Monday, 13 February 2012

Ronnie's Thornbury

Time for another restaurant review.

We went out for dinner on Saturday evening to a little place in Thornbury called Ronnie's, which is an off-shoot of a popular restaurant in Clifton, Bristol.

We'd been there a couple of times before for lunch after weekend shopping, being well impressed; however, Saturday evening was perfection. I can honestly say Ronnie's is a treasure of a find and well worth a visit for any foodie.

I started with belly pork and scallops - not a combination you'd immediately think of. I was rather surprised to see a small slice of belly port and two scallops presented with a soy sauce reduction, especially as it was priced at an astronomic £11. However, it was heavenly and I didn't begrudge the price one bit.

My main course was calves liver - medium rare. Again, not a large portion, but exquisite as far as presentation and taste were concerned. Price was £18.

Hay started with fishcakes - 3 rather small balls of fishcake, but beautifully presented and pronounced lush.

Her main was a stone bass - again she could not fault the dish and declared it splendid. There was a small crispy something accompanying the fish; Hay couldn't tell what it was, but it tasted of the sea. The waiter informed us it was the fish skin, crisped. A wonderful little detail.

The cheeseboard comprised 3 very tiny slivers of wonderful, unpasteurised English cheeses - sublime at £6.75 (or thereabouts)!

Total price for 2 starters, 2 mains, 2 desserts, 3 glasses of wine, a bottle of Malbec and two coffees was £156, including 12% tip. Not bad really.

The staff are immaculately dressed, polite, knowledgeable, attentive and incredibly professional - a total delight to be waited on by. They are also predominantly foreign (foreigners seem to understand the catering trade so much better than Brits, don't you think?).

My only complaints would be:

  • The fact they automatically apply a 10% gratuity (I raised it to 12% as I was so impressed), and
  • They don't lay the table again once it has been vacated - if they did it would just make the place look a bit more welcoming (I don't like looking at bare tables as the night progresses).

Minor niggles and certainly nothing that would stop me going again. I would put Ronnie's on par with The Vine Tree in Norton. The former is fine dining, whereas the latter is more pubby - but both are have excellent food.

The owners of Ronnie's have got it just right - prices that are high, but not so high (given the quality and attention to detail) as to put you off. It's all about value for money and the dining experience.


  1. I don't believe what I am reading 156 Quid for a meal and you didn't begrudge paying for it... hope you put a bar tab up at the next OC dinner.. You must be all of a sudden "raking it in".. Did we get a year end bonus? Not this time last year I recall " I only have 150 Quid to last me three weeks and that will buy me three roof tiles"
    How quick things change !
    Phil N

  2. Phil: I blew my 'entertaining Phil N' budget in one go.

  3. My shout next 3 times... Ill pay your bloody bill if you send it !!