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Friday 31 October 2014

Sunday Burgers at Byron

Two Sundays ago we were invited by Byron to try their newly opened restaurant on the Triangle. Byron, supplier of 'proper hamburgers' is well known in London and with branches opening further from the capital it was only a matter of time before Bristol got their own one. Burgers are Bristol's thing at the moment you can't move without running into a new burger place, whilst I love a good burger the market is a little saturated.  Byron's manifesto is simple burgers done well. So don't expect to be able to order sky high burgers with pulled pork, black pudding or macaroni cheese.   What you can expect is bacon, a selection of cheeses, pickles and dips.
Byron Burger Bristol

Byron Burger Bristol

The venue itself is a mix of dark woods and distressed tiles, at the back to be honest it looks a little more on the shabby side of shabby chic but as we weren't sat at that end it was more of a fleeting thought.  On to the menus. There is a big selection of fairly pricey beer, above average soft drinks selection, a slew of milkshakes and to Rich's delight, root beer. I chose a Fentimans ginger beer. The food menu is fairly small, keeping it simple afterall, so I decided to go for the Shady, which is their current special and Rich picked the Smoky.  Both these burgers cost £9.95 which is a touch steep for a burger which leads me nicely on to my next point.

One thing to note when ordering is that sides are not included, this is definitely something that annoys people when going to a burger or steak restaurant. Very few people would want to order either without some accompaniment so why consider it an extra?  Rich picked fries and I went for the skin on thick chips, which will set you back £3.50 if you decide to go for them, plus chipotle mayo and blue cheese dips. It didn't take too long for our food to arrive which was lucky as I hadn't eaten breakfast.
Byron Burger Bristol
The Shady
Byron Burger Bristol
Byron Burger Bristol

The burgers were tasty. I particularly liked the crispy cheese in my Shady, think toastie run off, they should add it to the house toppings rather than just making it a special. Rich was impressed by the barbecue sauce in his Smoky and the structural integrity of the bun.  I liked the burgers but I wasn't in love with them. Mine was not as pink as Rich's was and I was a touch disappointed over all. Where I was impressed was with the chips, some of the nicest thick cut chips I've had with a burger but for £3.50 they would have to be something special. I also recommend getting the chipotle mayonnaise, if you like more spice than usual then this will be right up your street, it has a proper kick to it and is a worthwhile dip.

Byron is good but not quite good enough to tempt me away from my two favourite burger places, The Burger Joint and Three Brothers Burgers, especially for the price. But the milkshakes and sundaes are meant to be excellent so if you find yourself on the Triangle it is worth popping in to check out, but I think they should consider lowering the prices by a couple of pounds on the burgers or at least start including chips because there are better deals in Bristol. Check out what Byron has to offer by visiting their website.

Please note that this meal was received free of charge by Byron but this did not have any affect on my opinion, as you may be able to tell.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Friday Night Tapas at Pata Negra

The end of our first full week in the new flat and with most of the boxes disposed of I felt safe to leave the confines of unpacking and head out to be sociable. Wuthering Bites had invited me to try Pata Negra with her and as no one can resist tapas, I gladly accepted. Pata Negra, the fancy Spanish cousin to The Ox and The Milk Thistle, has quite a big space to fill.  Lunch runs from 12-3pm where you can purchase 3 tapas for £10, if you arrive after 3pm pintxos are available at the offer of 3 and a glass of sherry for £7, until they run out. 
Pata Negra Bristol
pintxos on display
pintxos upclose
I was ushered to a high table for two with a stool and a window seat. I chose the window seat which for a short person was a bit of a mistake as there was nothing to rest your feet on so I almost slipped off my unstable perch several times.  I digress. I ordered a very quaffable glass of Spanish red whilst Sarah went for the strong gin and tonic made with their own Pata Negra gin and garnished with rosemary. Food wise we decided to order the signature 36 month hand carved pata negra ham, obviously. We also picked tortilla, chestnut mushrooms with red wine garlic & rosemary, chorizo cooked in cider with a poached egg and breadcrumbs and the slow cooked pork shoulder.
Pata Negra ham Bristol

Pata Negra Bristol

Pata Negra Bristol

Pata Negra Bristol

Verdict? Good. Not quite my favourite tapas in Bristol, let's call it my second favourite because it does have a very tasty selection. If you visit Pata Negra for one reason, let that reason be the ham, it is the jewel in their crown. Number one for ham in Bristol I would stick my neck out and say it. Melts in the mouth and is full of a luxurious rich flavour, yes like angels dancing on your tongue.  I also really rated the chorizo cooked in cider with poached egg and breadcrumbs, really tasty, should have ordered some bread to mop up the juices with.

I would say that the tortilla was too solid. Sounds like a strange thing to say however when Javi, our Spanish friend, came round the other week he bought a home made tortilla and stated it always has to be soft towards the centre. This is something that can be easily rectified however. Also I would love to see croquettes on their menu in the future ham or salt cod they are still one of my favourite tapas dishes.

So if you fancy an afterwork treat check out Pata Negra, although the space is bigger than most traditional tapas places, you can get some great dishes here, they particularly excel at meat so be sure to sample as much possible. To see what Pata Negra has to offer check out their rather fancy website.

Thursday 16 October 2014

Neighbourhood Exploring at Aviator Bar

We've been in our new flat just over a week now and last week we decided to check out The Aviator with our friend Michael in tow. On a Tuesday evening this little bar was pretty quiet but we welcomed the warmness of the place after the dipping temperatures of Autumnal nights. Beer lovers rejoice, the selection here is excellent and you will be spoiled for choice. I took advantage of the Prosecco on tap and pretty tasty it was too so we sat among the aviation paraphanalia.

The food on offer at Aviator is kept to a small menu of mainly burgers, ribs and pies, Pieminister of course. So keen to sample as much as possible and because we are pretty hungry we ordered one of their sharing platters as a starter and a burger each for main. The sharing platter consists of some cured meats, olives, bread, cheeses and half a rack of ribs.
Aviator Bar Bristol
Aviator Bar Bristol
For £10 we all agreed this was exceedingly generous a portion.  The cured meats were extremely tasty particularly the bresaola, the blue cheese was creamy and not over poweringly strong like I was expecting. Although I do enjoy a cheese that knocks your socks off as well. The ribs were juicy and had a great sauce on them. My main gripes were that the bread provided was really soft, almost brioche in texture which didn't suit soaking up the oil and balsamic. Speaking of which, the oil to balsamic ratio was way off so next time if the oil wasn't quite so high up the dish so the bread can have a bit of both liquids that would be better, after we poured some out it was tastier.
Aviator Bar Bristol
bacon and cheese burger
Aviator Bar Bristol
seasoned fries
Soon after the burgers arrived. We had all gone for the cheese and bacon burger, aka The Beaufighter, which came with a side of seasoned fries and Michael managed to wangle a pot of chili jam on the side.  The burgers looked quite small but the patty was chunky so with a massive pile of fries, for £8.75 this was also great value. The burgers were juicy and the bacon was thick.  If you can sample the chili jam, do, it's really very tasty on top of the burgers. The star of the show was the fries if I am honest. The seasoning on these beauties was epic really moreish and highly recommended.

The Aviator has a charming vibe about it, the staff are friendly and are happy to recommend you a beer as if you were an old friend. I can see this fast becoming my preferred local bar and not just because of the proximity. To see what else the Aviator has to offer check out their website

Friday 10 October 2014

A Thursday Night at Bosco

Rich and I have just moved flat, surrounded by bags and boxes as we slowly get sorted and up and running, hopefully hearing the patter of tiny furry kitten paws soon once we are fully unpacked. A couple of weeks ago Jane and I found time to check out Bosco on Whiteladies Road, a welcome retreat from being covered in dust and long forgotten items.  Bosco has had quite the buzz about it ever since it opened last month and I can see why. The design has a down town New York feel to it, booths and tables for groups where as singles and couple diners are shown to a bar area to sit up and watch their food and drink being prepped. 

Although pizzeria is trumpeted on their signs, Bosco does more than just pizza, you can order some wonderful meat and fish dishes as well. There are some tempting small plates if you just feel like sharing. I was determined to check out their pizzas so chose a porchetta bianca. This was topped with some of their boned and rolled Middle White pig, slow roasted. A pizza with no tomato sauce it also includes salami, mascarpone, rosemary, garlic, truffle oil and pecorino. Jane picked the ox cheek ragu which topped rigatoni and smoked mozzarella.
Bosco Pizzeria
ox cheek ragu

Bosco Pizzeria
porchetta bianca

Bosco Pizzeria

Sipping at our glasses of Sangiovese, equipped with our cutlery we dived on into the plates in front of us. My pizza was rich, a robust mix of flavours, unlike any pizza I've had before. The porchetta was melt in the mouth and went very nicely with the garlic and rosemary. The dough was wonderfully light and thinly rolled. This was a good pizza but not one I would order every time because it was so rich but it was really luxurious and I would have it again at some point. Jane's ragu was so flavoursome the ox cheek melted in the mouth and the mozzarella was creamy and complimented it well.

We were feeling extremely comforted by our mains we were persuaded to glance at the dessert menu.  I was too full from such a pizza but Jane, like a trouper, picked the mini doughnuts which came with both a sharp lemon curd dip and a vanilla cream one.
Bosco Pizzeria

Hot, doughy and delicious. Did you expect anything less? Although I am not really a lemon curd girl the sharp acidity cut through the sugary doughnuts extremely well and for a sweet end to a meal you couldn't do much better than sharing these indulgent little beasts. You know by now that I am going to urge you to go to Bosco, it lives up to the hype that has surrounded it for the last couple of months. The prices are pretty good value for the quality you get and the service was genuinely friendly. I hope this brings a new lease of life to the upper end of Whiteladies Road.  To see what Bosco has to offer, check out their website.