The Gallimaufry on lively Gloucester Road is well loved among locals – and no wonder, when this convivial bar and restaurant boasts atmosphere in spades, quirky décor, a top range of tipples, and (perhaps most importantly for me) exceptionally executed seasonal small plates. Oh, and there’s free live music, too.
While I’ve visited many a time for a glass of wine (or three…), I’d never actually sampled the small ‘Galli plates’ that I’ve heard so much about. I decided it was time for this to change.
A mix of up-cycled furniture, ambient lighting and local artwork set the scene here and, sitting in the candlelit upstairs restaurant, we whetted our appetites with a glass of velvety merlot as we perused the carefully crafted menu (which changes regularly). I’m a sucker for imaginative modern British cooking, so it read like a dream.
As we’d hoped, when they arrived our small plates were colourful, impeccably presented and – even better – brimming with fresh ingredients. Our waiter had recommended three plates each, which was just right (although I’d say go for two each if you’re not particularly peckish), so we plumped for a mix of meat, fish and veggie options.
The flavours on every plate were beautifully balanced. Everything from the delicate, flaky hake with leek and celeriac to the succulent rare sirloin on rich beef dripping toast more than lived up to expectations. More please…
We also enjoyed nutty, sweet, crunchy purple sprouting broccoli with Swiss chard and perfectly cooked quail’s eggs, as well as plump, juicy scallops with earthy Jerusalem artichoke, and a coarse rabbit terrine with slightly acidic, creamy celeriac remoulade – all of which were simply divine and practically faultless.
We both agreed, though, that the culinary highlight was the gorgeously pink onglet steak, which was complemented by the gentle heat of the mustard butter and peppery watercress. We could’ve eaten it twice.
Top-notch desserts rounded off a delicious evening. To finish, I enjoyed the passion fruit cheesecake, topped with a fruity, slightly sharp gelatinous layer and with a crispy ginger biscuit crumb as a base. Ben went for something a little richer – the decadence of his chocolate tart was balanced with a scoop of refreshing raspberry sorbet. Again, presentation and taste were flawless.
All in all, this was one of the finest meals I’ve had in a long time, and this has to go down as one of the must-visit restaurants in Bristol.
Remember: visit between 12pm and 7pm from Monday to Friday and you can get three selection Galli plates for £12.
26-28 The Promenade, Gloucester Road, Bristol, BS7 8AL