TOM PARKER BOWLES evaluations 1 York Place, Bristol

  • Tom tastes the enjoyment with a hearty however haute European menu at a brand new Bristol hotspot 

Quality sells. Even on the butt finish of January, when the climate is dour, the taxman cometh (for us freelancers, anyway), and people oft-promised ‘sunlit uplands’ are shrouded in everlasting gloom. 

But at 1 York Place, the brand new restaurant from Freddy Bird, sitting on the sting of Bristol’s Clifton Village, the local weather is endlessly sunny. And on this specific Wednesday lunch, the room is flooded by midwinter solar, each desk packed.

Little French, his first restaurant, opened in 2019 and remains to be going robust. Proper, old style French bistro meals, infused with generosity and an plain joie de vivre. 

Freddy Bird can prepare dinner.

Hot roast shellfish for two: ‘Every piece of flesh exquisitely cooked, all drenched in garlic butter’

Hot roast shellfish for 2: ‘Every piece of flesh exquisitely cooked, all drenched in garlic butter’

Having educated underneath Phil Howard at The Square and Sam and Sam Clark at Moro, he understands each haute and hearty, the refined and the regional. And right here, on the location of the long-lasting York Café (the place I spent many a merrily hungover Nineties morning), the menu could also be extra broadly European, however the high quality of the cooking is each bit as wonderful.

While the 1 York Place menu is no-nonsense, Bird’s execution is something however. Winter tomatoes, pert and agency, are draped with smoky wisps of lardo. Queenie scallops, cooked translucent, are doused in garlic butter. Lots and plenty of garlic butter. Then lamb sweetbreads, encased in a brittle batter, with a brusque salsa verde and deep-fried sage leaves.

Crisp, tender, wealthy, sharp. I don’t suppose I’ll style a greater dish this 12 months, and we’ve barely even began.

For essential course, scorching roast shellfish for 2. At £100. Not low cost, however expensive god, the abundance of crustaceans and molluscs, in piles so large I can hardly see my previous good friend Mark, who, as regular, gave me the tipoff about this Bristol gem. 

A complete lobster, cut up, palourde clams, extra queenie scallops, razor clams and mussels, each piece of flesh exquisitely cooked. All drenched in garlic butter. With a pot of fierce, wobbling aïoli. Vampires, beware. An enormous bowl of crisp French fries mops up any extra.

Really that ought to be sufficient. But there’s cotechino, too – pretty, fatty, luscious sausage, with horseradish and lentils and extra salsa verde and curls of mostarda, to maintain all that richness at bay.

For pudding, a pointy, lemon set cream. And marmalade steamed pudding. What a menu. What a restaurant. What a joyous escape from the ceaseless, relentless doom and gloom.

About £40 per head (with out that shellfish platter). 1 York Place, Clifton, Bristol;