Have you visited this star restaurant?
Tuesday 21st November 2017
I've set myself a challenge across the last two months of the year to visit all of the awesome restaurants that are either new or I just haven't quite made it too in the hurley burley of daily life. Its a commitment that requires getting out and about a couple of times a week and forcing myself to eat some of the finest food in the UK. Its a tough life and don't I know it?
Having visited Dela (amazing) and Jamaica Street Stores (still ironing out the kinks) in recent weeks I set my sights high with a visit to the newly awarded Michelin Star, Paco Tapas.
Paco Tapas is part of the Sanchez brothers triumvirate that includes another of Bristol's four Michelin Star restaurants, Casa Mia and the popular pizzeria, Pi Shop. All found next to the water as part of the 'General' redevelopment.
Paco Tapas is part of an homage to family patriarch "Paco' and his desire to recreate a traditional tapas restaurant firmly reminiscent of Andalusia. Walking into the restaurant I love the interior with its dark walls, wood, earnest letters that speak about Bristol's connection to sherry and art that draws you deep into what is a relatively small space that seats maybe 20 people if you include the bar seats.
Having said that for all the art, the colours and the the nods to culture its the heat and the smells from the charcoal grill that are my overriding memories of the experience. The tiny kitchen welcomes you with bustling cheffy activity and I was lucky enough to sit at the bar and watch my dishes created with an accomplished ease that is a joy to watch.
The menu offers wondrous beef and fish dishes that require a hefty wallet (Steak at £100 a kilo, Prawns at £22 each) so I carefully guided my vegetarian guest towards the gentler financial offerings that 'allowed the ingredients to star'!
We ordered the Boquerones; elegant little fish doused with citrus olive oil dressing. Hake; simple and cooked perfectly. Tomato and egg stew; deeply flavoured and finished with chorizo. Burnt leek and romesco, grilled rainbow carrots, the obligatory patatas bravas and a tortilla; made perfectly soft and delicious with rich duck eggs.
All were beautifully presented and had that little extra you would expect for the Michelin star, my stand out dish was the hake, a simple but perfectly cooked piece of fish with an aioli and charred lemon.
The service was good and friendly, lacking the stiffness that comes with some awarded restaurants; our server was incredibly helpful in helping us choose a sherry that worked well with all our dishes and answering all my questions that come from failing in my 'Learn Spanish Quickly' podcast.
Dessert was another high point with the chocolate mousse with toast and olive oil proving a worthy, deeply flavoured, end to a wonderful dinner. I have to admit to stealing a little of my partner's Crema Catalana as well, and not feeling any guilt at all.
Paco Tapas is a fine restaurant worthy of the praise and reviews its received and I'd happily return; although I might be less inclined to take a vegetarian next time as I think they are better served in either Casa Mia or Pi shop.