Bristol’s vibrant restaurant serving authentic Latin American food and Cuban cigars – Mark Taylor
Talking about the increase in Covid cases and the threat of more lockdowns after Christmas is a concern for all restaurants in Bristol, but there must be a particularly strong sense of dÃ©jÃ vu for the owners of Batida.
This Latin American restaurant on Whiteladies Road has just celebrated its first anniversary, although much of that first year has been spent either closing or circumventing restrictions and blockages.
Batida opened on December 19, 2020 just as Bristol entered level 2 restrictions. It was open less than a week before it had to close due to the lockdown after Boxing Day.
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This isn’t a good start for this first restaurant from husband and wife owners Dan and Samantha Gardner, who both worked in the hospitality industry for 15 years before opening Batida.
Prior to that Dan ran Spitfire BBQ at Harborside and Samantha worked for TRG (The Restaurant Group) but was fired during the first lockdown.
Dan and Samantha focused on offering takeout from a stand outside the restaurant and deliveries for the first half of 2021.
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve enjoyed the tacos and burritos to go, not to mention the signature Cuban sandwich (smoked pork, ham, mustard, pickles and Swiss cheese). When most of the restaurants were closed, Batida certainly came to the rescue on several occasions.
Since the restaurant was allowed to fully reopen, Batida has been a huge success, especially its outdoor terrace, which has become one of Whiteladies Road’s real hotspots during the summer.
And now that the skies are gray and the temperatures are dropping, Batida has brought her sunny Latin American cuisine indoors.
The terrace is always open to diners, but there’s also another reason visitors to Batida to head to the outdoor tables as it has launched a menu of cigars.
Depending on your preferences or your bank balance, you can now puff out Cuban cigars such as the Romeo Y Juliet No.3 for Â£ 17.50 or, if you really have the cash to spend, the Cohiba Siglo II for Â£ 31.95.
Smokers don’t tend to be factored into restaurant business plans, and I can’t recall another establishment in Bristol that offers diners the chance to light a cigar without being frowned upon.
The food in Batida covers a wide range of Latin American cuisines, sort of the biggest hits from Mexico, Cuba, and Argentina.
It’s also food to share, so we ordered a few things to place in the center of the table and got stuck.
There were large king prawns (Â£ 7.45) coated in a spicy chipotle adobo sauce, and the cochinita pibil (Â£ 4) which featured impressively tender, slowly roasted pieces of pork with crumbly feta, pickled pink onions and chipotle cream.
We also shared a huge quesadilla (Â£ 10.45) filled with a generous amount of juicy chicken, spicy chorizo, sautÃ©ed peppers, onions, mozzarella, sour cream and seasoned fries.
And then there was a remarkable arroz con pollo (Â£ 11.95) dish of seasoned chicken thighs with spicy rice mixed with chorizo ââand fried plantain.
We washed it all down with well made house margaritas which cost Â£ 7.45 but were on ‘two for one’ when we visited. The drinks menu includes several cocktails and many Latin American spirits.
Stuffed but with enough space for a shared dessert, we finished with the churros (Â£ 6.50) of crispy strips of fried dough mixed with cinnamon and sugar with a thick and sweet dulce de leche for a decadent dip. .
Batida’s first anniversary may have come after the most difficult start of a new business, but the fact that she’s still around and steadily growing in popularity is a testament to the owners’ resilience and determination to make it work.
Carefully prepared Latin American cuisine and authentic drinks paired with a lively and vibrant ambiance, this is a great addition to Whiteladies Road, not to mention a cigar smoker’s paradise.
Batida, 85 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2NT.
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