Edit is new to Bristol’s Cheltenham Road, just along from Turtle Bay, and very unassuming from the outside. A few weekends ago we were invited in for lunch by co-owner Rhi.
First impressions – different! A disco light twirling around the floor, black walls and a DJ greeted us. Yes, a DJ; at 1 pm. That’s because Edit’s concept is pretty unusual. As well as food and drinks, they have a super cool Klipsch audiophile sound system which they use to mix ‘music from the cosmos‘ whilst you eat, whatever time of day it is. This is something they’ve borrowed from Tokyo where music like this plays an integral part in many restaurants.
We were sat in the corner next to a big window and handed two menus – drinks and food. Although Edit runs a small plates menu, they do also have a lunch deal which is priced at £10 for one small plate and bigger dish. Individually, to order these items separately, you’re looking at between £13-£15 so it’s a great deal if you’re eating at the weekend between 12-3pm.
This is what we opted for:
Sides of pickled cucumber and kimchi arrived before our small plates to whet our appetite. The pickled cucumber was awesome – salty, sharp and moreish whilst still retaining its crunch. The kimchi was far from authentic though, and I have a feeling they’d rushed the fermentation stage and used fresh chilli in place of gochugaru which is why it was pale in colour and packed a real punch heat wise. Perhaps they could try my recipe?
For our small plates:
I had the fried squid with mango and pineapple starter and Dave had the mushroom and miso bao but in reality, as you’d expect, we shared everything!
The squid was the stand out dish of the meal. The batter was crispy, salty and spicy and the portion was generous but we were particularly impressed with that salsa. The delicately diced pieces of fresh mango and red chilli were hard to eat with chopsticks but a perfect accompaniment for the squid!
We also really enjoyed the bao and were pleased to see it was a full steamed bun as opposed to the open variety. The dough wasn’t quite there and it didn’t have that soft pillowy feel you hope for. But, the miso and mushroom filling was really tasty. The only thing missing was some dipping sauces – it would have been nice to have a bottle of soy sauce on the table perhaps.
For our larger plates:
There were four options available and all of them noodle based. Which was fine with me. I went for the roasted mushroom pho and Dave had the stirfry chicken noodle salad with radish, peanut and sesame. It wasn’t a salad however, it was a bowl of stirfry.
Dave’s chicken noodle dish was nice but no better than something we’d whip up on a weekday night. I think at £8.75 for a relatively small bowl, this would have been disappointing if ordered on its own.
My pho was a sad affair. Where were the chillis, the lime juice and the fresh coriander (asked for on the side, twice)? Where was the flavour? The menu hinted at rich earthy flavours of roasted mushrooms but the reality was a bean sprout heavy stirfry with a puddle of vegetable stock for sauce. It really failed to hit the mark.
I know that Vietnamese flavours are complex and can be difficult to get right so before I write this dish off completely, I’d like to go another time and try the pho once Edit is properly bedded in and they are more confident in their offering. It’d be good to get proper pho somewhere other than the chain on Corn Street.
We enjoyed our lunch at Edit mainly for the unusual environment. At first, we were unsure about the strange ambient sounds but they actually created a very calming atmosphere and added to our experience.
Clearly, some of the food wasn’t up to scratch and I’m nervous that their menu falls into the ‘Miscellasian’ bracket but I think Edit can pull it back. The kitchen team showed great skill and promise with some of their dishes but inexperience and lack of knowledge with others. I wonder if they’d be better sticking to just one Asian cuisine (eg Japanese) and not flirting around with Korean and Vietnamese unless they’ve spent time perfecting the art.
I will return in a few months and see how they’re getting on. As an independent offering something new and brave to the Bristol food scene, I wish them all the best. It would be great to see them succeed.