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Tuesday 24 September 2013

A Thursday Lunch at Yume Kitchen

Rich and I had Thursday and Friday off last week to celebrate our 5 year anniversary, and the last one before we get married next year, which is scary but also exciting. As we have a wedding to organise we decided not to do anything too big this year and so on the Thursday I decided to take us for lunch and Rich had planned a surprise meal for the evening, which was rather fun as I had no idea where we were going.  For lunch I finally decided we should check out Yume Kitchen on Cotham Hill, we love Japanese food and I don't really know why it has taken us so long to check it out. 
menu peek
A small but lovely and light restaurant where you can pick up sushi on the go or sit in and have a leisurely lunch whilst watching the people pass by. The menu is more extensive than I thought it would be with sushi, ramen, wok fried noodles and little side dishes of tempura. It was rather grey and damp outside so I ordered a green tea to warm me up and Rich picked a bottle of Sapporo, one of his favourites. On the food front I had already decided before I sat down that I wanted ramen and some sushi, unfortunately they were out of pork ramen so i settled on the prawn tempura one plus a salmon and avocado temaki. Rich went for beef yaki soba, some salmon and tuna nigiri plus a side order of chicken karaage. 

salmon and tuna nigiri
As you can see the sushi was fresh and it tasted really good too, the rice was bang on the money and the fish lovely and plentiful. It only wetted my appetite for what was to come. I definitely would order more sushi when I return, it's nice to have somewhere near my flat that I can get a good selection of fresh sushi, I am a bit of an addict so it's good to be able to feed my habit easily.
tempura prawn ramen
tempura prawn ramen close up
salmon and avocado temaki
beef yaki soba
chicken karaage
The ramen arrived steaming to the table full of warmth and love it looked a picture. Rich had a generous portion of beef yaki soba which looked really delicious as well. The ramen was just what I needed, it was soothing and delicate in flavour, the tempura was really crunchy which was a nice contrast with the udon noodles. Ramen is just a lovely clean tasting invention that is delicious without being heavy on the stomach and for £6 it's quite a cheap and filling deal. The chicken karaage that Rich ordered was a huge portion for £4 but we felt though the flavour was good the batter was a little too thick for our tastes.

All in all Yume Kitchen is quite the little gem, you can pick up a pack of sushi to go or sit in and have a good value lunch to warm through the increasingly grey and cold weather. I for one am looking forward to trying some of the other dishes on their menu. To see what Yume Kitchen has to offer check out their website.

Monday 16 September 2013

Best Cheap Eats in Bristol

Have you often wondered where to find cheap eats in Bristol? It's that time of year again where new Bristol Uni students come wide eyed to gaze upon with wonder at the greatness that is Bristol and start to think about where they can spend all their student loan. What with the on coming Autumnal weather we will all be looking to keep warm and cosy. So students and residents of Bristol so without further ado I present to you, cheap ways to keep warm via the medium of food.  To keep track I shall split it into two sections, so you can hunt down bargains for both lunch and dinner.

Looking for a tasty and filling lunch that won't cost the earth? Below you will find filling bargains that are all under £10 but some even under £5. Most of these recommendations will have links to the full reviews so you can find out a little bit more. 
Students, St Nick's Market is a goldmine of hot, cheap and filling eats, but obviously I cannot list them all but here are my favourites.

Al Bab Mansour
Lovely hot and fresh Moroccan food which is nicely spiced and generous portions. Plus there are healthy vegetarian options, I particularly like the chickpea casserole. Prices start at £4 if you want to see a little more check out the review.
Moroccan Food Bristol

A Bristol legend that has had success nationwide their pies are simply amazing my personal favourite is the Moo & Blue, which has just made a return but you can't go wrong with Chicken of Aragon or Matador either. Plus Tuesdays they have the Mothership deal which is a pie, mash, peas, cheese, crispy onions and gravy all for just £5, what more could you want on a cold Autumn day? To see all the varieties of pie visit their website.

There is always a queue here but if you are patient and time it right you will be rewarded with the tastiest lunch. Middle Eastern flatbreads, salad boxes all filled with tasty grilled meats, salads and dollops of hummus and harissa. Full review available with mouthwatering photos here.
Matina Middle Eastern Food Bristol

Sandwich Sandwich
A new comer to the lunch scene but nevertheless Sandwich Sandwich is already very popular, and for good reason a huge choice and there will be something for every sandwich lover. Salad boxes, make your own creations so you can go wild with all the choice, all the bread is freshly made and the fillings are so tasty it is fast becoming one of my favourite places. Highly recommend the filled flatbreads they are immense and for around £4-£5 are very good value.
Sandwich Sandwich Bristol

4500 Miles From Delhi
For those of you looking for something more leisurely and filling then you can get a rather good deal at 4500 Miles From Delhi. For £7.95 you can get the two course lunch buffet and eat as much curry as you can manage. The selection isn't massive but the food is well cooked, flavoured and tasty so you will get a very full belly for the rest of the day and hopefully find somewhere to snooze it off.

Mi Casa at The Big Chill
The food here at the Big Chill (run by Mi Casa) is a real delight and very reasonable, most sandwiches are about £5-£7 and are simply enormous, the menu does change around a bit but when I visited I had a wonderful chicken thigh and chorizo sandwich with chipotle mayo, you do not need chips too, well unless you are ravenous.
Mi Casa Bristol

Thinking of treating yourselves to dinner out but find you have more moths than money in your wallet, in the next two sections will cover where to grab a bargain in Clifton/Cotham and Gloucester Road way and all around the £10-15 mark.

Matching up bargains with Clifton/Cotham might seem as unlikely as an oasis in a desert but it can be done if you shop around a little.

Falafel King
Still Queen of my heart as far as falafels are concerned this little gem on Cotham Hill really does offer excellent value for money, you can order a pitta stuffed with falafels and salad for just £3.95 and they are deceptively filling, also if you fancy hanging around there is often live music down stairs. Full review and photos available here.

Excellent pizzas, some of the best in Bristol bar Pepenero (also recommended) but on Monday's Beerd offers a buy one get one free deal to get people through the door, when pizzas are basically knocked down to £5 it cannot be ignored.
Beerd Pizza Deal Bristol

Thai Pepper
Cute little BYOB on Gloucester Road that offers some pretty tasty Thai food for knock down prices, last time we went we had two courses plus wine corkage fee for £14 each, it's not super fancy inside but Thai Pepper will feed you well and won't break the bank.

Easily the best Chinese food in Bristol and hidden away under the Bearpit. The food is authentic and generously portioned be adventurous and order off the Chinese menu you won't be disappointed, I particularly recommend the three roasties, full review here.

The Burger Joint
For the best burger experience check out the Burger Joint on Whiteladies road. Seriously good burgers and all just under £15 with a drink. If you are a big fan of chicken wings they do the biggest and tastiest ones I have ever had. What are you waiting for? 
Burger Joint Bristol

The Gallimaufry
Want something a little bit more fancy but still not budget breaking the lovely people at the Gallimaufry or Galli to most of us now, offer a small plates menu 3 for £10 where you get some lovely dishes in a fun and quirky venue. Even the evening menu no main goes above £12, which is rather reassuring to those of us with little pockets.

There were so many places to choose from, Bristol is really spoiled for choice when it comes to independent restaurants but I tried to stick to a strict budget and food that would also be pretty filling, as that is what we are all looking for when it starts to get colder. Money is tight for students and non students alike but it is still nice to know you can get some really good Winter fuel food at a good price. 

Thursday 12 September 2013

A Sunny Lunch from Baowow

Last Wednesday was an abnormally hot day, Summer in it's death throws, and Jayne and I had arranged to meet for lunch, we had chosen Baowow on Baldwin street and to take our choices to Castle Park to enjoy the last hot hot heat of the year.  It's a venue I've been wanting to try for a while as it offers something a little bit different for lunch than most central Bristol venues. Run by the same people who make the Thai food at the Old Fish Market, if I remember correctly, this is something a little different than what they serve there.

At Baowow they celebrate the bao, amongst other things, the Chinese bun, we know them best in the char siu bun form but at Baowow they like to experiment with this classic and have many options to choose from as well as noodle and rice pots. Taking the flavours of Thailand, China, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam and combining them to form a pretty tasty sounding menu. My main personal gripe is that about 75% of the dishes contain coriander, which to me tastes like evil, but I am not going to hold that against them as it's just what I feel.
Baowow Bristol

The inside is small but has a few tables for eating in, it is nicely decorated with some great blackboard work on the walls, there was a bit of a queue and waiting in the sweltering heat was tough but we powered on through. I was going to go for a bao but it had been a very heavy lunch week so I decided to try one of their noodle pots instead.  I chose the Thai roast pork and noodles whilst Jayne went for the chicken katsu with noodles. We headed off to the park to consume our giant pots of noodles and meat.
Baowow Bristol
first impressions
Baowow Bristol
after a slight stir
After picking out all the coriander I could find I gave the pot a good stir to make sure things were properly mixed in as the noodles at the bottom were totally naked. The portions at Baowow are certainly generous you get  a nice lot of pork and khao moo dang sauce, which tastes quite a lot like char siu sauce to me, and the overall impression was a tasty one. I still could have done with even more sauce but this could have been down to the need for even more vigorous stirring by me. I would go back to Baowow but it wouldn't be my first choice, it was tasty but did not have the wow factor for me, but I would take a chance on one of the baos next time. 
Baowow Bristol
Thai roast pork noodle pot up close
I always welcome a new cuisine choice near my office as although I don't go out to lunch often it is nice to try a new place to see what they have to offer. It still doesn't beat the previous lunch out at Sandwich Sandwich but the fresh flavours and healthy sized portions mean that you won't go hungry here either! To see what Baowow has to offer, visit their website.

Monday 9 September 2013

A Pre-Kitten Munch at Meat & Bread

So last week I was feeling a bit in need of cheering up and there are three things that will do that, a hug, comfort food and cats. I find myself in a state bereft of cats currently, the flat doesn't have a garden and I like my kitties free range. But one of my new favourite pubs in Bristol, the Bag of Nails does have two resident pub cats, Malcolm and Beresford (or Berry), and these two sweet cats have recently become parents to 5 adorable kittens. If you are expecting to see hoards of kitten photos in this post I am sorry to tell you but I didn't take any photos they were moving too fast and I didn't want to scare them, however if you go to the Bag of Nails Facebook page you can find plenty on there to wet your kitten appetite.

Before going to see lovely bundles of fluff Rich decided that Phil and I must go to Meat and Bread for a spot of dinner. Rich had sampled the jerk chicken sandwich here a few weeks back and raved about it ever since, particularly the banana ketchup so we walked along to the Three Tuns to give it a go.  The menu gives you about 4 options all sounded mouthwatering but I was particularly drawn to the Southern fried chicken with coleslaw and mango hot sauce, but Phil and Rich ordered the jerk chicken with banana ketchup and hot sauce, promising I could have a sample, plus some fries to share.
Meat and Bread Bristol
jerk chicken meat and bread style
Meat and Bread Bristol
now that is a sandwich
Meat and Bread Bristol
fries galore
So the verdict? Delicious, as if you doubted it. Although if you are very sensitive to spice then these particular choices might not be for you. The mango hot sauce in my Southern fried chicken sandwich was pretty hot but I powered on through and was rewarded with one tasty sandwich, the chicken was so crispy it was a great contrast with the soft bread.

I think the jerk chicken, of which Phil and I swapped a 1/3rd of each others sandwiches, just pipped my choice to the post. It was full of the jerk flavour and enhanced by the banana ketchup which was different but really enjoyable. In both sandwiches the chicken was plentiful and wonderfully juicy, that's what you get for using thigh meat, I only use thighs now when I cook chicken. My only slight complaint is about the fries, for me they were way too salty and had us drinking more water than usual. In fact I would argue the sandwiches are so large you definitely don't need an individual portion of chips, two between three of us was more than enough.

So please if you haven't visited Meat and Bread give it a go if you are a fan of all things meaty and sandwich based, it will be some of the finest examples of flavour combinations ever to grace bread and around the £5-6 mark the value is phenomenal. What is also rather pleasing is that you are not restricted to popping up at lunchtime and to avoid weekend rushes I recommend a week day evening visit. To check out what Meat and Bread have to offer visit their website. Next blog will be my last week chow down at Bao Wow.

Thursday 5 September 2013

An Unplanned Lunch at Sandwich Sandwich

So on Tuesday I found myself unable to take up my usual lunch plan as the work breakout area had been shut off for eating, so my soup and crackers were left uneaten. I decided to treat myself to lunch out and I fancied something cheering and indulgent so I picked newly opened Sandwich Sandwich on Baldwin Street to give me a food pick me up. Sandwiches are a bit of passion of mine which I don't indulge in too often these days but I used to be known as the Sandwich Queen at home.

I arrived at Sandwich Sandwich just after 1pm and wow is this place popular already luckily the queue was dealt with swiftly thanks to a highly organised production line. There is a lot to choose from, house sandwiches, baguettes, hot sandwiches, flat breads, salads, cakes and their already famous scotch eggs. It is worth noting that they even do vegetarian scotch eggs made with falafel, very clever Sandwich Sandwich, I see what you've done there.
Sandwich Sandwich Bristol

The picky appetite can rejoice as you can subtract or add any items you like at no extra cost, unless you want to add more meat, and frankly who doesn't (sorry vegetarian readers). Although I toyed with the idea of choosing the jerk chicken flatbread or the porky parcel, thick cut bacon, ham hock, pork loin, stuffing, celeriac remoulade, apple sauce and crackling dust I eventually decided on the pulled pork flatbread which was toasted and filled with Mexican rice, guacamole, cheddar and spinach. So after about a 5 minute wait and handing over £4 to the cashier I headed off to find a place to eat and read my book.
Sandwich Sandwich Bristol
first glimpse
Oh my word! I knew it was going to be tasty but this was some sandwich! It was enormous for one thing and I could feel my hunger growing as wafts of my lunch escaped it's papery prison and I quickly freed it to receive my bready reward. Sandwich Sandwich certainly know what they are doing, this was an award winning flatbread.

The pork, which I technically wouldn't describe as pulled because it was more chunky, it was however obviously slow cooked as it was very tender and juicy. There was nothing I didn't like about this sandwich there was just the right amount of rice and it was nicely spiced but not spicy the cheddar was mature so gave a lovely rich creaminess to the whole flatbread. I could go on but I think the pictures speak for themselves.
Sandwich Sandwich Bristol
mouthwatering pork flatbread
Sandwich Sandwich Bristol
plus just the right amount of melted mature cheddar
It is probably one of the best sandwiches I've had, definitely on par with the one I had at Mi Casa at the Big Chill a few months ago. It was generously filled and they make their own bread, so I urge you strongly to go check out Sandwich Sandwich it has so many lunch options and the flavours are really good. Plus you can make up your own sandwich combinations with as many fillings as you like, so let your imagination run wild. To see what Sandwich Sandwich can tempt you with check out the menu on their website. Next reviews to come are on finally my sampling of Meat and Bread at the Three Tuns and lunch from Bao Wow. 

Monday 2 September 2013

A Wednesday Evening at Bombay Spice

So on Wednesday evening I returned from my Jolates class somewhat weary, I had already done 40 minutes of hula hooping during the day and I was flagging. The idea of cooking just did not appeal so remembering that we had received a 50% off flyer through the door for Bombay Spice I thought, why not give it a go. Located in Clifton Village, an area possessing five curry venues, quite a number for a relatively small space, it is possibly sometimes overlooked for the excellent Brunel Raj but after Wednesday I urge you to give it a try.
Bombay Spice Bristol

A much larger dining room greeted us upon arrival and the welcome was warm and friendly, we chose a seat in the window and were given some menus. As well as the expected curry dishes they do a large number of specials and chef recommendations. After ordering our drinks we set about deciding what to eat out of the many choices. In the end we went for a couple of poppadoms each plus two of our favourites, a madras, but with lamb and Honey Chicken, which isn't a standard but we have found it at a couple of Indian restaurants, plus a peshwari naan and keema rice.
Bombay Spice Bristol
chutneys galore
The poppadoms were crisp, and when our waiter noticed the top poppadom had a big chip out of it he brought a replacement, which I thought was a nice touch. The chutneys were more or less the standard selection, the raita was a little different and not as minty which I personally preferred. Also was pleasing to be granted the rare presence of the fragrant desiccated coconut which is always a nice surprise on the chutney tray.  After we munched our way through the poppadoms we eagerly and hungrily awaited the arrival of the curries.
Bombay Spice Bristol
Lamb Madras and Honey Chicken
Bombay Spice Bristol

The curries arrived smelling delicious and we could not wait to get stuck in so we helped ourselves to spoonfuls of the thickly spiced sauces. We were blown away by the high quality of the curries at Bombay Spice, I was to be honest not really expecting more than your average curry house, but I am happy to report that I was wrong. The honey chicken was rich and sweet a perfect combination with the peshwari naan, it also was slightly better than my usual order of honey chicken from Roopsha, which is saying something. Rich and I usually order a mild and a hot curry to share and the lamb madras fitted that bill perfectly. It was hot but not blow your head off hot and had a pleasingly earthy flavour which you don't always get with madras. 

We were praising food all the way through the meal, which tells you just how good it was, in fact it will be first on my list to return to when I next fancy a curry. So if you find yourself looking for a new curry venue do check out Bombay Spice, the service and food far exceeded my expectations, it could possibly be a contender for Bristol's best curry. I am craving curry as I write up this review, practically drooling on my keyboard in fact. Bombay Spice also offers a takeaway service with 20% off, if you feel tempted check out their menu