Posted 7th August 2013
We have been meaning to try Flinty Red for ages, but guest blogger Rachael Stiles beat us to it – we really want to go now though!
Despite having lived in Bristol for years, there are still lots of restaurants I want to go to but haven’t tried yet. New ones seem to pop up so frequently that it’s difficult to keep up – not that that’s a bad thing.
For my birthday recently, I decided that it was the turn of Flinty Red on Cotham Hill, and I was not disappointed. My first impressions of this bistro-style restaurant were the nice smells as we came through the door, and that it was stylish but simple – a good sign that most of the effort goes into the food. When we eat out, my boyfriend and I have a somewhat silly five-tier rating system: food (obviously), service, value for money, décor/general ambience, and bathrooms. By the end of the evening, Flinty Red had scored pretty highly in all categories.
A relatively recent addition to the Bristol food scene, Flinty Red combines modern European cuisine with an extensive wine list. Aptly named for the Roald Dahl story, it’s co-owned by the same people who own the wine shop Corks of Cotham, just up the hill. Being big fans but not connoisseurs of wine, we were glad to have friendly, knowledgeable staff on hand to make recommendations. Our carafe of Pinot Gris was so refreshing that we had another one.
The food menu was also extensive and I wanted almost everything on it. About half of the menu consists of either tapas dishes or main dishes available in smaller portions, so you can pick and choose. They’ve also divided it by type, such as ‘Cheese/Vegetables/Salads’ and ‘Braised/Slow cooked’ to help you navigate. We decided to go tapas-style and share, so that we could try as many things as possible, some of which I’d never heard of, which is always fun. This also means you can keep the cost down, if you don’t want to go all out with a three course meal.
Under the premise that it was my birthday, the waitress let me swipe one of the menus, otherwise I would have struggled to remember the unfamiliar names of all the things we tried. Some of the highlights included: duck egg with Morcilla Leon (a Spanish type of black pudding – good job I’m not vegetarian anymore) and broad beans, and aubergine rotolo with tomato and cream – a pasta dish not unlike cannelloni – which was so good that it drove Tom to say, “We’ve just been to Italy and didn’t have anything as good as that”.
Every dish we sampled was delicious and I could have eaten an entire plate of each (although not in the same sitting). Eventually we felt like we’d had enough, and due to being quite full and trying not to break the bank, we faced the choice of tantalising desserts, coffee or a night cap. I was glad to see they offered a solution: Affogato. This literally means ‘drowned’ in Italian, and consists of ice cream doused in shots of liqueur and espresso – a great end to a great meal. It even came with a candle on top.
34 Cotham Hill
t. 0117 923 8755
Words and photographs by Rachael Stiles.