This was a gifted meal.
Bristol is just over an hour away from me so it’s not too far for a day out but not close enough that I pop over on a regular basis. So when I do go I like to make the most of it; there’s always plenty to see and do. I went last weekend for a wander round the shops and it always surprises me how far the city stretches and the new places I find. This time I found a lovely street market and food hall very near each other so I was well occupied for at least an hour. We had planned lunch a bar and restaurant called Aluna which specialises in cocktails and Asian food.
I really liked the layout of the restaurant, it was nice and open with big, comfy chairs. The menu was one of those that causes your eyes to dart around as you pick out words that you find intriguing, “miso mayonnaise”, “som tum” and “ponzu” to name a few. I managed to focus for long enough to decide what to order but then I had the same experience with the cocktail menu. The cocktail list is divided into classics/signatures and madness (the science behind the cocktail). I just didn’t know what to have, it was all tempting.
The Patriots Potion (£7.95) appealed to me; a smoky infusion of gin and earl grey with lemon caviar floating in the drink. Really liked the combination of flavours in this with the little lemon caviar adding a pop to each sip. The OH ordered the Lava Lamp (£7.50); an orange long drink with pomegranate lava lumps throughout. Again, a really nice combination of orange and pomegranate in this. Of course they were both very theatrical with the bubbles coming up from the bottom of the drink and it made a really satisfying noise too!
We liked the sound of the Oriental Express to start which was a sharing platter of: chicken satay, vegetable spring rolls, corn cakes, prawn rolls and golden bags with dips. As I can’t eat prawns we asked if they could leave them off, or add something different but the waitress said because of how the dish is presented or made there wouldn’t much of it left without the prawns. It was good to know that they are aware what all the dishes contain and it was no bother as we just ordered the chicken satay and vegetable spring rolls to share.
The chicken satay (£5.95) was really nicely chargrilled and had a great texture and flavour, the peanut sauce that came with it wasn’t too sweet and full of flavour. The vegetable spring rolls (£5.50) had a fantastic crispy texture on the outside and there wasn’t even a trace of greasiness, the vegetables inside were a delicious mix of dark cabbage and carrot. I really enjoyed both of these starters.
For main I had pan-dried duck with aubergine, soba noodles and ponzu sauce (£14.95). This was really tasty, it turns out ponzu is my new favourite thing, it’s so full of savoury flavour. The duck was nicely cooked and the aubergine lovely and soft but still with a little texture so it wasn’t all mushy. The OH had the chicken massaman curry (£12.95) which had a flavour similar to a Thai red curry but it was lighter. The potatoes and peanuts in the sauce were delicious and the amount of chicken was very generous.
The portion sizes were quite big which meant we didn’t have any room to try a pudding so instead we ordered two non-alcohol cocktails from the menu (£3.95 each). One coconut, mango and pineapple and the other orange and fresh raspberry; both very welcome at the end of the meal.
It was a really relaxing, unrushed lunch and I’d like to go back to try some of the other food and cocktails. There was one cocktail which came with a sprig of rosemary poking out which was then set on fire, I definitely need to try that one.
This meal was paid for by Aluna. All opinions expressed and words are my own.