Bertha's Pizza: Keep it simple (November 2017)

Bristol has seen quite a redevelopment of its dockyard area in recent years and Bertha's comprises one of a group of relatively new dining outlets located just beyond the M-Shed. Decorated in bright hues, the place sets itself up as a fun, family-friendly sort of venue. Or at least this was our view. The menu, however, suggested a severe deviation from this proposition, so much so that even the adults struggled with some of the pizza options. Message to Bertha's: keep it simple. Our initial gripe was that there was no children's menu; youngsters have to make do with the main options, or else. Fair enough that kids will eat a Margarita pizza and a sausage special ought also to be uncontroversial, but once you add sausage meat (rather than neatly packaged slices of sausages, as would be the norm in most places), fresh Parmesan and herbs to the latter, how many five-year olds are going to dive in? For the adults, Bertha's gets a fundamental principle wrong: just because a dish 'sounds' interesting does not mean it tastes good. Neither of the adults in our group who went for the 'Kimcheese' - yes, blue cheese and Korean-style pickled cabbage - could finish their pizza. The feedback: "it just tastes too odd." The day’s special comprised a celeriac base (yes, seriously), red onion, pulled pork and oregano. I daringly ventured where few others might have done. I survived, but it would be generous to describe the dish as much more than merely OK; certainly there was no 'wow' factor. Before this sounds like an overtly negative review, credit should at least go to Bertha’s for its vegan offering: the one member of our party who went for this option was delighted, and felt that the restaurant had not compromised in any respect. In terms of service, it would be best described as well-intentioned but a little lacklustre (our waiter claimed not to have heard our request for the bill, despite the fact we had all been sitting idly for some minutes at an almost empty table). Bottom line - no need to rush here, especially when there is so much other choice nearby.