Three Coqs Brasserie
Intrigued, simply by its rather tongue in cheek name, the brasserie is a collaboration between yep, you guessed it, three chefs, one of whom is Christopher Wicks. I’d eaten in Mr Wicks well-established restaurant, Bells Diner in Bristol a few years back and had a memorable dish of tea-smoked quail so I was eager to try his latest venture. The Three Coqs aims to be a much more relaxed affair; it’s located upstairs in Clifton Down shopping centre, where Budokan formerly resided. A word of warning though, don’t be put off by the entranceway which certainly couldn’t be described as enticing. Once inside the decor is simple but welcoming, I think the aim is for the food to be focus rather than any snazzy surroundings. My friend and I were shown to a window seat, which was certainly good for watching the world go by as I’m sure neither of us had any particular desire to stare longingly into each other’s eyes across the dining table. Anyway, I digress..
My love of sharing-style food, combined with my greed to try lots of dishes, resulted in us choosing a number of small plates between us. Service was a little slow to begin with; I think my stomach may have been emitting a few hungry grumbles, but once the food started to arrive I’d say it was worth the wait. First up was a baked duck egg with blue cheese and walnuts which was nice but I’d have liked a little more of the cheese (although that may be because I’m a total cheese fanatic). Then came a dish of rump of lamb with an accompaniment of a ratatouille of sorts. The lamb was thinly sliced and served perfectly pink, the only downside was that the meat was a little overpowered by the strong tomato flavour.
One of our top three dishes of the evening was slow-baked dauphinoise potatoes which I can never resist when they’re on the menu (it’s a toss up between the humble chip and a hearty helping of dauphinoise as my all-time favourite spud dish). My friends pick of the evening was grey mullet with green beans, in an anchovy and caper butter. The beans had the perfect bite to them, the pan fried fish was cooked well and the salty butter elevated the flavour to the next level. My personal favourite of the evening was a pigeon based dish, having never sampled pigeon before I was keen to try it and was glad I did. The meat was lovely and moist and came with a pearl barley risotto which was dotted with peanuts.
A first for Bristol on the wine front too – all the wines are biodynamic which basically boils down to well treated vineyards equals tastier wine and better for you. Well anything that makes you feel better about glugging it gets a thumbs up in my book. And having quaffed a few drinks before reaching the restaurant I was also pleased to see that they serve wine by the carafe.
What really impressed me about Three Coqs is that they clearly care about what their patrons think about their food, with our waitress enquiring what our favourite dishes had been and seeming genuinely interested in our comments about the meal.
After being spoilt by the food at Salt Yard the weekend before I can’t say that it quite matched the quality of the offering there, but nevertheless it certainly wasn’t a bad attempt. I’ve a good feeling that this place will go from strength to strength.
All in all, £58 for 6 small dishes, 2 desserts and a carafe of wine.