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Thursday, 22 January 2015

Sunday Brunch at Brew

I have found my new favourite brunch, and it's at Brew Coffee Co. on Whiteladies road. I had been tipped off by Beth the previous day and so Kym and I wasted no time in meeting up for a Sunday brunch there. This site has always been a coffee place for as long as I can remember but it's latest incarnation as Brew is the first time I have been tempted along to try. It was fairly busy, but it is quite a small venue, the menu consists of a variety of things on sourdough or bagels, with vegan options also. You can also order porridge or yoghurt with many toppings.

Our eyes immediately honed in on the Brewfast (£7) which is smoked bacon, poached eggs, avocado on sourdough topped with tomato relish. I was starving. So two orders of the above were made along with two pots of English breakfast tea.

Aren't you just salivating looking at that? It was as good as it looks, the crown jewel being that tomato relish, sharp and sweet in equal measure it really gave the avocado an extra zing. The sourdough toast was plentiful and delicious and the poached eggs runny but not watery. Basically my perfect breakfast.  Kym and I wolfed down this plate with whoops and ahhs. In short, looking for a new place to wallow away a morning, go to Brew.  For a bit more information check out their website.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Friday Before Christmas at The Cuban

The Thursday before Christmas Rich and I were invited to the Cuban, just off Millennium Square, to sample their menu in return for a review.  I do relish the chance not to cook now and then so we accepted.  Before I continue describing the food, atmosphere etc I have to say this was one of the most disappointing meals out I've had in a long time. It could be that the Cuban was having an off day but judging this occasion alone, they really need to pull their socks up. It was perhaps partly our fault for going in the busy party season. We arrived and were shown to our table, the music was loud, and rather un-Cubanish Shakin' Stevens was playing. 

About five minutes later the waitress brought us some food menus and then shortly returned to ask us what we'd like to drink, these menus we had not had delivered, this was rectified. I decided we should share the mojito taster platter, a classic after all. The food menu is rather uninspiring and mostly a mix of Tex Mex and Spanish style dishes with the word Cuba/Cuban thrown in occasionally.  After trying to find something to get excited about I settled on 'lechon asado con espinacas y chorizo', which is basically pork belly with spinach and chorizo. In it's traditional form, as the national dish of Puerto Rico, this is suckling pig and this would be made with shoulder slow cooked often with orange juice, herbs and spices. Rich ordered mojo kebabs and some padron peppers to start with.
The Cuban Bristol
mojito magic
The mojitos were pretty tasty, the lychee one was my favourite it was sweet and sharp enough to be well balanced, so if you fancy a few cocktails you'll be in fairly safe hands here. Whilst we waited for our food to arrive we checked out the decor, Cuban photographs and posters around the place, as expected. The toilets are really rather plush by the way so was somewhat impressed by those.  On to the padrons.
The Cuban Bristol

The padron peppers were oily and tasted very bitter. There were certainly no hot ones as is usually the case where 1 in 10 is a firecracker, we didn't finish these as they were pretty disappointing. Hoping that the mains would change things we sipped our way through half the mojitos.
The Cuban Bristol

The Cuban Bristol
mojo kebabs
The Cuban Bristol
rice and black beans
Let's start with the positives, my pork belly main dish was actually really well seasoned and pretty tasty, the meat portion was really generous, even if it did land on the fattier side, even for pork belly. The chorizo was thickly sliced and the sauce was really rather good, it did surprise me considering the standard of the padron peppers. However my rice and beans had no flavour at all, no salt no coconut no nothing, the blandest rice I've ever had, this had to be an accident I can't think that rice would be sent out tasting like that.

Rich's mojo kebabs were scanty on the meat although the sauce drizzled on top was fruity and zingy the chicken had a very spongey, almost cottage cheese like texture which was somewhat unnerving, as if it had been defrosted and reheated in a microwave. The Cuban fries were deemed 'ok' and the Cuban coleslaw was just standard coleslaw like you could get anywhere. For £14.95 and £13,95 respectively the portions were very differently sized and in Rich's main's case, quite pricey.

The food was mostly sub-standard and lacked care and attention to detail. I think on a night where there is live Latin music and you have a few drinks in your hand it could be a fun place to be but the food needs work. To take a look at the menu for The Cuban or find out about their live music nights check out their website.  Please note that this meal was offered by The Cuban in return for a review, this did not affect my opinion in anyway.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Christmas at the Famous Royal Navy Volunteer

Happy New Year all, I still have an ounce of Christmas cheer left and I decided to spend it on writing about the Christmas meal we had at the Famous Royal Navy Volunteer. I was tasked, as the resident food fanatic, with organising the Christmas meal and it was a job I took very seriously.  With a very short amount of notice and a short list of favoured restaurants the tastiest option and one I fancied most was the menu for the Navy Volunteer, after a recent renovation this place has become hugely popular. Three courses for £27.50 with amuse bouche and mince pies tacked on the front and back end, plus I'd never eaten here before and had heard a great deal of praise for the food.

The menu had some mouthwatering options such as Salt Marsh lamb with a lavender crust and chocolate tart with an oreo base and peanut butter ice cream. I decided to opt for the goats cheese bon bons on a beetroot risotto, pheasant breast with sausage and sage stuffing and all the trimmings and to top it off an apple, brandy and cinnamon cheese cake for dessert. 
Famous Royal Navy Volunteer Bristol

Beetroot Risotto with goats cheese
goats cheese bon bons on beetroot risotto
We began with some little canapés a creamy parmesan crisp which melted in the mouth and a fresh anchovy and cavier on a crunchy mini bruschetta. The risotto was beautifully smooth with that little bite you look for in a risotto. The sharpness of the goats cheese was pitched just right, a great starter. It only gave me the appetite for more, which is a good thing.
Famous Royal Navy Volunteer Bristol
roasted pheasant with all the trimmings
Famous Royal Navy Volunteer Bristol

Served with a shot of red wine jelly I had a feeling that this pheasant dish was going to be something rather special. Pheasant is not something I eat a lot of but I wanted to go for something a bit different from roast beef or lamb and this hit the spot. The sausage and cranberry stuffing was exactly how I like my festive stuffing, meaty and lots of flavour, stuffing should not be just an after thought. The portion of meat was huge and the roasties fluffy and crispy. I could go on about the parsnip pureé and smooth gravy also but I think you get the general idea.  Basically if their Sunday roasts are as good as this was get down to the Navy Volunteer immediately, a genuinely good roast, and I never go out for roasts as I am often very disappointed. 

Apple and cinnamon Cheesecake
Apple, Brandy and Cinnamon Cheesecake
In what looked a bit like a sea of beige and olive green the pudding arrived. A whipped apple, cinnamon and brandy cheesecake. This was again very good, quite rich, as all good puddings are. I couldn't taste the brandy much but I didn't mind this was an excellent dessert and a perfect ending to a wonderful meal. 

I don't want to pat myself on the back for booking such a successful work Christmas lunch but I think I do deserve it a little. I cannot wait to take Rich for a roast or dinner here, this pub offers some superb food and the service we experienced was friendly, intuitive and made the meal even more special. If you haven't already been to the Royal Navy Volunteer, what are you waiting for?  To find out what else they have to offer, check out their website.