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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Feasting at Flour & Ash

I have had two opportunities to visit Flour & Ash, on Gloucester Road, and I grabbed them hard with both hands and wouldn't let go. Two visits in two weeks might seem extreme to you but once you try their pizzas you will understand. I will keep this brief, as brief as a chatty person can, Flour & Ash is immense. The first visit we were able to take advantage of the two pizzas for £10 with a glass of wine, only on selected pizzas but that was good enough for me. I chose the chorizo with pickled chilis, nice and thick chorizo slices and spicier than you'd expect chilis, awesome. The second visit I was able to sample the already hallowed ox cheek ragu with bechamel and aged provolone. 
Flour and Ash Bristol

Flour and Ash Bristol
chorizo and pickled chilis
Flour and Ash Bristol
ox cheek ragu pizza
Despite the ox cheek ragu as being a firm favourite of visitors to Flour & Ash, it wasn't as nice as the chorizo and pickled chili one I had on my first visit. It was still excellent though. The thing that makes those pizzas the best I've ever had is the dough. Rich will tell you that I don't always eat all the crust on a pizza but here I polished off the lot. It is chewy yet fluffy and given the chance I could probably eat two in a sitting. I would recommend them offering up a pot of the arancini tomato sauce to dip any crusts in, that sauce is beautifully smooth and full of flavour, offer it as a dip Flour & Ash I implore you. Although the arancini themselves are worth ordering too, melt in the mouth deliciousness.
Flour and Ash Bristol
Seafood pizza
The toppings are sometimes more inventive than your standard pizza place but the high quality of the ingredients shines through. Just look at the seafood pizza above, jam packed full of seafood and a bit different from your average. I thought I had found the best pizza place in Bristol but I think I have had my mind changed, Great chatty and friendly service makes you feel really at home.  I haven't even mentioned their home made ice creams yet. All you need to know is they are wonderful, I had chai flavour and a scoop of pineapple sorbet and both were excellent a nice little sweet treat to end the meal, and at £2 it is good value for such a generous scoop. I am officially an addict. Check out what Flour & Ash have to offer on their website

Monday, 15 December 2014

London Celebrations at Ping Pong

Last month was the birthday of my favourite part Panamanian, Martha Stewart fanatic and all round good egg Carla, aka Can Be Bribed With Food.  After a night out shouting "stop trying to make fetch happen" at the Mean Girls bitch along in Leicester Square the following day required a feast for lunch, Carla suggested Ping Pong for dim sum. There are a number of these restaurants dotted around London and on Sundays they offer all you can eat dim sum for £20.95, that's a lot of dumplings. We went to the Soho branch and the restaurant is pretty big, huge round tables downstairs with inbuilt lazy Susans.
Ping Pong London Dim Sum

The menu is also pretty extensive with most of the traditional dim sum dishes you would expect as well as some new creations. We ordered 4 dishes each to share round and then hungrily waited for their arrival whilst sipping, in my case, green tea.  With a mix of fried, steamed and rice dishes including char siu pork puffs, black prawn dumplings, duck spring rolls plus a chicken and mushroom rice pot we were able to sample a good portion of the menu.
Ping Pong London Dim Sum
roast pork puffs
Ping Pong London Dim Sum
duck spring rolls
Ping Pong London Dim Sum

Ping Pong London Dim Sum
squid ink prawn dumplings
Ping Pong London Dim Sum

Ping Pong London Dim Sum
Har Gau
We were lucky that most of the dishes we ordered came with 3 portions otherwise there would have been fisty cuffs. For the traditionalist dim sum lover this perhaps should not be at the top of your list as they do some different dishes, like the potato and edamame cake which you normally wouldn't see on the menu.  I felt the steamed dishes fared worse as they felt a bit wet to me, more than they normally should, which watered down the taste.

The best dishes we had were the char siu roast pork puffs, stuffed full of pork and very indulgent. The chicken and mushroom rice was also excellent, really nicely seasoned with garlic, ginger and soy. Probably the best dumpling was the squid ink prawn and garlic one, it tasted quite different but was also a bit luxurious, if you can call a dumpling luxurious, which I am.
Ping Pong London Dim Sum
some of the feast
I would recommend Ping Pong as a good place to meet up with friends after work for a nibble and a chat, It's not the best dim sum in London to be sure but you get a good tasty feed and for a mini chain it is miles ahead of what a lot of them offer. The all you can eat dim sum offer on Sundays is pretty good value when you consider how much you would normally pay to sample that many dishes. To see what else Ping Pong have to offer check out their website.
The Birthday Girl and Myself

Monday, 8 December 2014

A Christmas Lunch at Wally's Kaffeehaus

Last week mum and I went on our yearly Christmas shopping trip to Cardiff, it's more of a window shopping affair with a nice lunch, nevertheless it is something we look forward to each year. Once you reach the big shopping centre from the train station you are hit by a sea of chain restaurants such as Jamie's Italian, Wahaca, Wagamama and GBK. It can be a little tricky to find somewhere independent near the main shopping thoroughfare however on our trip to Wally's Delicatessen, my favourite shop in Cardiff, we decided to check out their kaffeehaus. Modeled on a Viennese coffee house, Wally's Kaffeehaus offers a selection of traditional Austrian cakes, open sandwiches and wursts, mostly from produce from the deli itself.

Mum decided to treat herself to a beer whilst I went for one of the Orchard Pig juices. As for food we were a little torn. Wally's have a great selection of open sandwiches topped with sliced meats and cheeses from downstairs in the deli, as well as fresh soups and don't even get me started on the sausage lunches, enough to satisfy the German in you. We decided to order two of their festive open sandwiches; smoked turkey with stuffing, Perl Wen and Bowland cheeses, cranberry sauce and rocket on wholemeal bread all served with a German style potato salad

I wasn't feeling festive before this but I certainly am almost ready to jingle those bells now. The nicest lunch we've had in a long time. The flavours all worked together, the creamy Perl Wen was like a mild brie was very indulgent. I particularly loved the Bowland red onion cheese with the slices of turkey and peppery rocket. Basically I could have eaten two of these sandwiches they were that good. So I urge you to check out Wally's if you find yourself in Cardiff the fresh produce is wonderful and really reasonably priced, this sandwich was only £6.50. Plus the staff are really friendly and professional their attention to detail was great. We decided that we couldn't leave without sampling a cake so mum picked the mango and passionfruit mousse cake and a pot of tea. 

A lovely light and fruity cake the perfect accompaniment to a pot of tea before going back to browse the shops. So if you find yourself in Cardiff do check out Wally's the deli is fantastic lots of German and local produce, I found myself buying quite a few little Christmas presents in here. If you want to find out more about Wally's Kaffeehouse check out their website.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Impromptu Curry at the Rajpoot

The other week I had a bit of a sore throat. I had that sinking feeling it was going to turn into a full blown cold. It was the first properly cold night of Winter and Rich prescribed a curry, and who was I to argue with such a medicinal suggestion. I wasn't in the mood to walk to our current favourite curry house, Bombay Spice in Clifton by the way, so we looked at closer to home options. As we had already been to Kohi Noor we decided to give the Rajpoot, right at the top of Whiteladies, a try.

Gratefully stepping into the warm we walked in to a small yet smart and cosy restaurant, it was like a reverse Tardis, if you will. We were welcomed and shown to a little table near the back of the room and handed some menus. The menu is smaller than most curry houses and there are few curries you won't recognise and some you might expect to be there but aren't. However don't be put off there are still plenty of interesting dishes to choose from. We decided to chose, apart from the obligatory poppadoms, a lamb jalfrezi and a honey chicken and peshwari naan. All their curries come with rice and are mostly priced at the £12 mark, which is a little more expensive than most curry houses however this is more of a fancy number that you might choose for a date, upping the price for the atmosphere if you will.

see, romantic and fancy
The poppadoms and chutneys were good, the lime pickle was especially good, and I don't even really like lime pickle but this was pretty fresh tasting and not too mouth puckering. Once the curries arrived a short time afterwards we realised that we'd have to stick to our choices. The curries were plated up in such a way that it would not be as easy to share, rice turret and individual curry bowl. See I told you it was fancy.

The curries were really very good, the lamb melted in the mouth and was nicely spicy. The honey chicken was ok but I've had better. The main disappointment was there was not really enough rice to go round and although it looked nice compared to the amount of curry dished up it was frugal. However not to be too downbeat Rich and I did really enjoy the romantic atmosphere and the food was on the whole pretty delicious, the naan was particularly good, for the lamb jalfrezi alone I would return.

So for something a bit different tempt yourselves out of the house to the Rajpoot it means you have the excuse to go for an after dinner cocktail at Hausbar, which is my favourite cocktail place in Bristol. For more information check out the Rajpoot website.