The pop-up Bistro night in Axbridge

Ripley Antiques Pop-up Bistro Number 10. Axbridge, Somerset

I’m not sure how Jules, Lou and Sally do it. Their kitchen is tiny, they have to move large amounts of antiques to fit the diners in and they have to serve the food at speed with the minimum of fuss. A lot of restaurants fail to achieve the standards they manage with their pop up bistro but then I guess they have just the one menu consisting of four courses which must help.

Set in their antique shop on The Square in Axbridge the evening is a delight. For £25 we are served with a starter, main, dessert and cheese and biscuits. The ambiance is possibly the best you can get as everyone is friendly, many residents know each other and there’s the sense this is being a special occasion.

The starter is a tarka dahl soup of vegetables and lentils (served with a chapatti) which was a medley of spicy flavours perfect for an autumnal evening after a brisk hike over the Mendips. It’s a meal in itself really, and on an ordinary evening that would have sufficed. However this pop up bistro evening is not ordinary as the 30 or so diners chatted away and poured themselves another drink or three. (You bring your own drink making it an economic night out.)

Next was Jule’s fish masala featuring husk, cod, king prawns all apparently fresh from Brixham harbour. Marinated in a rich home-made curry sauce and served with pilau rice infused with saffron we all knew we were being spoiled. Some had seconds while others having scoffed their course popped out for a cigarette or a vape.

The adorable couple behind the evening

The star of the show was undoubtedly Jules’ lemon posset with blackberry compote spiced with port and sprinkled with ginger biscuit crumb. The blackberries had been picked from the fields and hedges surrounding the town. (Note: the town’s Blackberry Carnival is next Saturday.) The area is known for the dark fruit which were once sold by the barrel to jam makers from a shop on Cheddar Road. This dish should be the town’s official dessert as the ingredients all complemented each other and of course the blackberries (along with strawberries) are the town’s culinary motifs. I suggest the title of The Blackberry Jewel of Axbridge. (Jewel – see what I was trying to do there? Oh never mind.)

Cheese and biscuits followed with a birthday cake presented to Pat Filer by Jules who was celebrating her twenty something birthday. (Ahem. Clearing of throat.)

A great night out for Axbridge residents – look out for the next one in October – see their Facebook site – and don’t forget Axbridge’s charity Progressive Supper on Saturday, November 17th, 2018. It’s a chance to meet lots of people, eat at three locations in one evening and raise money for the 2020 Pageant held over the August bank holiday – see the event’s Facebook site for updates and when to register.

Harry Mottram

Reviewed at the Saturday evening, September 15th, 2018.

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Ripley Antiques, The Square, Axbridge, Somerset BS26 2AY England. Tel: 07585 220591