Review – Bomboloni

I finally made it in! Not through lack of trying, however, since opening only a few weeks ago Andrew, Molly and their team have been enjoying a packed restaurant both in and out.

The boyfriend and I headed over for an early, midweek supper and were greeted by a very empty restaurant. “Don’t worry” laughed Andrew, “we’re booked up for the night”. He wasn’t joking either as we must have watched four or five attempts to get in by walk ins, some of which braved the less than stellar weather outside, surely a mark of a good reputation?

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We started with a beautiful garlic and rosemary flatbread, too hot to touch it was that fresh from the oven. The bread was charred and springy with generous lashings of butter, garlic and rosemary. A lovely, carby start to what ended up being a bit of a feast!

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For main my fruits of the sea loving dining partner chose the seafood stew whilst I went traditional with beef shin ragu with pappardelle. The portion sizes were incredibly generous, my partner’s bowl was heaped with clams, prawns, mussels, fish and a light tomato broth. All of it was topped with a pungent and beautifully whipped garlic aioli which I couldn’t resist dunking my fork in to.

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My ragu was piled on top of perfectly cooked, ribbons of pasta, the beef itself was full of flavour and not too heavy despite the amount I had on the plate.  The parmesan and fresh parsley helped lift it all to star quality!

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I couldn’t leave without actually eating a bomboloni so pudding was ordered! Five, freshly cooked little doughnuts appeared with two dipping sauces, jaw smacking lemon curd and sweet raspberry coulee. The bomboloni smelled utterly divine,  who doesn’t adore the smell of hot, sugary doughnuts?

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I am so pleased to have Bomboloni open so close to home, I feel with the recent closings of Zazus, Bagel Boy and the cake shop, the little strip on Pigsty Hill had become sad and it desolate. Despite having an array of options to eat on Gloucester Road, what we lacked was a good, family run restaurant (that isn’t an old fashioned Italian) and we have that now. I recommend you book yourself in as soon as possible.

Find Bomboloni here 

Blogger ten commandments

Just ten things to abide by if you blog, I’m just as guilty for doing a few of these!

  1. Thou shalt not flake out of booked events with no notice
  2. Thou shalt not forget to thank the host for asking you along to an event or review meal on your way out
  3. Thou shalt not insist on bringing a guest
  4. Thou shalt not audibly complain about the events you are attending
  5. Thou shalt upload reviews and pictures with links within a week
  6. Thou shalt not gush about places which are mediocre at best
  7. Thou shalt not ask for free shit
  8. Thou shalt not publish blogs with names spelt incorrectly, broken links and crap pictures
  9. Thou shalt not take freebies without fulfilling your part of the bargain
  10. Thou shalt not do sponsored posts without making it clear it’s an ad.

Have I missed any?

 

Porchetta @ The Three Tuns

Knowing friends in cheffy places is always nice, not only for the recipe jacking but knowing who has left the daily grind and has set up shop elsewhere. Pop ups are incredibly popular right now (even I have one with Pudding Society!) and the perfect way for a chef to flex their muscles and see if their ideas will work outside the confines of their head.

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The latest residency that has come to my attention is Porchetta over at The Three Tuns. Headed by Chris who previously worked for At Bristol, he has flown the nest and has taken over the pubs kitchen for the foreseeable future. Serving an array of pub “snacks” and hot sandwiches, I was invited to bring a few friends to try the menu and see what we thought.

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The bar snacks were more like small plates, with generous portions as standard so we treated them like starters. We tried the lot (greedy guts!) and were so impressed with everything on offer. The chicken wings were large, spicy and we loved the added crunch of the Bombay mix. The ham croquettes had SUPRISE CHEESE which of course delighted three hungry women, they were also crispy, large and full of flavour.

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We weren’t sure what to expect with the five bean salad as we have all tried that sad, tinned monstrosity you usually get (and I used to serve back in my cafe cooking days). This salad, however,  was fresh and zingy with bean sprouts, fried fava beans, green beans, haricot and mung. Under the crunchy bean medley was a dollop of humous and it was dressed with a light vinegarette.

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A combined favourite of the night was surprisingly the aubergine. A slow roasted aubergine, blended into baba ganoush topped with chargrilled aubergine, miso, garlic and onion. It was incredible and I would happily buy tubs of this for lunch to stick in a bento box.

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We all agreed we would be back really soon. The pub itself is cosy and always has a great range of beers on tap plus a nice wee garden out back. I highly recommend swinging by soon for a great feed from a talented chef.

For our “mains” we tried both the Porchetta sandwich (large meat ciabatta sandwiches stuffed with pork belly, salsa verde and crackling) and the massive fried chicken one with caesar dressing and bacon. Both come with chips and are quite the meal! The porchetta was absolutely stuffed with pork with crackling scattered through out the roll. The salsa verde really cut through the pork and the roast apple sauce was divine and more like an apple butter. Thick, caramelised and the right amount for dipping.

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The fried buttermilk thigh was fantastic, juicy and came with crispy bacon, lashings of caesar sauce and lettuce. You practically have to unhinge your jaw like a snake to get the whole thing in, we gave it a good go.

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We were all very impressed with the quality, portion sizes and pride that Chris had in his food, he has plans to set up in his own place as soon as he is able, so I suggest you head down and grab dinner to help him achieve the dream.

Find Porchetta on Twitter here and The Three Tuns here 

Naasto Baasto Popup Kitchen 

Having a South Asia theme on the blog and a burger theme on the Instagram. Obviously, I’m going through something right now.

Naasto Baasto came about after a drunken conversation outside of Moor Beer. Mostly me shouting at Monica, owner of Naasto Baasto that she needed to pull her finger out and feed me Gujarati food.

So instead of telling me to dick off, Moni got her cogs working and it was the first Naasto Baasto last night. Held at pop-up championing Bristol Spirit, I was promised an afternoon of Gujarati feasting courtesy of Moni and her gorgeous family. The venue was decorated with fabrics that had belonged to Granny Patel as well as family photos and we were treated to a fab playlist.

I will take this moment to mention that the evening ran really slowly, Moni admitted they had perhaps bitten off more than they could chew however despite the long wait between courses everything that came out was absolutely delicious.

We started with a new favourite, pani puri and a generous bowl of tamarind water for scooping and filling. I’d have happily eaten these until the cows came home but remembered to leave room for the rest!

Following the Pani Puri were two fried dumplings stuffed with peas and currants. These again were gorgeous, full of flavour and warm. I’d have loved some sweet chutney for dunking but the dried fruit inside was enough sweetness. Then we had onion bhajis, but not as you know them. Light, crisp and flavoursome with a chilli green sauce that placed a punch and a half!

There was a rice “cake” that was nice, the same texture as tofu and brought out the accompanying coriander-heavy,  green chutney that came with it with aplomb.

We were then presented with a very generous thali tray loaded with rice, chapati, pickled mango, tomato salad, poppadoms and a fried okra and potato mix. The chicken curry was light and flavoursome, the chicken leg served was falling off the bone and was incredibly moist and succulent. The pickled mango was a revelation to me, I could have eaten that by the bucketful. I’ll be having a bash at that at home don’t you worry.

All in all, I had a lovely time and left very full and very happy. There are certain things that could and should be tweaked for next time but the food, the most important bit, was spot on. I hope Naasto Baasto returns and I’d be first in the queue for a ticket.

Find their Twitter and Facebook here

Review – Chai Pani 

Working for a Wriggle means I get to hear about a lot of new openings before the average Joe. I also get to discover places I’ve passed a hundred times without realising until they’ve got into the app. A prime example of this is Chai Pani on Cotham Hill. 

Their one year anniversary is in November this year and I must have sauntered past this wee restaurant more times than I can count on my way home from my old job and barely registered it and for that, I’m kicking myself. 

Kam the owner has lived in Bristol for nearly 30 years and has created a charming little Indian restaurant in an area that shouts loud about good food. It’s a long, rectangular space with a red and black motif and a brilliant Bollywood collage of film posters on one wall. 

Kam is really keen on cooking the sorts of meals that he and his family enjoy at home and back in India. There is a choice of traditional street foods and wraps, traditional curry and a selection of the old favourites for this that dont like to deviate too far. 

We went for poppadoms with homemade chutneys and raita, pani puri and kale pakora to start. The mango chutney was sensational and homemade with a depth of flavour you just can’t get store made. The pani puri is a fun dish where you fill a cracker style “pot” with a lightly spiced tamarind water and pop the whole thing on your mouth. Gorgeous! The kale pakora came topped with a green chutney that added spice to the light and crispy ball. Finally, someone made kale palatable. 

For main I went for the lamb thali which came with rice, raita, fresh salad and a curried sweet potato and broccoli dish. Portion was generous, the lamb was beautifully tender and had been marinated well so the sweet lamb flavour was still detectable in the gravy. The gravy again was packed with flavour and not overtly spicey. The accompanying peshwari nann was freshly cooked and greatfully received for mopping leftovers. 

We had no room for pudding sadly but we did enjoy some cans from Corks of Cotham as Chai Pani is BYO. 

Pricing wise the dishes are very reasonable, with the special coming in at 8 for a portion and the thalis at £10 each. They also have a cracking Wriggle deal that will leave you waddling down the road for less than £30. BARGAIN. 

Steam bottomless brunch

Steam took over Roo Bar a good year or so ago and has turned it from a dingy student hangout with a heavy love of sports to…well honestly I don’t really understand the decor at all, it’s steam punk meets haunted mansion with some damn fine decking out the front.

Aesthetics aside they have been teaming up with Beats and provide a unique space in Clifton where there is plenty of outdoor seating and room to move around and great public transport links. So far so good.

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Admittedly I am one of those people with a “crap sense of humour” who don’t find their Mother in Law burger amusing and it has put me off going there. Luckily i’m also someone who enjoys getting a bit pissed in the afternoon and has tried most of the other bottomless prosecco brunches in Bristol I swallowed my pride and told some friends to book and come get merry with me.

We nabbed one of their outside benches under a lovely new awning and was presented with a bottle of prosecco, a cool bucket and a really lovely waitress (please give this woman a raise, she’s amazing). The menu choices were good, lots of variants on stuff on bread or stuff on pancakes, good filling stuff. Most of the table went for the “Big Sur”, a take on the Full English, one for fried chicken on pancakes and one for courgette bread with egg and avocado.

 

 

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Courgette toast

 

We had warm pastries served first, blackberry, pecan and custard danishes that had been warmed. Not homemade as far as I could tell but I really wasn’t expecting them to be. They were devoured quickly by the group and all agreed it was a nice start, with leftovers kept for breakfast pudding.

The Big Sur was indeed big, a thick slice of toast with a bubble and squeak patty, sausage patty, bacon, poached eggs, fried potatoes and sides of salsa verde and refried beans. The good – the sausage patty was full of flavour, the toast was buttered generously, bacon crispy and salsa verde/refried beans were a welcome change to the usual beans on a fry up.

The niggles were the poached eggs, which were a touch on the underdone side, but most of the time I will eat the yolk and leave the whites anyway. The bubble and squeak wasn’t fried at all and under seasoned. It would have been great to have h a that fried, thick, brown crust I associate with Sunday evening leftover suppers.

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The prosecco kept coming and that was a major plus as well as the service being fantastic and the brunch being very enjoyable I will go back again. £26.50 was very reasonable for the amount we drank and the quality of the food offered. The place was criminally quiet for a somewhere offering a pleasant outdoor boozy breakfast to be enjoyed with friends and we were encouraged to have another bottle 10mins before our service ended to “enjoy for as long as you like”. I think I rolled in about 3pm…

Get your tickets from Steam via Wriggle for Saturday and Sundays, 11am – 1pm sitting or 1:30pm to 3:30pm sitting.

 

Chicken Kiev Burgers – it’s happening!!

UPDATE – 18/07/2017

Apparently, I have a knack for whining long and hard enough for people to eventually give in (see pizza dips) so here is my plea to the burger barons of Bristol to give me and Bristol what we want.

We have seen the rare meat options in burger restaurants grow,  you can get anything from crocodile to zebra if you want it. You can get beef and chicken too if you prefer. The toppings on offer in some places are things you’d never think of but taste great, green sauce, beef marrow mayo, all the cheeses. These are all great, all modern, all very tasty.

However.

We are are a city ignoring two major things, the stuffed patty and the power of NOSTALGIA. Why we don’t have more things stuffed in burgers is beyond me, for sure pile my burger higher than the Sunday Roast presentation at The Bank Tavern but shove some gooey cheese my burger patty and I’m happy. The benchmark of stuff in things though is the humble and much-maligned chicken Kiev.

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Crunchy breadcrumbs, moist and juicy chicken breast, a hot pocket for molten butter, garlic and herbs used to be a staple tea time treat when I was a kid. We’ve all dabbled with a chicken cordon bleu but it’s never as good as a kiev that’s burst and fried the oven chips in fragrant garlic butter.

So why on earth is no one serving a chicken kiev burger (or chicken kiev, RIP Europa*) is beyond me. I have asked and asked. Others have asked and asked. I have tagged, created debate, posted on both mine and the work account (sometimes having all the passwords means you can do nefarious things) and even MADE MY OWN and still nothing. No one has even replied to tell me to stop bothering them.

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Every bite tasted like angels singing

So Bristol Burger Mafia. As I have been so good all year, please please please can you do a chicken kiev burger? I promise I can bring a lot of people that will at least try it once.

*Lest we forget #ToastGate