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riverstation

Location: The Grove, in the docks area, Bristol.

riverstation is spacious and light, industrial and civilized. What is now a bar and restaurant was formerly the dockside police station, a comfortable restaurant well-patronized by suited businessmen, standing up, shaking hands, smiling at each other. I met intertext at the train station on Friday and we walked over - 10-15 minutes - with our luggage. Happily, they could keep the luggage in a closet for us while we went to claim our river-views table, booked with a well-designed online interface.

Impressively, the set meal prices have come down since last year's guidebook prices were printed. Two courses for £9.50, three courses for £12.00! My gazpacho was refreshing, and full of vegetable goodness. The mackerel was tender, with more potatoes than we needed, and greens. (I've already forgotten if it came with any sauce or compôte.) The passionfruit crême brûlée was a delight, ethereal in its lightness. Once I'd asked if there was anything interesting to drink other than wine, we received the other drinks menu - entertaining cocktails, and a decent selection of juices and interesting other non-alcoholic drinks. I went with a strawberry bellini.

The price was right, the food generally enjoyable (though forgettable around the edges), the drinks good, and the light-filled space beautiful, but the toilets might as well have been candlelit, they were so dark. Still, I had a lovely, relaxing lunch there in good company with generally good, if busy, service. I'd be willing to go back, but I'm much more interested in exploring more of Bristol's many other scattered restaurants instead.