Chef James Wilks got his first break as a teenager working at Midsummer House in Cambridge, before travelling the globe and cooking in some serious Michelin-starred restaurants, including Michel Bras in Languiole.
Fast-forward a few years and James now has his own Michelin-starred gaff in Bristol. It’s not just about the dining experience here though, as Wilks also doubles up as a miniature art gallery, which showcases contemporary works from local artists (some of which are for sale, and some just to admire).
The slick, yet relaxed dining room pairs neutral tones with cosy studded banquette seating, while the food here is contemporary, seasonal and “faultless”. West Country producers make a big contribution to the offering, while culinary ideas have been gleaned from the chef’s travels: dishes such as wild monkfish fillet with organic leeks, violet artichokes and monksbeard mussel jus emulsion or lobster and scallop dumpling in a lobster bisque with organic hispi cabbage all impress.
After that, don’t miss Wilks’ signature meringues, such as the black lime meringue sphere topped with macerated strawberries, confit lime and fresh almonds, and served with a scoop of eucalyptus ice cream. Otherwise, enjoy cheeses ‘selected & ripened by Hervé MONS’, including 18 month Comté alongside sweet and savoury condiments, bread and biscuits.
There are various set menus to take advantage of including a ‘menu of the sea’ and a seven-course menu gourmand, while the lunchtime set offers particularly good value at three courses for under £35. There are also bargains to be had on the youthful wine list, while service receives top marks too, with the sort of vibrant hospitality that is “great for a special occasion”.
Note that Wilks does cater for vegetarian diners (except for on Saturday evenings), but that the restaurant is not currently able to accommodate those following a vegan diet.