February 2017 marks the sixth 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!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Riverstation Restaurant – The Grove, Bristol

A lot of thought went into choosing a suitable location for Friday night's dinner plans with the Best Foodie Friend (BFF). We each had our own criteria; she, a venue special enough to warrant enduring a gruelling working week for, and I, value for money due to a serious lack of funds! We agreed on Riverstation, which we discovered would (at our intended time of visit) offer their top-end modern European cuisine across three menus, each with ample choice and at an affordable price...perfect!

Date and Time: Friday 8th July 2011, 19:00
Name of Establishment : Riverstation*
Location: The Grove, Bristol
Reason for Visit: Dinner date with the BFF

Seated within the airy top-floor restaurant overlooking the river and rainy outside terrace area, I was instantly impressed with the sophisticated vibe of this light and contemporary space. Floor-to-ceiling windows and tasteful minimalism created a spacious feel despite the venue's rapidly increasing population. With our coats whisked away for safekeeping, it was noted how friendly and efficient the service is – our server in particular made the BFF and I feel as though nothing was too much trouble and answered any questions we had with informative yet smiley responses.

The aforementioned menus were presented as follows: the à La Carte , (unfortunately just a little out of my price range on this occasion), the set menu (which changes daily and offers two courses for £14.75 and then the option of a third for an additional £3.75) and the Café Hour Menu (which offers a main meal with a drink for £9 from 6:00pm – 7:15pm Monday-Friday). BFF opted for the two-course set menu and I muddied the waters, choosing initially from the Café Hour menu and following this up with a dessert from the set menu which had particularly caught my eye!

Before our main courses arrived, our server brought a large basket of complimentary rustic breads to choose from – I selected a flavoursome fennel and sultana wholemeal and the BFF chose a hunk of the focaccia which was also reportedly delicious. It can be said that this amply whetted our appetites for main courses which were on the whole, very well received. The BFF's 'Jacob's Ladder' or, short rib of beef, was not quite as tender as she had anticipated but was satisfyingly tasty nevertheless. This was served with spinach, a velvety textured mash and peppercorn sauce which was wonderfully tangy without overpowering the dish. My main course constituted the smoked haddock and dill risotto which, I have to say, was beautifully presented (something I feel is notoriously difficult to achieve with a course of predominantly rice). The sticky indulgence of this course, was, for me, divine. The fish was light, flaky and had certainly not been scrimped upon and although clearly the dominant ingredient, the parmesan had that fresh, familiar pungency which I thoroughly enjoyed. 
Jacob's Ladder - from the Set Menu

Smoked Haddock and Dill Risotto - from the Café Hour Menu

 There wasn't much time to rest after our empty plates had been cleared as desserts were served almost immediately. As previously mentioned, I was able to choose from the set menu – namely, the warmed chocolate brownie which had been packed with walnuts and topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream as well as a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a dusting of cocoa powder. Unfortunately, I was still rather full from my risotto so probably didn't enjoy this pud as much as I would have, had I been given a little more time to rest between courses. That said, it was hard to resist its rich chocolaty appeal despite the growing pain in my stomach! The BFF was served the lemon syllabub which she reported was smooth and creamy with a unmistakably boozy hit! Furthermore, the accompanying sable biscuits were delicately crisp with a melt-in-the-mouth finish.
Chocolate and Walnut Brownie - from the Set Menu
Lemon Syllabub - from the Set Menu
When it came to drinks, I settled for the house white as it had been incorporated as part of my 'Café Hour' dinner. However, I couldn't help but eye-up the cocktail menu which, for around the six-pound mark, offered an attractive choice of original creations as well as a number of classic combos. The 'Wild Plum' would have proven top of my tipple selection muddling wild turkey bourbon, choya plum liqueur, apple juice and fresh lime – delish!

I entirely enjoyed my evening at the Riverstation restaurant – with its classy ambiance and somewhat faultless fare, I certainly plan to sample more of what this venue has to offer. I may well visit the Bar+Kitchen next time, perhaps for a spot of brunch or a cocktail or two. After all, if other aspects of this venue are of a similar quality to those experienced by the BFF and I, I'd certainly be onto a winner!

And now for the second opinion...
The BFF gave Riverstation a rating of 9/10 and in three words described her experience as, 'elegant, nuanced and tasty'.



  1. My neighbor also went here on Friday evening and said it was fabulous! I can't wait to try it.

  2. Ohhh, that syllabub. Delicious, but pretty strong!

  3. I really want to like riverstation. The location is lovely, and the food is undeniably high quality. Unfortunately our two most recent meals have rather put us off. This view is entirely down to the service. The first visit was four of us on a celebration and the service was one of the worst we had ever experienced in any restaurant. This prompted one of my companions who is usually rather reserved to write a rather comprehensive letter of complaint.

    The result of this was (and credit should be given for this) an invitation to return at their cost to experience another meal. Sadly the service on the return visit was if anything worse. Makes it really very difficult to enjoy the quality of the food. You don't specifically mention the service, so I can only hope that it has improved since our visit.

  4. Thank you all for your comments...

    Nakedlunchuk, it's interesting to hear that you have repeatedly experienced poor service. Perhaps they have addressed this since your last visit as I certainly found the service to be friendly and efficient - not overly chatty but polite enough. Our particular server was happy to oblige when asked for something, for example, I asked for seconds from the bread basket and this was brought straight away.

    I think the only real problem was how quickly the desserts arrived after the main courses were cleared and yet, this was surely a timing issue in the kitchen and not the fault of the serving staff.

  5. Yep, I'll back Sam and say that the service was very pleasant indeed.

    I think there can be a high staff turnover in the service industry so often those rude members of staff may leave pretty quickly..

    I went to the Mud Dock for a birthday meal recently and was dreading it due to very bad reviews for service on TripAdvisor, but was pleasantly surprised as the service was fantastic!