She may be a doctor, but my cousin Rebecca wasn’t the brightest when we visited Clifton Kitchen for Sunday lunch. Despite me telling her several times that it was the site of Keith Floyd’s first bistro, it was only after the fourth mention and her fourth polite nod that she asked me who Floyd was.
That’s what happens when a Saturday night house party spills over into the following morning, memories fade as the drink flows copiously, and the night is pieced back together over lunch the following day.
After thanking Clifton Kitchen owner Richard Marques-Jones at the end of our fabulous meal, I mentioned Rebecca’s trouble with the tongue. He then asked if we wanted to see what it looked like before it was cooked, and proceeded to fetch the giant sellaphane-wrapped appendage from the kitchen. It was a terrifying site, and battery-operated would not have looked out of place at newly-opened Pomegranate on Park Street.
Clifton Kitchen has been open at the Suspension Bridge end of Princess Victoria Street since May. From being the site of the original celebrity chef’s first bistro, other businesses have come and gone, and it has become somewhat of a cursed location.
I truly hope Clifton Kitchen is here to stay, however, because our trip there yesterday was one of the best and most enjoyable meals I have had in Bristol this year.
There are only 16 covers in the dining room upstairs, with 28 downstairs. It is a bright space inside, with a colourful mural on one wall of kitchen cupboards and utensils , and a framed caricature of Floyd on the wall opposite next to a statuette of the great man, two nods to this building’s part in Bristol’s foodie history.
We ate upstairs and were looked after very well by our waitress as we chose the frankly ludicrously good value £13.95 two-course Sunday lunch menu, picking a starter and main off the a la carte menu.
Our starters of quail and pan-seared scallops were both beautifully presented and utterly divine; while the beef was cooked to perfection and despite Rebecca leaving her’s out of squeamishness, my ox tongue was a delight.
Everything about Clifton Kitchen is a winner, even the ox tongue. Despite Dr Rebecca’s memory loss and lack of celebrity chef knowledge, we both pronounced Clifton Kitchen as one of the best restaurants in Bristol.
Clifton Kitchen, 112 Princess Victoria Street, Clifton, Bristol. 0117 946 7870.