The year of the vegetarian and a new wave of restaurants…
It was cold; it was Artic blustery; and we were on the trail of a new restaurant. Bristol is no stranger to new openings; in fact it’s usually got something brand spanking new and exciting up its sleeve every week. But as we turned onto St Stephen’s Street (just up from Bar Buvette and Europa) and were swept up and around the corner to the glow of 1847, shining out from its wall of windows, I had a feeling that this was something extra special.
As soon as we walked through the doors, the chill of the evening was washed away. Even amidst the chattering of the opening and the flow celebratory Prosecco, there is an overall calmness to the restaurant. Maybe it’s the simple, clean decor – understated and little chic – or the gentle lighting and smooth service. However, I think it comes from a clear, authentic confidence. 1847 is a restaurant that knows what it wants to achieve and does it well – exciting, seasonal plant-based cuisine delivered well.
So, why 1847? Well the name is inspired by the year that the vegetarian society was formed, and this restaurant is one of a number of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free spreading across the UK. In fact, the Bristol branch was swiftly followed by the new Brighton branch, opening within eight weeks of each other. The restaurant, led by development chef Máté Gal, serves exquisite vegetarian food across four menus: a la carte, taster, express lunch and Sunday lunch. I can certainly vouch for the food. Bristol’s head chef, Theo Bostock had put on a show of delightful canapés to give us a teaser of what the restaurant offers. Gorgeously grilled cauliflower with creamy harissa sauce and didn’t last long, both were gently seasoned and let the fresh ingredients steal the show. A delicate slice of bread topped with mushroom pate topped with a finely sliced disc of radish was subtle and tasty. Desserts really triumphed. Mouthfuls of creamy, indulgent chocolate on a soft base, with a sweet potato puree were the favourite dessert of the evening, closely followed by squares of pear cake with forced rhubarb. As slatefuls of pretty canapes circulated the bright yet cosy room, you could easily imagine whiling away an evening over a leisurely meal.
From across the room you catch a glimpse of greenery set into the wall and lit softly. This is the indoor herb garden, provided by Bristol’s Severn Project and is just a hint of how fresh all the ingredients used in the kitchen are. It won’t be long before 1847 settles into the Bristol dining scene – we’ve certainly got our eye it.
Alex says: “Bristol is a fantastic city for all kinds of great cuisine and vegetarian and veganeateries are no exception. That being said, I think 1847 is going to fill a gap – both geographically and in terms of market – as it’s opening in a very accessible city centre location where there isn’t much else like it, and there’s definitely a demand for a vegetarian and vegan restaurant that’s a bit stylish, modern and upmarket.”
Joele says: “As a vegetarian myself it was refreshing to step into the modern, minimalist interior of 1847. I liked the trendy touches such as the filament bulbs and strip-lit herb planters, too. The staff were lovely and very accommodating – our glasses of Champagne were never empty! Canapes I particularly enjoyed were the silky vegan cheesecake and the mouthfuls of roasted cauliflower.”