Bakers and Cutlers Halls,
The Friary Building,
Cabot Circus,

0117 910 2410

The ViewBristol Review

Review byLucy Duggan28/10/2008
When visiting Bristol’s Brasserie Blanc, it quickly becomes clear that Raymond Blanc, a celebrity chef of the old guard, puts his money where his mouth is. Almost everything about this place is spot-on, starting with the great location.

The Venue
This restaurant is set inside a gorgeous 17th-century Quaker meeting house, which presides over the brand-spanking new Quakers Friars square, part of the £500 million Cabot Circus shopping development.

Close your eyes here and with the splashing of water from the fountain against the flag stones and a low burbling of voices you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported to some European piazza.

Visually it’s an appealing place - the day light casts long shadows of the tree’s branches against the square’s Bath-stone and beech wood walls. Fringed with designer boutiques such as Ghost, Lacoste and Fred Perry, the location exudes a pleasingly stylish air.

Big burgundy parasols preside over the ample-sized outdoor seating area of Brassiere Blanc. The entrance area’s polished appearance, with its dark wood and manicured shrubs, ushers you into the architecturally breath-taking space of the building’s interior –a giant and very beautiful cube held up by six giant pale stone pillars.

It’s hard not to notice the space has been used as a kind of site of worship to Raymond Blanc himself - his pictures, books and wines are arranged in a huge central visual display at the top of the staircase leading to the upper level.

On the ground level, candelabra light fittings, soft brown leather and plants on pedestals combine to create a tasteful high spec dining area. Along the side runs a beautifully designed, slick modern bar with enough classic overtones to ensure it doesn’t disrupt the historic building’s ambience.

The People
Although this is one of several Brasserie Blanc’s, it maintains a sense of exclusivity and certainly doesn't feel like it's part of a chain. The toilets are spacious, light and clean with high-grade hand-lotion confirming its quality.

The waiting staff are efficient and friendly, trained to a high standard and kitted out in classic penguin black and whites with the modern twist of electronic note-pads strapped to their wrists.

The feel of the place is formal, but by no means uptight or stifling. It hits the right balance. Old couples, young work colleagues and everyone in between seem comfortable eating here.

The Food
The food here is classic French brasserie fare. No fuss wholesome dishes arrive in reasonable time, and cooked to perfection. The butternut squash risotto arrives within 10 minutes of ordering, steaming hot and heavenly to eat.

The food is so tasty, even without the opulent furnishings and prime location, you would still want to eat here. The only downside is the cost as a Glen Fyne 8oz fillet steak and chips will set you back £26. Thankfully there are menu options to suit less flush patrons.

The lunch menu offers three courses for £14 including a good quality glass of wine and the dinner menu does the same for £17.50. Although the choice is limited to three dishes per course, when you account for the quality of food you are getting, these deals do represent outstanding value for money.

The Drink
The wine here is everything you would expect from a self-respecting French eatery. Even at the lower end of the price-range the plonk is great. Try the 2006 Chateau St Chinian Merlot.

It’s a good place to come for fresh coffee too. A generous-sized caffetiere for two costs £5.50 and provides the perfect excuse to sit out by the square and take in the surroundings.

The Last Word
A trip to Brasserie Blanc will not be forgotten, even if just for an aperitif. The food is unrivalled, the service super-quick and the setting is sumptuous. An excellent way to treat yourself (or someone you want to impress) to a slice of the high life.
Brasserie Blanc has been reviewed by 14 users

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Content updated: 02/09/2013 16:46

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