Reasons not to review a restaurant on opening night: things can go wrong. Reasons to review: when things go wrong you can blame it on the opening night. I hope that all further sittings are lacking in the slight issues we encountered.
The new restaurant Runcible Spoon is a confusing mix of excellent food and the casual atmosphere of Stokes Croft. Set up by some members of last year’s pop-up restaurant Cloak and Dinner, it retains a similar feel.
Customers on opening night were served a banquet meal for £25 each which is something that will be available each Saturday night.
The first course was a serving of black pudding scotch eggs; a success because of the much nicer and softer texture than sausage meat. Also, well seasoned and cooked.
The almond and wild garlic soup, which followed, was tasty, thick and enjoyable in a hearty and rustic style. I couldn’t taste the almonds much but they added to the texture.
The mussels were superb and were better than ones I’ve had at Cote, Zerodegrees and Bordeaux Quay. The bacon made the white wine and cream sauce delightfully delicious although the service meant that only one person on the table still kept their spoon. Emily, of Bristol Bites, and I used half a mussel shell and I used my bread to dip in the sauce . One slice each. Poor form.
The horseradish mash was smooth and flavoured enough for taste but just less than painful for the sinuses. The meat was a little chewy and the kale looked uninteresting so I left it. The main was good and I don’t mean to sound as critical as I do because I definitely enjoyed it.
The trinity creme dessert, a brulee by another name, was delicious, the caramelised sugar was just right, slightly browned, crisp and delicate. There were vanilla seeds in the cream and it was warm enough but not too hot. An excellent dessert and almost as good as the one at Flinty Red which is the best one I have had so far.
Unfortunately, and note the motif, we were left without spoons again so I ate half my dessert with my perfect cardamom shortbread biscuits. Others ate their poached pears by holding them from the stem.
The alcohol choices were limited and the prices were a surprise until the end. Not expensive.
The opening night was cash only and I am not sure whether this will remain. There were some issues with opening night which will undoubtedly be resolved. I am a little less certain about what they can do about the cramped interior. There were eight of us at our table and getting in and out was a major issue. Also, the rooms are windowless and a tad cosy, leaning towards claustrophobic. The previous establishment was the Cafe Kino which has opened up across the road in premises that are bright and open, almost clinically so, in direct contrast to the little restaurant on Nine Tree Hill.
Notwithstanding all of this, and the pervasive sense that runcible actually means missing*, the food makes it worth a visit.
A half empty/full bowl of mussels
The Runcible Spoon, Nine Tree Hill, Stokes Croft. 0117 3297645, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://the-runcible-spoon.com/
* hat tip to my friend Martin who pointed out the irony of the missing spoons