Drink: 8 Atmosphere: 7 Food: 9 Overall: 8
1847, named after the year the Vegetarian Society was founded, is a sophisticated restaurant with one aim: to push the boundaries of vegetarian cuisine.
An establishment of meat-free mastery, you can find 1847 sandwiched between a handful of Vietnamese eateries and a stone’s throw from Bristol's new Franco Manca. The slick, contemporary Scandinavian scenery, set with wooden panelled floors and glossy marble tables, fits the ambience of such a polished veggie hide-out – somewhat perfect for a ‘treat yourself’ lunch or celebratory dinner.
The A La Carte menu is short, simple, and reasonably priced - with one main at £15, two courses for £21 or three courses for £27. The menu is a showground of seasonal produce, where many dishes are colourful concoctions of artichokes, beetroots, parsnips, leeks and so on. Clearly dedicated to smart and thoughtful cooking, 1847 pride themselves on using simple, fresh ingredients to create impressive edible concepts, injecting a fusion of textures and flavours to elevate every dish.
Evidence of their attention to texture and flavour is the ‘Textures of Beetroot’: a vibrant plum plate of hay-baked beetroot and beetroot carpaccio on a bed of soft spätzle - soft egg noodle balls - with cream and walnut pesto. The creamy mauve sauce encases the soft spätzle in a rich, velvety pool of colour, while the hay baked and carpaccio beetroot gave a more delicate bite and sweeter tang. It was almost perfect; a thick slice of sourdough would’ve worked wonders in absorbing the remains of the creamy sauce - more importantly in saving me from a vampiric visage as I tried to whipe the plate clean.
My fellow diners both tucked into the signature ginger and beer-battered halloumi, served with wasabi mayonnaise, pickled plum, and triple-cooked chips. The halloumi, fried so beautifully with a teasingly salty taste, is enough to overlook any health concerns – arguably the crunchiest, juiciest serving of halloumi Bristol has to offer.
Another seemingly delicious dish worthy of a mention is the winter salad: mixed leaves with macerated figs, toasted pine nuts, heritage carrots and caramelised shallot dressing. Desserts are both traditional and modern, ranging from Amaretto panna cotta with cinnamon crumble to the more enticing ensemble of chocolate textures: snow, mousse, shortbread, and crisp with lime syrup.
Though nothing short of professional in the field of fine dining, it’s a shame 1847 lacks the popularity of its larger neighbour restaurants - perhaps the lofty, leafy scenes of Clifton Village would reckon a better suited match. It could be the tight-lipped impression of the interior, or even its strictly meat-free approach that scares the more cautious of diners, however once inside, all that arrives at the table is enough to convince even the staunchest of carnivores.
Vibrant innovative dishes with reasonable price tags are enough for 1847 to promise a pleasant dining experience. It goes without saying a must visit for veggies and vegans and for those bordering on the flexi diet – this may just be the trick to convince you to ditch the meat for good.
www.by1847.com St Stephen's Street