Food Nation, Gloucester Road, Bristol

Girl in Bristol visits the newly opened Food Nation on Gloucester Road for some fusion food …

Gloucester Road is known for its diverse dining scene. Whether you’re after burgers, Italian or Turkish food – it’s got it all. Or at least, we thought it had it all, until Food Nation opened its doors three months ago.

Inspired by the minds of three hotel management graduates, Food Nation brings an entirely new dining experience to the table by combining the all you can dining concept with that of live cooking. A new trend which has been growing rapidly in India and Singapore.

The décor at Food Nation greatly compliments their largely Keralan inspired dishes. The vibrant orange and green walls of the venue, embellished with beautifully detailed henna designs and elephant silhouettes. There’s also an array of stark blue and red fairy lights draped around the front door which create a mesmerising luminous effect as you walk in.

Our meal began on a more subtle note with the soup of the day, cream of tomato, which was served in a rustic ceramic bowl before we moved on to the BBQ grilled starters.

Once our ten meat and three vegetarian based skewers had been prepared, they were left to finish cooking on a charcoal-fuelled BBQ which the waitress had brought to the table beforehand. Every skewer bubbled and hissed on the grill as we sampled each one, the smell of the spiced meats and the burning charcoal merged to create a pleasant aroma at our table. Every morsel was a sheer delight to taste. The different meats, cheeses and fruits, perfectly matched to the spices they’d been marinated with. The coastal BBQ prawns and the nations lamb tikka were definitely my favourites amongst the thirteen though.

Quite honestly, I could have happily spent the remainder of my time at Food Nation filling up on their unlimited skewers. But the temptation of the all you can eat buffet lingering in the back could not be ignored so, eventually, we lowered the trunk of our table’s carved wooden elephant to show the waitress we were finished with our grilled starter.

Once our plates were cleared away, we walked to the back of the venue to find a bountiful supply of primarily Indian dishes. The traditional tikkas, biryanis and rogan josh’s were all there. But there was also a mushroom and cheese linguini and prawn crackers available too which demonstrated the Food Nation’s desire to incorporate other Mexican, Chinese and Asian influences. Again, the buffet was unlimited in how much you could have, puds included.

Unlike larger all you can eat providers, it was great to see that Food Nation’s buffet hadn’t gone overboard on the number of dishes they had, giving us enough options that there were several new things to try but not so many that it became overwhelming. The freshly cooked naan that which delivered to our table towards the end of the meal was also noteworthy, refreshingly light in texture as opposed to the many stodgy naans I’ve sampled before.

Though our waistbands were (more than) starting to feel the strain, we ended our meal with a chilled lemon moose and a couple of gulab jumun before we shuffled outside and back into the rain.

With attentive and friendly staff, a relaxed atmosphere and exquisite food – The Food Nation are well worth the £15.99 for soup, starters, mains and dessert. Summer seems tantalisingly close now and I can think of no better way to begin a spring or summer’s evening than out on Food Nation’s veranda with a stack of perfectly spiced, sizzling skewers.

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