The Retreat is a bar, bistro and restaurant serving world foods from a small house like building in the village of Long Ashton, 10 minutes from Bristol city centre.
Sarah and I visited this restaurant on a Wednesday evening with our friends Jacki and Ross. The Retreat is taking part in an offer by the Telegraph newspaper whereby you can collect vouchers for a reduced price meal. Jacki and Ross had been collecting these vouchers and decided to invite us with them.
As it turned out the meals cost only £5 per person for a starter and main course dish with desert charged as extra.
From the outside The Retreat looks far more like a pub than a restaurant and this theme is continued inside the establishment. The decoration consists of contempory art prints and fairy lights. The building has a sense of being somewhat worn.
Confusion began with trying to decide how to get into the building. Of the two doors available we ended up in the bar and had to retreat outside to go into the restaurant.
Throughout the meal we were the only people eating in the restaurant, although it sounded like the bar area became busier toward the end of the evening. Our waiter was the only front of house staff on duty to cope with both the bar and the restaurant. Very chatty and friendly he was fairly attentive and always asking us if there was anything else we wanted. When Sarah asked what the fish was he told her that she could go and look in the tank outside to see what they looked like. Both Sarah and Jacki declined the offer.
My started consisted of a whole roast garlic with a small green salad and some bread. Jacki had the same and we were initially skeptical about the dish but it turned out to be quite nice. My only comment would be that there was a little too much oil on the salad. Sarah and Ross began with a carrot and coriander soup which was reportedly very nice.
For our main course Sarah and Jacki had Talapia fish panfried in extra virgin olive oil and lemon zest served with spiced cous while Ross and I had Albondigas meatballs in a rich Provencal sauce served with turmeric rice and salad. The meatballs were very nice and the dish was well presented.
On asking for the desert menu we were told that the cook was lieing on the floor with back pain. After looking at the menu and the prices we decided to buy some icecream on the way home.
The food was good but there is something about this restaurant that feels slightly wrong. I think it was the slight lack of professionalism. The evening itself was very nice.