Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Bordeaux Quay

The Soil Association's Organic Food Awards presentation ceremony was held last Friday at Bordeaux Quay in Bristol with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall handing out the awards to the best organic producers and retailers in a wide range of categories.

Bordeaux Quay is a fantastic place to visit, both to eat and to admire the restaurant itself. The building, created from one of the old sheds on the harbourside, is a superb blend of old and new. The attention to detail is striking and immediately evident in both the design and layout of the space and the materials within it. Having eaten lunch there I can safely say that the same sense of detail is applied to the food.

As you'd expect for a venture in eco-gastronomy the building is an environmentally conscious one: there is no air-conditioning, just well-planned natural ventilation, and the use of light complements the harmonious interior perfectly. How long will it be until every new or converted building combines beauty with being environmentally sound? If Bordeaux Quay shows anything, it is that buildings and interiors are more so much more impressive when emphasis is placed on the quality of materials and workmanship rather than fleeting fashions or trends.

Barny Haughton, chef proprietor of Quartier Vert and the driving force behind Bordeaux Quay, has insisted on a sustainable building policy with a focus on recycling, reusing and minimising the amount of waste going to landfill. This approach connects with the emphasis on local food, which will be largely sourced within 50 miles of the restaurant, and on food education for the community.

In addition to the restaurant there is also a brasserie, deli, bar,bakery and cookery school, all under one roof. It's a testament to this the care taken with this building that the new blends almost seamlessly with the old, so that you have to look carefully to see where different components end and begin. The result is refreshing. Kevin McCloud would no doubt be in seventh heaven. If you're eating there, you might well be too.