Its been a long time coming but we finally visited Wilson’s restaurant just before Christmas as part of our eat, drink and be merry because pretty soon we will diet month.
We’ve had a fantastic year visiting some of the amazing restaurants in Bristol so Wilson’s had some pretty stiff competition if it was going to stand up against the like of Bulrush, Box E, Casa Mia, Adelina’s Yard and The Ethicurean but I’m happy to report they didn’t just stand up they towered with their amazing food.
We arrived along the fabled Chandos Road a little early and as we Virgo’s do, so used that promptness to scope out the local area that’s becoming its own little mecca for foodies with Wilks, No Man’s Grace, Otira and Wilson’s all within a short walk of each other. Wilson’s has the simple frontage of a former shop and is pleasingly minimal inside – I loved the white washed walls and simple decorative touches in a small space with a semi open kitchen that seems to be a motif of the Bristol restaurant scene.
The menu is a pretty simple affair, just 3 starters, 3 mains and 3 desserts. I usually panic at this point as Kirsty is a vegetarian and less choice tends to mean no choice for her veggie and allergy driven foodie foibles. Luckily, my worries were allayed pretty quickly by the fantastic and efficient foh team.
We live in a world so full of options that sometimes we can be paralysed trying to make the right decision so I loved being able to choose this great dish over that great dish. I went for the hare and parsley root and chocolate and Kirsty chose the crown prince tart to start but first we tucked in to amazing bread and an amuse bouche of oyster mayonnaise on a squid ink cracker and a flavoured artichoke.
The oyster simply sang of the sea and like all these blogs I also got to try the artichoke as writer’s privilege which was simple and tasty.
Hare, Parsley Root and Chocolate – I’d only ever eaten one of these before so was intrigued by the flavour of hare over rabbit and its rich, earthy flavour was delicious but it was the chocolate soil that made the dish truly memorable and maybe had it sneaking into my top 5 dishes of the year?
The crown prince tart was light and fluffy on perfect pastry and again something that seamed pretty simple was delivered inventively and elevated the flavour to another level in pastry so fine even that fussy woman on TV would have been happy.
My main was a beautiful mallard served with carrot and clementine. The duck was cooked perfectly and the sweet carrot worked perfectly against the sharp clementine. Its was a relevation because the last time I ate duck in a restaurant it had all the grace of Donald and I would have happily let it waddle back to Disney.
kirsty ate the Pied Blue, Celeriac, Sea Lettuce and Yolk. The dish was perfectly presented as elements in a bowl and finished with a dashi broth which once you had broken the egg yoke was sweet, sour, rich and creamy all at once.
Both mains were pretty stunning so it would have been rude not to have ordered dessert. Choice was simple for each of us as one of the 3 dishes had gelatin inside and I’m still unconvinced by a cheeseboard as a ‘sweet’ option. I chose the caramel, chocolate and pecan and Kirsty the apple, custard, crumble and doughnut.
There is no greater satisfaction than a truly beautiful dessert and these were so good I had to suppress an audible sigh of gratitude. Chocolate done well would make the most curmudgeonly happy and this was done very, very well but the apple dessert was definitely the winner as it managed to be fun, clever and taste divine.
All of this was accompanied by a Herencia Garnatxa, Spanish White Wine (I’m going through a phase of Spanish wine love) which stood up well to every course and a friendly efficient service that came and went in a blur as each dish was presented.
I’m tinkering with one of those best places I ate in 2017 or best dishes etc but until then just accept Wilson’s will be on that list and that you should consider yourself lucky if you get to go there….