Posted 1st March 2010
Updated October 2013: It’s very rare that we feature two reviews of the same restaurant, but Primrose Cafe is so good that we have. You can read our review from 2011 here. Primrose remains my favourite Bristol restaurant to this day.
With a typical tea-shop name, the modest looking Primrose Café could easily be mistaken for simply that, a small Clifton tea shop serving a selection of home made cakes, breakfast/brunch and teas. Looks however can be deceiving, and this is one tea room where all is certainly not as it seems…
By night this quaint tearoom is transformed into one of Clifton’s best kept secrets, an intimate bistro and ideal setting for a romantic evening with candlelit tables, an interesting menu featuring locally sourced produce and above all, truly exceptional food.
I’ve eaten at Primrose a handful of times, and most recently enjoyed their five course Valentines menu which included canapés, soup, starters, main, dessert and finished off with homemade truffles.
Starters were scallops and a timbale of smoked salmon with a smoked salmon, crème fraiche and dill mousse. Portion sizes were just right and you could really taste that the scallops were fresh (my boyfriend’s dad is a spear fisher and has caught and cooked some of the best scallops I’ve ever tasted so for them to impress me is some feat!)
For our main courses we went for a beef sirloin – wonderfully rare and really full of colour and flavour, and for duck breast which was mouth wateringly good. For me the dessert stole the show with rose petal ice cream, something I’d never tried before but was wonderfully fragrant, light and really tasty.
My previous meals at Primrose Café have been from their al a carte menu which is equally good, I’m always overjoyed to be served a surprise pre-starter soup of the day served in an espresso cup (it’s the little touches like this which can really enhance your dining experience).
Menu and specials are updated daily and depend on the local produce available, meaning the food is always fresh and best of all is seasonal – something which is all too rare in modern restaurants.
Prices are reasonable for a restaurant of this calibre, £6-£9 for a starter, £13-£18 for a main and £5-£7 for desserts. I would definitely recommend trying to pay a visit between Monday and Wednesday however when they offer 2 courses for £15.95 or 3 courses for £18.95, a true bargain!
Verdict: There is so much more to this rather humble café than first meets the eye, Primrose Café is Clifton’s very own ‘diamond in the rough’ and one of the best dining experiences to be had in Bristol. Highly recommended.