I'd been hearing a lot of good things regarding No. 1 Harbourside, the second venue from Coexist, (the people who brought 'The Canteen' to Stoke's Croft) and subsequently, I considered it high-time that I experienced this undoubtedly eclectic space for myself. After all, following the 'culinary catastrophes' I'd encountered, twice-over, at previously visited venues, it was surely a case of third-time-lucky. Fortunately, from the moment that the Best Foodie Friend (BFF) and I walked through the door, it was evident that this would be the case...
Date and Time: Tuesday 14th June 2011, 18:45
Name of Establishment: No. 1 Harbourside*
Location: 1 Canons Road, Bristol
Reason for Visit: Post-work nosh up with the BFF
With a laid-back vibe and river-side setting, No.1 Harbourside is ideally situated for watching the world (and Bristol Ferry boats*) go by. With a funky interior featuring candy-striped pillars and shabby-chic décor as well as an airy feel brought about by spaciously arranged furniture, floor-to-ceiling windows and an expansive bar area – it's a real find, and find it you must due to No. 1 Harbourside's apparent preference for remaining low-key. In fact, it's only in the last couple of days that the website has been revamped with details of the venue's upcoming events, live music line-up and wine list. However, it's only once you venture inside that you discover the foodie-related delights that come from what, upon first look, appears a rather humble establishment.
|Kooky Table Numbering!|
The BFF and I were greeted with sincere smiley service upon ordering our food from the chalk-board above the bar – she, the loin of pork with pink sage purée (£9) and I, the garlicky roasted courgette and goats cheese tart (£6). With five dishes on offer which start from just five pounds for what is described as locally sourced, seasonal produce, it's great to find an eatery that focuses on quality over quantity. The complimentary soup to start, which happened to be pea, leek and potato, was a lovely touch and, served piping hot with a herb-infused hunk of fresh bread, it really was a tasty interlude to the foodie feast to come.
|Pea, Leek and Potato Soup with Herby Bread|
Main courses were elegantly presented and yet, this did not fabricate a measly portion – on the contrary as both dishes were generously layered with top-notch nosh. The tart (though, masquerading as a slice of quiche in my opinion) was delicious; rich in garlic which, alongside the twang of goats cheese and sweetness of the roasted vegetables, accented this dish to perfection. Seasoned new potatoes nestled under a huge green salad which consisted of rocket, white cabbage, celery and apple. The combination of fresh tastes here certainly made for a flavoursome accompaniment – even the salad dressing didn't go unnoticed with it's intended sharpness and mustard seed zip! BFF was equally impressed with her dish and commented that the pork was well-cooked and satisfying, though the crackling was a little chewy for her palate.
|Roasted Courgette and Goats Cheese Tart/Quiche|
I was a little disappointed that there was not a dessert option and yet, despite this knock to it's sweet-toothed visitors, No. 1 Harbourside offers a real treat for the discerning drinker as it stocks and serves a wide range of good-quality real ales, lagers, ciders, wines and spirits. I'll put my hands up and say that I was somewhat unadventurous and stuck to my usual order of 'dry white wine' – which was provided in the form of Podere Vaglie, Sollazzo Trebbiano Grechetto, but I hear that Lilley's Apples and Pears cider is really where it's at...!
I will definitely be returning to No. 1 Harbourside and intend to keep up-to-date with their ever-changing/seasonal menu. It really is commendable that local, high-quality ingredients can be sourced and plated at such a reasonable cost. As well as this, the chilled ambiance of the venue overall is more-than-inviting; the inside space has a touch of grungy charm to it (although, perhaps a little too grungy when it comes to the toilets!) and the outside area, a proper hot-spot in the summer months. Finally, the variety of live musicians (who perform daily) seal the deal, making No. 1 Harbourside the ultimate hang-out on 'the strip'.
And now for the second opinion...
BBF gave No. 1 Harbourside 9/10 and in three words, described it as 'local', 'seasonal' and 'hearty'.