Despite the sometimes dodgy weather the UK brings, the sunshine and bright evenings we enjoyed make it undeniable that spring is here. The season brings many of my favorite things, from flowers to evenings out with friends.
But, as a self-proclaimed foodie, one of the parts of spring I enjoy the most is the changing menus offered by restaurants. As much as I love a winter warmer menu, there is something exciting about seeing seasonal produce for the warmer months introduced.
The Ivy Clifton Brewery is just one favorite in Bristol which has combined springtime favorites from local British suppliers to offer exciting new dishes. The new menu features a number of British artisan suppliers, to deliver exciting new dishes.
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With dishes such as garden pea and nettle soup, grilled asparagus with Szechuan mayonnaise, capers, slivered almonds, quail egg and watercress, twice-cooked cheese soufflé with Quicke’s cheese au gratin, grated black truffle and gravy with cream, and a new selection of steaks, they Ivy promise to capture the essence of the changing seasons. So we visited Clifton’s gem to try the new additions to the menu.
I decided to try the garden pea and nettle soup which came with crumbled Greek cheese while my boyfriend, who joined me, ordered the salt and pepper squid. In hindsight, it wasn’t my smartest choice, as I’m not a big fan of peas; it had a very strong pea flavor which is to be expected from the name and so although I would recommend it to any pea lover if you are just a slight fan of greens I would advise you to stay clear because the flavors aren’t shy.
My boyfriend’s calamari order however was finished before I could even butter my accompanying sourdough bread (which was hot and fresh), clearly showing his approval. In addition to the starters, we enjoyed two of the spring cocktails – the Brunel Breeze which was absolutely delicious and by far a favourite, as well as the French Garden.
The Brunel Breeze was sweet, attributed to the included passion fruit, lime and ginger beer. While the French Garden was particularly strong, accredited for the Hendricks gin and champagne from the Ivy collection it boasts.
The refined fish and chips offered by Ivy are indicative of spring; offering “traditional breaded fillets served with mashed peas, Ivy cut crisps and tartar sauce. Portions are generous and every ingredient fresh and delicious and the same goes for the sirloin steak and truffle and parmesan which were equally appreciated.
One of the most exciting parts of dining at The Ivy are the perfect themed desserts they serve regularly. For the spring season, the restaurant offers the remarkable Dark Bee Honey and White Chocolate Cheesecake, which is served with mango sorbet, honeycomb and edible flowers; as well as an adorable chocolate bee that looked too cute to eat.
It was simply delicious. Ivies always manage to master a perfect balance of flavor in their desserts that lets you savor every bite of the sweet treats without the sweetness being too overwhelming.
We ended the trip with two more cocktails, one being one of the best cocktails I have ever enjoyed. The Raspberry Mousse cup was made with Absolut Vanilia vodka, Moose Alpine maple liqueur, cranberries, fresh raspberries, maple syrup and vegan mousse. It was savory and sweet, with the alcohol well balanced, but it was the Caledonia Collins that really stood out.
Described by the Ivys as their “English Garden Cocktail”, it features Wyborowa vodka, elderflower cordial, cucumber, apple and lime and is topped with Aspall Cyder. It’s an undeniably smooth drink and the apple flavor isn’t something that many cocktails offer; it’s the perfect drink for spring – fresh, smooth and light.
Plenty of spring offerings will be calling your name, but no visitor can leave without sampling Caledonia Collins and Black Bee Honey and White Chocolate Cheesecake. They are certainly exceptional.
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