Before the Grain Barge, Three Brothers and Under the Stars took to the Bristol harbourside restaurant scene, there was the Glassboat. In fact this floating establishment has been open for 29 years.
Found on Welsh Back close to the Bristol Bridge, the Glassboat boasts a classic French menu with some of the “best steaks in Bristol.” With large glass windows lining the perimeter of the boat to give guests an amazing waterside view and polished oak floors the Glassboat certainly looks the part when it comes to being a classy, elegant restaurant but that means little if the food isn’t up to scratch. Accompanied by my Dad, I popped over last week to get my first taste of Glassboat’s offering to the Bristol food scene.
It was evident when we arrived that the Glassboat is particularly popular for business dinners and professionals looking for an evening out after a long day at the office. There was a formal feel to the place striking a contrast to the venues located nearby making it well suited for diners who are marking a special occassion.
To start, we went for Duck rillettes, cornichons on toast (£6.50) to accompany our carafe of fruity, rose wine. Whilst the small, pickled gherkins brought great sour undertones to the dish and alternating textures, we did find the flavour of the duck rillettes was lost which was a shame, a little more seasoning would have done the trick.
To follow my Dad and I, both tempted by the sharing dishes, went for the rotisserie chicken. Served piping hot on a wooden platter with a mound of seasoned runner beans, the chicken was certainly pleasing to behold with a perfect golden brown, crispy skin.
Creamy, potato dauphinoise was served in a rounded rustic pot on the side alongside a small jug of gravy which really helped bring the dish together, injecting a burst of rich, aromatic flavour into the chicken. I only wish there was a little more of the sides. With a whole chicken’s worth of meat to get through, we did find the sides had to be stretched quite thinly towards the end. The flavours just weren’t quite there for the main but the ingredients themselves were cooked well.
That said, my Dad and I enjoyed the whole sharing experience, being presented with an array of food in the centre of the table and provided small plates and utensils so we could carve up and serve ourselves. It also meant I could drown everything in the gravy guilt-free, I literally could have drunk that stuff straight from the jug. Of course, the Glassboat is a pretty snazzy place so I held myself back.
Rounding off our meal on a sweet note, Dad was quick to suggest we share a Créme brulee (£6.00), his favourite dessert and a well-known French classic. Breaking through the layer of crisp caramel with a satisfying strike of my fork, the custard base below was chilled and smooth. It was a fitting dish to end our French experience at the Glassboat.
Please Note: Whilst I was invited to review the Glassboat and our meals were complimentary, this in no way impacted upon my opinions given in this post.