Burgers well and truly demolished (and satisfyingly so) I figured it was time to pack in as much of the harbour festival as was left of it for the day before heading back to the hotel for a bit of pool time pre-dinner. Everyone was having such a glorious time and I was in high spirits – definitely uber-grateful to Time Out London for spurring me on this spontaneous weekend break away. Then I remembered someone mentioning one of Banksy’s most famous artwork, which I was yet to see and immediately I knew where my next stop would be!
Of course that involved a fair bit of Google maps usage to try to find where the artwork was… which begs the question, why isn’t there a Booking now app for sights similar to the one for I used to book the hotel which just guides me to where I need to go. Goodness knows I could do with one! :-) By the time I looked up properly to see where I was, I noticed the neighbourhood had changed quite a bit. Everything here was a bit grungier but not in a scary or unsafe way – au contraire in a rather artistic way! It seemed like one of those neighbourhoods where the artists who lived there had felt like their creativity could no longer be contained and had decided to have it splashed all over the walls! Even local businesses took part in this and it was not uncommon to find a phone shop with collages of apps painted all over it or a Dulux paint shop with rainbow graffiti right in front of it. The art here is truly an integral part of the community and it’s fascinating to see graffiti in a different light from what you normally would in cities like London. (The minions-pulp fiction one made me laugh so much – notice the banana in-front of it too!)
After wandering around and going snap happy with my camera, I eventually found the Banksy piece I was looking for – “The Mild Mild West”! This was Banksy’s first known large wall mural and an important piece in the artist’s history and I was so chuffed to finally be able to see it! (I’ve had the book for years).
Art mission complete, I decided it was pub-o’clock and time for a well earned pint! The pub in question is perhaps one of the most random I’ve ever been to and I didn’t even know it was a put at the start till I saw the beer garden! I saw it’s ‘random’ but in truth, it fits in perfectly with the area. Drinks in the sunshine are what British summer evenings is all about in my opinion! Would have loved to stay a bit longer put I promised myself I’d make the most of the pool at the hotel and seeing as I had a reservation for dinner, I figured I’d best hot foot it back to the hotel to keep my promise!
The pool time (combined with the sauna and steam room) was just what the doctor ordered and a good hour and a half later (my muscles pleased as punch from all the relaxing and soothing heat), I got changed and made it just on time to the restaurant for dinner. The restaurant itself is called Aquila and I found it on Tripadvisor – it was one of the top ones and it’s family owned so my expectations were fairly high!
I’ll just say this from the get go – this restaurant is amazing! The food is impeccable and perhaps the most outstanding thing here is the service. They are so attentive and so friendly but not in an overbearing way (I’m not a fan of when waiters try to ask you how your food is when your mouth is crammed full with as much carbs as humanly possibly. I have very little grace when I’m hungry and eating something I’m really enjoying so asking me to speak with a full mouth is guaranteed to leave everyone embarrassed). In any case, these guys had the perfect balance and were faultless on all accounts. I also love how collegial the staff are together and I had an amazing meal here!
Okay down to the important business of what I had…
To start – some olives – which are the best olives ever. They’ve got pips but they’re so huge, chunky and fresh and they went down pretty well with the prosecco! Also got handed a tomato and pesto taster which was a nice little touch.
The majority of the starters however consisted of mozzarella garlic bread, calamari and antipasto! Each a treat and each disappeared in what felt like seconds.
For the mains, it was pork belly served with mash and chicken pesto on new potatoes. Two thirds of the way through the mains, I soon realised that I had perhaps ordered far too many starters to begin with but don’t be fooled, everything that was on my plate vanished by the time I was done.
Mains over with, I moved on to my favourite course of the day – dessert! This consisted of pannacotta in a strawberry soup (one of my faves) and a steaming hot chocolate fondant served with salted caramel ice cream! *licks lips*
Now perhaps you understand why I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner. Add on the amazing service and it was just sheer perfection. I totally understand why they’re ranked on of Bristol’s top restaurants. The only downside was the walk back home – I’d definitely indulged far too much – especially so with the prosecco – bubbles always make you feel like you’ve drank much more than you have (in terms of quantity not alcohol content) and so I practically rolled myself back to the hotel. I kid you not, I was in such a conflicting mix of emotions – joy and satisfaction at such a great dinner, confusion because I’d over-eaten and really didn’t want to walk back to the hotel but it was only five minutes away so an Uber was out of the question… (All I’ve eaten as I type this right now is some weird quinoa rice hybrid thing so I’m actually in envy of that version of myself as we speak. I would make exactly the same choices all over again if I got the chance to right now! 🙂 )
Oh I almost forgot, if you’re in Bristol. I’ve got a card for complimentary bread, olives and a glass of wine for the restaurant if you visit between 12noon and 3pm to give to whoever wants it. I was planning on using it the next day but ran out of time so if you want it, send me an email or message me on Twitter or Facebook and I’ll post it out to you! 🙂