Wellbourne has recently opened its doors to the public to rekindle the flame of exquisite cuisine in Clifton Village. Its magic is made possible by the effort of a team with over 30 years of experience in much-admired kitchen and restaurants in the UK. I went at the beginning of this month and here is my review.
The moment I set foot on the place I had a positive feeling. From the very start I was received by Martin who immediately welcomed me and offered a place to sit. As I was settling at a table by the window my jacket was taken to the cloakroom. A friend of mine was on her way and I got a glass of sparkling wine. When she arrived we started looking at the bar menu.
I had been advised to try the vol au vents, but my intuition (and big appetite) told me to start with the crispy pig’s ears. Having a lifetime experience with Mexican pork scratchings I was worried my expectations would be too high. However, I was not disappointed. The first crunchy bite with its rich flavour brought good memories of delicious food and family gatherings. It was a very good start for a night that turned rainy. Since my friend is pescetarian she ordered olives. Usually I do not pay much attention to olives, as they are either too strong or tasteless, but on this occasion the taste was just right.
A varied selection of vol au vents was brought before us in a simple, yet stunning arrangement. My favourite were the creamed girolles with garlic and thyme. We had a top up of the cava (from their wide selection) and looked through the evening food menu. I picked the red Russian tomato with fresh chestnut, basil and wild horseradish. It was so delicious I was speechless, just enjoying myself.
People had filled the initially empty tables, but I hardly took any notice because the atmosphere was generally quiet. Just as our main courses appeared I could not believe how beautifully things have been unravelling. The roast monkfish my friend ordered and the duck I had myself were only confirming how great a place this is. The dishes were crafted with a delicate taste, focused on keeping the main piece at the centre, not disguising it with other flavours, and taking good care to deliver the right textures, firm outside while soft inside. Particularly the duck was remarkably cooked to be eaten effortlessly.
Our evening meal was crowned in a very special way. I picked lemon leaf, bilberries and smoked mignonette pepper ice cream. The first mouthful of the ice cream was dream-like. First I felt the soft lemon flavour that lightly melted and slowly released the mint from its core. My friend chose the slow cooked chocolate fondant crushed with fig leaf Arbequina olive oil. The chocolate in the centre seamlessly combined with the crumbs giving it the right balance between sweet, fragrant and smooth.
I was elated. This was an experience to enjoy with all the senses: beginning with unpretentious seasonal meals that were exquisitely presented, and accompanied by the charm of a service of excellence. If I was going to say anything that defines Wellbourne I would say it is attention to detail. They have a wide range of drink selection as well as vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options on most dishes. My time there has been pure lush. I very much recommend that you pay them a visit for an afternoon/evening delight or anytime you fancy a marvellous experience inside an intimate atmosphere in the heart of Clifton Village.
25 The Mall, Clifton
Bristol, BS8 4JG
Telephone 0117 2390683