First class graduation dinners in Bristol & Bath…
Graduation marks the end of an era. Students are ceremoniously welcomed back into the real world, returned to a lifestyle which (hopefully) no longer involves smuggling coffee into the library and counting down the hours until an essay is due. Parents flock to cities to bear witness to their nearest and dearest changing from graduands to graduates, and with them, bring their appetite – be it little or large.
As graduation time rolls around for the university students in Bristol, they’re sure to be looking to their favourite eateries for a bite to eat, post ceremony. We at Fed Up & Drunk have a degree or two between us, and so have put our heads together to create a collection of restaurants and cafés which we think would be the perfect place to take parents for a graduation meal.
In recent years the prosperity of new foodie and boozie ventures in Southville has been well noted. Nothing or nowhere attests to this more than Birch. This relaxed yet exquisite venue is the brainchild of Sam Leach and Beccy Massey, operating within a former office space along Raleigh Road. The place is renowned for transforming fresh, locally foraged food into fine and inventive dishes, with an ever changing menu introducing creative, original dishes on a daily basis. A July sample menu lists an intriguing appetiser of crumbled pig’s head with garlic mayo, alongside pigeon offal toasts and jellied ham served with mustard and carrot pickle. Such dishes showcase the restaurant’s dedication to transforming unfavoured ingredients into delicious delicacies. Opening times can vary, and advance booking is highly recommended. Check Birch’s online blog for updates – the mouth-watering photo stream will have you straight out of the ceremony dragging Mum and Dad down south.
For fine, Italian cuisine in the centre of Bath, you can’t go wrong with Ciao Ciao. Bath’s cobbled streets, Georgian buildings and classy boutiques make it a great destination for your graduation meal. Once you’ve wondered around the beautiful city and seen the sights, persuade your parent’s to take you out for a well-deserved dinner.
When you arrive at the stylish, elegant restaurant you will definitely be spoilt. Munch on crispy calamari for starters; followed by chive goats’ cheese and beetroot tortellini served with ham, toasted walnuts, honey dressing. Mains worth the wait include grilled mackerel and the slow roasted onion with brie, red onion marmalade, herb quiche and baby vegetables. Save the best ‘til last and savour the tiramisu or panna cotta. Mmm tempting…
My dream venue would be Homewood Park, a Georgian mansion in a secluded wooded estate in the hills outside Bath. If you’re genuinely close to your close family, book the private dining room and you’ll feel like the lord or lady of the manor, with a chef who’s the envy of the county thanks to his exquisitely refined Modern British cuisine. Insist on staying the night. That way everyone can indulge in the abundantly flowing champagne and slumber in the master-of-the-universe-size beds. It’s worth getting up for breakfast, though, as it offers everything from kippers to homemade granola. There are a pool and spa where you can work off the effects of the night before and plenty of beautiful walks in the surrounding countryside or along the nearby canal.
In close proximity to both Bristol Cathedral and Wills Memorial Building, Goldbrick House occupies a pretty perfect spot for graduates of either university to wander to after their ceremony. Big fans of British cuisine, I’m certain my parents would be equally impressed with this restaurant as I am. The setting is opulent, from the chic downstairs bar to the intimate rooms upstairs. Begin with a complimentary glass of fizz, before moving on to some scrumptious fare. A special graduation menu features citrus cured salmon accompanied by pickled fennel and blackened orange to begin, whilst tasty mains include pan-fried brill with crab veloute, and moreish sounding thyme marinated chicken, paired with an olive and parsley couscous. Afterwards, indulge in dessert, or sit with a glass of something special, and enjoy the company of your biggest fans; mum and dad.