white chocolate gateau with ceps (creamy French mushrooms). He can’t quite get his head round it because it worked, and yet wasn’t a completely finished dish. As a chef, and a good one, this will have him experimenting with ceps for a few weeks to come.
We had all just eaten at Bells Diner in Montpelier, Bristol, and it was one of those evenings. You know the ones, where the sun sets but it’s still warm in the dark. We drank cool water in the little seating area as we decided on the menu. The tables were covered in starched white and dressed with glasses that shimmered and flirted in the candle light. The music was soft and forgettable, and the bookshelves that lined the walls held recipe books and bottles of wine, spare glasses and wooden baskets.
We sat right next to the window, just below the cobbled road, where we could watch the footwear of Bristol’s artists wonder past. It is a wonderful, intimate setting. I love it.
We had scallops, duck and pigeon as mains and chocolate millefeuille along with the bizarre but beautiful gateau.
The food was, as it always is, good. It isn’t exceptional, exciting, wonder inducing food, but it is well cooked, seasonal and interesting. The millefeuille showcased impressive chocolate work and the pre-dessert, a take on Pimms, was a lovely treat.
The mains lacked a little in skill, my pigeon was overcooked, but the foie gras melted through the pearl barley risotto and left a wonderful soft texture on your tongue.
I don’t know what it is that makes a good night out great, whether it’s the service (very good, if a little nervous-it was their first night), the wine (excellently recommended) or the company (some of my favourite people). But perhaps it’s the fact that after dinner, and for at least a week later, we were still talking about it.
Go. Clink glasses over white linen and candle light. Fall in love with your company and enjoy good food, well priced with great service.