Girl in Bristol reviews The Cowshed on Whiteladies Road …
I’ve known about Cowshed for a while and have enjoyed the sights and smells of its burgers sizzling on the outdoor grill in the summer but I have never actually had food from there until last week when I was invited to try out its three course evening menu. The ethos behind the menu, to serve high quality, British dishes which are created using locally and fairly sourced ingredients.
Cowshed’s Bristol branch is pretty big after its expansion into the derelict cinema next door, but the layout keeps things feeling intimate and cosy; the dining room though narrow, stretches backwards across two tiered floors and there’s a separate dining room/ function room on the left (previously the cinema). The furnishings are what most contribute to The Cowshed’s gastropub style though – the chandeliers, fireplaces and warm colour schemes creating a lounge-like yet upmarket feel.
We were seated towards the back when we arrived at the bustling venue and offered a glass of the tangy house red to whet our appetite whilst we perused through the menu.
The first thing which appealed to me about the starter and main menu was the diversity of meats there were to choose from alongside the fresh fish and vegetarian options. Wood pigeon breast, wild boar, steak tartare and braised ruby red short ribs were all available – and that was just for starters.
I chose the wild pigeon breast served with a pigeon leg Scotch egg (which was out of this world amazing), beetroot and bacon crumbs (£6.50) whilst my plus one for the evening Lucy had the vegetarian option which comprised of spice smoked aubergine, homemade ricotta, brik, almond and curry oil (£6.50).
Brought on a black slate my sliced pigeon breast was cooked to perfection with a browned edge, the sharpness of the beetroot gave the meat delicious citric undertones and the bacon crumbs added a pleasing crunch to each bite. Lucy’s aubergine on the other hand was perhaps a little too smoky, overriding the spices, although the creamy ricotta was a welcomed change in taste which helped balance the dish out.
Under the waitresses top three recommendations, I had the roasted guinea fowl breast (£19.50) for my main, won over by the opportunity to try a less mainstream meat, Lucy chose the hogget (£18.00) which was cooked in three ways.
What a sight my main was as it came into view. Presented in a fine dining style, the thyme potatoes were pressed and stacked in thin layers below a golden, crisp-skinned portion of guinea fowl, Mirabelle plum puree and a touch of gravy were spooned in a spiral around it – all were spot on in flavour.
The hogget main was the favourite of the table though. Served with a braised neck fillet and a hogget faggot, the hearty slice of roasted rump meat with chickpeas, spinach and yoghurt had us literally quivering with pleasure. It was amazing how different in taste the fillet, faggot and rump were and yet, they worked so perfectly as a trio.
We finished our mid-week feast with a dark chocolate fondant (£6.50) and a raspberry and lemon parfait (£6.50). The white chocolate pyramid filled with the parfait, accompanied by meringue tears and lemon gel was beautifully presented and went down well with Lucy. My fondant was served cold which was disappointing, particularly for an autumn menu I was hoping for it to be hot, although the molten dark chocolate with a salted caramel centre still left me smiling with a clean plate.
With a menu fit to be served at a fine-dining restaurant, reasonable prices and a relaxed atmosphere – the Cowshed has struck the perfect balance.
Be sure to check out its set lunch menu which will get you two courses for £10.95 or three courses for £12.95, it also has a great steak/burger early dinner menu if you’re watching the pennies.
44-46 Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2NH
Please note: Whilst I was invited to review the Cowshed and our food was complimentary, all opinions are my own. The photography rights also belong to me, please do not use without permission.