Restaurant Review : Chin! Chin! Bristol

To celebrate a good friend's birthday last week a large group of us went for dinner at Chin! Chin! on St Michael's Hill, Cotham. Prior to our visit I hadn't heard a whole lot about the restaurant so didn't know what to expect from the evening.

With their website stating that they are all about "celebrating Great British food & drink" I assumed the venue might be on the twee side but in fact the decor was more English eccentric in style and with branches and fairy lights adorning the ceiling there was an air of a Mad Hatters Tea Party - a feeling added to by our number being fifteen strong and sat across two long tables pushed together to accommodate us. For groups of our size (6+) Chin! Chin! offer a party menu where the whole table has the same set menu which is a mixed selection of the kitchen's best dishes.  Not having to make a decision or deal with food envy is always a good thing in my book!

To begin with we were each served an amuse bouché of parsnip soup which was presented in a cute vintage china cup & saucer. The soup was simple but tasty and peppery and a nice nod to the classic starter course. Following this and before the main event there was a course of bread and crudities served with olive oil and hummus. I tend to avoid wheat as a health choice but I'm not strict about it when eating out as it can makes things difficult, however as I was sat next to a lady who is strictly gluten free it was great to see (and share) the wheat free bread that was laid out especially along side the normal slices and when the plates that followed were served the waitress confirmed that everything set down was also gluten free. I'm not sure how much they amended their normal menu but it was great that they were so accommodating.

The main course was served tapas style with lots of dishes to share and with a variety of meat, fish and veg dishes it was quite the feast. Everything was delicious and well cooked and although the presentation was quite different the rustic style and flavours reminded me of the food at one of my favourites, Poco. Chin! Chin!'s dishes included chicken skewers with a lovely coconut dip on the side, a beetroot & apple salad and slices of pork belly which were lovely and juicy but on the salty side (even for my savoury tooth!). My favourites were the squid which was cooked to melt-in-the-mouth perfection and a dish of kedgeree which everyone I was sharing with agreed was amazing. Full of food and plenty of house wine nobody fancied dessert but the restaurant did treat the birthday girl to a small dessert drink and a little cake with a candle which was a lovely end to the evening. Including drinks and tip dinner came in at a reasonable £25 per head. 

I would highly recommend Chin! Chin! especially if you're planning an occasion for a larger group. As well as looking dapper in their vintage style outfits the staff were so friendly and welcoming to us and with great food and atmosphere the evening was a real success.


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