There are a few chains that are dear to me, Greggs is one, Honest Burger is another and on the higher end of the scale, Hotel Du Vin. I’ve never had the pleasure of staying in one but their restaurant is quite frankly, fabulous.
I’ve been really lucky to have been invited before to try their menu but this visit was to try something a little different. The hotel chain has decided to hand the menu writing reins to their head chef in their central Bristol hotel venue, focusing on local produce and flavours. It’s always heartwarming to see a chain embracing the area they’ve set up in, always a massive tick in my book.
We ordered from the Prix Fixe menu, an affordable £19.95 for two courses and £24.95 for three, and we were excited to see some South West favourites, Bristol Beer Factory, Wye Valley Asparagus and Thatchers to name a few.
I opted for the rarebit croquettes made with Bristol Beer Factory stout and my dining pal opted for the mackerel dish. My croquettes came with some tangy balsamic pickled onions, a welcome pairing with the strong cheddar insides with a hint of rich stout. The mackerel, poached in a spiced white wine sauce and served with a potato salad. A wonderful summer starter.
Plates well and truly cleared, I was ready to tuck into my confit duck main. A bowl full of light, buttered broth arrived with plenty of asparagus, peas and baby gem bobbing happily amongst thickly sliced pancetta and soft, sweet new potatoes. The duck itself was rich, the skin crispy and I admit I picked the bones clean with my hands. No regrets, that is what napkins are for.
My partner opted for the fish again, this time two Shepton Mill buckwheat galettes rolled with fresh poached salmon, sweet, earthy beetroot and drizzled with a dill butter sauce with flakes of smoked salmon for good measure. Admittedly with my greedy eyes, I worried it wouldn’t be enough of a portion but thankfully I was proved wrong. Definitely, something I would like to try at home.
All good things come in threes so we ordered dessert. I couldn’t resist the chocolate fondant whilst my guest opted for a Bristol Cream trifle. My fondant was perfectly runny in the middle and a dollop of Rodda’s clotted cream was almost a little too much. This may also have been because I paired my dessert with an espresso martini. The trifle was huge, boozy and not unlike something your nan might have served on a special occasion. It was a struggle to finish and I wasn’t going to help as I can’t bear the stuff. From what was eaten, it got two thumbs up.
We really enjoyed our dinner here, I always recommend Hotel Du Vin to couples looking for somewhere nice to eat and it’s wonderful to have this recommendation proven every time I pop in for a cocktail or a full dinner service. I can’t wait to see what their head chef tries next!
This meal was provided free of charge but did not impact my opinion, I mean, look at the pictures, it was glorious.