Le Poivrot Review
It was during a visit to France a few years ago that I stayed in Montmartre – a cobbled corner of northern Paris surrounding the Sacré-Cœur. Because of its relaxed charm and scenic streets, it’s a part of the city I’d recommend to anyone.
Strolling up the hill to the famous basilica one afternoon, we stumbled across a tiny local brasserie. The shutters were closed tight, but you could peer in past the old wooden slats to the dining room beyond and it looked gorgeous. No more than five or six tables… a little gem hidden in plain sight.
It’s a real joy, I think, finding a tucked away place for a drink or meal… somewhere perhaps off the beaten trail or, like I said, hidden in plain view. Makes the whole thing feel a little more special. The good news is, you don’t always have to go far to find it.
Le Poivrot is a stylish wine bar and restaurant set just off the top of the Christmas Steps in the heart of Bristol. It sits far enough from the hustle and bustle of the harbourside, yet within easy reach of the city centre. It’s been open for a few months now, but the news here is Le Poivrot’s recent menu relaunch.
With a name like ‘Le Poivrot’ (an endearing French term for ‘pisshead’), it’s no surprise that the wine list focuses on France – but far flung destinations including the U.S. and Spain also feature. Knowledgeable sommeliers are on hand to help you pair your wine with the food, adding colour to the flavour combinations already on offer.
Le Poivrot may put the wine list at the top of the agenda, but their menu is superb. Dishes including duck terrine and chicory tart with blue cheese croquettes give a flavour of what to expect, and the standard is exceptional.
During my visit, the roast partridge was a real highlight. It arrived cooked to perfection, sitting on a bed of baby parsnips, broccoli and juicy blackberries. Other dishes worthy of particular note include the delicate steak tartare and the Cornish gurnard with potato gnocchi and wild mushroom — both matched perfectly to the wine. The chefs’ kitchen space sits to the side of the bar so you can watch them work their magic – something I always really enjoy.
If you’re stopping by for a glass of wine, grab a seat at the bar – where the staff will be more than willing to recommend their wares. The comfortable seats offer the perfect place to plonk yourself, boosting Le Poivrot’s French wine bar credentials sans fin.
Elsewhere, the dining area is replete with banked seating along the sides and traditional café tables and chairs in the centre. If you’re looking for a little extra privacy, there’s a little cellar area with further seating. It’s wonderfully intimate down there and very atmospheric, but a little noisy when full. If you don’t mind raising your voice over the chink of glassware and the chatter of other tables, it’s delightful.
For more details on the food and wine on offer at Le Poivrot, check out their sample menu. If you enjoyed this little read and want more of the same, there’s plenty more where that came from over here.