Posted 27th March 2011
Updated July 2014: No1 Harbourside quickly became a firm favourite of ours following this review. Be sure to check out their steaming hot mulled cider in the winter as well as their ever-changing, great value menu.
No.1 Harbourside is keeping itself very much on the down low. Whether this is intentional or not, you can find little online regarding this quirky little place, and sitting quietly amongst the somewhat motley crew of bars and clubs on Bristol’s Harbourside, you’d be forgiven for walking straight past.
No. 1 Harbourside is the second project for Coexist – the collective who brought us The Canteen on Stokes Croft, and following the success of these first two openings, I doubt it’ll be the last.
Using locally sourced, seasonal products where possible, and keeping the menu small and simple, this restaurant is impressive, yet totally effortless. The decor is eclectic to say the least, fusing a beautifully painted concrete bar with heavy damask drapes, rustic mismatched wooden furniture and circus-esque painted pillars. But the eccentricity only adds to its charm, and the staff give off the same laid back, friendly vibe that exudes from the whole place.
The ethos behind the menu is that it’s locally sourced and seasonal where possible, meaning the chefs have to get creative with whatever’s delivered. Prices are kept low, and the choices are minimal, but what is on offer is clearly so well thought through that the lack of choice really doesn’t matter, and with all meals coming with an inclusive bowl of soup and bread, you certainly won’t be going hungry. I opted for the mussels, served with black pepper fries, and at a mere £5 I was really quite interested to see what arrived!
What I got for my £5 was the soup of the day, which was carrot and swede, and was creamy, peppery and served with a little hunk of lovely, dense seeded bread. Following this was the main affair-a generous portion of gigantic mussels, piled into a bowl of steaming, fishy white wine and cream sauce, accompanied by a stack of crispy black pepper French fries.
My fellow diners opted for the breaded loin of pork (enormous, and cooked to perfection), the battered hake (a whopper of a piece of fish) and the beef and ale stew (rich, and choc full of juicy chunks of beef). As well as the selection of 5 or so mains that you can choose from at No.1 Harbourside, the restaurant also has its own (little) oyster bar, and the range of beers, ales, wines and ciders is impressive, and clearly well thought out-I would recommend a pint of the Apples and Pears cider to anyone who considers themselves a cider fan!
So without wanting to wax lyrical any further, all I can say is this…if you’re looking for tasty, local food, at an astonishingly good price then make this your first port of call-it ticks all the right boxes.