Five Things: Hourglass Brasserie, Bristol
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
One. Getting Settled.
What a soft landing! I was pleased to find an inviting, simple and contemporary space that is perfect for any occasion. A friendly and attentive staff ensured that I wanted for nothing throughout my meal. My culinary experience at the Hourglass started with an amuse-bouche of pureed salt cod with mashed potatoes. The whipped bite had rich sea flavor and was a great start to my meal.
Two. Tuna Tataki.
This plate was a truly spectacular find. Cuts of tuna were seared on the outside providing a great texture while the center was allowed to remain raw. The preparation on this one was certainly admirable, but the service was what really impressed me. A salted and cubed gelee and wasabi mayo provided wonderful texture and flavor notes to an evolving dish. A side of pickled radish, carrots and onions that tasted mildly of coriander and juniper berries really caught my attention.
I couldn’t stop myself from ordering a shrimp and avocado panna cotta when I saw this interesting item on the menu. I didn’t know exactly what I would get, but I was certainly surprised by what I did. This was a layered affair - finely diced avocado pieces topped with a layer of sweet and tangy yogurt before being crowned with diced mango, pears and a nest of greens. This was undoubtedly a thoughtful dish. The flavor profile had me thinking of a reinvented-deconstructed Nime Chow.
Four. Skate Gastronomy.
This rare find was a further demonstration in Hourglass Brasserie’s deliberate style of plating. A well-seasoned piece of skate was beautifully presented with purees of Jerusalem artichoke and cauliflower. Toasted almonds and garlic
Five. Rustic Side.
Hourglass certainly has no problems contending for best in show with their elegant style of cooking. With that in mind I wanted to try something a little… well… bucolic. The “four-hour” braised short rib plate was just what I was looking for. Fall-off-the-bone ribs were bordered with glazed baby carrots and pearl onions. This country classic was rich and sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Would I go back? Yes. I feel like I have made a real discovery in Bristol and I can’t wait to see what else chef Rizwan Ahmed will cook up.
Hit “Save”: Hourglass Brasserie, 382 Thames St, Bristol, 396-9811. Wed-Sat 5:30-9pm (9:30 Fri/Sat) Reservations encouraged on the weekend.
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