Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Beware of First Impressions

Bistro One in Ebrington Street Plymouth was something of a surprise and a cautionary reminder that first impressions can be wrong, in this case very wrong. 
An artist Impression of the Restaurant

As we walked up to the Bistro I began to worry, where was the restaurant? There was no flashy front windows and bright signs proclaiming its presence, where was it? Then one of the group pointed it out across the road. It looked rather like a cafĂ©, not at all what I had expected from the 2011/12 award winning FoodPlymouth  Best Restaurant. No I thought surely not, this can’t be right, but it was.
The owner of Bistro One Mr Stephen Barrett

We walked into a place with bright yellow and blue wood board walls and red counters plastic table cloths and chairs not what one expects, well not me anyway. However, as soon as the proprietor Stephen Barrett began to talk about starters and wine there was a shift in thinking. Here was a man who loved food and who knew what he was talking about. He is a man who is passionate about food and drink and who gets a great deal of pleasure ensuring others share his food passions.

The Menu

We began the meal as any celebration should with champagne this time pink and sparkling whilst we selected the starters. Following discussions it was decided to have a full range of the Bistro Meze. This included herb and garlic multigrain bread, olives, spiced Mediterranean vegetables, hummus and pitta, a selection of Milanese salami meats and pate, crab tarts, mussels and oysters. These delights all appeared gradually on small serving plates which were scatter along the table, served with red and white house wine and for at least two of the party a continued flow of champagne (mentioning no names).       

Mussels being prepared

Once the starters were complete the empty plates were whisked away we then received our main meals which had been selected previously. I had Iberian Pork. The loin of west county pork had been marinated in Iberian spices and then dry roasted. It was served in thick succulent slices on a fine bed of long grain rice with an apricot and ginger sauce and baked cherry tomatoes. The pork was tender and the sauce gave the whole dish a subtle yet fruity spice tang. It was an altogether satisfying dish which simply did not need the thick cut chips which were served as an accompaniment.

For dessert there was a great choice of chocolate cakes brownies and ice cream and fruit, but I went for the Lemon tart. This was served with a Devon ice-cream and compote of summer berries it was delicious and very refreshing and tart.

Looking at the plates of the others who dined in our group and I think I can say everyone enjoyed their meal - well the plates were empty. It is important therefore to not go on first impressions as in this case I would have missed a great meal. So if you ever find yourself in Plymouth pay Bistro One a call.

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