We were taken to the Cowshed by my father-in-law on a day trip to Bristol and had never heard of it before, so had no preconceptions. We arrived early during the lunch service, which was just as well as we got the last unreserved table - our first surprise. We were near the door, so saw people being turned away and can vouch for the place's popularity.
The second surprise was the £10 lunch deal - what a bargain. Starter and pudding portions were on the small side, but that was perfect for lunch (if it's any guide, we didn't feel the need to eat anything again until we were back home in London at nearly 10pm - when we ate some delicious cheese from the related shop next door). Two of us had the dish of the day - lamb cutlets - and I had the pork chop. There was certainly no skimping on the portions of meat, and it was excellent meat too.
My third surprise was to read comments here about unfriendly staff. The lunchtime staff couldn't have been more charming, helpful or friendly.
All in all, a lovely place. We might feel obliged to start visiting my father-in-law more frequently in future. And next time, I will definitely book for lunch to make sure we get in.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.