SUNDAY LUNCH AT THE JETTY
The Jetty, Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa, 55 Corn St, Bristol BS1 1HT
RESTAURANT RESERVATIONS 0117 2034456
The Jetty inside
My mother-in-law flew down from the frozen north for the weekend. She’s had quite a lot to deal with recently and we wanted to spoil her.
We spent lots on food that we cooked (badly). We sat round talking (sadly). Come Sunday we went out for lunch (gladly).
Everything we tried to do ourselves we managed to make a hash of, possibly because we were trying too hard. Even the jolly chit-chat turned – inevitably – to the ‘lot to deal with’.
And so, when we made our way to The Jetty, I for one wasn’t feeling hopeful. We’d tried booking The Pony and Trap at Chew Magna and The Lion at Cliftonwood but both had been fully booked. There had been no problem booking The Jetty. I cynically wondered why not.
I feared we would be the only diners. An awkward end to the weekend that we’d wanted to make so special.
But no. The moment we set foot in the restaurant we were met with a host of smiling, attentive waiting staff and the sounds of diners eating, chatting, drinking, laughing. A waitress led us to a large, round table where my son Tom and his girlfriend Reb were already seated. Reb’s just got a job and so I remembered to say ‘Congratulations!’
The interior is plush, tasteful, the high ceilings with suspended fans creating a very sophisticated, cosmopolitan atmosphere. The waiting staff are similarly very smart, which made me, initially, a little wary. It wasn’t a pub. It made me nervous about the ‘Sunday lunch’.
But not for long. We were handed the Sunday lunch menu – 3 courses and a glass of prosecco for £19. As we’d taken our son and his girlfriend the week before to the White Hart at Lyttleton-on-Severn ( a very popular and pleasant country pub to the north of Bristol) and paid on average £15 for one course this seemed good value.
The prosecco arrived. Reb’s just got a job and so it seemed fitting to toast her. Then came the starters, each one looking very special. As we purred and mmm-ed and nodded, it was safe to assume that they tasted very special too. It’s no surprise the uplifting effect of great food in beautiful surroundings and wonderful service, but every time these three elements come together I am amazed.
They came together at The Jetty on Sunday.
The main course followed, but not too quickly, allowing us to soak up the atmosphere, talk about the starters, take in the surroundings, and… order a bottle of wine.
I had the beef which I ordered pink, and it was. My ideal Sunday roast. It was so delicious that I didn’t take that much notice of what the others were having. Pork? Chicken? They clearly enjoyed it as by the time I’d thought to look at their plates they were empty.
Then dessert! I’d not really wanted one. Or, at least that’s what I said. However, when the panne cotta that I’d reluctantly ordered turned up it looked like a dish from MasterChef (a successful one). With pretty, tiny pink meringues and sharp delicate cubes of jelly, this dish was so much more than a simple, wobbling panne cotta. A treat and feast for the eyes, I savoured my first mouthful and the tastes and textures – sweet, sharp, creamy, soft, crumbly – blew me away. As I eagerly took my last mouthful I felt the contentment you feel at the end of a wonderful meal. Sunday lunch at The Jetty! What a revelation. I worked out in my head the next time we could come. Perhaps I could bring my mother. My sister. Whose birthday is it next?
As we were sitting, thinking that perhaps we ought to ask for the bill, another plate turned up. ‘Oh, no! No, no, no! We’ve not ordered anything else!’ I protested. Possibly too aggressively. ‘But I thought…’. Before the waitress who’d pronounced the ‘t’ in sorbet (she was so lovely we didn’t have the heart to tell her) it dawned on me. The plate presented to Reb had two small squares of chocolate cakes with the word ‘Congratulations’ written on the plate in chocolate sauce. Reb’s new job.
We hastily said thank you, impressed and touched by her attentiveness. As I looked around the table I saw smiling faces. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday. Time to take my mother-in-law to the airport.
As we kissed Tom and Reb goodbye I felt like kissing the waiting staff for having salvaged our weekend. We’d done it. At the eleventh hour. We’d spoiled my mother-in-law.
NOTE: When I wrote this review Sunday lunch (3 courses and a glass of prosecco) cost an amazing £19. It now (a mere fortnight later) costs £25. But it’s still incredible value. And it still comes with the glass of fizz. I advise going as soon as possible before it becomes too popular.
How to make the dining experience even better : change the background music.