Although perhaps not as iconic as Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol Cathedral, or the many Banksys dotted across the city, the Glassboat Brasserie is a true Bristol landmark in its own right – and really how many restaurants can claim that? Headed up by experienced head chef Jake Platt, a chef known for his culinary flair and simple, uncomplicated, and ingredient-led dishes, walk down Welsh Back’s charming and romantic cobbled streets adjacent to Bristol’s historic floating harbour and it’s impossible to miss the Glassboat Brasserie, occupying a characterful boat with floor-to-ceiling glass frontage offering stunning views across the harbour.
Speaking to talented executive chef Jake Platt for our recently released Bristol Food & Drink Guide 2019, who also oversees things at Glassboat’s sibling The Lido in Clifton, he explains what it is about Bristol that makes it such a rewarding and exciting place to work:
“I’ve been lucky enough to call Bristol home for close to 19 years. Born and raised in London, I moved to the South West in my teens and fell in love with the countryside and proximity to the coast. For me, Bristol is the perfect base; it’s got the excitement and vibrancy of a metropolitan city and yet it’s verdant and surrounded by lush countryside if you need to get back to nature.
What makes Bristol so special is that it’s culturally and historically very rich, with great music, art and a very strong independent restaurant scene. The people are great – very proud, open-minded and liberal, which helps with the industry we’re in, and, of course, the distinctive Bristolian accent has a special charm. The Bristol restaurant scene has a fantastic reputation, and deservedly so. We get a lot of recognition from the major food guides and reviewers from the national press. I think it has developed massively in recent years, with more independent restaurants, the closures of the big chains, more farmers’ markets, and a resurgence of greengrocers, butchers and fishmongers proving that the general public has an increasing knowledge and appetite for quality food. Social media has definitely played a part, especially Instagram, which has opened things up and made restaurants more accessible than ever. A more food-educated clientele gives us chefs the confidence to do things we may not previously have been able to do, like cook fish on the bone, use less fashionable meat cuts, feature offal on the menu and use the forgotten heritage fruits and vegetables.”
Thanks to its proximity to both the countryside and the coast, Bristol is known for its fantastic produce, which is just one of the many reasons this city is considered one of the top dining destinations across the UK.
“Bristol is so well placed geographically that it has an abundance of great produce, like seafood from the coast, amazing farmers specialising in heritage breeds, local shoots, orchards and amazing fruit and vegetable growers. I have to give a special shout out to Hugo our veg supplier. The energy and drive he gives to support local farmers and growers in order to supply Bristol’s restaurants with the best-quality produce is inspirational, and makes him an absolute pleasure to work with. I also like to forage when I’m out walking my dogs, picking up wild herbs, fruit and mushrooms when in season.”
Moving into the new decade, the environment is starting to become more of a focus for restaurants across the UK – or at least it should be – and it’s certainly no exception at the Glassboat Brasserie.
“This year I want to focus on lowering our carbon footprint and cutting down on single-use plastics – something the industry as a whole really needs to look at and work towards as a collective. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Bristol food scene.”
To discover for yourself what makes Bristol such a popular culinary destination for foodies all across the UK, pick up your FREE copy of our Bristol Food & Drink Guide 2019 here or read a digital copy of the guide here.
For more on the Glassboat Brasserie, read our review of the restaurant in this year’s Bristol Food & Drink Guide 2019 here: https://www.foodanddrinkguides.co.uk/england/south-west/restaurants-bristol/glassboat