SquareMeal Review of Bravas
Kieran and Imogen Waite first turned heads in Bristol with supperclubs held in their harbourside flat, so the opening of their Spanish eatery among an arcade of quirky shops was eagerly awaited. Set the scene with one of their well-chosen sherries or something from the impressive wine list, before sampling lentils with walnuts and goats’ cheese or Devon river trout a la plancha from the daily menu. Elsewhere, top-notch Ibérico pork cooked on the grill and simpler plates of chickpeas with spinach and cumin reveal a confidence and flair for using the best ingredients. Finish with deliciously naughty salted chocolate truffles, or delve deeper into the liquor shelves if you’re not ready to leave. Bravas also looks good – exposed brickwork, reclaimed wooden tables and seats upholstered with hessian coffee sacks create just the right mood.
This low-key Spanish tapas restaurant came from humble beginnings, originally starting out life as a supper club, held in the Harbourside flat of founders Kieran and Imogen Waite. The pair regularly visit Spain and were inspired by the affordable and unpretentious food that is served in the wealth of tapas bars there and wanted to bring a slice of that magic back to their Bristol home.
These days, Bravas has graduated from the Waite’s kitchen to a bricks and mortar restaurant. It is an intimate and cosy affair which achieves a rustic-chic aesthetic via exposed brick walls, reclaimed wooden tables and candles flickering in every nook and cranny. The menu at Bravas is a love letter to the traditional tapas of Spain, with the short and simple menu served from lunch until dinner.
On the menu, you will find the classic likes of pan con alioli and patatas bravas, alongside some cracking vegetarian options too, such as fried aubergine with molasses or roasted butternut squash with chestnuts and blue cheese.
While everything on the menu is compact and designed to share, there are a few of the small plates that are more filling than others. Take the slow-braised ox cheek which come with a celeriac puree, or the slices of chorizo which are cooked in cider. When it comes to dessert, Bravas takes care of diners with sweet or savoury tastes; the former can tuck into the tempting likes of orange and hazelnut caramel meringues and salted chocolate truffles, while the latter can enjoy blue cheese with orange blossom honey.
Before you head for lunch or dinner at Bravas, it is handy to know that the restaurant always keeps 16 stools at the bar and window area free for walk-ins, while those who prefer the certainty of securing a table can book one in the main dining room.