Despite its small size, Stokes Croft is overflowing with some of the most amazing eateries in Bristol. Food is often packed with flavour and creativity that embodies the area so well. As such, it takes a lot to stand-out. But although it has only been in town a short while, Nadu does just that. From Columbo to Chennai, it brings the most exciting Sri Lanka and Tamil flavours to Stokes Croft.
Nadu is the latest venture from the founders of the award-winning Indian, Nutmeg. It exclusively focuses on traditional Sri Lanka and Tamil cuisine, with a modern twist and a vibrancy that stretches from the décor to the food. Upon entering, the walls brim with colour and character that make it feel equally Stokes Croftian and Sri Lankan.
The menu has been crafted by executive chef and co-owner Saravanan Nambirajan – who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants around the world. Using traditional Tamil techniques, there is a range of staple vegetarian dishes, as well as fish and meat dishes too. The melt-in-your-mouth black pork curry is a highlight, as is the vambatu noju made from aubergine and kokum, a mangosteen-type fruit. We could not get enough of the rice pancakes (kal dosa) either, served with a spread of chutneys. So much love is put on the plate, the chefs even treat the rice with a high-level of care.
There is a large selection of smaller and larger plates to choose from. As the food is designed to be shared, it is recommended you get a few different items each per person. Don’t stress too much if you have your eye on something in particular, however. These are generous portions with plenty for everyone. You’ll wonder where to put it all once the plates start rolling out.
When it comes to ordering drinks, look no further than the rum and arrack (a sort of Sri Lankan rum). Of course, there is beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages on the premises too. But it is their rum-based cocktails where they specialise, with drink recommendations for every dish as well. All cocktails are on the menu for £10, except for Raksha at £11.50. This concoction mixes a blend of rums with tropical fruit juice from guava, papaya and blood orange, as well as a chilli-infused banana liqueur. It packs such a punch that Nadu limits it to only two per person. Be warned.
It is said that Tamil cuisine is based on the concept that food shapes the personality, mood, and mind. We left Nadu full, refreshed and rejuvenated. If you’re after a trip with your tastebuds, or just wanting to make your way through one of Bristol’s most extensive rum lists. Make it the next place you visit. To see a full range of food and drinks, and to book a table, see here.