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Monday, 30 July 2012

Foodie Travel Blog from the Dordogne

Today was my first day back to work after a week off. Four of those days were spent in the Dordogne for my friend Andrea's wedding, which was at Chateau la Durentie a beautiful house in the town of Lanouaille. Rich and I along with very good friend Jessie and her husband Matt, stayed in a pretty Medieval town about 15mins away called Excideuil. Matt was a hero driving us all the way from Caen, about a 7 hour trip or so with stops and there were foodie adventures to be had right from the moment we got on the ferry at Portsmouth.

The ferry was still serving hot food at nearly midnight and so we decided a meal would prepare us for sleeping on the reclining seats for the remaining 6 or so hour crossing. At fairly high prices I chose a chicken fricassee and rice whilst Rich opted for fish and chips. As you will be able to tell from the photos the offerings were slightly grim. Over salted and obviously tasting exactly like it had been hanging around stewing for a while, which of course it had to have been. If I had to compliment it I would say that my rice was nicely cooked but that is about all I can muster. Still we were off to the country of cheese and good food so I  put the offerings the ferry had to offer out of my mind and dreamed of creamy ripe brie.
Chicken Fricassee on the Ferry Crossing
Fish and Chips from the Ferry
After an extremely unpleasant night struggling to get comfortable, those seats did not recline by the way, we were awoken very sharply, as is customary with the cheap seats, it was the equivalent of having a wet angry cat thrown in your face. We drove off on the wrong side of the road on our first leg down to the Dordogne. Hunger struck early, a 7am cup of tea and a yoghurt just before we embarked understandably did not sate me for long, so we stopped just before midday in the city of Tours.

 Tours is very pretty it has a lovely Cathedral and also a stuffed elephant in the gardens to the left, we didn't believe it either when we read it pre arrival on the wiki page but he is there and his name is Fritz. We found a nice little restaurant to stop for a bite to eat and the staff were extremely friendly, welcoming and appreciative at our insistence of ordering in French.
L'adresse restaurant Tours
Creamy Filled Giant Crepe
L'adresse restaurant Tours
Side Salad
L'adresse restaurant Tours
First Steak of the Trip
The restaurant, L'adresse, was a casual cafe, restaurant, bar sort of place and pretty inexpensive. Although there was a good amount of choice the seemed to specialise in crepes and grills. Jessie and I opted for a filled buckwheat crepe, two large crepes filled with potato, lardons, cheese and cream topped with a fried egg. With such a rich combination I ordered a side salad as well. Rich went for a steak and Matt ordered a mystery plate which turned out to be pan fried white fish of some kind. The food was simple but really delicious the filling of my crepe was smoky, creamy and indulgent, if you ever find yourself in Tours I recommend popping in for a bargain priced lunch.

When we arrived at our B&B we were met with the most charming and rustic place. The crowning glory of our accommodation was the garden a proper little wild paradise, exactly the garden I would wish for. The owners were a dream as well, so kind and helpful, on our last night Eugenie brought us candles out to the garden benches where we were enjoying the last of the evening. She also delivered us a bottle of creme de cassis to try which she made from blackcurrants grown in the garden, it was heaven, really full flavoured and smelled like summertime. I recommend staying there if you are thinking of going to the Dordogne, the website is currently down but you should be able to see their email in the below photo.

View of the garden from our window
The day of the wedding we decided to have a spot of lunch at the restaurant next door, we sat outside and basked in the loveliness of the day. Another excellent restaurant, Restaurant la Cuisine du Marche, delicious food, very good value and everything on the menu was marked as local or the region it was obtained from if it was not. The steak was too big for me to finish the portions were simply enormous. The Dordogne is known for it's truffles and also for duck rearing, in our village it was no exception so foie gras was everywhere, having only sampled it once in mousse form I took the plunge.
Restaurant in Excideuil Dordogne
Foie Gras on Toasted Baguette with Strawberry Jam
Restaurant in Excideuil Dordogne
Rich's Giant Steak
Restaurant in Excideuil Dordogne
My Steak
Restaurant in Excideuil Dordogne
Barbecued Duck Kebabs
Restaurant in Excideuil Dordogne
The Moules of Moules Frites Fame
The wedding was absolutely beautiful, luckily after such a big lunch the sit down meal wasn't until about 8pm. Although the main was not to my taste, the starter and particularly the traditional French 'wedding cake' Croque en Bouche was particularly awesome.
White Asparagus Canape (very delicious) as modelled by John
Smoked Salmon Pate
Chicken with creamed potato
Trifle like dessert
Croque en Bouche
I definitely feel that croque en bouche is nicer than having a wedding cake, definitely tastes better in my opinion, but it could be I've just had the wrong wedding cake. The final full day we went to a little place in the village that specialised in crepes and pizzas. Not the best meal of the holiday but not bad, Rich and I went for savoury buckwheat crepes, mine had ham, mushrooms and cheese. The mushrooms were particularly superb but the cheese was fairly bland for this dish, tasted like Emmental it needed something stronger to lift the rest of the ingredients. The chips in France are second to none they are delicious, crunchy, flavoursome and a bit fluffy and they serve frites with practically everything, you have to specifically ask not to have them otherwise they will appear as normal, delicious.
Restaurant in Excideuil Dordogne
La Forestiere 
Restaurant in Excideuil Dordogne
Rich's Ham, Cheese and Egg Crepe
Restaurant in Excideuil Dordogne
Ham and Cheese Pizza
Our journey back was a long one complete with a cheese picnic stop at Limoges botanical gardens, which I purchased in the market in our village, brie, a port salut type, vintage gouda and a lovely brie type cheese with a blue vein running through it. We learned our lesson and on the ferry back we upgraded to a cabin. Cabin dwellers get woken up in a much more civilised manner, we were awoke to the sound of harp music, such as you might find in a fantasy role playing game or film, very bizarre, but much nicer than the lights and curtains up without warning whilst announcements shout at you to get up.  France is wonderful for food I cannot wait to return! 

Friday, 20 July 2012

Pre Holiday Warning

So this weekend we are off to France for my friend Andrea's wedding. The area we are going to, around Bordeaux and Limoges is, I have been slightly reliably informed, known for truffles and fois grois. As I will be enjoying the beautiful weather and reuniting party of all my friends from University I shall also be having blogging withdrawal symptoms. So whilst my wonderful friend Jessie and I try to stop her husband blowing all the Euros on offal, I hope you have some beautiful weather also and some excellent eating adventures of your own, if you find any real gems please send us an email or comment on the blog. 

In the meantime here are two previously unpublished food photographs to make you salivate.
Lunch at Goldbrick House
Caesar Salad from Goldbrick House
Spice up Your Life Curry Bristol
Wonderful Chicken Curry Special from Spice Up Your Life in St Nicks
Beerd Bristol
Extreme Close up of a Pizza from Beerd
See you on the other side, Bristol I shall miss you, full French report week after next.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A Friday Evening at La Tomatina

It had been raining all week in Bristol, almost continuously, and Friday evening was no exception. I left work and dodged the many puddles to go meet Elly for tapas at newly opened La Tomatina, at the bottom of Park Street. I had booked a table for 5 as I was expecting our Australian friends, who had come down for a weekend visit from London, and Rich was going to bring them down later in the evening.

Damp and with weather blues, I waited for Elly at a table near the patio doors, watching everyone trying to dodge the never ending downpour. Once Elly arrived we decided to order a couple of dishes to go with our drinks as we chatted and waited for the rest of the group to arrive.
La Tomatina Bristol
Croquettes, Calamari and Patatas Bravas
Chicken and Blue Cheese Croquettes

We ordered cod croquettes, patatas bravas, calamari and chicken and blue cheese croquettes. By far the chicken and blue cheese croquettes were the best thing about the whole evening, food wise. They were crunchy on the outside and wonderfully creamy on the inside. The cod croquettes were alright but no way near as nice as the chicken ones. It would be nice to have some traditional ham croquettes on the menu either instead of or as well as the cod ones. The patatas were pronounced tasty if not quite as spicy as we would have liked, but I have tasted so many different patatas over the years there is no hard and fast rule as to how they should come out.  I found my calamari portion very plentiful for the money but the calamari itself was a little rubbery and lacking in flavour.

Once everyone else arrived we ordered more beer, of which there is a fairly good selection of Spanish lagers  some of which I'd not seen in other Bristol bars before. We then ordered a couple more tapas each, mostly meat based and got stuck into the drinking. On the whole we agreed we liked the atmosphere of La Tomatina it was cosy, relaxed and had the reassuringly familiar sound of Gypsy Kings on in the background. Elly who has lived in a couple of Spanish cities agreed that tapas bars were more enjoyable when they threw themselves into the Spanish feel and culture as well as the food, I tend to agree.

Cured Meats Board
Chorizo with Butter Beans and Shallots 

Patatas with Tomato and Alioli
The patatas again were tasty and the potatoes nice and crispy rather than being soggy, it's nice to have the option of alioli on the menu as well. The cured meats board was good too but as long as you are buying high quality produce you can't really go wrong here. So far so good.
Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Braised Pork Ribs in Tomato and Herb Sauce
Our main gripe with La Tomatina came with the seasoning, particularly with the meat dishes above and the calamari. As Kathryn remarked, the meatballs were of a good texture but they just seemed to be really bland the same goes for the ribs. It could have possibly have been an off day because it is obvious from some of the dishes the food can be very tasty. I was just very aware of a lack of salt or spice in the meat, Spanish flavours are bold and full on and with some tweaking they will have it right with the rest of the dishes. 

Bristol has a lot of tapas venues around at the moment and if it wants in on the competition fixing these little problems will be simple enough and I look forward to sampling those croquettes again as they were the jewel in their tapas crown.  La Tomatina is a good addition to the bottom of Park Street, if any sun actually comes our way this Summer it will be a nice way to while a few lazy hours in the afternoon. It is good value for money, some other tapas venues have very random portion control which can lead to unexpected hunger pangs, none of that here thank goodness. To check out their menus and upcoming events go to their website.

Monday, 16 July 2012

A Saturday Night at Pizza Provencale

Pizza Provencale has been a long-term fixture of the Clifton Village dining scene, and from the outside exudes a small restaurant charm that is backed up by the wicker serving plates, and that the place is always absolutely packed out. For me then, it was one of my most mixed eating experiences of recent times.

Fridays and Saturdays the venue does not take advance bookings, and we benefited from this by being able to arrive around 8:30 in the evening and get a table for two, with the minimum of waiting. The back of the restaurant has a nice cosy and rustic feeling, greatly aided by a glass roof that lets lots of natural light and in the evening creates a nice effect for the candlelight. The waiting service was excellent too with our drinks order being taken and served quickly. All in all, off to a great start. And the drinks were very reasonably priced too, with the house white wine being inexpensive and of a refreshingly light citrus taste.

The range of pizzas at Pizza Provencale is wide and varied, and there are some interesting and unusual choices too that look well worth checking out, plus they also do a gluten free option on pizza bases, which is rare but heartening especially for two gluten free bloggers we know. The standard 12" size is recommended as being a pizza for two so Abby and I opted for just the one regular Charcuterie, a selection of mixed meats and we added some mixed peppers. We were then made much hungrier when we saw the other tables around us receive their food, in particular one lady who had a giant whole rack of ribs that looked delicious. Bizarrely we received a rather uninspiring looking bowl of salad, which we hadn't expected, but free salad, why not? Just as were about to dive in, the head waitress came back, scooped it up and moved it to another table. Easy come, easy go.
Pizza Provencale Bristol
Charcuterie Pizza with Peppers

We had a fair wait for our food, which was clearly the result of the waiting staff getting an order wrong, as the couple enjoying a romantic meal to my right had a pizza arrive, that looked exactly what we had ordered, only for the waiter to arrive to attempt to remove it, but to no luck, as they had already started. Still, not a problem, as it looked great, and ours was bound to look just as good. Oddly then. 40 minutes after ordering, it didn't look as good. Whilst the meat topping was both plentiful and tasty to look at, the uncooked peppers we had looked as though they had hurriedly chopped up and thrown on at the last minute as an afterthought. Comically we even had a whole third of pepper in one giant piece on one slice. The pizza though was excellent. Generally I'm not a fan of the thicker based varieties but this one had a nice flavour and texture and all of the base toppings were delicious, while pleasingly the chef hadn't decided to stint on the cheese.
Pizza Provencale Bristol

Pizza Provencale Bristol
Pizza close up
There were a fair few downsides however to dining at Pizza Provencale, at least on this occasion. To my right we had a rather sweet and young romantic couple obviously besotted with each other, which was particularly heart-warming. However on my left we the loudest, drunkest, most obnoxious group of diners I've ever had the misfortune of sharing a restaurant with. Now I know that this isn't the responsibility of the restaurant to deal with, but surely when you have boorishly load diners yelling at the top of their voices, swearing loudly, and watching YouTube videos on their mobile for the whole room to hear, surely someone should consider having a word with them in order to ensure the comfort of the other people eating in the restaurant. They were annoying to us, but we were having a casual night out. For everyone else who was having a more intended formal or intimate affair, I imagine it would have swayed them not to leave a tip or indeed ever return.

It took a while to flag down a waiter to pay the bill, but overall the price was pretty good. The food was also good, but the overall experience wasn't. It felt a bit manic and chaotic, and the fact that other eaters there could so easily ruin many other peoples nights out really lowered it for me, and probably more for others there. I would though go again, not as a first choice, and I wouldn't be overly enthusiastic to head back. But they do have an interesting menu, good value and good looking food and on a week night it would more than likely be a great place to eat out.

To check out the menu please visit their website.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Jamie's Chinese Feast Part 2

Part two of Jamie's Chinese feast plus dessert, it will make you very hungry indeed.

Char- Siu Pork,叉燒
Char Siu Pork Belly
Char Siu Pork
Char Siu meaning barbeque meat is another popular dish among the Chinese community. This dish originates from Hong Kong but you can practically find them in most Chinese restaurants. In Bristol, there is a top notch Cantonese restaurant called Mayflower that serves very good Saam Siu meaning three roasts in Cantonese. This dish includes: Char Siu, Siu Yuk (roast pork belly) and Roast duck. This is my all-time favourite dish.


  • 500g of Pork Belly/ Pork Loin (Cut them in long strips,1 inch thick)
  • 1/4 bottle of Char Siu sauce (Make:Lee Kum Kee)
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of five spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • Few drops of red colouring

  1. Marinate the pork with all the ingredients overnight or 3-4 before cooking for best results.
  2. If you are using belly pork, make sure to score the skin so the crackling comes out nice and crunchy.
  3. Pre-heat the oven at 190C.
  4. Bake it in oven 190C for 15mins until half-nearly cooked.
  5. Then put the grill on for 10mins-15mins so the meat gets slightly charred and crispy.
  6. Brush some extra Char Siu sauce on while the meat is on grill.
  7. Turn grill off when the meats are slightly charred and crispy on the top. Serve.

Char Siu Pork
Char Siu 
Char Siu Pork
Char Siu Pork Belly
You can get the Char Siu sauce (Lee Kum Kee) from a local Chinese supermarket. This is what you are looking out for. Lee Kum Kee has a selection of great sauces, so if you are a big fan of Chinese food, make sure you try the black bean sauce and spicy bean sauce which is perfect for a stir fry beef/chicken or even tofu if you like them!

Fried Salt and Pepper Squid

Salt and Pepper Squid

Salt and Pepper Squid
Here is another 'must-order' dish whenever I go to a Chinese restaurant or ANY restaurant that serves fried calamari. It is very similar to fried calamari apart from the extra ingredients we use in this recipe. The peppers, spring onion, garlic and chillies definitely bring an extra crunch and flavour to this dish!
Squid itself has not much flavour apart from its fishy smell and chewy texture, so it usually needs a sauce or marinates to bring out the flavour. In this case, marinate the squid for few hours before cooking.


  • 500g of squid (cut them 1inch x 1 inch then cross/score them on one side)
  • 1/2 a red pepper (chopped in little cubes)
  • A few stalk of spring onion (chopped an inch long)
  • 3 gloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 chillis (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup of corn flour
  • 1 tablespoon of Thai fish Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of white pepper

  1. Marinate the squid with Thai fish Sauce, soy Sauce, salt and pepper for few fours for best results.
  2. Put 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan, fry garlic for a minute then add red pepper and fry it for 5 minutes. Finally, add spring onion and chilli and fry it for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add a pinch of salt for flavouring. Dish the vegetables mixture and leave it aside.
  4. Place corn flour on another plate and dap the sliced squid with corn flour until it is evenly coated.
  5. In another pan, put enough oil for deep frying. 4-5cm oil should be enough to cover the squid. Heat the oil on high heat.
  6. Deep fry the squid on until golden brown. Lower the heat if the oil is getting too hot.
  7. When all the squid are fried, the final step is to mix the squid with the vegetables mixture. Put them in a pan and stir fry them very quickly on high heat.
  8. Serve.  A dipping sauce like Thai Sweet Chilli sauce will go perfectly with the squid.

Salt and Pepper Squid
Salt and Pepper Squid

If you are not a squid person, the same recipe can be used for prawns and chicken! 
The Thai sweet chilli sauce is very mild and if you are up for something slightly more spicier than there is a chilli sauce I would like to recommend here
I grew up eating this sauce in Malaysia and it is a perfect dipping for EVERYTHING! You can get them in every Chinese supermarket or even in Tesco and Asda. Enjoy!

Elisa and I were stuffed after such a delicious meal thanks to Jamie's skills, but we still had room for pudding, banana splits. I have not had such a satisfying dessert in a long while, definitely indulge in one when you are feeling in an ice cream mood.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Jamie's Chinese Feast Part 1

Last week it was our turn to go to Jamie's for dinner. I had previously cooked my giant meat fest Jambalaya and Elisa had made a fabulous fish pie. We wandered down to Old Market to find Jamie's flat with dessert in hand, unknowingly some of the nicest Chinese food I've had in a long while, awaited us. Here are the delicious  crackers she made that awaited us.
Prawn Crackers with Sweet Chilli Dip
Jamie made us, coconut rice, three cups chicken, salt and pepper squid and char siu pork. Jamie has written up the four recipes in a blog post and I will be posting them in two blogs complete with photos. So without further ado here is Jamie.

Coconut rice (Nasi Lemak)
I have made this rice once for Abby to try and she totally loved it, so I decided to make it again to make her happy, HA! I would usually go for jasmine rice as it has a very subtle, fragrant taste and compliments different flavoured dishes better; we don't want to over complicate the taste buds too much.  So, I decided to make the coconut rice quite light, so it did not overpower the flavour of other dishes. 

This rice originates from Malaysia and it is called Nasi Lemak which means fatty rice in Malay. Why fatty? Coconut does produce quite a lot of fat while cooking, but fatty in this context simply means rich and creamy.Traditionally, this dish come as a platter of food wrapped in banana leaves, served with fried anchovies, roasted peanuts, hard-boiled egg, and hot spicy sauce (sambal). And believe it or not, we usually have it for breakfast. Chilli for breakfast definitely wakes you right up! It is a must-try if you ever go to Malaysia/Singapore. This recipe serves 4.

  • 2 normal sized mugs/cups of Thai jasmine rice (you can also use Basmati)
  • 1 300ml can of coconut milk (I use Chaokoh coconut milk from Thailand)
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1/2 tsp saffron (optional)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 5 2inch slices of peeled ginger(pound before it goes into the rice)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pandan leaves (if you can find them in a local Chinese supermarket
  1. Place rice in a non-stick pot and rinse with tap water until the water is clear, then drain the water
  2. Mix in the coconut milk, chopped garlic, Pandan leaves and saffron
  3. Pour the water and salt into the mixture and stir well
  4. Place lid on the pot and cook it on medium for 8 mins, then put it on a very low heat and cook it for another 12-15mins
  5. Stir the rice and remove ginger before serving
I use a rice cooker myself so it usually takes 30mins to steam the rice. Cooking using gas/fire is usually quicker 20-25mins. So please check your rice within the first 20mins. If it is soft and fluffy, turn gas off. Most of the ingredients used can be found in your local Chinese supermarket.

Three-cups-chicken (三杯鸡)
Three Cups Chicken
Three Cups Chicken
Three cups chicken is a classic Taiwanese dish, it is very similar to the Chicken in Ginger & Spring Onion you can get from the local Chinese takeaway in the UK. But instead of spring onion, Thai basil leaves are traditionally used. It brings an aromatic and flavoursome taste to the dish. This dish is very popular among the Chinese community as it is easy to cook and the ingredients are very common to many other Chinese dishes, so you can usually find these ingredients in a Chinese household. This dish goes perfectly with a bowl of warm, fragrance jasmine rice, just the perfect way to blend in the meat sauces. The 3-cups in this dish mean a 'Chinese tea cup' of Soy Sauce- Rice Wine- Sesame oil. The cup measurement in this recipe has been improvised; the cup measurement is a normal tea/coffee mug.


  • 600g of chicken breast/thighs (diced)
  • 4 slices of peeled ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1.5/4 a cup of Shaoxing wine or Chinese rice wine
  • 1/4 cup of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of sesame oil 
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • A small bunch of Thai basil leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon of corn flour (optional, if you like a thicker sauce)
  1. Heat the pan on medium heat and put in the sesame oil. When the pan is hot, put in the garlic and ginger and fry it until they are slightly brown.
  2. Now add the sugar to the pan, leave the sugar to brown for a minute then add your diced chicken. The sugar is used to caramalise the meat.
  3. Fry the chicken on a high heat for a few minutes, lower the heat then add light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and wine. Stir well.
  4. Now put the heat very low, put a lid on the pan and let it slow cook for 10 minutes. If the meat gets too dry, add some water.
  5. If  you prefer a thick sauce, use corn flour mix at this point. Put the corn flour in a cup and mix it well with 4 tablespoons of water. Pour into the pan with the chicken and increase the heat, stirring evenly for a minute.
  6. Finally put in the Thai basil leaves and let it cook with the chicken for 1 minute before dishing it up.
Salt and Pepper Squid
My plate of coconut rice, salt and pepper squid and chicken
This was truly delicious I am definitely going to make the chicken myself soon as it was too good. Tomorrow I shall post the second half of Jamie's feast  where she will divulge her recipe for salt and pepper squid and char siu pork. For any of your Asian cooking needs check out large supermarket Wai Yee Hong in Eastville or if you are more central based fairly newly open Wah Yan Hong on Denmark Street or Kin Yip Hon down by Dynasty.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Post Aquarium Snacking at The Clifton Wine Bar

The day after Rich's birthday weekend we had off and the weather was unexpectedly glorious so we thought as it was a Monday it would be an optimum time to go back to the aquarium whilst it was still quiet. How wrong we were. After paying our entrance fee we headed in to see the place teeming with a school trip full of children. Wide eyed with horror at our peaceful fish viewing being ruined we backed out and had a look round the gallery for a bit. With skill and finesse we managed to move round the aquarium avoiding the school trip but only by missing out on the bay of rays demo.

After skipping breakfast and it being the hour of lunch we pondered where to go for a munch. After throwing around a few ideas Rich decided as we had not yet sampled the food in the Clifton Wine Bar, and it was just up the road from our flat, so we headed up the hill.
Being it was a Monday the pub was pretty empty so we browsed the menu and waiting for something to jump out at us. It was a warm day so we didn't feel like a huge meal each. Starring at fish for a couple of hours had rather influenced our choices.  So we went for one main to share, the breaded whole tail scampi, chunky chips with peas, and some of their tapas snacks. £3.25 each, 3 for £8.95 or 6 for £15.95. We basked in the garden sunshine me with my ice cold Crabbies and Rich with the ever reliable Thatcher's Gold and waited for our food.
Clifton Wine Bar
Breaded Scampi Tail and Chunky chips
Clifton Wine Bar review
Scampi Up Close and Personal
I know as a little girl I used to adore Nik Naks scampi and lemon flavour I used to eat them in the playground at break and they were always my favourite, until some other kids pointed out how bad they smelled and I felt like I would be a social pariah if I continued to eat them so I gave them up from that point. I don't even think they make that flavour any more. Either way I cannot remember whether I have ever even tried real scampi before, I must have and yet I have no recollection of it. So when I bit into a piece I couldn't quite believe where it had been all my life since the crisps in the playground.

The fish was meaty and flavoursome and the crumb was super crispy. It was definitely love at first bite I couldn't quite believe how tasty it was. The chips were very delicious too and the peas were super sweet and fresh tasting, my mouth is just watering at the memory. The tapas dishes we chose were, deep fried brie wedges with cranberry dip, battered calamari with tartar sauce and mini roast potatoes with gravy dip, it is funny how looking at fish can make you want to eat fish.

Clifton Wine Bar
Trio of nibbles
Clifton Wine Bar
Brie Wedges with Cranberry Dip
Clifton Wine Bar
Battered Calamari Rings with Tartar Sauce

Clifton Wine Bar
Roast Potatoes with Gravy Dip
First off having roast potatoes with gravy on the menu is a genius idea. Roast potatoes, when done properly, are on par with the meat as my favourite part of a roast. This was amazing the roasties were crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and the gravy was thick and flavoursome. Also perfect when you are nursing a delicate head the morning after. Batter is way too heavy for calamari, tempura being the exception. The flavour of the calamari was completely obscured by the coating which was a shame but we found the totally delicious scampi more than appropriate consolation. 

Cooked brie or Camembert is one of my favourite starters, in fact I often bake a Camembert for tapas nights to dip carrots or bread in. We recently had the baked brie at The Bristol Flyer to soak up some wine we'd been having at a friend's birthday drinks, I don't know whether it was the drink talking but it was wonderful. Anyway I digress, the baked brie wedges here were also very nice, cranberry and redcurrant make such a good accompaniments for brie and it's other similar cheese relatives it really cuts through the richness.

All in all I was really surprised by the food at Clifton Wine Bar it was delicious and well cooked, definitely worth a look in, although plan your visit carefully if you aren't a sport fan as they do advertise the sports they show fairly heavily outside. If you are a sport's fan you probably already know and love to hang here. Check out the menu on their website.  

Monday, 2 July 2012

Sunday Burgers at The Burger Joint

Sunday was on the whole pretty sunny, for once. We decided meat was definitely on the cards for lunch, so we meandered around the Triangle and up to Whiteladies til we reached The Burger Joint on Cotham Hill. We have been here on a number of occasions but not since we started the blog.
The Burger Joint Bristol
Always given a superbly warm welcome in The Burger Joint by the ever present and very bubbly waitress, whom has been working there each time we've gone in and always remembers us. She makes it feel like popping out to a friend's for a spot of lunch rather than being at just a restaurant, cannot express how uber she is.

The soft drinks come with free refills and I can tell you from past experience the banoffee milkshake that uber waitress(TM) said she'd experimented in creating herself is definitely worth sampling, although it is not on the menu. Their other milkshakes are awesome as well but tough to get through if you also have a full sized burger, though thankfully they are not as thick and massive as the Rocatillo's milkshake monsters. Seeing as elderflower is my current flavour of the month I went for the elderflower and mint presse, you won't get anything more refreshing on a hot day, fact.

This time I decide to go for something a little different and chose the pork, sage and apple burger whilst Rich went for his usual peri chicken burger but with some different toppings. The great thing about The Burger Joint is that you can have 3 toppings for the bargain price of £1.80 so you can load your burger up with whatever crazy combinations you want.  I went for brie, sliced chorizo and onion rings with mine and Rich went for swiss cheese, peppers and jalapeños.
The Burger Joint Bristol
Pork, sage and apple burger
The Burger Joint Bristol
Pork, sage and apple burger with fries
The pork burger was absolutely delicious, it was moist, they don't stint on the toppings either. There was a nice couple of hunks of brie melted inside. The onion rings I took out and ate separately, probably the best onion rings I've ever sampled they were light, crispy and well flavoured. They buy all their meat from Ruby and White and you can really taste the high quality even in minced pork, it was so meaty and full of flavour. What is also good about their burgers is that they use sourdough buns which feel very light but really hold together better than any bun I've had so far. Despite the hugeness and juicy nature of these burgers the buns did not disintegrate even towards the end.

Generally I prefer a thicker chip rather than fries however with the size of the burgers it is wise to opt for fries because the chips are so chunky they become pretty filling fairly quickly. Although the pork burger was amazing I prefer their standard beef burgers but I was definitely glad I tried something different.
The Burger Joint Bristol
Peri Chicken Burger
The Burger Joint Bristol
Peri Burger Close up
Rich declared his peri burger to be delicious and the chilli's nice and piquant to compliment the chicken and cheese. I can't name a better burger in the city especially one you can get with 3 toppings, 1 side included and two dips for under £10 and with a good soundtrack to eat to, always good music in here. We were definitely two stuffed and happy customers. The plates speak for themselves...
Looking forward to seeing The Burger Joint when it moves to it's new Whiteladies location in about a month, though will miss the very light and airy venue quite a bit. But these guys deserve every success. Go Burgers! For more info and a peak at the menu check out their website