Keith Floyd looks down into the dining room of Snobby’s from two of his cookbooks on display on a high shelf.
Between his time as a cub reporter on the Evening Post and as a trailblazing television chef, Floyd ran a bistro on this site on Chandos Road in Redland in the 1970s, long before it became the culinary destination that it is today.
Never knowingly without a glass of wine in his hand, it is fitting that the newly opened Snobby’s is both a restaurant and a wine bar – with a couple of dozen bottle openers (or are they torture implements?) on display on the walls.
What was most recently No Man’s Grace has been given a major facelift in its new incarnation by owner Nick Bethell, an artist whose work has previously been on show at fellow Chandos Road restaurant Wilsons.
Nick’s art often incorporates wine and he previously worked for London wine bar chain Vagabond.
Following my order of a trio of small plates that range in price from £4 to £7, Nick looked at the bottles lined up behind the bar and recommenced a glass of Spätburgunder from Oliver Zeter in Germany.
On what was just the restaurant’s second day, Nick proclaimed himself a walking wine list, with the printed menu not yet ready.
His recommendations were spot on and in some ways it will be good if he continues this walking wine list act, with tequila and tonic recommended as an aperitif minutes after I walked in from a steadying pint at the nearby Good Measure pub.
Food here also includes pizzas from £9 to £13, with a strong Italian influence in the small plates which come out of the kitchen when they are ready.
First the salt and pepper tempura calamari in crunchy batter – ready to be dipped in what looks like the murky grey bowl of water my two daughters end up with after washing their paint brushes, but is in fact a sweet squid ink aioli.
Next was this meal’s highlight: an nduja scotch egg with a still runny yolk, sitting on top of earthy mushroom ketchup.
The third dish of the evening, a smoked mackerel pâté with whipped horseradish cream and crostini, was another good example of a simple dish done well; with Nick’s recommendation of the Spätburgunder proving that it’s not only white wine that can go with fish.
Soon before 9pm, candles were lit on the inside tables. There is space for around 30 covers inside, with six stools at the bar and an outside seating area proving the most popular place to sit as the mercury rises.
The departure of No Man’s Grace – whose former owner and head chef John Watson is now at Woky Ko Kaiju in Wapping Wharf – was a sad loss for Chandos Road; but its reputation as a food and drink hotspot has only been enhanced with the arrival of Snobby’s, with an emphasis on good wine that would make Keith Floyd proud.
Snobby’s, 6 Chandos Road, Redland, Bristol, BS6 6PE