If there is a better view from a restaurant in Bristol, I have yet to find it. From the Olive Shed’s first floor dining room, you get a simply breathtaking vista across the Floating Harbour. It was a balmy spring evening when I visited this week, and as my friend Lotty and I shared a jug of sangria and a selection of delicious tapas, there could not have been many more beautiful panoromas as the sun was setting.
Viewers of The Restaurant on BBC Two were able to see The Olive Shed in all its glory last year. The couple who took it over left the show early, but Raymond Blanc was so impressed with The Olive Shed that a quote of his appears on their website: “I love this place. I hope you don’t mind if I copy some of your ideas!”
Those ideas are simplicity in a cracking location, although ask a lot of people where The Olive Shed is and they will sadly be unable to tell you, because it is very much hidden away.
Find it, however, and you are in for a treat. The theme is very Mediterranean, with yellow walls and wooden floors. Downstairs is the open kitchen, while upstairs is the fabulous dining room, with a full-length window giving you that wonderful view just a stone’s throw from the water’s edge. It’s not only the view though to commend the Olive Shed, the restaurant is great for people watching.
But it would be nothing without great food as well, and the tapas we had were as good as tapas anywhere else in Bristol, even in the Spanish restaurant El Puerto over Prince Street Bridge.
We chose the tapas, but there are also set menus, main courses and platters. Our five tapas just squeezed onto our small table, patatas bravas, stuffed vine leaves with mint and lemon, fantastic mini chorizo poached in red wine, skewered garlic and chilli prawns, and a slice of tortilla. Not forgetting the rustic bread and fantastic choice of olives, what The Olive Shed obviously prides itself on since it was founded as a small stall in St Nic’s Market.
The view alone makes The Olive Shed a special place, but this restaurant could still be one of Bristol’s best even if the view from your table was of a car park.
The Olive Shed, Princes Wharf, Floating Harbour. 0117 929 1960.