Klosterhaus is Bristol’s picturesque German restaurant that sits in Quakers Friars, a stone’s throw from Cabot Circus
I’ve wanted to visit ever since it opened in October, heavily influenced by pictures of the beautiful centrepiece bar that have featured heavily on my Instagram timeline – and what better time to visit than the Christmas season?
The restaurant has been transformed for December, welcoming its Haus of St Nick winter terrace in collaboration with No. 3 Gin outside – which really is stunning and adds to the festive feel inside.
Before entering the Grade l listed Friary Building, which used to be home to Brasserie Blanc, you’re welcomed by two life-sized nutcracker figures who bring a classy Christmas feel – and as you walk inside the festivity continues, as the gorgeous bar is decorated with tasteful reefs, baubles and pampas.
I have never tried authentic Mittel European cuisine before and so was looking forward to sampling the German food on offer, inspired by head chef Bjoern Wassmuth’s heritage.
This is what I found when I visited on a blustery Tuesday evening.
It might seem a little unusual to kick off a review by talking about the last dish first, but I haven’t stopped thinking about the dessert I had at Klosterhaus ever since devouring it, and I’ve never been one to save the best until last.
I ordered the exotic fruit pavlova and it was incredible – featuring passionfruit, charred rum-infused pineapple and tonka bean Chantilly cream. The pineapple was the strongest flavour and it could have been overwhelming, but thankfully it was perfectly balanced by the cream.
The textures were amazing too, with the crisp crust adding a nice edge to the light, fluffy cream. I’m already looking forward to my next trip to Klosterhaus so I can order this pudding again.
The festive menu offers three main options, the first being a traditional Christmas meal of roasted free-range bronze turkey stuffing, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes, root vegetables and lingonberry compote.
For those that prefer fish, there’s seared hake with sea vegetables and clementine hollandaise, and for vegetarians there’s schupfnudeln and wild mushroom – which for those not familiar with Bavarian cuisine is German rolled potato noodles, young vegetables, celeriac purée, butter sauce and truffle oil.
We decided to try the vegetarian and meat options and the classic Christmas dinner was the clear winner, with the roast potatoes the star of the show.
They were irresistibly crunchy on the outside and fluffy inside, just as they should be, and the gravy accompaniment made them a perfect ten out of ten. The vegetables were also amazing – perfectly cooked giving the meal great texture as well as flavour.
As far as the meat goes, the turkey was flavoursome, well cooked and not dry – which is essential for the perfect Christmas dish. My only suggestion to improve the dish would be that the lingonberry compote, which dressed the turkey, should be served on the side, as the flavours were quite strong.
I don’t eat pork so didn’t have the pigs in blankets, but was told by my friend that they were spectacular, proved by the fact one was eaten before I could even take a picture of the dish.
As for the vegetarian option, the flavours of the schupfnudeln and wild mushroom were too overpowering for my taste. To me, it tasted too strongly of garlic – and although the meal was well-cooked and seemed like a great winter warmer – the flavours were too strong for me to really enjoy.
For the starters, we opted for the Seven & Wye smoked salmon tartare, vodka crème Fraiche, pickled beetroot gel and croutons as well as the Jerusalem artichoke soup, chestnuts and truffle.
The texture of the soup was perfect, gloriously thick and smooth, making it a great dish for a cold winter evening – which it certainly was. The bread to accompany it was nice and soft and well complemented by gooey, salted butter.
The artichoke was particularly strong flavour-wise but it wasn’t too overpowering and was tasty alongside the truffle, which was well presented on top, while the smoked salmon tartare was beautifully presented alongside the sauce and delicate croutons and the flavours were just as good.
Klosterhaus also managed to make the starters the perfect size, meaning they didn’t fill us up too much to enjoy the rest of the meal.
The Christmas menu is in collaboration with No.3 Gin, which offered three choices of Christmas cocktails.
We went for the Advent, which was made up of No.3 Gin, fig liqueur, lemon, Recioto Della Valpolicella sweet red wine.
It was well presented, just like the food was, and also tasted great – with the sweet red wine as the most prominent flavour.
The Christmas cocktails also come with fun scratch cards, which give diners the chance to win more drinks and add to the overall experience.
Overall, I enjoyed my visit to Klousterhaus and felt the Christmas decor was wonderfully festive while being tasteful.
The staff were friendly and attentive and the food was well presented and tasty. My only hesitation would be regarding their options for those who have meat-free diets.
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