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Wednesday 28 May 2014

Tapas at The Tipis for Eat Drink Bristol Fashion

On the penultimate day of Eat Drink Bristol Fashion, I headed down to the tipis to check out some of their tapas. Before doing so I had canvassed Twitter for some of the best dishes to order, ribs and scotch eggs rated highly.  Our group arrived around 7pm Saturday and boy was it busy, almost all of Queen Square had been turned into a mini festival, there was dancing, long queues for portaloos, extremely drunk people and lots of music.  After taking a bench outside we decided after being harassed by a group of drunk guys that we would head on inside the tipis.

The tapas menu, is pretty extensive, more British inspired twist on a tapas than traditional Spanish fare, the prices weren't too expensive, although £5 for grilled asparagus and £4.50 for a mini burger I did think was a touch steep. Anyway we sent the boys to the bar to get us some cider whilst we pawed over what to order. We decided a mix of dishes, including the smoked sticky ribs, to share between the 6 of us and sent Jo off to order. 
Eat Drink Bristol Fashion
field meets disco
Eat Drink Bristol Fashion
asparagus and roast garlic lemon mayo
Eat Drink Bristol Fashion
smoked sticky ribs
Eat Drink Bristol Fashion
deep fried macaroni cheese
Eat Drink Bristol Fashion
garlic and spelt risotto, battered sausage and a scotch egg
Eat Drink Bristol Fashion

If I am honest I found the food a little bit hit and miss, the mess of the queues aside, there was a lot that was sold out and the seasoning for some of the dishes was lacking.  I was expecting a proper sticky barbecue rib but this was more like a slow cooked rib stew, although the meat did fall off the bone rather nicely.  I found the risotto astoundingly bland as was the deep fried macaroni cheese. The cheese plate was served with Carr's water biscuits which was a bit of a cop out, classic as they are I was expecting something more local, also the chutney was far too sweet an accompaniment for the cheese.

As for the good elements, the Butcombe and English truffle rarebit was marvellous, hugely indulgent and flavour packed. I also rather liked the battered sausage, a very light a crispy batter that came with a delicious grain mustard dip and the asparagus was perfectly grilled and fresh tasting.  So there were good elements but I felt that maybe it was lacking somewhat plus it was pretty chaotic in that tent, maybe I expected too much for a Saturday night. The atmosphere outside completely jarred for me with the inside however there is no doubting the popularity of the tipis and I expect they will be even more so next year. Did you get to sample any of the tapas? Or get to go to any of the Eat Drink Bristol Fashion events, although they were too rich for my pocket I know from the first year the food you get is pretty good.

To explore more of what Eat Drink Bristol is about check out the website and wait for next year to see what events they are planning and what chefs they have caught in their net. 

Friday 23 May 2014

Wedding and Mini-moon Eats

So this post has been a long time coming. But last month Rich and I waltzed down the aisle surrounded by friends and family, it was a beautiful day then sun really was working for us.  We headed to my home city of Bath and then on to London for a mini-moon, so from our wedding day we basically ate solidly for 5 days. This post will mainly be photos of highlights of our eats, all of which were excellent I don't think we ate anything I didn't love, which is quite an achievement. London has far too many distracting food delights and I am glad I don't live there it would be too dangerous. We were staying around South Kensington and we didn't stray much from that apart from a trip to Soho, the Viking exhibit at the British Museum and Westminster. So without further ado here is a little photoblog of some of what we ate and a few from the day itself.
breakfast at the salon (which was G Hair Artist Thanks Sam!)

vanilla panna cotta, spiced cherries and spiced shortbread
cutting the cake/macaron tower (thanks Absolutely Cakes)
Dress perfection thanks to Vintage inspired designer Alexandra King (genius)
First breakfast of married life, Coombe Lodge treating us well

super marbling rib eye from Hudson's Steakhouse

refreshing mango, berries and granola thanks to Villa Magdala
breakfast bacon and waffles
Villa Magdala do the best hotel breakfast I've ever had
addictive cheese and wine from The Sampler, you must go for the wine vending machines
Keiko Sushi, no frills, amazing value and tasty
this temaki was huge
potato hash with chorizo sausages and feta from The Breakfast Club in Soho
American style breakfast from The Breakfast Club
beautiful cocktail menu at The Ampersand hotel
Ampersand Cocktails
Caxton Grill for dinner by Masterchef The Professionals finalist Adam Handling

warm freshly made bread with heavenly chicken butter
lamb with aubergine puree at Caxton Grill
palate cleanser of apple and cucumber with gin and ginger gels (at Caxton Grill)
a work of art in the form of a chocolate fondant with hazelnut praline (at Caxton Grill)

I will take a moment from the photos to urge you strongly to have dinner or lunch at the Caxton Grill, Adam has designed a beautiful menu and the food was some of the best I have ever eaten. The restaurant itself had a really relaxed and calm vibe but the service was extremely attentive, plus we had a wonderful bottle of Carmenere which really topped off the evening. Go, if only for the chicken butter alone, it was like spreading the lightest chicken mousse on bread, basically angels dancing on your tongue level of good. You know when people tell you not to fill up on bread, I say in this case, go for broke. 
brunch ciabatta of scrambled egg and crispy pancetta thanks to Fernandez and Wells
chorizo and manchego grill with home made piccalilli (great charcuterie)
Banana pancake stack from The Diner
Corn dawgs
Hawaiian classic Loco Moco
Crispy wings
our last drink of the mini-moon

Thanks to all these wonderful places and our families who made our day and our week so wonderful, you are all lovely and we really appreciate it.

Friday 16 May 2014

Beating Bank Holiday Blues at The Clifton

So last Bank Holiday Monday, I had just finished a Jolates class and I was feeling pretty hungry and also deflated by the thought of having to go to work the next day.  So we decided to have a browse for dinner around and we stopped at the Clifton. The night before the wedding Rich had told me how him and Bud, the best man, stumbled upon burgers here and they remember them being pretty good, mind you they were down 4/5 pints by this point. 
Franziskaner Beer
Franziskaner, king of beers
The pub was pretty quiet but the welcome we received from the bar staff was warm and friendly.  We were told that we were just in time for last orders before the kitchen closed, well it was almost 9pm. The Clifton do have a menu full of pub classics like sausage and mash, steak and burgers, but they also throw a few curve balls in with their specials occasionally.

Rich ordered a burger topped with pulled pork whilst I was swayed by the fried chicken with slaw and a pickle dip. Fried chicken is a rarity, unless you find yourself in KFC or Miss Millies, but I definitely feel this is starting to change, more places seem to slowly be offering fried chicken as an option. It is a guilty pleasure but when it's done right it is so comforting and homely that it is worth it.

We didn't have to wait too long for our food to arrive, which was a good thing as I was extremely hungry, and luckily the portions were pretty generous. The amount of fried chicken I got was huge, I do like fried chicken so this was definitely a good thing.
The Clifton Bristol
pulled pork and cheese burger
Fried Chicken Bristol
fried chicken in a basket
The Clifton Bristol

They have taken care of the details with the food here, feels like it is a bit more loved. The fried chicken was pretty good, mostly all juicy and the flavour of the batter was nicely seasoned. What was great is that it came with a tangy sauce which matched the fried chicken perfectly. The skin on fries were slightly crunchy basically it was a reassuring hug in a meal, maybe a four day week at work wouldn't be so bad after all with a start like this?

Rich's burger was a high quality meat patty, again juicy, I felt the pulled pork was a touch over slathered with barbecue sauce, but that could just be my personal preference, it did have a great smoky flavour after all. Plus the burger came with a pot of fry sauce that was absolutely moreish, a good addition to any burger. Over all I was pretty impressed with what The Clifton had to offer, it's upped it's game since I last went to eat there, and all to the good because I did feel it was coasting a little before.  They have a rather bargainous fixed price menu with two courses for £10, three for £13 for the whole of Monday to Friday. To see what else The Clifton has to offer check out their website.

Thursday 8 May 2014

Saturday Grazing at Gascoyne Place

The most recent bank holiday weekend Rich and I were in Bath looking after my mum's three cats, cute when they weren't hankering for food, which in the case of the ginger one, Bobo, was about 90% of the time. Saturday was at least a really beautifully warm day so we walked into town to bask in Spring.  Once we had come to grips with the extremely slow walking speed of Bathonians (as one born and bred I can judge) we decided to look for somewhere to snack. Rather craving a tapas/snack like option we scooted round the centre, and stopped at Gascoyne Place. I had not been to Gascoyne Place for quite some time, probably years if I am honest but I remember the food being rather good. 
Gascoyne Place Bath

We sat up in the William Morris clad mezzanine area, mainly because I love the aforementioned wallpaper and because it was lovely and light.  A cheerful man came to bring us some menus, even though it was inbetween lunch and dinner he didn't bat an eyelid so we quickly ordered some drinks and pondered our choices.
Gascoyne Place Bath
Erdinger, one of Rich's favourite beers
We decided to opt for the charcuterie platter as it came with toasted sourdough bread, slow roasted tomatoes, cornichons and horseradish sour cream. Plus some recommended triple cooked chips and a bowl of olives. By this point I was pretty hungry so was glad that we didn't order anything too complicated that would take longer to prepare.  Luckily were weren't waiting too long and the sight of the charcuterie was a sight for sore eyes.
Gascoyne Place Bath Food
All the meat in it's glory
Gascoyne Place Bath Food
all the meats
Gascoyne Place Bath Food
charcuterie yummies
Gascoyne Place Bath Food

A selection of salami, chorizo and lashings of Parma ham greeted us all folded up neatly which then revealed their true size when selected. The parma ham was particularly tasty and worked well with the horseradish sour cream and those tomatoes, really were well roasted, the flavour of the tomatoes was pure Summer, I could have eaten a bowl full of them.
Gascoyne Place Bath Food
triple cooked chips with garlic mayo
Just look at those chips. They were more like mini roast potatoes, so crunchy and delicious and a wonderful rapeseed oil garlic mayonnaise to go with it, which was perfect. Probably the most well judged garlic ratio ever in a garlic mayo, I think the garlic was slightly smoked as it had a lovely sweet edge to it. We were nicely full after our snacking but Rich had spied the sticky toffee pudding with caramelised bananas and banana ice cream, and as he adores banana flavoured anything, he went ahead and ordered it.
Gascoyne Place Bath Food
Sticky toffee pudding with banana ice cream
Great dessert, the fresh banana ice cream was really creamy without being synthetic tasting and sponge itself was light but sticky, a perfect finish to a lovely graze. Gascoyne Place do live music nights and a pre theatre menu with two courses for £14.50, I definitely recommend giving this place a visit the service was very good it had a lovely vibe and very tasty food.  To find out more visit their website.  Next blogs are likely to contain a review of The Clifton and a minimoon food photo blog, including our trip to Masterchef featured restaurant Caxton Grill run by the very lovely Adam Handling. In the mean time here is a photo of the ever hungry Bobo.
Fat ginger cat
Bobo sun bathing