Polpo, the highly-regarded select group of Venetian restaurants, has opened its doors in Bristol’s resurgent Whiteladies Road in a deal arranged by property consultancy Hartnell Taylor Cook (HTC).
HTC’s James Woodard acted for Polpo in acquiring the former Entelia unit at 50 Whiteladies Road, close to Clifton Down. The new restaurant is the eighth Polpo site, and represents both its first venture into the South West and its furthest opening from London to date.
The business is headed by renowned restaurateur and star of TV’s Saturday Kitchen Russell Norman, who, with business partner Richard Beatty designs each venue as a “bacaro” – a Venetian word used to describe a humble restaurant serving simple food and good, young Italian wines. It specialises in cicchetti, or “small plates” dining, perfect for sharing, and has received the Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand rating for the last six years consecutively.
Woodard said: “The arrival of Polpo on Whiteladies Road is very exciting for the area, and shows the way in which the street is moving. Within a matter of months here we’ve seen Everyman, one of the most innovative cinema operators, open for business; and now one of London’s significant restaurants alongside.”
Beatty said: “We knew we wanted to be in Bristol because of the burgeoning food scene, but picking the right pitch was tricky, with many of the mainstream options just not feeling quite right. However, when we saw Whiteladies Road, and all of the surrounding activity we knew it was the one for us.”
Other recent developments in the Whiteladies Road corridor include the opening of Bakesmiths bakery and coffee shop in the former Gas & Co unit; the doubling in size of Cowshed; and the opening of the city’s second Ox steakhouse. Following the likes of River Cottage, now in its fourth year, this wave of developments is contributing to Whiteladies Road fast becoming known as a serious food and drink destination within the city.
Woodard continued: “While most national chains are trying to cluster together on Queens Road or in Cabot Circus, Polpo have separated themselves from the pack by taking a more progressive view, and bringing further focus on to what is becoming a key leisure pitch for the city.