What: A small bistro in Bristol’s upmarket Clifton Village. Wallfish & Wellbourne Bistro is the product of a merger of two well-regarded Bristol restaurants, Wallfish Bistro and Wellbourne (it trades from the latter’s location).
Who: On the Wellbourne side are Dabbous alumni Ross Gibbens and Michael Kennedy - who run Wellbourne restaurants in London and Spain - and on the Wallfish side are Seldon Curry and Liberty Wenham, who announced their decision to close earlier this year after five years in business.
The vibe: The interior hasn’t changed following the merger (Wellbourne only opened last year). There’s a zinc-topped bar running down the left hand side of the restaurant with a large feature stainless steel wine fridge above (the restaurant retains a well-chosen and accessibly-priced wine list). The colour palette is contemporary with walls painted modish mid blues and greys.
The food: The menu is an intriguing fusion between the two restaurants. The launch menu is simpler than when Wellbourne launched and includes roast quail, fenugreek, freekeh and tahini, grilled whole Cornish plaice with extra virgin olive oil and aged vinegar; and slow-cooked chocolate fondant and crushed fig leaf olive oil. There’s a small oyster station at the bar in a nod to Wallfish being well-known for its oysters and Wellbourne’s famous vol-au-vents remain a fixture, wither current options including salt-baked celeriac with Alba white truffle; and lamb rillettes with herb emulsion.
And another thing: Competition for customers in this affluent pocket of Bristol is fierce with Wallfish & Wellbourne Bistro sandwiched between a Côte and The Ivy Clifton Brasserie. It’s a tough spot for a high quality indie, but the slight reduction in price point should see it compete better with these two causal dining giants.