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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Birthday Eve Lunch at Côte

Meandering through Clifton Village on a not-very-sunny and looking-like-it's-about-to-rain grey day, but enjoying the rare day off from work, we looked for somewhere for lunch that we hadn't been before. And owing to the fact that later in the week for birthday celebrations we'd be spending a lot more, we wanted something nice but that wouldn't break the bank. And so we chose the now not-so-new, but still very shiny and polished Côte.

Now when Côte had opened I remember being quite disappointed. A series of three and four storey flats had been constructed, with the bottom floor across four blocks left empty for potential businesses and when finally Côte stepped in and then opened, it all looked a bit unexciting. And also, to start with, massively crowded. Passing by though on a nice relaxing despite-typical-British-summertime-weather day, and with some good menu options, it seemed like a perfect choice, and we popped inside.

So what is Côte? Basically it's a French-styled Brasserie, offering a decent range of 'French Classics' at a good price - it by no means is a restaurant for that romantic meal for two though, more for an easy-going lunch with friends, the hustle and bustle being friendly and creating a nice atmosphere, but sometimes being just a too noisy and busy for an 'event' dinner. That's not to criticise the establishment in the slightest however as that is essentially what it is aiming for, and it works well, offering a nicely not too formal but still good food dining experience.
Cote Bristol
Loving the complimentary water bottle

Drinks are the standard for such a venue, with an adequate selection of soft drinks, beers and wines at the expected prices, and the food menu is a good size offering a good choice without giving too much. Lunch though is where Côte scores top points, with a good number of deals, reductions and 'plat rapides'. On this particular day for just over £10 each me and Abby were both able to order a starter and a minute steak with fries, and we were not disappointed in the quality of either at all.
Cote Bristol food
Cote Bristol food
Coarsely shredded duck and pork pate with cornichons

Abby's calamari was delicious and nicely light, while my coarsely shredded duck and pork paté with sour dough bread was both very good but perhaps just a little too much for just me. The main of steak frites too was uniformly top rate, with the fries being perfectly cooked and with a good crisp outside. And the thin minute steak was excellent, with plenty of flavour, a nice soft melty texture and all topped by a garlic butter that complimented both the steak and the fries absolutely brilliantly.
Cote Bristol Lunch Menu
Steak and frites, heavy on the garlic butter
Cote Bristol Lunch Menu
Super crunchy frites, delicious
Cote Bristol Lunch Menu
Pacman on my steak!
So food good, price good, atmosphere good. In fact there is much to like to about Côte, and with little to really criticise. If there is anything to raise as a criticism it would be the service, which actually was frustratingly poor. Upon entering the restaurant the head waitress was very attentive, full of bubbly energy, made us feel welcome and was keen to do as much for us as possible. Sadly for the remainder of our time there we were saddled with a miserably morose waiter who seemed to offer us service as if he was bored with customers, the job, and life in general. Every time he came to the table he looked sour and deliberately grumpy, and his few utterances to us bordered on monosyllabic, all in all helping to briefly suck the enjoyment out of the air each of the three times he came over, he also never once asked how our meals were. At the end of the meal too, the restaurant wasn't particularly busy, and yet he was nowhere to be found. How long do you wait to pay a bill before just walking out? It's a question I've always pondered, and I've waited much longer in some places than we did here, but the place was hardly running at a breakneck pace.

If that seems like ending on a down note, then let me say that I was won round with everything the restaurant had to offer aside from this one wrinkle. It's a great lunch venue, with a good atmosphere, a varied menu, tasty food and much more else besides to like, and it really does offer a nice alternative to a pub lunch if you're feeling lazy in the afternoon, and fancy a friendly and social meal. I'd certainly go there again, and I'd happily recommend it to anyone passing through. 

Check out the menu options here


  1. I had very good steak frites with a much cheerier waiter there a few weeks ago :) The pot au chocolat was incredibly rich and tasty and perfectly set off by creme fraiche on the side.
    I like the concept of water on the table but I'm afraid I thought the bottles were fugly!

  2. Hi Dichohecho, Rich here, and thanks for the comment. Glad to see we're on the same page with opinions on Côte too. Yes, it was a real shame we had a pretty poor waiter, but these things are just luck of the draw, and maybe he was having a bad day. Who knows? But like I said, the head waitress, she was great and was a real credit to the restaurant.

    I'm certainly going to go back for another steak frites, and this time I'll try the pot au chocolat, as you've just absolutely sold it to me. The free water was a nice touch, as for a start we didn't have to go through the water conversation you have to in most restaurants ('Yes not the £5 water...just tap water...yes thank you...etc'), and it was nice water. I quite liked the bottle though. What does everyone else think?

    Thanks for commenting, and please come back and post more!