February 2018 marks the 7th anniversary of my eating adventures and, as ever, I'm excited about what the coming months will bring for us foodies! In case this is your first visit (if not, welcome back), I'm a 30-something female with a very healthy appetite!...I promise to share with you my experience of each restaurant, café or bar in which I set foot...so, let's go out!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Tart After Dark – Tastes of Summer Supper

After the glowing nature of my review regarding the last 'Tart after Dark' evening, it would have been rude not to follow my own advice and book a place at the 'Tastes of Summer' Supper. After all, with the Bristol summertime a wash-out thus far, it seemed only fair that the Best Foodie Friend (BFF) and I experience some aspect of the season’s perks...and, with a menu promising four sunshine-infused courses, who cares that outside, there were clouds in the sky...!?

Date and Time: Thursday 23rd June 2011, 19:30
Name of Establishment: Tart Café and Foodstore*
Location:16 The Promenade, Gloucester Road-Bristol
Reason for Visit: Tart after Dark Tastes of Summer Supper

Shaking rain from our brolliies, BFF and I were certainly glad to be part of an evening that promised summertime on a plate! And, upon arriving at Tart, it was evident that the team had gone all-out to ensure that the evening’s theme had been adhered to; not only within the menu’s content, but also in the warm greeting we received whilst being shown to our table and the venue’s crisp décor which had been accented with lemon-coloured posies and flickering candlelight. Our table was also within sniffing distance of a huge vase of beautiful lilies which, alongside the tantalising cooking smells wafting through from the kitchen and the jazzy soundtrack overhead, constituted a real treat for one’s senses!

Aperitifs were served; the kick of cider brandy muddled with sweet apple juice made for a wonderfully boozy yet refreshing combination and suitably led to the appetiser – traditional Spanish Gazpacho. I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t sure whether I would enjoy this course – the thought of what I somewhat naively considered a liquidised salad tended to leave me...well...a little cold! However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Presented in a cappuccino cup and with an appealing reddish appearance, each teaspoon-full of this soup resulted in punchy bursts of flavour; the refreshing zing of tomato against the sweetness of fresh garlic which, textured with egg white and dressed with extra virgin olive oil, cucumber and mixed herbs was simply delicious.
The wine list had again been carefully arranged by Tart’s Gloucester Road neighbours at ‘Grape and Grind’* and although BFF and I chose not to partake on this occasion, there were some notably suitable options available which, supporting the ‘tastes of summer’ ethos featured light and fruity notes.

On to the starter and BFF and I had gone for varying dishes; she, the vegetarian option of Panzenella (an Italian bread salad) and I, the chicken, lemon and basil terrine. BFF reported that she enjoyed the contrasting flavours to her dish; the saltiness of the olives, along with the abundant rocket’s peppery twang, perfectly complimented the sweetness of the roasted peppers. This in turn oozed its flavours through the rustic Italian bread which could have almost been described as giant croutons! On my part, the terrine was chunky and satisfying - wrapped in good-quality parma ham and served with ciabbatta toasts as well as Tart’s home-made piccalilli, (the latter proving the highlight of the dish for me – I must ask for the recipe!). This barely left room for the next two courses but I endeavoured to finish and with ingredients this fresh and tasty, it really was no hardship!


Chicken, Lemon and Basil Terrine

 Main courses were served and BFF had once again opted for the vegetarian course, this time in the form of an individual summer vegetable tart which had been made with the venue's signature short-crust pastry. Although it had become a little soggy on the bottom, the pastry was reportedly top-notch in terms of taste and, packed full of broad beans, peas and spinach with an almost quiche-like finish, was the winner of the evening for her. BFF further noted that with so many eateries falling short of offering meat-free dishes that feel indulgent and fulfilling that it was commendable that Tart had got this spot-on. Subsequently, the size of the portions may have something to do with this as they are ample to say the least – it's almost like being at a friend's for dinner with dishes that are arranged in a way to feed you up and yet, in the prettiest possible way! A fine example of this constituted the organic salmon fillet which was colourfully presented with its pink delicate flakiness folded beneath herbs, capers, lemon zest, butter and flaky pastry. This, against the vibrant green of the accompanying peas and beans, not only looked great but married a host of contrasting textures and tastes with a richly flavoursome result. I think that the only potential rain cloud in an otherwise clear blue sky manifested in the form of the shared new potatoes which I found to be overly firm for my taste.
Summer Vegetable Tart

Organic Salmon Fillet

That said, the pudding was just to die for; Sweet Eve strawberries* (which, derived from the British countryside, are without-a-doubt the sweetest strawberries I have ever tasted), smothered in a decently thick clotted cream and sandwiched between warmed shortcake. Again, beautifully plated and well prepared – I was seriously full by this point but I couldn't bear to leave a single mouthful. We were even given a punnet of strawberries to take away with us which incidentally, I enjoyed with my breakfast the following day.

Sweet Eve Strawberry Shortcake
In conclusion, another fantastic evening spent at Tart; its touch of Parisian chic makes for classy surroundings, with the friendly nature of the staff, you can’t help but feel at home and the food is undoubtedly first-rate. BFF and I left, clutching our doggy-bag of Sweet Eve strawberries, full of the joys of summer. In fact, so much so that I forgot to pick up my umbrella which, in retrospect, was no problem at all as it gave me a great excuse for returning for more tastiness from the Tart kitchen!

And now for the second opinion...
BFF gave the Tart after Dark Tastes of Summer Supper a rating of 9/10 and in three words described her meal as 'simple’, ‘fresh’ and ‘colourful’.

The next ‘Tart after Dark’ is a Southern Italian Supper on Thursday 21st July 2011 
- call 0117 924 7628 to book!

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