The Cauldron in Bristol’s bohemian St Werburghs neighbourhood is really quite special. If you’re looking for a delicious meal with a focus on seasonal ingredients sourced ultra locally we’d recommend you book a table immediately!
The chefs cook everything in a kitchen fuelled totally off grid. Two cast-iron cauldrons, a Victorian stove and wood-fired oven are used to make virtually everything on the menu. If there’s anywhere in the UK where a place like this could not only survive but thrive, it’s Bristol.
We’re certainly not the first to discover The Cauldron. It appeared in 2016 on TV as part of the Hairy Bikers show about comfort food and received a very positive review from Marina O’Loughlin in The Guardian.
We dined on a weekday night and the place was almost full. Watching the chefs in the open kitchen and enjoying the smells coming from the charcoal grill soon had our mouths watering.
The menu changes frequently with the seasons and what produce is available locally. On our visit we had a charcoal-grilled lambs heart salad and ricotta, Stilton and mozzarella terrine to start. Both dishes were delicious with the lambs heart salad just winning thanks to that rich, smoky charred meat, which worked perfectly with a pairing of salty olives, feta and harissa chutney. What surprised us was the elegance of the plating. For some reason we assumed charcoal fires and cauldrons would mean bowls of stew! How wrong we were.
For our mains we had a BBQ glazed pork loin with mixed beans, charred broccoli & radish and the wood-fired hake with poached hen’s egg, smoked butter crushed potatoes, capers, dill, greens, asparagus & chive butter sauce. Again, we were presented with two pretty plates of food full of distinct textures, tastes and colours.
The pork was lovely. Sticky and charred on the edges but still moist in the middle – impressive when you remember it was cooked in an oven with no temperature regulator. The butter sauce and hake was always going to be delicious, a perfect combination. Throw in those smoked potatoes and the fresh green flavour of dill and this was a winning dish.
Overall, we were extremely happy with our meal at The Cauldron. The bill was reasonable too, making it as much a midweek treat as a place to take friends and family on a Saturday night. Expect fine dining in a casual, quirky and comfortable atmosphere. A big thumbs up from us… we’ll be back!
By Alex Ryder, Bristol editor
PICTURES: Cauldron’s Facebook page and Alex Ryder