Last weekend our good friends Kathryn and Gavin came down to visit from London and a big catch up and as I had been dying to try Al Bacio after hearing from friends that it was rather good, I booked us in for Saturday evening. Located in the space formerly occupied for years by Sands and after that Sahara, Al Bacio is a fairly small restaurant but the night we were there it was very busy. Rather glad to be out of the cold we were directed to our table and coats were taken. They seem to have a lot of waiting staff at Al Bacio, but for good reason because their service operation was pretty slick, friendly unobtrusive Italian waiters who seem passionate about the food they are serving and offering up the odd joke.
Having already looked over the menu several times online before our visit I had mostly decided what to order. I was impressed by how many fish dishes they offered up and not just the usual couple so definitely check out the specials menu if you are a fish fanatic. I decided to pick the calamari for starters and classic Italian dish osso buco, as I have been wanting to try it for an age. Rich went for the mixed arancini and a steak whilst all four of us shared some garlic bread pizza.
|garlic bread pizza|
|Trio Fantasia (arancini)|
|Caprese Al Bacio|
As you can see from the photos of the starters they like to be a little different in their presentation it is nice to see dishes in an Italian restaurant presented with a little more flair. What you will also notice is how huge the portions are, these were starters and whereas most portions of calamari are around six rings at the most there must have been nearly twenty on my plate. When my calamari arrived I did think they looked a little anemic however they were cooked perfectly, no chewiness, although I would have liked a touch more salt on the batter but I was impressed on the whole.
Rich's arancini, the trio fantasia, were so tasty I almost wish I had ordered them, in fact next time that might be on my list. Kathryn ordered the Caprese Al Bacio, like a Caprese salad but wrapped in filo, she really enjoyed it. So far so good, Al Bacio had impressed with their starters, not to mention the lovely bottle of Italian red which was warmed just to the right temperature and was a smooth accompaniment to dinner. On to the mains...
|risotto Al Bacio|
|osso buco alla Milanese|
|steak in garlic butter sauce|
The veal in my osso buco was very tender it just fell apart and was full of flavour I enjoyed it, I felt the risotto alla Milanese could have done with a tad more seasoning but I would definitely order this dish again when I see it on a menu. Rich's steak was cooked exactly to order with enough garlic to keep the vampires away. Once again the portions were generous and so by the end of two courses we were stuffed although we did almost crumble in front of the profiteroles but our stomachs begged us not to.
I was impressed with Al Bacio, they offer tasty Italian food, including dishes that aren't on your typical Italian in England restaurant menus, which means you get to explore some new dishes or stick to more familiar ones if you have your favourites. The prices are also really reasonable for what you get nearly all the pasta, pizza and risotto dishes are under £10 and even the meat dishes hover around the £15 or so mark. I am looking forward to trying out their pizza next time I visit as the dough on the garlic bread was superb. Also if you are gluten free you can be rest assured that they offer up gluten free pasta which opens up more choices to the gluten intolerant for whom usually Italian restaurants are a bit of a no go area. A great new restaurant edition to Bristol, I urge you to check it out although booking is advisable, news has spread fast about this place. To find out more about Al Bacio visit their website
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