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Thursday, 28 February 2013

30th Birthday Eats

So this week I turned the dreaded three zero. It wasn't so bad, after a wonderfully indulgent party at The Colour Inn where everyone brought their best Mad Men costumes and drinking habits the rest of the week was dedicated to eating as many of my favourite foods as I could. Here is just a selection of what I consumed in the past few days.
Old Fashioned Don Draper
An Old Fashioned
Mad Men Cakes
Mad Men mini cupcakes
White chocolate and Raspberry cake
white chocolate and raspberry birthday cake (thanks mum)
Rosemarino Bristol
truffled mushrooms with sage and parmesan (thanks Rosemarino)

Eggs Royale
Eggs Royale with a side of streaky bacon

Rosemarino Bristol
Thick milk hot chocolate
The Hop House Bristol
Warm scotch egg with home made salad cream
Hudson Steak House Bath
Hudson's  Birthday Steak
Pizza Express Starter
Mozzarella, tomato and pesto salad

Pizza Express Di Morire
Artichoke on a pizza, my new favourite thing

I also had a wonderful steak at Hudson's on the night of my birthday, Rich has those photos though so will update the photo blog when I acquire them. Thanks to everyone who wished me happy birthday and all the cards and presents I received I felt very humbled and happy to have such nice and thoughtful people around me. Next proper blog post will be on curry at Kathmandu, watch this space.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

A Saturday Lunch with Mum at The Mall Deli

Last weekend mum popped over for a visit and a spot of lunch, so we walked up to Clifton village and sauntered around the streets looking for somewhere we had not tried before. Tempted by Cordial and Grace only to see it was too busy we crossed the road to try The Mall Deli cafe. Always enjoyed buying little bits and bobs in here but it's not somewhere I have been for a good while. As we sauntered in I noted they stocked the infamous bacon jam as well as other interest peeking products like lavender sugar, perfect for a topping on a pear crumble by the way.

As it was slightly too early for lunch we started with a pot of tea each, mum went for English breakfast and I went for the girly Earl Grey. If I'm honest this wasn't the best start to our lunch, mum's tea pot did not have enough tea in it and was very insipid and mine was just a bad choice of tea. The girly grey had the added extra of rose petals in the normal Earl Grey mix. I like the flavour of rose in tea, big fan of Lahloo Pantry's Rosebud mix, but this was so heavily perfumed it was bordering on drinking potpourri crossed with cleaning products.
The Mall Deli Cafe
Girly Grey tea
The smell of lunches around us was encouraging so mum picked a jacket potato with coleslaw from the deli and salad, whilst I went for a brie and onion jam panini with a side salad. Tempted by the delicious looking ploughman's that passed us as we waited, piled high with freshly sliced deli meats and pickles, we suddenly realised how hungry we were.
The Mall Deli Cafe
Gooey Brie and Onion Jam
Our lunch was very delicious. The brie was very smooth and the onion jam wonderfully sweet and complimentary. A classic combination that I too often neglect. Mum praised their home made coleslaw very highly, simple flavours but well combined. As we had been eyeing up the cakes on the counter the entire time we were there we thought it would be unsporting not to sample at least one of them. So we picked the raspberry and coconut cake to share.
The Mall Deli Cafe
Coconut cake
Desiccated coconut in the sponge, cream, jam and topped with fresh raspberries was a great way to end lunch. The sponge was lovely and soft, I've had cake flavoured with coconut before, but not like this. It was subtle and the raspberries gave it a fresh lift, mum and I agreed it was something we'd like to replicate next time we fancy trying something new in the kitchen.

So after a wobbly start with the tea, The Mall Deli really picked it up with the food and it's definitely somewhere I would go again, if only to sample the delicious looking ploughman's that passed us earlier in the day. To see what the deli has to offer check out their website.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Friday Night at Piazza di Roma

Last Friday, pizza fanatic Michael had organised us to go to one of his favourite pizza venues, Piazza di Roma right at the top of Whiteladies Road. It was a freezing cold evening when Rich and I trekked up the hill to meet Michael, Emily of Bristol Bites, and her partner Chris, luckily the restaurant was cosy, warm and inviting and we were shown to our table by a friendly waiter. 

I think it is important to mention that the service from the off, though friendly, was extremely slow. Taking our drinks order took 20 minutes alone and half that time to arrive, there were only 5 of us. The menu is very traditional, what you would expect in an Italian restaurant in the UK, pizzas, pasta, bruschetta and side salads.  The ambience is also pretty standard to what you would expect too, cosy, candles on the tables and the lowest of low lighting.

Rich and I opted out of a starter but Michael and Emily picked a tomato pasta dish, all pasta mains can be served as starter portions, and bruschetta. The starters took about 25 mins to arrive the portion sizes were good and made us all feel exceedingly hungry and regretful. I had ordered the Americana pizza, which had pepperoni and sweetcorn on  and Rich picked the Festa di Carni, with chilli. 
Piazza di Roma Bristol
The Americana
Piazza di Roma Bristol
Festi di Carni
Our table had been booked for 8 our pizzas arrived at 9.30 by that time I was pretty much gnawing at the table corners, pizza to me has always been one of those foods that you can pop in somewhere for a quick bite before heading to your destination. Some foods are meant to be taken time over, like roasts, pizza is not one of them. Having said that the toppings on the pizza were extremely plentiful and tasty, had we not had to wait so long I would have possibly be praising them higher. They are better than some pizzas in Bristol but they still don't beat Beerd's and Planet Pizza for me anyway. 

Piazza di Roma Bristol
Pacman Pizza
I have always wondered about this little pizza place, and now my curiosity has been sated. The staff were very cheery but in a tiny restaurant of about 45 seats and only half are full it should not be taking over an hour to prepare 5 pizzas. This could have been a bad day for them I suppose, the food is nice enough I just don't know if it inspired me enough to recommend it above other places, plus the outside toilet doesn't exactly draw me in on a cold night. To check out the menu for Piazza di Roma please visit their website.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Pit Stop Lunch at The Felin Fach Griffin

On our way to Snowdonia for our long weekend of eating, drinking and enjoying fires surrounded by rolling hills and many sheep, we stopped off in Brecon at The Felin Fach Griffin pub. It describes itself as a dining pub with rooms, supporting the local community and nestled between Hay-on-Wye and the Brecon Beacons. They also have sister pubs in Cornwall The Old Coastguard and The Gurnard's Head.
Felin Fach Griffin
Felin Fach Griffin
Felin Fach Griffin
central fireplace
Inside we were greeted by a warm welcome from the landlady and a lovely fire which was more unusually set up in a grate in the middle of the room. We were given drinks and food menus, the former was impressively extensive for wines and they do a good range of Lahloo teas. Sarah and I ordered a pot of Rosebud and Bristol Brew and all of us looked over the lunch menu. 

The menu is a feast for the eyes so many delicious options to choose from eventually I picked the egg pappardelle with almonds, cauliflower and pecorino, 3 of our party opted for the ploughman's with Duckett's Caerphilly, soda bread and home made pickles  and Sarah and Rob plucked for the roasted hake fillet, with sweet potato, pancetta and sage butter.  Shortly after we had ordered we were led into the cosy rustic looking dining room, there was lots on the walls to catch the eye and the atmosphere for a Friday lunch time was quietly buzzing.
Felin Fach Griffin Food
Caerphilly Ploughman's
Felin Fach Griffin Food
Egg Pappardelle
My pappardelle was the stuff of heaven. Quite rich but the creaminess of the sauce and the cheese was broken up by the texture of the cauliflower pieces and the toasted almonds. Everyone wanted to sample some and declared it so delicious I believe there was a touch of jealousy in their voices. The ploughman's looked really great on the plate and came with a board heavy with lots of fresh soda bread which we all helped ourselves to, and Sarah was well catered for on the gluten free side as without prompting she got her own board of gluten free bread. They also declared the hake dish so well cooked and flavoursome that it was right up there in the best fish they'd had, possibly ever. 
Felin Fach Griffin Food
Hake with pancetta and sweet potato
Felin Fach Griffin
Triple Cooked Chips

Prices range from about £9-14 for a main and averaging at £7.50 for a starter. We were really taken aback by how good the food was here, well cooked, simple flavours and great quality produce. Definitely recommended if you find yourself near the Brecon Beacons or fancy a country drive it took us about an hour and a half to get there from Bristol.  Plus I expect you would find just as warm a welcome and great menu at their Cornish sister pubs. To see what the Felin Fach Griffin has to offer visit their website.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Pizza Pangs Solved by Renato's

The other weekend Rich and I were due to meet our friends in Renato's, we'd had a late lunch so had gone out without eating dinner. We don't drink in the centre that often but Renato's, on King Street, is one of our main go-tos if we do. Nice and relaxed with plenty to look at with lots of old theatre posters and autographed photographs of actors who have performed at the Old Vic. I have never made it to the restaurant above the pub part of Renato's but I can vouch for their drinks selection and bar pizzas. 
Renato's Bristol Pizza
Inferno Pizzas
For Rich and Bud they can get their German beer fix, as they have a good selection of different from the usual beers and I am happy with a bottle of Weston's organic cider. The main draw here is the pizzas. For around £8 you can order a pizza at the bar and are given a ticket in return with which to go pick up your steaming hot pizza from the back room where the pizza oven is. Our favourite is the Inferno, tomato and mozzarella topped with thick slices of salami, chilli flakes and chilli oil, it definitely packs a punch spice wise. The toppings here are traditional, simple and extremely good, especially welcoming after a couple of beers. 
Renato's Bristol Pizza
Inferno close up
The only thing I would change is perhaps a touch of dip for the crusts as they can be a tad dry. But if you fancy a casual night at a quirky family run bar with option of late night pizza in case you get the munchies (pizzas are served til midnight). It can get busy on Friday and Saturday nights so get there early to avoid disappointment, although I noticed a fairly quick turn around on some tables so luck may be on your side. I definitely recommend Renato's it doesn't change and I don't want it to.