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Thursday 14 March 2013

Pre-Theatre Dinner at The Riverstation

On Saturday Elisa, Jane, Jamie and myself decided to have an early dinner before going to watch a play at the Old Vic. The Riverstation was suggested, as they have a very reasonable bar menu on offer and it was close by, 6pm was chosen the designated meeting time. To my shame I have never visited either the bar or the restaurant at the Riverstation before and after Saturday it definitely won't be my last visit. Despite only being 6pm the bar area was already over half full with diners. The bar menu is made up of small plates, medium plates and large plates, so you can mix and match your own tapas with the small plates with 3 for £10 if you so wish.  
The Riverstation Menu
Menu for our evening
We all decided to go for large plates, all of these are under £10 and a complete bargain. Although there are only 6 plates to choose from they are good enough that I was still umming and ahhing over what to have. In the end I went for the risotto with Jerusalem artichokes, chestnuts and pea-shoots which is something different for me, normally I would have gone straight for the minute steak. Elisa went for the chicken with grilled polenta, Jamie, the smoked haddock chowder and Jane the savoury tart of the day. 
The Riverstation food Bristol
artichoke and chestnut risotto
The Riverstation food Bristol
goats cheese and butternut squash tart
The Riverstation food Bristol
free range chicken breast with grilled polenta, kale, mushrooms and red wine
Thanks to the generosity of my friends I got to sample all the dishes. First off my risotto was perfectly cooked, the rice still slightly al dente the artichokes creamy and melt in the mouth, for me personally I am not sure the chestnuts worked, the texture jarred a little for me with the rest of the dish. However a good risotto is hard to find, and this was a good risotto. Jane's tart was the fluffiest savoury tart I have ever tasted it was so light in texture. 
The Riverstation food Bristol
smoked haddock chowder
The smoked haddock in the chowder was pronounced cooked to perfection by all, although Jamie reckoned that just using regular haddock would have worked just as well and produced a subtler flavour. For me however out of all the dishes this was my favourite, I quietly lamented not ordering it. Elisa's chicken dish was also a delight, here sat four happy ladies content with the plates in front of them.

I should mention our waiter for the evening was a cut above the average, instead of treating all tables in the same way he took time out to chat a little, which makes me, as a diner feel special and not just another number. He brought back the menu for us to look at the desserts, they all sounded delicious but we only fancied a small sweet bite to end the meal so we made our way to the cake bench.
The Riverstation food Bristol
cake and pastries selection
The Riverstation food Bristol
pastel de nata
We settled on a little custard tart each, pasteis de nata, the Portuguese contribution to dessert pastries. These were slightly deeper than traditional custard tarts you get in Portugal but were extremely tasty, enhanced by a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg, which really rounded off our meal nicely. I was very impressed by the Riverstation and I feel ashamed not to have visited before. I look forward to my next visit and at some point trying the restaurant menu upstairs, arguably they have one of the nicest evening atmospheres in Bristol, there is something slightly magical about eating next to the river at night. To check out more visit their website.

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