Just as I start to think I am aware of all the wonders that Bristol restaurants have to offer I am surprised with somewhere new: Flinty Red.
Based on Cotham Hill, Flinty Red was named after a line from Roald Dahl’s ‘My Uncle Oswald’ and you will notice quirky little Quentin Blake style illustrations on the menu as a result. The menu differs from your usual starters and mains. Instead the choices are split into categories such as ‘Cured/Preserved’ and ‘Deep Fried’ with either small or large plates. This does allow you the freedom to keep to convention by choosing a small plate for a starter and a large for main or, as we did, sample a selection of small plates, thus allowing you to try as much as possible! 🙂 As the saying goes: variety is the spice of life! Tip for you, I would ensure you’re going with someone who allows you to share food – you’re going to want to try a lot!
Admittedly, we had to ask about a lot of the menu – in fact I don’t think I have ever asked so many questions – however our questions were answered with such fantastic knowledge and insight that it was like a lesson in food. In my opinion, the best dining experiences are ones where the service goes that extra mile in knowing everything involved in the food they are serving, and Flinty Red lives up to this.
Whilst trying to abstain from alcohol for 2 weeks, I was unfortunately tempted by the ‘Apertif Specials Board’ and the intriguing white port and tonic – my willpower is miniscule!! Really I would say this was more of a tasting exercise rather than actually drinking though… 😉 This drink is incredibly refreshing and may even be replacing my usual G&T this summer – I now cannot wait for the next sunny day!!
And then the food started arriving (hopefully other people will realise why we asked so many questions and we were not just being foolish):
FIRST THE SAVOURY…
-First up came the olives. Usually I am completely against these odd little bean shaped objects and am putting off the 8/10/12 olive challenges; however I was assured that these ones did not taste ‘olivey’ and my dinner date was not lying. I shall be seeking out Petit Lucques olives asap as part of my transition training on to all olives.
-Cecina: I am already a big fan of cured meats, however this overtakes them all. I will be attempting to source this in a nearby deli – please advise if you know of anywhere I can source this.
-Deep fried panisse: A chickpea combination, with added chilli for a bit of heat and deep fried . Kind of like the texture of deep-fried tofu but much better and tastier. Surprisingly scrummy.
-Deep fried cuttlefish with fennel salad and aioli: Personally I would liken this to calamari (apologies if this is sacrilege) however lighter batter and far less greasy than previous dishes I have had of a similar ilk. The lemon also went particularly well with the fennel salad accompinament.
-Grilled jamon asado with cabbage and caper salad: Described as almost a posh ham coleslaw. The fatty bits were a little bit too much for my personal taste as I couldn’t quite get over the psychological aspect of putting fat in my mouth; however these were apparently tasted really good. We were informed the ham comes from Spanish pigs and due to their lifestyle (perhaps not described exactly this way) the fat is distributed throughout the meat differently to how we are used to.
-Gnudi Bianchi with sage butter and chard: Ricotta balls rolled in parmesan – take note this dish is pretty rich.
-Grilled morcilla de burgos: Black pudding with a twist. These delicious circles were incorporated with rice.
…AND THEN THE SWEET
Whilst almost tempted to keep ordering more savoury food (my dinner date almost ordered a whole extra main before the more sensible part of his brain kicked in) we went for 2 different desserts to share:
1. Steamed rhubarb and ginger cheesecake – Whilst deliciously creamy with perfectly balanced flavours, this dessert was however unfortunately overshadowed by our other choice…
2. Salted caramel mousse with gingerbread and chocolate. Wildly proclaimed by my dinner date as ‘the best thing he had ever eaten’ this mousse needs to be tried! I will also be seeking out the inspiration for this dish: a salted caramel chocolate to be found in a nearby heathfood shop.
***Apologies I often get too carried away with eating the food and forget to take any pictures – you will have to go try and see for yourself! ;-)***
Of further note, as this restaurant is affiliated with the Corks of Cotham you can be assured that you will be treated to an extensive and varied wine list.
Flinty Red is more of a tasting experience than just a meal out; this inventive menu makes you explore new things. Having already recommended it to everyone who as crossed my path today, I will definitely be returning ; we still have half a menu to work our way through! 😉