Newly opened in Redcliffe, Sousta serves a mouth-watering mixture of both Greek and Italian food; they have acres of space in their smart and freshly decorated restaurant so it can be big-party central but that’s not to say cosy tables for two won’t feel right at home. Bright murals of azure blue skies and vine entwined Greek gods play out on the walls as an antidote to the winter weather outside, it’s fully carpeted so acoustics are good, and if you want to hide away there are semi-circular booths enclosing a round table with comfortable back buttoned velour seating.
The restaurant is independently owned so you are assured of top-notch service and the expectation of your every need to be catered for. My dinner guest and I made a previous pact that I should dine in Italy and he would take Greece so with opposite sides of the menu at the ready we made our choices. He decided to start with “garides saganaki”, oven-baked prawns with tomato and feta gratin to you and me (saganaki is the name of the two-handled heavy bottomed pan the dish is cooked in) followed by kleftiko, slow-cooked lamb shank in a rich sauce with carrots, celery and potatoes.
For my Italian extravaganza I asked if I could have as a starter one of the main course pastas : penne with nduja sausage, aubergine, peppers, onions and Napoli sauce with fresh basil – no problem, I could even have my own choice of pasta! And afterwards, the vegetarian risotto with arborio rice, white wine and a medley of Mediterranean vegetables to conjure the Italian sunshine. We took two glasses of the house white wine which was crisp and dry with a nice after taste and debated whether Santorini featured in the mural – it did – and looked forward to the arrival of our starters.
They came beautifully presented, my pasta artfully garnished with fresh basil and the prawns bubbling away straight from the oven under their feta gratin. The penne with its spicy nduja sausage and tasty Napoli sauce was delicious, as were the prawns, the tomato sauce was just perfect and didn’t overpower the taste of them.
We couldn’t fault our main courses especially the kleftiko which looked magnificent topped with a sprig of rosemary, surrounded by a sea of wholesome vegetables in the robust sauce. It was the tenderest of lamb, falling off the bone with ease and a delight to eat. I really enjoyed my risotto, bursting with olives, tomatoes, courgettes and a good flavour.
We finished our lovely meal by sharing a recommended dessert, panna cotta drizzled with Greek honey and decorated with glacé cherries, a piece of both countries in one!
Sousta Bristol, 69 Clarence Rd, Redcliffe, Bristol BS1 6RP