Named after the year when the vegetarian society was formed (who knew?), 1847 opened up its third branch in Bristol last year – promising seasonal, modern dishes which are all well, vegetarian.
Moving away from the stereotypical vegetarian dishes of falafels, tagine and bean burgers, 1847 have brought in a new idea of recreating classic (and primarily meat-based) dishes into vegetarian alternatives. Ditching the beef for a Beet Bourguignon and pairing creamy turnip and sage mash with a Spicy puy lentil sausage for one very snazzy bangers and mash alternative. I took my fellow foodie from the land down under for some humpday wining and dining.
Shortly after taking our seats beside a small herb garden which was tucked away within the back wall of 1847 Bristol, we were provided with a winter menu which offered nibbles, starters, sides and the main event. We proceeded to dive straight in with a Crispy Egg (vegetarian Scotch Egg) and an Onion Bhajji starter. Both dishes were utterly sublime, the perfectly formed and delightfully crispy onion bhajji served with swirls of cucumber and coriander and garlic raita, the scotch egg oozed into the bed of pearl barley, celeriac and radicchio below after we sliced it open.
After a couple more glasses of Rose wine, next came the main event of “Fish” and Chips (“Fish” in inverted commas because it’s actually battered halloumi – vegetarian restaurant remember?) and Merguez & mash. With a light, golden batter and a large portion of triple-cooked chips, the battered halloumi and chips was the favourite of our table; not so surprising given that it’s 1847’s most popular dish. The savoury lemon curd and the zing of the green pea & basil puree on the plate ensured the dish didn’t feel too heavy. My Merguez & mash deserves some praise too though, it was certainly an original dish and the spiced lentil filling of my “sausage” was perfect for a winter’s evening.
A side of caramelized cauliflower and harissa yoghurt and mixed vegetables winged their way to our table too. The mixed veggies included roasted sweet potato, carrots and leek. The caramelized cauliflower wasn’t very hot and didn’t really taste of much.
After a subtle unbuttoning of the trousers and a slight unzipping of the skirt to give room for a little more (ah the glamorous life us foodies live), we readied ourselves for the third and final course of Chocolate and Pear and Chestnut Pie.
Jordana, my Aussie companion, declared her Chocolate and Pear to be the highlight of her three dishes. The soft port-poached pear and rich chocolate ganache contrasting well to the crunch of the gingerbread which was dotted across the black slate. My Chestnut pie was a much creamier and rich dessert, the round cinnamon sable topped with mounds of chestnut mouse and praline dust. That cinnamon sable was quite a challenge to break into mind, I could have done with a knife to jab into it.
The presentation of all the dishes was perfect and gave the whole experience a fine-dining-esque feel. That Onion Barjji was such a beautiful thing to admire, it almost felt wrong to cut into it. Almost. The service was on point, particularly given that there was only one waiter on call that night and we were never left wanting for anything.
With 2 courses for £19.50, 1847 Bristol are worth a visit if you’re looking for a tasty vegetarian meal in a chilled out venue in the centre of town. I could definitely demolish another round of that “fish” and chips. Cue the Homer Simpson style drooling.
Please Note: Whilst I was invited to review 1847 Bristol and our meals were complimentary, this by no means had an impact upon my opinions. The photography is also mine.