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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Friday Night Feasting at Viva La Mexicana

Last weekend was a weekend of eating. It started on Friday evening with a trip to Viva La Mexicana on East Street in Bedminster. Jamie and Boz had kindly bought me a Groupon deal for my birthday so we both had one and could visit together. It was a freezing evening but we managed to find a parking space outside the Wetherspoons round the corner. Bristol doesn't really have much in the way of Mexican restaurants which is a shame as they are definitely one of my favourite cuisines so I was looking forward to trying Viva as I had heard many good things. 
viva la mexicana Bristol

Viva La Mexicana stresses very strongly at the front of their menu that they are Mex-Mex not Tex-Mex so don't visit expecting burritos, chimichangas, fajitas or even sour cream these are not true Mexican dishes. There are plenty of tantalising menu choices to be had, the names may be unfamiliar but the ingredients won't be. Our deal was a cocktail, corn chips and dips and something from the street food menu. We added a bowl of guacamole and some more corn chips to our order and waited for them to arrive. For my main I chose the flautas, fried corn tacos filled with pulled chicken with lettuce, green salsa, cheese and cream accompanied by rice and refried beans. Rich went for the panuchos, two corn tortillas topped with refried beans, chicken, salad, cheese and guacamole.

viva la mexicana Bristol
viva la mexicana Bristol
mixed dips, cheese and olives
viva la mexicana Bristol
big bowl of guacamole
My oh my, forget what you know about chips and dips. These little unassuming pots were packed full of flavour, one was smoky roasted pepper and the other a zingy jalepeno dip. The guacamole was the best I have ever had, I would have eaten bowls and bowls of it, plus you definitely know the difference when you have freshly made corn chips.
Three crispy tacos with refried beans and rice accompaniments were brought to me, stuffed with juicy chicken. Delicious. The crispy crunch of the fried corn tortillas contrasted nicely with the soft toppings. Plus the refried beans were just heavenly, melt in the mouth and seasoned perfectly. We just about had room to order some bunuelos to share, light wheat pastries smothered in honey.
If you have thought about going to Viva la Mexicana please do you won't regret it. These guys know what they are talking about when it comes to Mexican food. The service is welcoming and homely and the flavours are wonderful. They do a great set lunch deal on Saturdays, two courses for £7.50. I personally cannot wait for my next visit. To find out more about Viva la Mexicana visit their website.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Sunday Roast at Brewhouse Bar and Kitchen

The other weekend Brewhouse Kitchen opened on Cotham Hill, taking the place of The Hill, place of pizza and sport. As we lived nearby we got an invitation to have a roast on them so Beth, Rich and I decided to take them up on that. They have really spruced up the decor it's much cleaner, brighter and more stylish. It was also really busy, but when you offer up a free roast that is what you'll get. As Brewhouse is also a microbrewery Beth and Rich decided to sample some of the in house brews after a quick look at the menu we decided to share the beer can chicken, who can resist a whole chicken to share around?
Brewhouse Bristol

Realising that we were bereft of crackling, we sneakily ordered a side order of it, as this is on the starter menu usually and it was a roast day so we thought, why not? I was pretty hungry after making sure I had extra room and attending the gym in the morning and eating lightly until our lunch appointment. The food arrived on a big dish so we could divvy up the portions family style, I was particularly glad to see a Yorkshire for each person, despite the fact we'd ordered chicken, why should beef get all the fun?
Brewhouse Bristol
yorkshire fest
Brewhouse Bristol

Brewhouse Bristol

Brewhouse Bristol
all the crackling
I'm not sure what I was expecting really but I was pretty impressed with the quality of the roast at Brewhouse. The portion was very healthy indeed, the whole chicken divided very generously between three and there were more than enough roasties to go round. The chicken was nice and juicy, no doubt from imbibing a whole can of beer. The cabbage was finely shredded and really creamy, almost stole the whole show, which for cabbage is quite a feat. The gravy was flowing free and more importantly it was fairly thick, cannot abide a watery gravy. The crackling was perfectly crunchy and salted, the only let down was the apple sauce was flavourless it needed some tang, so it would be good if this was tinkered with because the crackling is superb.

For £11.50 I was pretty impressed with the roast that was served up at the Brewhouse, the atmosphere was relaxed and the service on the day we were there was good. I would definitely go again, it was probably the most home made tasting roast I've had out, a solid effort, recommended. To find out more about the menus at Brewhouse check out their website.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Healing Dinner at Siam Thai

Last couple of weeks I have been a bit under the weather, the death throws of Winter sticking me with a cold wiped me out more than I expected. I needed some healing and luckily it came in the form of Thai food. Rich's parents picked us up and took us on a secret trip. We had no idea where we were headed, after about 40 minutes we arrived into Chipping Sodbury. Rich and I don't have a car so I had never been here before but as Rich grew up in Winterbourne he was pretty familiar with the area.

We strolled through the door of Siam Thai (it's sister restaurant is Bristol's Siam Thai Harbourside) and a fairly small but homely restaurant greeted me, I could smell spices in the air and it was enchanting.  We ordered some drinks and browsed the menu.  Dishes ordered included a mixed starters platter, pork jungle curry, chicken tom kha gai, chu chi pla and a stir fried beef.
Siam Thai Chipping Sodbury
mixed starters
Siam Thai Chipping Sodbury
pork jungle curry
Siam Thai Chipping Sodbury
chicken tom kha gai
Two starter platters of the first photo arrived at our table, a very generous portion and really delicious, the satay sauce was particularly delicious.  Our mains arrived shortly afterwards and were piping hot and alluringly scented. I particularly enjoyed the jungle curry, it was hot but it was a quick burn and had bags of flavour. The fried fish in the chu chi pla was another top pick of mine, but to be honest all the food was fantastic definitely some of the nicest Thai food I have had in the area so far.

Despite being pretty full the lure of fried bananas was too much for Rich and so we ordered two portions to share between the four of us and the portions were enormous. Really crunchy breadcrumb coating and hot banana it was pretty moreish so we polished off the lot.
Siam Thai Chipping Sodbury

So if you do fancy venturing further afield for Thai food or find yourself in Chipping Sodbury head to Siam Thai, they have an excellent set lunch deal for £8.95. To find out a bit more about their menu check out their website.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Birthday Lunching at The Glassboat

The end of February is always taken up by what is known as 'birthday week'. The Tuesday I took a half day and met mum and Rich for lunch at The Glassboat. I had never visited this beautiful boat before and I decided taking advantage of their two courses for £10 lunch menu was a good way to dip my toe in the water.  If you've never been to The Glassboat it is a bit of a treat, the decor is rather plush and it makes the whole affair a little bit special. 

We sat down with the menus and pawed over the choices. Mum ordered a lovely bottle of wine to help us through the decision making process.  In the end I picked the chicken liver parfait with onion jam and duck confit with red cabbage and sauteed potatoes. Mum opted for the spiced squash soup followed by the goats cheese omelette and Rich the pork and pistachio terrine with pan fried coley with hollandaise as his main, plus a portion of fries for mum and Rich. My only slight gripe at this point was one of the options for main was an 8oz ribeye steak with fries and béarnaise, but it had a (£13) supplement which considering the option for 3 courses is £12 are you expected to pay just over double again for a steak?
the glassboat Bristol
spiced squash soup
pork and pistachio terrine
pork terrine with pistachios and prunes
food at the glassboat bristol
chicken liver parfait
Chicken liver parfait

The starters looked beautiful and tasted great. The onion jam was a particular hit. Lovely seeded toast to spread the rich and indulgent parfait on, just needed a bit more of it.  Mum was very pleased with her soup and I got to try the pork terrine which was accompanied by cornichons which were very crisp and gave the added tartness needed to cut through the rich pork flavour.
goats cheese omelette
goats cheese omelette
pan fried coley with hollandaise
pan fried coley with beetroot and hollandaise
duck confit bristol
duck confit with red cabbage and sauteed potatoes
The mains were wonderful also. The red cabbage wasn't over spiced or sweetened like some, definitely the nicest I have had. The duck was very moist and the skin nice and crispy. Mum's omelette was huge and had plenty of creamy goats cheese in it, so much so she couldn't quite finish it. Rich devoured his coley very happily. We were impressed but very full so we decided against pudding. Such lovely surroundings and a bargainous lunch menu, head down to The Glassboat for a special treat lunch.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Pieminister at Stokes Croft

It's British Pie week. We all know that Pieminister is awesome. For me at least they have everything I could want from a pie, rich pastry and hearty fillings that are full of flavour, more than just your run of the mill pie. I have yet to try a Pieminister I don't like. So this isn't really a review of Pieminister as such because most people already know how good they are. More a photo blog of my first visit to the Stokes Croft restaurant which is rather lovely, and I have ashamedly only just checked out. I was lucky enough to be offered two free pie feast vouchers so as we were off to the cinema later on I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to visit. 
Pieminister Pie week

Pieminister Pie week
fungi chicken pie and mash

Pieminister Pie week
the mothership
Pieminister Pie week

Pieminister Pie week

If that doesn't make you want to eat a pie I don't know what will. Now go forth and eat pie!