Excitedly, I’ve managed to tick off a restaurant from my restaurant wish list recently. The Ethicurean is nestled overlooking the Mendips and the outskirts of Bristol and is a restaurant led by the change of seasons and using the ingredients at their natural peak. With the fruit, vegetables and fungi were grown on site, in the Victorian walled garden, which means the food miles are the smallest you could possibly get!
With the kitchen centred with the open charcoal grill to impart a rich smoked flavour to the delicate produce without over powdering or drowning, but highlighting and enhancing. My dear friend Julianne, of Part-Time Passport blog, arranged this visit for my birthday present, which so incredibly amazing of her, and even better I got to have a brilliant meal gossiping and chatting away about all things travel, podcasts and books, and everything else in between. Which with the staff being attentive but not overbearing, meant our lunch was actually a three-hour dining experience, with us being able to take our time, saviour and enjoy the stunning food.
The menu is set out as Small Plates, From The Charcoal Embers, From The Pastures as well as sides and desserts. We picked a couple of each dishes and shared everything, which was a nice way to get a range of the dishes on offer.
Fresh homemade bread to start with a delicious nutty oil for dunking. The trick was to really not fill up and demolish it before the rest of the food came. But came in handy when the tough process of decision making of what to order.
Leek Cured Asparagus, Sesame Hollandaise. Beautifully tender and charred tips to the asparagus, with the creamy nutty hollandaise. The earthy sesame complimenting the sweetness of the asparagus.
Baked Onion, Beetroot & Apple Molasses and Mace Crumb. We saw the bountiful onion crop when wandering around the walled garden. Sweet and earthy, actually a great dish for even for someone who isn’t the biggest beetroot fan.
Lacto Ramson, Cultivated Garlic and Black Garlic Soup. I would say this was a standout dish for me, the levels of different garlic flavours in this one bowl were incredible as well as being silken smooth. I would happily eat a vat of this all day long, so beautiful.
Potato, Truffle Yoghurt, Salsa Verde and Crisps. Tender, crispy cubes of potato, with the zap for herby freshness from the salsa verde and deep earthy note from the truffle. Too tasty to share really.
From The Coal Embers
Little Gem, Chinese Leaf Kimichi, Fermented Satay and Coconut. I’m a big fan of little gem lettuce and to have the natural sweetness brought out with the charred, paired with the sour heat from the kimichi was a great pairing. The plated wasn’t overly dressed with sauces so not the drown out any of the main flavours but the satay and the coconut gave a wonderful sweetness to the sour of the fermented items on the plate.
Fennel, Kaffir Lime Leaf, Yuzu and Cashew Dukkah. Fennel can be a bit polarising, but the naysayers should be given this dish to change their minds. Charred and tender, with the gentle aniseed perfume. The tartness from the yuzu compliment the fennel so not overly sweet and the creaminess and texture of the cashews to give the dish some bite.
Pearled Spelt and Herbs. Nutty tender spelt braised with herbs, then a good level of fresh rosemary running through it. Would make for a delicious main course not just on the sidelines.
Cornish New Potatoes with Garlic and Crispy Onions. Golden, fluffy centred parcels of joy. With the right about of crispy fried onions and garlic – lots!
The pudding menu was far too tempting to not try out at least one of them but of course, it had to be two dishes, with us sharing both of them!
Cast Iron Cookie, Orange Marmalade and Salted Caramel Ice Cream. A divine dish, of crunchy, chewy and gooey dreaminess. With the contrast of the cold of the ice cream with the warmth of the tart marmalade studded cookie dough.
Cashew Nut, Chilli and Chocolate Tart. A decadent end to a wonderful meal. Creamy nutty cashew base, with the rich chocolate torte with the perfect hint of chilli to give a slight warmth not a fire. The cocoa nibs gave a fantastic crunch and another hit of chocolate joy.
I would really recommend a gentle walk around the walled garden after your meal, not only it is a beautiful walk with stunning views of the rolling hills. But you may even see the veg shed, where you can pick up some of the veg and flowers grown on site. Was such as special meal, and so thankful Julianne treated me to the meal. I now can’t wait to visit again throughout the year and taste what the new seasons have to offer.
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