If awards were given for global cuisine and the guts needed to bring new and exotic flavours to England, then Bristol’s new Creole Brasserie would be a shoe-in for a medal, perhaps just behind Taste of Transylvania, which unfortunately closed earlier this year having not convinced enough diners to try Romanian dishes mostly consisting of grilled meat served with more grilled meat.
For the uninitiated, and I counted myself among that number until my visit to this new restaurant above Clifton Down on Whiteladies Road, Creole is the word for a mixture. Exhibit number one: Creola, a mixture of colours.
The Creole now in Bristol is a cuisine with a mixture of influences that came together in the Caribbean and which can trace its roots back to European countries: France, Spain, Italy and Portugal.
Like what came in this unusual location for a restaurant before, Creole Brasserie is accessed up stairs that look like they belong in a down-at-heel council leisure centre.
There is now neither the long tables here when it was Budokan, nor the chef’s table when it was the Three Coqs. But once again the most sought after seats are by the window.
What is a welcome addition to the space is a bar area on the side nearest the entrance, with a smart and comfy leather sofa and tables for a drink without the starched linen in the dining area; the two sections divided by wooden display cabinets holding large shells and bottles of Champagne.
Visiting on Tuesday evening, I sampled the Bene-crusted shrimp balls (£6.95), sesame-coated golf ball-sized parcels of shrimp – the flavour of which didn’t quite come through – served with a side salad, and a tomato, coriander and onion salsa.
Rather refreshingly, the menu had a choice of three starters and five mains, the pick of which was the line-caught fish of the day with soused samphire (£9.95); and West Indian-style roast belly of pork (£8.95), marinated overnight, jerked, steamed and roasted.
The two puddings on Tuesday’s menu were grilled pineapple with Caribbean rum glaze (£4.95); and my own choice of rum and raisin ice cream (£3.95), disappointingly not made in house, but instead bought in from Marshfield, and jolly good too, the raisins plump and juicy as they should be.
Any opening niggles were mostly forgotten thanks to the cheery demeanour and contagious laugh of owner Abie-Gail Pixley, with just the hint of a Jamaican accent, adding a touch of authenticity to a room that during the day doesn’t overlook a beach but a Costa Coffee and traffic-calming infrastructure.