The Bristol branch of the Cote Brasserie, which opened today in Clifton, takes up a fair amount space with four or five dining areas and it provides a comfortable setting. There are 19 restaurants in England and they all provide simple bistro cooking with a selection of classic French dishes such as moules frites and duck confit while also serving a rapid menu that includes steak frites and a lighter menu with options such as tuna Niçoise and risotto vert.
I visited today, with my friend Martin, for lunch and there was complimentary filtered water for the table and a few waiters were on hand for a prompt response to requests such as more water and plates for the bread and starter.
The menu suggests that the bread (£1.60) is a freshly baked sourdough served with butter although it seemed like a nice ciabatta.
To begin with, we shared a dish of moules marinières (£5.75), which was mussels cooked with white wine, garlic, shallots, parsley and fresh cream. It was a nice enough version which did not disappoint with its selection of delicate small mussels mixed in with paler and bigger ones.
We both ordered the steak frites (£9.95) for a main which is a thin tenderised piece of meat flavoured with pepper and a herb butter. The dish was well seasoned and the steak was tender without being soft. The frites were served in a small black cup-like tub within which they nestled against some grease proof paper. They were seasoned just right and were probably just as enjoyable as the steak. A side dish of French green beans was chosen as an accompaniment and they were a bright green colour and crisp.
There was no dessert this time although if I had made a choice it would have been either the crème caramel, which is the restaurant’s speciality, or the crème brulee. I may go back again soon just to try the dessert.
Côte won the Good Food Guide award for “Best Value Restaurant in the UK for 2009” and with 50% off until 27 January I would suggest that the value will be exceptional. You will need a voucher (found here) for the discount and do book first as the restaurant was quite busy with people taking advantage of this opening treat.
Côte, 27 The Mall, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4JF, 0117 970 6779 http://www.cote-restaurants.co.uk