Cherry Duck, Bristol

Avid readers will have noticed that my blog has been a little quiet recently – I’m currently spending a lot of time in Bristol eating my way around the burgeoning restaurant scene – it has all the upmarket burgers, swanky pizzas and reliable Thais that have graced London for years. I haven’t really felt compelled to write about any of them, that is until I popped out for a quick dinner last night.

Cherry Duck is a tiny harbourside bistro, perched on the welsh back it peers over the river. The outside isn’t particularly special, but inside it’s smart and sleek – dark ceilings disappear into the night sky, acres of glass and an open kitchen. The menu is modern European, but with some lovely twists. I was brought some fantastic bread while I waited – a potato loaf and a white bloomer.

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Smoked Partridge breast, crispy hen’s egg, piccalilli, celeriac remoulade, honey dressed mizuna

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This is a beautifully balanced starter – sweet, smokey and with lovely texture. I’d have liked a little more partridge, but that’s just because it was so very good.

40 day aged fillet of beef, oxtail croquette, calves liver, jerusalem artichokes, chantenay carrots, horseradish jelly, watercress, beef jus

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This is a wonderful celebration of beef. You’ve got the soft, tender fillet; the sharp tangy liver and the achingly gooey oxtail. The horseradish jelly is sublime – little bursts of heat and smoothness. I had a side of roasted parsnips and beetroots which were also delicious.

Chocolate Fondant, salted caramel, stout ice cream, sesame brittle

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Gooey on the inside, crisp on the outside and full of chocolately goodness. The stout ice-cream was a clever touch with some rich malty notes. The sesame brittle added crunch without shattering teeth and the salted caramel brought it all together. The perfect pudding – rich, indulgent and not too cloyingly sweet.

The whole experience was great. The staff were fantastic – friendly and attentive. The food represents fantastic value and the wine list is suitably enticing. This is cooking with a real appreciation for the ingredients and a real style in their preparation and presentation. It would be the star of most streets in London and in Bristol it’s an absolute gem. Go, eat and be happy.

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