Owner Alex Wretham prides himself on making the bar a prominent part of the bistro, no brands on show as all wines and spirits are from local distilleries and brewers.
The extensive menu serves up seasonal cocktails including martinis and gin based drinks. The bar also hosts the ever popular Gin School on Monday evenings with a different producer showing their wares every week – info on website and @GinSchool. Their latest addition is their very own Summer Cup in honour of World Gin Day.
Created by barman Fredi, a homemade take on Pimms which includes 1500ml of gin, sweet vermouth, cucumbers, strawberries, coriander seeds,vanilla pod and cinnamon stick. Left for 3 weeks to marinade the flavours together and add lemon thyme and sugar and left to rest for a further 3 days. What’s created is a sour, refreshing, fruity, sweet, spicy concoction, with each sip every single ingredient is tasted and distinctive. From the delicate fragrance of the lemon thyme to the heat and spice of the cinnamon and sharp gin. A spectacular take on the Summer Cup, simply divine, a great homemade brew.
The restaurant decor is elegant, modest but classic with lots of natural light from it’s skylight. Tables are close together however you don’t feel invaded by other guests.
A relaxed atmosphere and classy style ambience is due to the simplicity of the white and silver table setting, chocolate brown seats and dining area in general. An appealing factor in my book in keeping with the neighbourhood giving an anyone is welcome feel.
On to the food, the menu is conspired of contemporary British dishes with michelin finesse. Using carefully chosen seasonal, sustainable and local produce, Head Chef Alan Barrins and his team are committed to source high quality English and Welsh meat and fish which is delivered daily direct from Cornwall.
For starters I had warm sliced pork belly, granny Smith apple , watercress and Lincolnshire poacher. Thin discs of sweet warmed moist pork with a fine rim of fat contrasted well against the peppery fresh watercress and sourish crunchy apple.
A traditional farmhouse terrine (made from chicken and pork) mustard and pickled courgette. A coarse meaty terrine, the intense flavour of the liver pate with a good fat content. Fantastically seasoned with herbs, the slithers of pickled courgettes created modern twist on tangy piccalilli.
The main course was a slow cooked short rib of Red Ruby Beef , Bone Marrow, Roast Baby Beets. The sweetness heightened from roasting the vegetables and vibrance of colour was beautiful. The fruity beetroot glaze against the rich tender beef lifted the dish, with salted bone marrow and crunchy vegetables added epic taste sensations and textures.
Another main course was pan fried Cornish Hake, crushed potatoes and pot roasted leeks. The hake was creamy, delicate with sweet tones.
Saltiness from the capers crushed potatoes caramelized slightly charred leeks was sublime.
Quite possibly the best dessert I’ve ever had; warm almond & cherry bakewell with a salted caramel mousse. This was a modern, innovative and artisan take on the British classic. Each layer was a different flavour and texture; a soft almond bottom, fresh pink blushed cherries incased in a thin crunchy filo pastry baskey with a light airy salted caramel mousse piped on top. Absolutely divine!.
Our final dessert was a chocolate & honey marquise with a crème fraiche Sorbet. Smooth decadent rich chocolate thick slice with of hint bitterness from the chocolate cut through by the soured indulgent creme fraiche.
Charlotte’s Bistro is gem of a restaurant serving exquisite michelin style food at moderate prices. The venue has a chic yet relaxed environment, friendly staff and an incredible bar with a fantastic selection of gins. A perfect restaurant for a special occasion or lunch with the girls.
Many thanks to Alex and Laura for allowing Dale and I to experience such incredible food and drink.