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Nestled on the Jamaica Street/Stokes Croft junction, tucked away behind Turbo Island is Poco, a restaurant I’ve been meaning to try for longer than I care to remember.
I’ve been for coffee, and it’s great. I’ve been for breakfast, which is even better, but I’ve been planning on going for dinner for absolutely bloody ages. Finally, last week, I made it!
The restaurant itself, in my opinion, is everything I want a restaurant to be. It’s snug without being poky, stylish without being snobby and as soon as you walk in you just feel totally at ease – just like walking into one of your mates’ houses for a cuppa, or even better, a glass of wine.
We visited on a Friday evening, and when we arrived it was packed. I’d emailed before hand, and had been told that they don’t take bookings on the weekend, but that if we turned up they’d do their best to get us a table within half an hour. They also promised they’d keep us topped up with bread, olives and cocktails while we waited. Promise well kept Poco, as within seconds of arriving we were promptly seated in the bar area, and supplied with bread, olives and drinks, including a rather delicious Sloe Gin Collins for me – winner!
It turned out that we didn’t have to wait that long, and after about twenty minutes or so we were shown past the open kitchen and into the dining space in the back. A word of warning – don’t expect to get a private table for two, as you’re unlikely to get it – everyone sits higgledy piggledy around a variety of tables. If you don’t fancy sitting next to strangers then Poco might not be up your street but personally I love it – it just adds to the lovely laid back atmosphere of the place.
Even more laid back is the menu. A huge selection of seasonal, locally sourced ‘small plates’ all scribbled on the back wall in chalk. Prices are cheap and portions are generous, and you can order as much as you like in one go, or keep coming back for more. In retrospect we should have started with a few plates and then ordered as we went, because we ended up with way too much to fit on the table, but hey, it all tasted great!
Here’s a little selection of what we had…
As well as these dishes we had a generous wedge of seasonal vegetable frittata, and my personal stand out – Calamari. Forget your traditional deep fried squid rings – the portions at Poco are ‘proper’ squid, tentacles and all, deep fried in a perfectly crispy batter and piled up on a bed of chips. I did attempt to take a picture, but in all honesty I was too distracted by wanting to get stuck in and get that squid in my mouth that I gave up – sorry!
To round things off we decided to push the boat out and have pudding. Will, opted for ice cream (because he’s 12 at heart) but my Mum and I shared the Peruvian chocolate pot, served with clotted cream and crystallised beetroot. I don’t really know what more to say about this other than it was the perfect pudding – crazy rich, super decadent and crystallised beetroot is an unlikely contender for one of my new favourite things.
Finally, as if we hadn’t had enough of a great experience at Poco, when the bill arrived I was very pleasantly surprised – cocktails, wine, dinner and dessert for four (with far more food than we needed) came in at just over £80, a bit of a bargain really! And if you needed one last cherry on top of an already excellent cake – we were sat behind none other than Huey Morgan from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals! My lovely Mum, true to form, decided to make friends with him in the loo…as you do!
So whilst I can’t promise celebrity spots at Poco what I can promise is great food, lovely service, an atmosphere that’s nigh on perfect and a generally brilliant evening – GO!