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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Christmas at the SS Great Britain

Other than the suspension bridge, Bristol's other most recognisable landmark is the SS Great Britain, and both by Brunel, well if you're going to showboat using an actual boat (ship to all the salty sea dogs reading this) is a good way to go.  Our Christmas lunch this year was on board the first class dining saloon and the chance to roam about the ship after eating all we could.  The dining saloon was decorated with lots of ivy garlands and looked lovely alongside the gilded edges of the room.  This event was advertised as a Dickensian Christmas onboard the Victorian ship so some of the diners, not part of our party, dressed in Victorian fashions to enjoy their lunch, which gave a lovely feel to the meal.
SS Great Britain
SS Great Britain

We were greeted by a glass of mulled wine to cheer and warm us out of the damp and very grey outside, my first mulled anything of the season and it was pretty nice if a touch too sweet. The three course menu was mainly traditional Christmas fare, the starter, a white onion and cider soup with crispy sage and garlic croutons served with a warm roll and butter.  For me this was the weakest course of the three the croutons were plain and nothing more than toast in soup, but the soup itself was actually rather nice.
onion and cider soup
turkey dinner

The turkey was really nice and juicy helped by a flavoursome gravy although the standout was the sausage stuffing on the side, it was delicious. Even my team mate Becky who is not a big fan of roasts praised it highly. It was a shame there were no roast potatoes but actually the potato and parsnip mash was creamy and smooth and a much lighter option, which considering we still had pudding to go was a blessing.  Pudding was listed as a mandarin creme brulee with Christmas spiced biscuits.  It was a great creme brulee and although I was concerned about the mandarin flavour being too strong it was really subtle and gave it a lift. Most of us dipped the spiced biscuits in the creamy brulee when cinnamon filled biscuits met orange spiced cream it was heaven.
mandarin creme brulee
a feast of stollen and mince pies
After dessert we were all stuffed but that didn't stop me from having a little bite of stollen when the coffee was brought round. After lunch we decided to stretch our legs and Sharon and I had one goal and that was to find the dressing up box, the staff on the ship were very friendly and we located it with a minimal amount of fuss.
SS Great Britain
Brunel's handiwork
Dreams of Brunel
SS Great Britain
Should last til Christmas
SS Great Britain

So a rather nice day immersed in all things SS Great Britain and it did have a nice Christmassy feel I would recommend this event to those looking for a new direction to take the office Christmas lunch in. Hopefully the team on the famous ship will give it another go next year.  If you want any more details or anything else about the SS Great Britain visit their website.  I think this might be my last post of the year, unless I end up anywhere else before Christmas so Merry Christmas all and thanks for supporting the blog it is greatly appreciated. Now go stuff yourself with all the turkey and booze you can muster.

Monday, 9 December 2013

A Visit to Wok Cafe

Wednesday last week Jamie and I met up for a well overdue catch up dinner at Wok Cafe, which used to be Shanghai Nights. This building has been split up in to a variety of mini businesses including, a shop, karaoke, bubble tea as well as a little cafe. The cafe is a lot smaller than the old Shanghai Nights and a bit less fancy but the menu is pretty big so there is a lot to choose from.  What is rather good is that you can get a main and rice from £6 none of the dishes are over £10 so it is all in all a good budget option if you are not feeling like cooking but also not feeling like spending. 

Jamie and I ordered a pot of jasmine tea and I left the rest of the ordering up to Jamie, there were a lot of dishes I was familiar with on the menu and some that were new to me but as Jamie had been here before and she was the expert I let her guide the way. We decided to share the mixed meat crispy noodles, hotpot with Chinese sausage and preserved meat with rice, yam croquettes and some siu mai.

Wok Cafe Bristol
mixed meat with crispy noodles
Wok Cafe Bristol
siu mai
Wok Cafe Bristol
Yam croquettes
Wok Cafe Bristol
The short of it, the food impressed me. The cafe only seats about 30 people but the food you get is really rather good, hot, fresh and tasty.  I particularly liked the crispy noodles as they are not something I have very often and the varying textures in the dish are enjoyable and a little different. Yam croquettes I also love but I know they won't be to everyone's taste as the texture is quite odd but the reward of roast pork inside with a tangy sauce is a delight. 

The whole meal cost us about £13 each which for all those dishes and including drinks is an absolute bargain. I am looking forward to exploring more of the menu and trying some new dishes, there are a lot of dishes that you will be familiar with and plenty that will be new to you, so be adventurous and give some of them a try.  To have a sneaky peek at the menu check out their website.