A 23-seat restaurant located inside a former shipping container down by Bristol docks might not sound like the most salubrious of surroundings. However, small dimensions don’t mean small ambitions and Tare looks every inch the slick modern dining room, with its whitewashed walls and bare wood tables spot-lit by dangling enamel lamps. Colour comes courtesy of some eye-catching contemporary art, tomato-red seating and pot plants trailing greenery – and, of course, the food on the plate.
Chef and owner Matt Hampshire worked as head chef at Riverstation. Ingredients, many from the West Country, are treated to global technique and Hampshire has a keen understanding of what works well together. You might encounter cured chalk stream trout given a strong Japanese accent with Dorset wasabi, dashi, sesame and mooli, or a Levantine spin on Somerset lamb involving dukkah, yoghurt, carrot and confit garlic. For those with a sweet tooth there are no fewer than two puds per person if dining from the tasting menu which might be things like a blood orange sorbet with vanilla custard and a ginger crumb or a maple parfait, served alongside carrot cake and candied cashew nuts.
The above sort of serves are included in the six-course seasonal menu which is dished up for £55 and changes every few weeks. There’s also a vegetarian menu, and vegan and gluten-free dishes can be rustled up with advance notice while kids can eat a reduced menu and are made to feel very welcome in the relaxed atmosphere.
To drink, there’s a short, interestingly assembled global wine list that takes in Slovenia and Gloucestershire alongside Burgundy and Bordeaux, while there’s homemade lemonade and kombucha if you’re staying off the booze.
A ‘Tare’, in case you were wondering, is the term for the empty weight of a shipping container – not a description that you’re ever likely to encounter at this very likeable highlight of Bristol’s ever-more exciting dining scene.