Looking for restaurants in Bristol? Read our review of British restaurant, Poco, and check out more suggestions for eating in Bristol here.
In a nutshell: Café by day, tapas joint by night, ethically focused Poco (crowned Business of the Year at the Food Made Good Awards 2018, for the second time) is a long-time member of the thriving indie community of Bristol, with food and drink menus featuring seasonal, British and often organic produce.
Ian Clark spent time in Spanish kitchens before getting in on Bristol’s culinary action in 2009. He came to Poco from The Gallimaufry – a much-loved bar and restaurant on the famous Gloucester Road, with similar sustainability principles.
What’s the vibe?
Perched on a corner of vibrant Stokes Croft, Poco emits a warm glow come the evening. Inside the small candlelit restaurant, metro-tiles wrap around the bar and open kitchen, rustic wooden tables are dotted around the atmospheric dining room and chalkboards hang on a bare stone wall.
What’s the food like?
The varied but cohesive collection of small plates (which is chalked up on the back wall alongside the producers whose ingredients it stars) is illustrative of Ian’s imagination and skill. It’s effortlessly inclusive, too, with a decent amount of vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Sweet corn fritters are far more exciting than the image they conjure, and come loaded with jalapeño and rich crumbs of chocolate to offset that sweetness. Each is sat on an aioli-topped kohlrabi slice, for wrapping it in, taco-style. Cornish hake, dusted with kelp powder, is cooked with real care; the soft flesh falls away in thick, moist flakes at the mere suggestion of a fork, and slips into the silky oyster mayonnaise it’s partnered with. Cured duck is unctuous and moreish, thinly sliced and scattered with pickled blackberries that zip right through that richness, and garlicky ‘punched’ potatoes (an obligatory order) have their thick, crunchy skins broken open to expose fluffy interiors.
Finally, we sink our spoons into the rich, velvety depths of a grown-up chocolate pot, topped with a quenelle of espresso cream and crisp hazelnut and date biscotti.
And the drinks?
The cocktail list reflects the current bounty of the Somerset countryside thanks to the homemade syrups and infusions, and there are a good few English wines on the go, too. Organic, single-estate coffee comes from Cornish roasters Yallah, which trades directly with farms.
olive tip: Don’t even think about heading for the door before you’ve had one for the road; the fruity quince liqueur slips down particularly well as a digestif.
45 Jamaica St, Bristol BS2 8JP
Words by Tory Parks
Photos by Ben Pryor