In the midst of all the exciting new businesses opening across Bristol every month, it’s easy to forget some of the culinary stalwarts of the city.
When I first moved to Bristol in 2008, I used to go Fishers a lot – I love seafood, and not only was the food top notch, but the place was relaxed, unpretentious (impressive given its setting in the middle of Clifton Village) and the staff were lovely.
I’ve not been as frequent a visitor in the last couple of years, so was excited to see an invitation from the team at Fishers; but would it be as good as I remembered, or has it been overtaken by some of the new, spritely young businesses in town?
On stepping into the restaurant I felt at home once again; the place is set across two cosy floors and has a relaxed, rustic feel. I also like the blue & white seaside theme which is just subtle enough (that said, I’m all for restaurants going the whole hog with a theme – when will Bristol finally get the pirate restaurant it deserves??)
The staff are welcoming and friendly, and most tables were full of quiet, contented diners on the evening we went in.
First things first – wine. Obviously wine. I opted for a fresh & fruity Gewürztraminer, mainly because I like the name (I’m a red wine gal but decided to make an effort seeing as I was having a seafood supper).
The menu changes daily according to daily catches and specials – good for freshness but also mildly heartbreaking if you’re like me and have a tendency to wax lyrical about a particular dish only to see it disappear for weeks on end (they are definitely in the right here though).
After much deliberating, I settled on the fish soup, with my dining companion opting for scallops.
The fish soup was absolutely stuffed with seafood – I mean just look at the picture below. The sauce was absolutely lovely too; what a start!
My friend said her scallops were tasty too, but to be honest I spent so long mooning over my soup I didn’t really take note of anything she said.
On to the mains – this is where I knew to expect great things. I was particularly excited about my choice , red snapper with a chorizo & butter bean stew – some of my favourite things on one plate!
The dish came our looking very appetising indeed, and was a hearty, generous portion of food. The stew was rich and comforting with a good kick of paprika; the fish was cooked just right with a lovely crispy skin. Yum.
My friend went full flashy and ordered the lobster – again it came out looking very tasty, although my friend was glad that she’d ordered sides of chips & samphire as the lobster on its own with the salad may not have been quite enough (at least compared with the serving I got on my plate).
Overall though, she said that the lobster was cooked perfectly, and dripping in garlicky butter, which you can’t argue with, can you?
It was around this point we remembered that we were entitled to 3 courses, and we immediately regretted ordering such weighty & rich starters and mains – how would we find room for dessert??
The dessert choices are a mix of traditional offerings, including chocolate brownie, ice cream, sticky toffee pudding and creme brulee. Of course we went for the 2 stodgiest dishes, because we couldn’t help ourselves.
Again the portions were very generous – my creme brulee came in a large ramekin with two homemade shortbread biscuits on the side, and the sticky toffee pudding was a hefty chunk, swimming in toffee sauce and topped with a big scoop of ice cream.
The texture of the creme brulee was a little odd for me; it felt like it had separated slightly but still tasted good. The sticky toffee pudding was bang on, and we were both mildly distressed that we couldn’t finish it.
It may not be the newest kid on the block, or the one with the snazziest menu, but Fishers is still knocking out reliably lush dinners 15 years after opening in Clifton (the little sister of it’s Oxford sibling), and it’s not hard to see why.
An oldie, but definitely still a goodie.
Disclaimer doodle: We were invited to try the food at Fishers free of charge on this occasion, but this did not affect our review and they were not shown any copy in advance.