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 

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.

 

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

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Asado Burgers – Review

Not another burger restaurant I hear you cry. Well shut up a minute, this one is good. Heavy on the Bristol and South American influence, chef and owner Lucien Gordon is serving his burgers pink & juicy, using organic, high welfare beef and topped with West Country cheese.

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Replacing Rosemarino’s on Colston Street, Asado is the newest burger joint to grace the city. The place has been decked out in greys and yellows which is incredibly eye catching with plenty of seating, a beautiful new bar and steps leading down to the kitchen and loos.

We were greeted by cheery staff and seated with a drink where we had a peek at the menu. I attended a pre-opening evening so had a menu already planned for us but the buttermilk fried chicken certainly caught my eye.

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Firstly we were given chicken wings to share that were chargrilled and moist, with a spicy glaze, pickled chillies, coriander and a gorgeous mint and yoghurt sauce. Although a bit on the small side, perhaps I was spoiled with Carols Crab Kitchen  flavour was there and they were devoured in earnest by the table.

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We were asked beforehand how we wanted our burgers cooked, Asado prides themselves on cooking their beef “pink and juicy” and is served as the standard, however, if you prefer something a bit more well done, that is fine. I usually steer clear of pink burgers in most places, I can’t trust the beef is cooked well enough to not give me a stomach upset. But after hearing about how high quality the beef was and owner Lucien’s Gordon’s cv including Patty and Bun in London, I thought it best to try these burgers as they were intended.

We had a bowl of chips come up first which were plentiful and well seasoned with the advertised rosemary salt. Topped with the house-made mayo and hot sauce, the recipe of which I will trick Lucien out of someday, were a cracking addition and sadly a rarity in restaurants. I perhaps filled up too much on these as well as the wings and the burger felt a challenge when we were presented with it.

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The burger its self is a lot smaller than the monsters we are perhaps used to but what it lacked in circumference it made up with in height and sheer quality. The patty was indeed pink and juicy, too much for my personal taste but everyone else loved it, and had that beautiful charred flavour from the traditional, woodfired asado grill used downstairs. It had a generous topping of bacon and cheese, pickled red onion, tomato, lettuce and sauces of garlic mayo, chimichurri and housemade ketchup. Sadly the bottom bun struggled to stand up to the juice and I ended up with very mucky hands, not that I was that bothered. The burger tasted fantastic and I have been thinking about it ever since. I really look forward to going back to try that Pollo Libre though.

Head to the website here and see for yourself