Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

The Grace: new venue for Gloucester Road from the Zazu’s team

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The Grace Bishopston


The team behind the acclaimed Zazu’s Kitchen restaurants have opened their second pub in three months after an extensive refurb of the Robin Hood’s Retreat on the Gloucester Rd. The Grace opened on Friday July 4th, with a revamped look and direction to go with the new name.

The £125,000 refit includes an overhaul for the front bar area which has been redecorated and extended to include the third of the pub’s iconic stained glass windows – previously a part of the ladies toilets – along with a refit of the kitchen, a new toilet block and improvements to the suntrap back patio.

Styled as part continental bar, part “pub for grown ups” and part local eaterie, The Grace offers a wide range of real ales, craft beers, cocktails and a quality wine list to go alongside the new menu.

One of Bristol’s brightest young chefs, Wilf Penfold, has been taken on as head chef to deliver the new “tapas style” menu of small plates. Wilf has worked in many of the city’s finest kitchens including The Albion, the Kensington Arms and Berwick Lodge and now takes on the challenge of extending the Zazu reputation for great food into a bar environment.

Taking classic Andalucian tapas dishes as a starting point, the balanced menu moves across Middle Eastern and Mediterranean territories, taking in a few modern British tastes along the way. Diners can choose from a selection of tasty bar snacks to a selection of tapas-sized plates or even a pizzetta, the small but intensely flavoured pizzas.

The menu will evolve and change regularly but dishes include the likes of chicken & girolle mushroom skewers in tarragon & truffle mayo; oxtail croquettes with parsley, shallots and capers; apricot glazed baby back ribs; pork and fennel meatballs; lamb and rose harissa koftes & babaganoush; pan roasted monkfish & chermoula; mussels, chickpeas & tomato; cockles, samphire, and malt vinegar; grilled octopus, green olives & lemon; courgettes, chilli, mint and smoked ricotta; onion, squash and ras al hanout pastilla, labne and harissa; cauliflower, golden raisin, coriander and curry.

Bar snacks include soft boiled duck egg & Iberico fat soldiers; griddled halloumi & harissa tapenade; crisp potato chunks, smoked sea salt & aioli or ham hock & parsley croquettes, cucumber relish.

The Grace also intends to make its name for Sunday roasts which have become a hugely popular feature at their sister pub The Greenbank in Easton which the team opened to rave reviews in April. The food can be enjoyed in the bar, at dining tables or in the new-look garden that has now been landscaped with plants and scented climbers and decked out with fairy lights and lanterns to create an atmospheric haven off the busy Gloucester Rd.

Chef Wilf said: “Zazu’s has built a growing reputation for producing clean, fresh dishes which pack flavour and The Grace will be no different. The idea will be to cater for friends who want to enjoy a drink in a lovely, sociable setting whilst grabbing a decent bite to eat as well. It can be a few nibbles or several small plates – whatever suits the mood.”

This is the fourth venture from the Zazu’s team who have a Zazu’s Kitchen restaurant up the road from The Grace, one in Southville as well as The Greenbank pub in Easton. The business was launched by three successful Bristol entrepreneurs: club and bar owner turned restaurateur James Savage; Dougal Templeton, founder of Venue magazine, the Vouchercloud discount app and Goldbrick House and restaurateur Toby Bywater, the face of Zazu’s.

Toby explains: “Zazu’s is all about creating quality local neighbourhood amenities – the kind of friendly place we’d all love to have down the end of our street. We work hard to create an atmosphere which is welcoming, relaxed and pleasing on the palate and pocket. If we think we can improve the local offering, then we’ll give it a go. The pub had got a little run down and unloved of late but we are confident customers will enjoy the fresh look and improved drink & food offering. Judging from the customer feedback and online responses to our other ventures, people seem to like what we do.

“It also seems appropriate to be opening on Independence Day as we pride ourselves on being an independent set-up. The Gloucester Rd boasts a lot of independent retailers and operators and we are pleased to be offering something that little bit different for the area, as a part of the mix.”

For more information about The Grace, visit their website at


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