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, 2 June 2015

Filini - Radisson Blu Hotel, Broad Quay

Situated within the Radisson Blu Hotel which towers over central Bristol, Filini offers Italian fare from 12:00 noon each day. With specialty dishes based on Sardinian cuisine and classic cooking techniques fuelled with quality ingredients, I had high hopes for the Sunday brunch that I had booked for my dining companion and I via Groupon*; bagging a voucher which entitled us to three courses, plus a glass of vino each for under £20; bargain.

Date and Time: Sunday 17 May 2015, 12:00 noon
Name of Establishment: Filini*
Location: Radisson Blu Hotel, Broad Quay, Bristol
Reason for Visit: The lure of one of the many daily-deal websites and the budget blowouts that they allow for.

Ascending the stairs to the first floor where Filini is situated - after touring the bar area in search of other diners (which unsurprisingly, we didn't find) - we were pleased to be met with a smile by the restaurant's waiting staff. Whereas those in the bar had ignored us completely, we were greeted warmly and efficiently informed of the rules of our deal by the server assigned to our table-for-two. We were seated in a prime location for people-watching; the panoramic views of Bristol's centre proving the clear USP of this establishment whilst, crisp lines and a maroon colour-scheme seemed to lend to the space a sophisticated air. That said, familiar attributes synonymous with a hotel culture well and truly boxed Filini within the bland camp; take the 'easy listening' soundtrack for example, or the artificial foliage at every turn - hence, nothing too offensive but all a little predictable!
Antipasti wasn't nasty...
A staple Student Special?!
Our 'house' vino arrived and I have to say that I was pretty impressed with the rosé which was deliciously fruity and rich on the palate. I'm assuming that this was the Conto Vecchio Pinot Grigio Blush given that it's the only rosé that can be purchased by the glass; nevertheless, it appropriately complimented our starters which we assembled ourselves from a buffet of antipasti. If I'm honest, I wasn't expecting brunch to be a 'self-service' affair and yet, you could say that this was just another of those aforementioned hotel-habits that I really should have anticipated! You can't really go wrong with cold meats, olives, grilled vegetables and salad; all of which were fresh and plentiful. A lively ensemble of breads and oils constituted a tasty accompaniment to both first and second courses; the flat bread seasoned with salt and rosemary proving a particular favourite for me. On to the mains and let's first discuss the two primary issues with help-yourself hotel dining...Number one; food items left to rest upon hot plates are partial to dryness and number two; dishes made 'en masse' are typically of a lesser quality than those executed on an individual basis, (true story). As a result, I would describe the dishes comprising the main event as a little hit and miss - the haddock, served with an orange reduction and seasoned with fennel and black pepper was arguably the star of the show given its melt-in the mouth appeal and delicate balance of flavours. My dining companion preferred the chicken which had been roasted with lemon, thyme and artichoke and we both enjoyed the seasonal green vegetables (though these ran out rather quickly) and spring pea and ricotta risotto; the latter's creamy consistency just about making up for its questionable appearance! And on that note, that is where the positives end; although the chicken was tasty, it was extremely salty, a failing also true of the rosemary roasted potatoes that were in fact so salty, they were decidedly inedible! The 'Penne Pasta Bolognaise' proved disappointingly banal and the sausages were anaemic to the eye and although they just about passed in terms of taste, could have definitely benefited from a good deal longer in the oven.
Sponsored by Sodium?!
Desserts didn't fare especially well either - the Tiramisu, if you can describe it as such, was probably the worst attempt I've ever encountered due to the distinct lack of coffee (well, and booze if you're going to do it properly)  It was basically an over-frothed mass of synthetic cream and flabby sponge with a hint of something syrupy-sweet that if truth be told, remained unidentified. Luckily, the lemon mousse was quite the opposite with its fresh citrus zing and smooth disposition. The bite-sized brownies were a touch dry but the mini cheesecakes were simple yet appetising – I think I managed at least four! I washed pudding down with a cappuccino which, despite being well-made, almost certainly contained full-fat milk rather than the skimmed variation that Id asked for.

In conclusion, a real mixed bag in terms of the fare which was spot-on in places and seriously lacking in others. My dining companion and I overheard our neighbours rather openly discussing their (similar) sentiments which does seem a shame given the hotel's decision to showcase their restaurant using Groupon as a means to getting bums on seats. In other words, they are sharing these shortcomings with a multitude of people who have dined at a subsidised rate and as such, may be reluctant to return at full price, (which amazingly, comes in at over £20 a head). Incidentally, they may not also be so diplomatic in their response. I mean, I took awhile to peruse the dinner menu, considering the notion that when made to order, dishes could be executed to a better standard and attractively plated, particularly in light of the ingredients which have, without doubt, been thoughtfully sourced. I did wince at the £11 price tag for a Pizza Margherita however but for now, my judgement beyond the botch-up with brunch remains undetermined so, until then...
And now for the second opinion...
My dining companion gave Filini a rating of 6/10 and drew from her experience the following three words; 'salt, salt, salt!' I mean really...we were re-hydrating for the rest of the day!


* http://www.groupon.co.uk/vouchers/bristol