Food and Drink March 16, 2010
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Raymond Blanc on Bristol and Bath

I am delighted to introduce this 2009 Bristol & Bath Food & Drink Guide to you, particularly as this is my first year in this fantastic region. It took about five years to find the perfect site for my new Brasserie Blanc and I was absolutely speechless when I first saw the stunning buildings of Quakers Friars, in the heart of Cabot Circus. To have the honour of putting Brasserie Blanc into these buildings was fantastic.

Having worked with local craftsmen and architects, we have carefully restored the buildings back to their former glory. Too big for just a Brasserie, I have turned Bakers and Cutlers Halls into banqueting rooms. Built in the 13th and 14th Century as a monastery, these Halls now provide a magnificent backdrop for private events and parties – we even have a civil ceremony licence if you would like to get married with us.

To be part of such a historic city, and in the new Cabot Circus development, is a wonderful opportunity for me. Bristol is such a young, dynamic city with a great cosmopolitan vibe, making it an ideal location for one of my Brasseries. People often ask me what a Brasserie is – I always tell them that, if Le Manoir is a delicate Waltz, then the Brasseries are the Can Can. This is not a place for refined haute cuisine and six-course meals, rather, Brasserie Blanc is a place for relaxed enjoyment, where I can offer simple, fresh, quality food that comes as close as possible to the meals that my mother used to make for me at home in Besancon, but at a price that will encourage you to visit us regularly. In addition to my à la carte menu, we have a ‘Dine With Wine’ menu, from which you can enjoy two lovely courses with a glass of wine for £11.35.

My philosophy is simple – real French food, close to home, sourcing only the freshest, seasonal produce, locally whenever we can. It couldn’t be easier to find great ingredients than in the West Country, as both Bristol and Bath are surrounded by lush farmland that produces some of the finest meat, vegetables and dairy in the whole of the UK. Free-range Gloucestershire Old Spot pork regularly finds its way onto my menus and the local farmers’ markets are inspiring, with finds that remind me of the fabulous markets in my French homeland. Already, in the time I have spent here, I have enjoyed using these ingredients to create dishes for the people of this region, who more than anyone seem to appreciate the deliciousness and abundance of produce that their hometowns have to offer – and there is nothing better for a chef than seeing your customers’ smiling faces.

I’m excited to see from the recent reviews that Brasserie Blanc has received a warm welcome from the local community and is enhancing Bristol’s already vibrant dining scene. This will hopefully expand when we open our next Brasserie in Bath next year. I would also like to find more time next year to further explore the region, with all the flavoursome diversity it has to offer, and hope you’ll enjoy doing the same with this excellent guide as a superb starting point.
I look forward to seeing you along the way, enjoying some good French food and wine along with some fabulous hospitality at Brasserie Blanc. Bon appétit. 


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