River Cottage Canteen Bristol have unveiled a new menu and a new open plan kitchen at their Whiteladies Road restaurant. The changes focus on serving fresh, sustainable food within an enjoyable, sociable dining experience. With a menu that aims to celebrate the humble vegetable, I went along to their launch event to find out more.
Building on the long-established River Cottage ethos, they use fresh and local produce to bring sustainability to their menu. With the simple idea that a more sustainable diet is one that involves less meat, vegetables are now the star of the show. As head chef Charlie James explained, their aim is to encourage the idea that “meat’s a treat”. Passionate about meals being full of delicious fresh veg, their new menu proves that meat doesn’t have to necessarily be the main event.
The new menu is made for mixing and matching – mains sit alongside ‘Grazing Veg & Side Salads’; with the idea being that you top up your meat, fish or veggie main with a selection of veg-tastic sides. The grazing menu was a total showstopper. My favourites? The broccoli with orange, tarragon and mustard leaves, and the griddled cabbage with feta, chilli and mint. The abundance of herbs used to add flavour to these fresh dishes was exceptional.
Of course if you’re vegetarian this should all be music to your ears! To my fellow meat eaters, I say this to you: give it a go. Although vegetables are the star of the show, some meat dishes do make an appearance – such as pulled pork with epic crackling, honey glazed sausages and sirloin with capers – all pack a meaty punch to satisfy even the most ardent carnivores.
Sharing food from the new menu is very much encouraged, as is feeling free to approach and talk to the chefs about your meal as they prepare dishes in view of customers in the new open plan kitchen.