There is a love-hate relationship between Bristol and the authentic Georgian theme park also known as Bath.
They do things differently there. In Bristol we have zombie walks. In Bath they have Jane Austen promenades.
Coming our way from 13 miles down the road is The Mint Room, who hope that the good reputation they have built up in Bath can be transferred to their new second home in Bristol.
There are two bicycles affixed to one wall. This isn’t some trendy cafe, however, where fixies are often just as key elements to the design as exposed brickwork and filament light bulbs. It’s a new Indian restaurant.
For their new Bristol base, The Mint Room owners have chosen a site with a chequered recent history, being The Muset for many years before a brief foray into the city from Ronnie’s of Thornbury and most recently Mezzo with its bizarre Indian-Greek fusion.
Thankfully, just one cuisine is now on offer and this is Indian food with serious flair.
Among the starters there is quail (£8) cooked three ways – marinated and cooked in the tandoor oven, as a “crispy leg lollipop”, and a fried egg served with apple and vanilla puree.
There are classics with a twist, such as the paneer on a skewer served with mint chutney (£6); while fish features strongly among the main courses with halibut, sea bream and crab.
After complimentary miniature poppadoms, I chose the chicken lababdar (£14) from among the signature dishes. The chicken breast came in a wonderfully creamy sauce, with hits of flavour from the fresh ginger and coriander leaves.
Jo meanwhile enjoyed her paneer kadhai (£10) with the cheese in large, soft pieces and darker notes to the spice. Our Peshwari naan was excellent (and so it should have been for £3.50): thin, freshly cooked and filled with sweet, dry coconut.
We finished our meal with a deliciously unexpected treat of a mint leaf smothered in white chocolate; almost a reason enough alone to visit.
The Mint Room should be welcomed from Bath to Bristol with open arms.
The Mint Room, 12-16 Clifton Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1AF
0117 329 1300