It might only be the very start of 2016 but there is already a strong contender for the best new Bristol restaurant of the year in the shape of Adelina Yard on Welsh Back. In 12 months’ time and after an expected bumper crop of new openings, this new Welsh Back restaurant is sure to be among the front runners.
And if Adelina Yard is not jostling for the top spot in December’s countdown, what a year our stomachs have in store.
Chefs Jamie Randall (formerly at Odette’s in London’s Primrose Hill) and Olivia Barry (most recently at Murano, Angela Hartnett’s Michelin starred restaurant in Mayfair) have brought to Bristol ambitious modern European food which they tested out last year at pop-ups in Bedminster and Totterdown.
The food is not the only ambitious thing either. In recent years this site overlooking the Floating Harbour has been a very tricky one to make work with comings and goings including La Habana, Cherry Duck and Il Bacaro.
Main courses on the daily changing menu starting at £16.50 for roast Jerusalem artichokes, sprouting broccoli, ricotta and walnuts; and rising to £27.50 for the roast rib eye have also raised a few eyebrows.
But there is a much better value lunch menu of one course for £10.95, two courses for £12.95 and three courses for £15.
There was an unexpected treat of amuse bouches on a recent lunchtime visit. Bolognese arancinis the size of the squash balls hit with vigour in the club almost next door were oozing with mozzarella and made even better with a scrunch of salt. Over the other side of the table, pickled vegetables were served in a small Japanese-style pot.
There are some 30 covers here in an unusually narrow dining room with a view of the water and converted dockside warehouses out the back. At the front is a newly tiled open kitchen, from where the chefs emerged to talk us through each dish.
Good bread came with homemade butter it was possible to dip the bread into it was so creamy. My starter was written on the menu as “grains, beetroots, goats cheese, watercress”. The grains included quinoa, bulgur wheat and pearl barley, some fried making for a satisfying crunch among the rest of the dish, over which the cheese had been grated.
The Jerusalem artichoke, this time with chanterelle risotto, was the choice of my newly vegan wife; while my duck ragu was rich and indulgent served with cylinders of swede. It also came with a large leaf of cavolo nero, an Italian kale.
There was no time for desserts on this visit, but a glance at the a la carte menu reveals such delights as Ironbark pumpkin tart with maple syrup ice cream, chocolate tartufo and warm tonka bean rice pudding.
What a start to the new year. Adelina Yard has swiftly set the bar very high.
Adelina Yard, 3 Queen’s Quay, Welsh Back, Bristol, BS1 4SL
0117 911 2112