“ Address: Berwick Drive / Bristol / BS10 7TD „
Mr Tart decided to surprise me with a meal out to Berwick Lodge recently. Despite living in Bristol I had not heard of it, but I shall certainly be telling everyone about it from now on. Mr Tart found out about it as he was looking on the website of another amazing Bristol restaurant, Bell's Diner, and they have the same head chef.
Berwick Lodge is located just off the Cribbs Causeway exit of the M5, on the outskirts of Bristol. It is down a country lane and you need to follow the postcode suggested on their website rather than their actual postcode if using Sat Nav. Be warned the lane had some enormous potholes so drive carefully!
The Lodge looks lovely from the outside. It is a manor house which has been restored and turned into a hotel and restaurant. There is plenty of parking around the Lodge. The noise of the motorway was noticeable for those thinking of staying there but certainly not terrible. We had a quick look at the grounds which seemed lovely. As we went in our coats were taken and the staff were immediately friendly and attentive.
When we arrived at about 7.15 on a Saturday evening we were the only ones in the dining room. When Mr Tart booked he was told that they were busy at 8 so to book for 7.30. However, we were the only ones until around 8 which felt a little weird but we did have the staff's undivided attention. The dining room is stunning. There are chandeliers and the alcoves were lit with candles. We ordered two glasses of champagne as an aperitif and they were brought by the sommelier who brought the bottle to show us as well. The sommelier was French, which always seems to be the mark of a classy establishment, and he was dressed in a tuxedo lovely!
To start with we were brought some nibbles. We had marinaded olives, sweet roasted walnuts and mushroom risotto balls. These were all delicious, especially the olives which I love. We were then brought an amuse bouche of a tiny piece of lamb coated in breadcumbs.
To start I had the 'Saffron, squid ink and crab tortellini, cauliflower and split bisque dressing'. This was three tortellini which were absolutely delicious, although I did think they were slightly underseasoned. For my main course I had the 'haunch of venison, pumpkin, herb panna cotta, plum, juniper and sage'. WOW! I really think that it was one of the best main courses I've eaten in my life. The venison was perfectly cooked. There were things on the dish that I would normally be a little wary of. I don't like panna cotta as a dessert but the herb one complimented the dish perfectly. Again, I don't normally like fruit with meat that much (I know it's a classic but it's just me!). However the plum with this went incredibly well. The whole dish was just stunning and my mouth is watering as I'm writing about it!
Dessert obviously had to be done. After the starter and main we were comfortable enough to fit a dessert in. I had the '8 texture valrhona chocolate'. I'll admit I did have to ask the waitress what on earth I would be getting. It turned out to be a cake type base with layers of chocolate, served with a spoonful of chocolate ice cream, chocolate powder and a roll of chocolate (like a brandy snap) filled with a type of white chocolate. Obviously not one for you if you don't have a sweet tooth! The dessert was really tasty but it was quite heavy so I wouldn't recommend if you were feeling a little full after your main.
Mr Tart had the 'citrus cured rainbow trout, onion and beetroot' which I didn't try as I'm not a huge fan of fish. He said it was great with the texture of smoked salmon but without the smoky flavour. For his main he had the 'Diary House Estate Pheasant, barley, celeriac, blackberries and whisky'. I did try this and again it was cooked perfectly. He raved about it and even when we got home he kept coming out with "wow, that pheasant was just amazing at random moments. For dessert he had the 'peach, lavender, honeycomb, yoghurt, star anise and filo'. Again I didn't try this as my dessert was taking up my time, concentration and remaining stomach space, but he was raving about it again and said how interesting (in a good way) it was.
As I said we had a delicious glass of champagne to start. For the rest of the meal I drank tap water (I refuse to pay money for water!). Mr Tart had a glass of white chosen by the sommelier for his starter which he enjoyed. For his main he chose a glass of red and then the sommelier suggested his dessert wine to match his chosen dessert. Mr Tart said there were some lovely wines on the list, although by-the-glass options were obviously more limited. He also said that the wines were unusual but that they went really well with the food, which was the same thing he said when we went to Bell's Diner.
The service was excellent and really attentive. We only had two slight bugbears. The first was that they didn't keep our water topped up and that when Mr Tart finished his wine they didn't ask if he'd like anything else (too much of this can be very irritating but occasionally would have been nice). It was surprising as they were at our table a lot. The other bugbear was that at the end of the meal we were left for a long time waiting to pay. However, these shouldn't detract from the great service in general. We were asked if we enjoyed each dish and brought everything (except the card machine) very quickly.
OK, so here's the bit that hurt. I don't know what the bill was as it was Mr Tart's treat but I can give you some examples of how much the dishes cost. My starter was £9.50, my main was £20.50 and my dessert was £9.50. I did have some of the priciest things on the menu though!
This place isn't cheap by any means. However, when the food is as good as it was we didn't mind paying the prices.
I still can't believe that I didn't know about this place. It was a wonderful meal. At the prices, it's not a place for everyday but in my opinion it was worth the money for the experience and amazing food. There are also 10 rooms in the Lodge and for a special occasions I think it looked like a beautiful place to stay.