A medley of delights in Bristol

BRISTOL is truly a food-lover’s paradise these days. From the multi-cultural food shops across the city to the trendy restaurants in Clifton, Montpellier and around the harbourside, there is food for every taste, purse, fad or free-from requirements.

For years we have loved the Thali restaurants, particularly Thali at the Tobacco Factory in Bedminster, ideally placed for supper before performances at the Tobacco Factory Theatre. Serving delicious and imaginative food from around India in small plates – long before small plates became THE way to eat out – Thali’s food is fresh, fun and affordable.

Similarly, The Mint Room, tucked away in one of Clifton’s quiet nooks, is well-located, particularly for concerts at St Georges or to catch up with the new generation of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School students at the Redgrave Theatre.

One food writer has suggested that The Mint Room will be the first Indian restaurant in Bristol to gain a Michelin star. It is that good, but there is nothing formal or precious about it – beautiful and original food, subtly spiced, presented with design flair, and an enviable wine list to accompany your meal.

Recently, hunting down a favourite shop which has migrated from Park Street to Gloucester Road (good move), we found Gallimaufry, a bar with food and music, with tables on the very wide pavement and a relaxed vibe which epitomises this colourful and hip part of the city.

Gallimaufry means a medley, hotchpotch, mixed stew … you get the picture. And the Galli, as its many regulars call it, is indeed a medley – a riotous kaleidoscope of colourful collages, baubles and murals, in a rainbow from the blue over the bar to the deep red behind the sofas where you can relax over conversation and a long drink.

It’s dog friendly – they brought Pippin a bowl of water as we sat at our table – and the kitchen is flexible to people’s dietary needs. G’s chicken with quinoa, grilled broccoli, carrots and rocket was supposed to come with pickled raspberries, but when they heard about her vinegar allergy, the chef immediately substituted fresh raspberries.

My choice was orzo in a tomatoey sauce with wilted rocked and cherry tomatoes that tasted as if they had been picked from the bush that morning. And that’s not so unlikely – the Galli chefs pride themselves on their careful, sustainable sourcing. They get their seafood from Samways, who offer only sustainably sourced fish, their meat come from Bristol’s Buxton craft
butchers whose meat comes from their own rural pasture and they “take great pride in sourcing the freshest of seasonal vegetables the West Country has to offer.”

We were impressed. We will definitely go back!