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“A gem of a hotel restaurant”
Review of The River Grille

The River Grille
Ranked #72 of 1,690 Restaurants in Bristol
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $19 - $69
Cuisines: European, British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Description: Boasting stunning Harbourside view, The River Grille features some of the best produce in the South West and ingredients that speak for themselves. With a sleek lounge bar, The River Grille is also home to a pianist on Friday evenings and Sunday lunch times, and a Jazz band on Saturday evenings. Head Chef Pawel Mikolajczewski writes the a la carte menu quarterly to make use of the best seasonal products, together with a very successful daily specials menu which features many local dishes including some beautifully prepared fish dishes. The beef is 28-day dry aged West Country beef and is cooked on a Josper charcoal grill; favourites from the grill include a West Country 8oz sticky Bourbon & brown sugar rib eye steak, a rack of Nailsea lamb with coriander & green chilli and a Creedy Carver chicken with lemon & thyme. The delicious desserts include a buttermilk panna cotta with apple & summer berries and a cherry clafoutis with cherry ripple ice cream - of course the ice cream is home made! For cheese lovers, there is a plate of West Country cheese with a Bramley apple chutney. In addition, there is a pre theatre/early dining menu available each evening from 5.30-6.45pm, and express lunches from Monday to Friday with a “build a board” concept. On Sundays, a traditional carvery is available. The light and airy dining area has striking light features and mahogany furniture, with large windows that allow diners to look out over the water. The River Grille Bar is complete with a glossy finish and quirky white grand piano. At the Centre of the city, the River Grille Restaurant is a 10 minute walk from Bristol Temple Meads station and right on the Narrow Quay Harbourside.
Reviewed October 17, 2012

Excellent food, delicous wine, impeccable service and all very good value for money. Probably one of the best meals I have had in a long long time and that includes (for value for money) Le manoir aux quatr' saisons

Thank SailsInn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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399 - 403 of 459 reviews

Reviewed October 2, 2012

The food was well prepared and presented. Service provided by Sabrina was excellent. We opted for the set menu which had a selection of about 5 each of starter, main course and deserts. The salmon dishes were great. A good wine list for you to choose from. Thanks

Thank WisetravellerLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2012

We were really looking forward to our visit to River Grille during a planned weekend in Bristol - particularly as the Tripadvisor and Toptable reviews were on the whole reasonably positive. However, it could not have been more of a disappointment. On the positive side, the waitress was very good and made a point of saying that the kitchen was very busy as they had a private function as well as a full restaurant and therefore there might be a delay. She did a good job of managing our expectations.

We decided to skip starters and go straight for a main - mine a ribeye steak and my wife a fillet - both ordered medium. The meals arrived after about 20 minutes so not too much of a wait and in the meantime we had a plate of nice breads with olive oil / balsamic dip. Steaks are served on a wooden board and the twice cooked chips arrived in a small glass storage jar - the sort that you might find pickles in, complete with a lid and my question is why?? I can understand them trying to be different and could have understood chips coming in those little metal buckets but why a jar??

Anyway, the fillet steak looked pretty good - decent thickness and cooked medium as requested but my ribeye was a thin slice, dry and well done. It looked unappetising and was lukewarm to cold. I advised the waitress of the problem and to be fair to her, she responded well and made appropriate apologies. She took it away and offered to take my wife's meal away and return them both together. She opted to continue with her meal and within a few minutes a new steak arrived looking altogether different - glistening, hot enough and this time it was medium. But that's as positive as it gets - it was another thin cut of meat and was largely indelible due to there being more fat and gristle than good meat. At £18.95 (plus extra for a peppercorn sauce) they should be serving significantly better quality produce and a thicker cut. Any chef worth his salt would know instantly whether the meat is good enought to serve and that one should never have left the kitchen.

The waitress seemed surprised that I had left most of the steak but I explained my views on the quality expecting that at least someone in authority might offer an apology but clearly no-one was going to come near me - until I asked and then asked again to see the manager. He eventually came to the table and although he apologised, deducted the meal from the bill and offered a glass of wine on the house, I didn't feel that my complaint would make the slightest bit of difference to future customers.

As I pointed out to him, the waitress was excellent, the restaurant itself has a great atmosphere and it was really disappointing that the food didn't come up to scratch. By way of balance, I have to say that my wife had no complaints with her meal and although I'm fully aware that ribeye can be a bit fatty, this one was well below par in quality and size. Maybe it was a one-off - I don't really know but in my view the onus is fairly and squarely on the chef to dish up quality ingredients and they should be cooked as ordered by the customer. Would we go back - probably not.

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1  Thank andyccpc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheBristolHotel, Manager at The River Grille, responded to this reviewResponded September 20, 2012

Firstly I would like to thank you for taking the time to write a review regarding your recent visit to our restaurant.

I was very disappointed to hear about the slow and inconsistent service and please accept our apologies and be assured that your feedback will be shared with the relevant team members so that might be able to learn and do better going forward. In regards to the jar and wooden board, I was sorry to read that as many guest really enjoyed that and this is first negative feedback we get on the presentation. We would be really happy to serve the steak and chips on a plate if you wanted to.

In regards to the meat, we source our product locally and I have already contacted our butcher and he is looking into it. We all the time try to offer the best value for money to our guest and we have been praised in the past for doing that however I would like to assure you that we welcome your feedback and as we are a learning organisation we appreciate all feedback and find it very valuable in moving forward and improving the service that we provide to our guests.
In a positive note, I'm glad to hear that your wife had a great meal and I can assure you that the issue you have experienced with the meat has been looked at.

Naturally we would never wish any of our guest’s to be disappointed or for them to feel that they would not be able to recommend us to their friends. With this in mind as we are keen to restore your faith in us and look forward to hearing from you in the very near future. Please do feel free to contact me so that I can personally make your table reservation P 0117 923 0333 or E mike_tavares@doylecollection.com

Once again I would like to apologise on behalf of the restaurant and thank you for making us aware of the issues that you experienced. I hope that you will give us the opportunity to regain your confidence in the River Grille restaurant.

Kind regards

Mike Tavares

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2012

We ate here whilst at the hotel. Live piano music in the background, quality staff and good wine. The portions were just the right size.

Thank VikkiHB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2012

I visited the Bristol Hotel River Grille for a second time with my family in late August 2012 for a very sophisticated afternoon 'high tea' at the kind invitation of the manager. It was a wonderful experience and a great way to spend a genteel lazy afternoon. They have a great range of teas, fabulous cakes and little canape style savoury bites which are exquisite and the portions are so generous. The service is also absolutely superb, attentive and very accommodating without hovering. The restaurant decor is so chic and perfect too and its location on the harbourside with a view from the big conservatory style windows is lovely. I would warmly recommend the Bristol Hotel, River Grille high tea experience to anyone wanting to do something a bit special with family and friends. Its bit more expensive than some high teas but with the delicious food and generous portions (which they offered to package up for us to take home if we couldn't finish it) it is good value for money. Thank you Raphael and staff for a lovely afternoon.

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Thank Jayne H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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