I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that The Riverstation Cafe Menu is the best eating deal in Bristol. £9 gets you a really good meal and either a glass of wine or a beer. The idea is, obviously, that you try the deal and become impressed and go back and eat a la carte. The thing is, the cafe deal is so good it's hard to bring yourself to go back an pay more!
Me and the missus ate there a couple of weeks ago. The weather was nice and we fancied a nice meal in a nice place. The Riverstation ticks both boxes. The situation of it, right on the river, gives it a relaxed feel. On a evening with the right weather sitting out on either the upstairs or downstairs terraces is a treat, watching the swans roam around the boats as the sun goes down slowly over the boats and cranes of the docks.
The menu at the time offered Confit duck leg with Potatoes and Kale, which was a about as far as I got. The missus considered things a bit more and went for the Smoked haddock risotto with poached egg. It's fair to say that both were excellent. It would be easy to worry about the portion with duck leg, but of course this the restaurant's way of enticing you in, so they have to be generous. Thick, dark meat, fall-off-the-bone tender with crispy, juicy skin. Great stuff. And the duck remained the star off the dish, with the potatoes, kale and red wine jus all playing their supporting roles very well.
The Smoked haddock risotto was similarly satisfying. Rich, creamy and smoky with good chunks of fish and perfectly poached egg, the yolk yielding a delicious sauce, enriching the risotto further. I've seen some places serve a risotto that has been little more than a smear across the bottom of a bowl, but The Riverstation don't do that.
And they're clever. When the food is this good it is very hard to resist when they offer the dessert menu. But resist we did. As it was the meal provided a sharp contrast to our meal at The Pumphouse. For £18 we'd both eaten really well at The Riverstation. £18 at The Pumphouse paid for a pretty disappointing sea bass dish. You pays your money and you takes your choice - my choice would be The Riverstation.
Thinking of eating out in Bristol, read more reviews of Bristol Restaurants.