Posted 21st May 2011
Muset by Ronnie
12-16 Clifton Road
Tel: 0117 973 7248
After a slight drought in both eating out, and the writing up of the eating out, I am pleased to bring you tales of The Muset, by Ronnie.
The author/proprietor, Ronnie Faulkner of Ronnie’s of Thornbury, first captured my attention at the Spring Love Food Festival earlier this year. It was there that I saw him cook Skate wing with an orange and fennel salad in about 10 minutes; and after tasting it I fell in love with both Skate and the idea of trying his newly opened restaurant in Clifton village.
The opportunity arose in the form of an email from the lovely Ronnie himself offering us 50% off our food bill, and not being one to look a gift-horse in the mouth, I booked us a table.
The pub next door (The Lansdown) is my favourite pub in Bristol, so after a swift one, we ambled over to the new Muset to find an unrecognisable restaurant. If any of you went before Ronnie put his name to it, forget it. The slick interior offset by warm orange down-lighting takes it to a whole new level compared to the drab, rough-around-the-edges interior of the old Muset.
When we mentioned the email we had received we were told to relax and that the charming waiter would take care of everything, which made a refreshing change – too often when you mention a discount promotion that a restaurant has chosen to run you are made to feel guilty for uttering the word discount.
So not surprisingly, we decided to go all out with the a la carte menu. We ordered a bottle of Pinot Noir and settled down
to read the menu. Meticulously planned and infinitely appealing, it made for some interesting reading.
For starters, I was torn between the Smoked Aubergine, Goats Cheese and Squash, and the Warm Pork Belly Carpaccio, with Smoked Eel, Horseradish and Apple. In the end I went for the Aubergine, while Jamie plumped for the Lyme Bay Scallops with Garlic Puree, Sage and Pancetta.
My main had to be the Roast Canon of Lamb, with Leek Fondue, Dauphinoise and Rosemary, while Jamie opted for the Roast Beef Fillet with Carrots, Salsify, and Ox tail Gratin and Bone Marrow.
While we waited, some bread came fresh from the oven, a selection of Walnut, Wholemeal and Ciabatta, with butter served at room temperature. The bread was soft and full of flavour and soon disappeared.
The starters were delivered by Ronnie himself, much to my surprise. It was a nice, personal touch though and certainly made us feel special and start to wonder whether he had heard of the blog!
My smoked aubergine was beautiful, the dish looked like a masterpiece – little turrets of soft goat’s cheese, interspersed with cubes of balsamic jelly that burst in your mouth, and decorated with salty parmesan crisps. One thing was clear; his dishes deliver more than he says on the tin.
The scallops were everything you expect from a carefully planned scallop starter and more. The tangy garlic puree cut through the buttery softness of the scallops and was wolfed down in seconds.
This is the sort of food that really makes you feel special. Like you are spoiling yourself, and the main courses kept this theme going. Cooked rare, the lamb was decadent, juicy and tender, while the dauphinoise were some of the best I have ever tasted. The beef fillet was delicious too. We were enjoying ourselves so much that we could not wait to look at the pudding menu.
Excited to see it on the menu, Jamie chose the Chocolate Fondant with Espresso Granita and Malt Mousse – we were warned it would take 15 minutes to be cooked from fresh. I on the other hand went for the fruitier Lemon Tart, with Lime Jelly and Lemon Tears.
Fifteen minutes later the only disappointing point of the evening occurred. The Chocolate Fondant arrived and was almost too cooked to be called a fondant. It was barely gooey, but because the rest of the meal had been so outstanding I am going to let them off the hook.
My lemon tart was perfectly made, if a little sweet, and the lemon tears were fairly tasteless, but the sharp lime jelly brought the dish to life. Again, the starter and main meant that dessert had a lot to live up to, and sadly it wasn’t quite there.
A fine-dining experience well worth a try. A tad pricey, but apart from the fondant it was well worth it. Alternatively I would definitely recommend taking advantage of their fixed price menu using ingredients bought off the markets daily – 2 courses £12.75 or 3 courses £15.75.