A couple of days ago I arranged to meet my friend in Clifton for lunch, and having heard about The TownHouse bar and restaurant on Whiteladies Road, I thought it’d be worth a try. I emailed them the day before to double check that they did have gluten free options and also that they had high chairs for my friend’s daughter. They confirmed that all of this was ok, so that’s where we arranged to go.
On our arrival at the restaurant on Thursday, we asked for a high chair and we were seated just in front of the door at a table big enough to accommodate the four of us and the pram. Although we were handed menus straight away, we had to wait a very long time for someone to come back to us, so that I could ask which gluten free options they had available. Once I’d asked, the member of staff came back from the kitchen and started highlighting a few options from the set menu which were gluten free and then seemed as if he needed to be somewhere else, so it tailed off half way through!
During my email conversation the day before the restaurant had said that ‘almost all of our menu can be made gluten free – we have gluten free bread, flour and pasta, so when you order just let us know and we will ensure the dish is gluten free’, but this seemed to be contradicted when actually at the restaurant, and I wasn’t offered any bread or pasta options.
I asked a different member of staff which options were available and explained I was concerned that I hadn’t been given all of the options. She initially wasn’t sure, so asked what I’d prefer before she went back to the kitchen to see if they were gluten free. My first choice was the meatball (which I didn’t expect to be gluten free) and then the steak (which I knew would be), but I just wasn’t in the mood for steak. She came back from the kitchen saying that I couldn’t have the meatball, as suspected, but said that the chef was offering a lamb option, which wasn’t on the menu. As lamb is my favourite meat, I opted for this straight away. It was also at this point, after asking again, that we finally got the high chair!
As you can see, the meal looked stunning and it really tasted great, but I was a little bit bemused at the comment made by the member of staff handing me my food. He made a point of saying that I was very lucky to have this meal on the set menu as if I’d be having it at the weekend it would be nearly £20. This slightly bemused me, as I hadn’t specifically asked for something that wasn’t on the menu, it was offered to me, and I was told that gluten free options would be available!
After our meal we decided that we were going to have desserts, but after sitting with the dessert menu for what seemed like an eternity, we gave up waiting and asked for the bill instead, which was a shame, as I’m sure the desserts would’ve been wonderful.
The restaurant certainly seemed to be very busy on the day we went for lunch and I think this definitely contributed to our service issues, but aside from this I would still recommend this restaurant as the food is wonderful and very suitably priced (£7 for a main course from the set menu or 3 courses from the set menu for just £10).
For more information about The TownHouse bar and restaurant, you can visit their website (www.thetownhousebristol.co.uk) or follow them on Twitter (@TownHouseBris).