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

Hubbox is open! 

After much excitement from my Cornish colleague, Hubbox have finally flung open the doors to their newest restaurant after a successful expansion through the South West. Hubbox has taken over the Las Iguanas site on Whiteladies Road and it’s unrecognisable, gone are the bright latin¬†themes and have been replaced with a familiar vibe. Dark, neon, tin signs on the wall, booths and a back bar heavy on the bourbon with modern tunes pumping loudly from the PA, it definitely feels like a cool place to be.

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They’ve kept the opening front windows which were a popular feature with the previous restaurant and is a tempting place to sit and drink the Hubbox version of a snakebite, a far classier affair than the one I remember from 12years ago. Otherwise, a good selection of craft beer is available from Harbour, Tiny Rebel and Siren etc, decent wines and of course Aperol Spritz in generous glasses.

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I only tried a few nibbles and so can’t comment on too much but we all agreed the beef patties were full of juicy flavour, the blue cheese and mushroom topped one being a favourite. There were also nachos, fried courgette chips, fried chicken, hotdogs and chicken nuggets. We also tried the Crack Pie which I’ve not had in ages and it was very sweet and very good. Topped with, of course, clotted cream, what a treat. Definitely¬†will be back to try a proper meal and see if the Cornish can do burgers as well as they do pasties.

Where –¬†113 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2PB

Website 

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Naasto Baasto Popup Kitchen

This is Indian food that I would guess most of you haven’t tried before!

Monica Patel is hosting an afternoon of traditional Gujarati home cooking at Bristol Spirit in Redfield. Monica and her mother will be preparing a feast of food using recipes handed down to her by generations of her family.

Monica says that; ‚ÄúNaasto Baasto is a tribute to my ba (grandmother) – who was a wonderful strong woman, and the most caring wife, mum and grandmother. As a homage to the hostess with the mostest, mum and I will be cooking some of our favourite Gujarati dishes, and we‚Äôll be turning Bristol Spirit into my grandparent‚Äôs home for the afternoon. Our guests will experience proper Gujju hospitality – recipes which have been passed down for generations, cooked with love and passion. Humble, authentic and largely vegetarian.”

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There will be a set menu costing ¬£25.00 per head. Guests can buy either a meat or veggie ticket option. The puris, chapatis, and kachori all contain gluten. You can let us know if you’d like a dairy free option after purchasing tickets. Tickets can be purchased through the Bristol Spirit Website here

All dishes will have suggested pairings of Espensen Spirit cocktails, local beers, wines or mocktails – these are not included in the ticket price.

The menu can be found via the link and I can assure you that I am positively counting down the days to get my hand on some traditional thali!

Find Naasto Baasto on Twitter and Facebook!

Bristol Pudding Society ¬†@ Bristol Spirit

I’ve been a wee bit quiet on here of late. Mostly due to starting my new job in March which is taking up all of my time during the day. I’m not complaining about that AT ALL, my old job had me sitting around doing nothing for a lot of my time. Despite people assuming that would be a dream come true, it was dull.

Apart from starting a new job and basically being a boss at it, I also started a Pudding Society . I’d seen them mentioned in the past, there’s a hotel that runs one that myself and a friend wanted to go to, but without a car and a bag full of cash, it quickly became one of those “one-day” things. I lamented the lack of pudding dedicated evening in Bristol on Twitter and was told to do it myself. So I did.

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Luckily a good friend owns a lovely bar called Bristol Spirit with a brand new kitchen and gorgeous seating area. I floated the idea past her and she was game for a challenge. Location sorted I just needed a menu and some customers.

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I decided to go down the “homely Sunday Lunch” pudding route as I am a home cook, not a chef. Bristol Pudding Society  is not the place to go to if you want a twiddly sugar work encasing a delicate something or other, I want this to be somewhere you eat to excess and don’t mind I have the serving aptitude of a dinner lady.

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I completed my first “service” on Sunday and it went brilliantly. It couldn’t have gone better and everyone left feeling stuffed and a wee bit drunk in some cases after pairing their courses with Bristol Spirit’s fine cocktails.

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Sam and I have agreed to make this a regular thing and I am now a resident pop-up, words I never thought I would say. I am finally starting something that’s my very own that people actually want to come to!

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If you would like tickets, head over to my website and click the link. At the time of writing, we still have space for 9th July and 6th August. Magic!

I also had a lot of people ask me how to make the Beetroot Ketchup, obviously, they need to read my blog more often!

Massive thank you to friends that let me use their pics for my promotion, I forgot to take any.

 

Bristol Spirit – Open for business

If you haven’t picked up on the buzz surrounding Espensen Spirit in the last few months you have possibly had your head in a cave or you don’t drink. The flavoured and perfectly packaged gins and vodkas made by Sam Espensen and Phil Gillies hit the shelves just before Christmas and have been winging their way to homes and bars in the South West with great aplomb!

wp-1484067032119.jpgAlong with the the Espensen Sprit range the pair have also set their eyes on opening a bar beneath the office premises, previously Cafe Des Amis, in Redfield adding a welcome new venue for the area.

Tickets for their “Bowie Brunch” Saturday 14th Jan, have been selling quickly and promises fantastic food from resident chef and manager Oliver Tidman of Mathilda’s Chilli fame and Bowie records spun by DJ Madam Gibbo.

From the 20th Jan, the venue aims to be open 3 days a week (Thursday, Friday and Saturdays) selling Middle Eastern themed small plates and drinks and, from February, cakes and coffees in the morning. They will also be renting the kitchen and space to pop ups, run ticketed events, plan to have roasts and even have a gallery area for showcase some of the best artists Bristol have to offer. wp-1484067056857.jpg

To apply for gallery or pop up space send an email to Info@espensenspirit.com