Bristol’s city-centre branch of Côte (there’s another in Clifton) is immediately recognisable by its green-and-cream striped awning. The modern building above is a bit less charming, though plentiful outdoor seating restores the sense of joie de vivre when the sun shines.
Inside, meanwhile, you’ll find the familiar brasserie-lite look of marble tables, tiled floors and leather upholstered bentwood chairs – about as stylish as you can get from a high-street chain.
Good-value steak is what Côte is famous for, and with good reason: the onglet and frites with garlic butter for £11.95 is a failsafe order that delivers tremendous bang for your buck. But there’s also fantastic value to be found on a lunch and early evening menu touting two/three courses for £10.95/£13.95 with plenty of choice between the likes of whitebait, chicken liver parfait, chicken chasseur or venison parmentier.
Pricier steaks include rib-ye, sirloin and fillet or if you’re not in the mood for beef, there’s roast pork belly or duck breast, Breton chicken for lighter appetites, fish dishes including cod goujons, roast sea bass and a Breton fish stew, plus a handful of veggie options: goats’ cheese salad or spinach and mushroom crêpes, say.
Reasonable prices mean there’s no reason to skip starters and puds; we like pissaladière (a Niçoise speciality of flatbread topped with anchovy or Reblochon cheese), rich chicken liver parfait or crisp-breadcrumbed calamari with an assertive tartare sauce, while for pudding the praline crêpe gives a sugar rush to satisfy even the sweetest of tooths.
To drink, the wine list sticks to the French theming, including the cheapest Champagne by the glass we’ve ever come across, plus a very drinkable house white and rosé, while tap water served in earthenware pitchers is a nice touch.
Things are rather more Anglophone at breakfast when there’s a bacon and sausage baguette or a full English, though we’d recommend you stay on theme: the crêpe complète, filled with two eggs, bacon and Gruyère cheese, is excellent, or there’s a croque monsieur or madame for the Left Bank café feel.