Neighbourhood, Michelin starred restaurant within Bristol showing creativity and good hospitality
Within the suburbs of Bristol sits the steadfast and Michelin starred restaurant Wilks. It has a modern feel and the team appeared to have an eye for detail in their manner and clearly wished to make us feel welcome as well as give a good, opening impression. Overall, a reasonably priced tasting menu with a couple of moments that made me sing inside, but one or two moments that reduced that excitement.
We opted for the tasting menu which is a suitable option based on being roughly the same price as a full a la carte but with the bonus of seeing more dishes and not being lumbered with a large size of something if it turns out to not being your favourite. This is a good move I find sometimes but only if you are in the right mood for more smaller dishes over a lengthier sitting and you are not screaming out for food.
First up, I thought the chestnut veloute amuse bouche was absolutely stunning on the taste buds. The cheese nibbles with olive crisp was also very good as an opening nibble and their mission of enticing the diner was well and truly achieved! The langoustine was fresh and clear followed by a beautifully done turbot and its interesting star anise puree. The sliver of ham around the turbot was a very nice touch as well.
Sadly, the bit I was most looking forward to (Beef Wellington) was not as great for me. I liked the deconstructed imagination but my fillet had some gristle and was difficult to hack away at. Although I liked the chopped and creamed mushroom within the pastry a lot, I just felt there was too much pastry in proportion to the meat. If there is to be this much pastry (which had a good texture), then certainly I would have like more jus. In fact, I did ask for some more, but even the top up left me thinking it would have been better to have left the small pot of jus at the table to add to preference as seemed a little sparse. I understand however, it is always tricky to cater to so many different palates. Perhaps a resonable view is somewhere in between the quantity of sauce given at Michelin starred Turners@69 (see photos) and here would have been more appropriate.
I have to say the creamed mash was absolutely wonderful. It actually came close to the holy grail status of Joel Robuchon’s mash served at his L’Atleiers and produced a high level of endorphins. A relatively simple pre-dessert was followed by a clever ‘glass’ cased lemon curd dessert. Visually this was great, but relcutantly I to have to say that I found the sugar casing quite thick and such, it basically welded my upper and lower jaw together when sat between the teeth. The curd and ice cream with meringue were lovely flavours though and is always fun smashing anything for a bit of drama.
Although my points above may appear quite critical, it was pleasant meal and will undoubtedly be the flagship place to eat of the surrounding suburban area. There were simply elements that prevented me from seeing it as a strong 1 Michelin starred venue. That said, I would go back and pay for an entire lunch meal purely to have their creamed mashed potato and amuse bouche again in a heartbeat – and I would do that!
Food Grade: 72%
Location (Click google logo for directions)