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Boyces Avenue,

(0117) 973 3522

The ViewBristol Review

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Review byCeline Asril21/05/2008
The Albion Restaurant offers intimate dining that unfortunately falls flat on detail.

The Venue
This tiny dining room, housed in a Grade II listed building, is found at the end of a short lane. While it’s a pub at ground level, the upstairs is a fully-fledged dining room that seats no more than 22.

The Albion’s small, warmly-lit dining room with its cushion-curve ceilings and dull pastel shades it looks like it's a world away from the raucousness of the downstairs pub. It's not though, as you'll soon hear.

The People
The curtain that acts as a door to this almost exclusive dining area is only good for keeping the eyes out. Noise created by the drunks and constant bottle recycling from the bar filters in all too clearly.

Not only is the outdoor disruption obvious the service is, at times, clumsy, especially for big groups. It seems the bigger the group, the longer it takes to be served. And although their efforts are commendable, small talk doesn't come naturally to the service staff.

The Food
The Albion offers a seasonal, modern European menu that needs to be fine-tuned. Food changes daily and includes a notable selection of unusual cuts of meat such as pig's head and calf brains. Yum. Adventurous though this may be, it's perhaps better to stick with the comfortable and simple.

The starter of octopus, gem lettuce, tomatoes and aioli (£8.50) is challenging, and not just because the octopus is very tough. The dish is served in a bowl, making it hard to cut and eat, and the chef is loose with the aioli which makes the dish turn into a heap of cream. Also, watch out for tough, dried oregano sprigs.

The massive dish of free-range chicken (£15) is over the top with generous portions of both mash potatoes and wilted spinach. Although the meat is moist and the wild garlic flowers add a nice crunch and look to it, the flavour is lost in the dish's heaviness.

Details like these, and the ability to hold back on the gelatin for the pannacotta (£6.50), are essential for a smooth, enjoyable meal. The result is a sticky, heavy and bumpy pannacotta, and meal.

The Drink
The medium-size wine list has both Old and New World wines. Few wines are served by the glass and bottles range from the reasonably priced to the sizeable chunk of your wages variety.

The Last Word
The menu looks like The Albion is trying too hard but the lack of detail in the dish that's eventually served proves this is hardly the case. A little fine-tuning is definitely in order.
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