Take 5: bistro chic

Book a table at one of these bistro-chic establishments which channel Parisian bistro vibes thanks to their simple-yet-delicious dishes and intimate, relaxed settings

St Petroc’s Bistro, Padstow

If you’re looking for a stylish hideaway for lunch, dinner or an overnight stay just a short stroll from the bustle of Padstow harbour, this Stein bistro and boutique hotel is a lovely choice.

Jill Stein’s relaxed styling gives the historic building a cultured air, creating a perfect setting for the venue’s classic French cooking.

Dry‑aged steaks, the freshest Cornish seafood and a smart selection of wines seduce with their simple elegance. The menu changes regularly to reflect the micro‑season, but an unwavering constant is the care with which quality ingredients are treated – along with the joy to be found in the unfussy dining experience.

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The Beckford Bottle Shop, Bath

Part of The Beckford Group (a small collection of quality pubs and restaurants in Somerset and Wiltshire), The Beckford Bottle Shop specialises in doing simple things well. In the restaurant, a superb collection of wines from the adjoining bottle shop complements artisan cheeses, charcuterie boards and small plates crafted using seasonal and local produce.

Head chef James Harris doesn’t overcomplicate dishes, opting for flavour over frills. Expect ingredient‑led small plates which put West Country produce front and centre – think Bath chaps with Bramley apple, and cured ChalkStream trout with fennel and wild garlic flowers.

The effortlessly cool setting makes the perfect backdrop for all manner of occasions – from impromptu lunches to milestone celebrations.

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Porthminster Kitchen

Porthminster Kitchen, St Ives

Like its sister establishments in the Porthminster Collection, this contemporary St Ives bistro excels in serving top‑quality Cornish seafood in a lively and fun coastal setting. Its location above the hustle and bustle of the town’s harbour provides an awesome spot from which to watch fishing boats return with their catch, while tucking into a sample of the day’s haul.

Classic house dishes include seafood linguine with crab, mussels, prawns, lemon and chilli, and fresh local fish such as roasted cod fillet with truffle mash, broccoli, pancetta, mushrooms and red wine sauce.

Guests looking to branch beyond piscatorial pleasures will find the menu provides plenty to pique the appetites of both plant‑based diners and keen carnivores. The restaurant also enjoys a great reputation for its cracking Sunday lunch.

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Augustus, Taunton

Taunton’s favourite bistro has been burnishing a solid reputation since Cedric Chirossel and Richard Guest decided to set up their own restaurant 11 years ago.

Hospitality is at the heart of the operation and Cedric takes pride in looking after the legion of loyal customers who visit for informal but beautifully cooked lunches and suppers.

There’s French influence in Richard’s cooking which he translates into crowd‑pleasing dishes such as sirloin steak with tarragon butter, hash brown, watercress and shallot salad, and slow‑roasted duck with potatoes anna, creamed greens and duck jus.

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Saveur, Exmouth

Saveur, Exmouth

You don’t have to cross the Channel for Parisian bistro vibes and Euro‑inspired cooking when you can make a seaside excursion to this Exmouth find. Tucked away on a pedestrianised street just off the main square, Saveur is the locals’ best‑kept culinary secret.

Chef patron Nigel Wright’s menus change daily and, thanks to the restaurant’s proximity to the ocean, there’s a natural leaning towards fish and seafood in the modern, seasonal dishes. Nigel has a hotline to the fishmongers at Brixham Fish Market so only the freshest fish make it onto his European‑influenced menus. Delight in the likes of crispy panko monkfish scampi with sweetcorn salsa, curry oil and coriander.

Like the decor, the service is relaxed and welcoming, making this a très charmant find for both a casual lunch with friends and an intimate dinner à deux.

Read more here.

Enjoyed Take 5: bistro chic? Check out our round-up of sustainable restaurants here.


may, 2024


Restaurant Hywel Jones, near Bath

Restaurant Hywel Jones

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