The Montpelier Basement, Bristol

Sometimes it’s good to get outside your normal comfort zone.  Whilst I’m no stranger to eating out alone, it’s a slightly different experience when you consider attending a Supperclub on your own. Note the extra P, this isn’t a superclub like a Gatecrasher (though a Superclub with a Supperclub in it would be unusual!), instead it is a meal hosted in someones home with your dining companions being strangers.

Elly and Dan setup the Montpelier Basement in October 2010 and monthly invite upto 18 strangers into their flat to have a seven course dinner, for a suggested donation of only £30.  There was a slight issue in the fact that they live in Bristol and not my usual abodes of London and Birmingham.  Cue a rather frantic drive down the M5 on a Friday night, negotiating roadworks, and driving around Bristol town centre to find my hotel.

A 7.50PM check-in, let to a panic considering the event was starting at 8PM but I made it for 8.05PM to find three tables of six in their living room.  It’s a BYO affair and the table I was on had quite a few nice wines, a total of six bottles were brought between just two of the people!  I wasn’t feeling in a wine mood and instead had grabbed a bottle of Geranium Gin before I headed out of the door.

Atmosphere - MPB

The Montpelier Basement,
Menu for Friday 24th June

Keen’s Cheddar and mustard biscuits
Spinach soup with Perroche
Cornish day boat Haddock with parsley and lemon
Braised shoulder of Salt Marsh lamb with peas, broad beans and potato
Sipsmith gin, Fevertree tonic and cucumber ice
Perry and berry jelly with blancmange
Gorwydd Caerphilly and Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout Rarebit

Over the course of the next three or so hours the food kept on coming, and it was all truly delightful. The Geranium stood up well to the dishes, though perhaps it could have been contrasted by a less floral gin.  Something with a strong Juniper and citrus hit would have gone well with the lamb.

A lot of guests showed an interest in the Geranium Gin as it was something they hadn’t seen before, or tasted a gin quite like it.  You can see the differences between trying it neat, and adding tonic as the flavours of the gin do change.  I think the guests realised that gin can be very different than a Gordon’s or Bombay Sapphire profile which is always a good thing.

One thing I was delighted to see is that Sipsmith Gin was being used during the meal.  The combination with the Fevree ice made it a great refresher that marked the change in service as Elly and Dan emerged from the kitchen more to interact with the guests, all safe knowing that five courses of the seven had been served.

Sipsmith Fevertree Ice - MPB

This worked really well, and the little pieces of cucumber helped to give it a bit more texture and the gin really shone through matched with the great Fevertree tonic.  There was more to come and the Perry Jelly was extremly Perry’y not that it was a bad thing at all!

Apart from the quality of the food, and the conversation it was nice that the guests on my table had an interest in wine and I was able to taste a 1999 Louis Jadot Meursault with the haddock and finished with a sweet wine, the 2004 Disznókő Tokaji Aszú 4 Puttonyos.

I also have to mention where I was staying, the Brooks Guest House which is right in the hear of St Nicolas markets.  It was great to wakeup in a homely room (I travel a LOT, so hotels are no stranger to my life).  I took the picture below as it summed up to me the fact it was a nice relaxing place to stay, and even appeared that I had a personal dresser/walk in wardrobe!

Hotel - MPB

Other highlights of Bristol included a trip to the Foodies Festival that was on at the Harbourside, where I came across both Hendrick’s Gin and 6 O’clock Gin (made by Bramley & Gage). Unfortunately the trip home by car was approaching and the sensible hat meant that I couldn’t taste either.

Another great meal was had in Bristol, as for lunch I ate at the Source Food Cafe (right next to the hotel), which also had a food hall so I purchased some great T-Bone steak for that evenings dinner.

All in all it was a great trip to Bristol, and I’ll be returning to discover Hausbar which is apparently a great cocktail bar. If you would like to go one of the  The Montpelier Basement events then send an email to [email protected] to be alerted of future dates.


  1. Carl Bennett says:

    Nice menu, albeit a tad heavy on the cheese, but I’d be more than happy to sit down to that. What I’m not happy about is pop-up restaurants flouting the rules everyone else has to stick to. Fire Certificate? Planning permission? Insurance liability? Is the local Environmental Health Officer happy about the kitchen, which has obviously been inspected? Hasn’t it?

    We can get shut down if we don’t comply. It does not make us very charitable towards people who decide the rules just don’t apply to them. And God help them if they’re not insured and someone falls over dead in their loo.

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