Bristol vs the world

A travel (and sometimes fashion) blog about exploring Bristol and the rest of the world, one post at a time.

Category: Food Friday

Food Friday: Chomp, Bristol

Chomp Bristol Interior

Unless it’s work-related, I have issues making decisions. It takes me longer than most to decide whether to take a colleague up on the offer of tea and I have to decide on my outfit the night before so I’m not late for car share. This is part of the reason we organised a wedding so quickly – if we’d looked at too many venues, considered too many dates, thought too much about any of it – then it wouldn’t be happening. I don’t even want to know what would have happened if I’d gone to more than one dress shop. (Seriously, you didn’t see the conversation I had with my bridesmaids about trying to choose a dress fabric for them.)

So long menus can send me into something of a spin, often leading to making a decision under pressure. Sometimes this works out well, but on many occasions – even if I enjoy my own meal – I have ended up with food envy of the person/people who ordered the other dish/es I was considering.

Chomp is therefore something of a relief. As you might expect from a restaurant (and former food cart) that sums itself up as ‘beef. beer. bourbon’, it has chosen to do a few things, well. Those few things being steak and burgers (vegetarian and beef), with the option of two starters and one pudding to bookend the meal.

Chomp Bristol Black Pudding Beignets

We delved into one of those starters, the black pudding beignets – essentially balls of black pudding coated in batter with (if I remember rightly) a Bearnaise dipping sauce. The black pudding possibly had the smoothest texture of any I’ve ever tasted, and the batter was perfectly crisp with no greasiness to it.

The portion was relatively generous; we shared between three, which was fine if you just wanted to try one or two – but if you’re starving hungry then maybe order a few more.

Chomp Bristol Burgers

However you’ll want to still be full enough to enjoy your main: the burger at Chomp is up there as one of my all-time favourites, juicy and served perfectly pink (though you could, I think, ask for them to be more well done). Refreshingly, chips and house ‘slaw are included in the price (£10 before toppings) – both of which were delicious. We unanimously concluded that the chips were the best of the burger restaurants we’d tried between us in the area. And while we all went for the meat option so I can’t offer an opinion on the veggie burger, I’ve read equally good things about it.

And although the menu options are limited, there are a few toppings options that you can add to your burger for £1 each, from black pudding to Stilton to jalapenos. You can also add a second patty for £2, or sides of onion rings and/or chilli cheese fries if you’re really starving.

The drinks menu is even more extensive. There’s a good selection of beers and bourbons and a few wines. My only criticism would be that there’s only one cider on offer (and in Bristol, too), but I did like that you can order 2/3 of a pint (give me a whole one, and everyone will be staring at me, waiting for – and willing – me to finish, by the end of the meal). They’re not cheap either: draft pints start at £4.50, and a small (125ml) glass of wine will set you back at least £3.

The only other negative was that it was a little dark in there (for some reason, the seemingly-very-in-at-the-moment industrial lighting didn’t seem to be on). On the plus side, I did like the addition of the fake grass along the back of the booth-style seating, and the friendly-but-not-intrusive service.

So while Bristol isn’t exactly short of burger restaurants, Chomp definitely deserves to be high up your list next time you’re looking for a place to enjoy a patty.

Chomp Bristol Interior

The Details
Chomp
10 St Nicholas Street, Bristol, BS1 1UQ
http://www.chompgrill.co.uk/

Opening Hours
Tues-Thurs: 12-2:30/6-11:30 (last food orders 9)
Fri – Sat: 12-3/6-11:30 (last food orders 10)
Sun: 12-3/6-10 (last food orders 9)
Closed Mondays

Booking
Email jake@chompgrill.co.uk/Call 01179 293322
(I got a speedy response via email)

Picture Credits
Once again, I forgot my camera, so pics are shamelessly borrowed from the following:
Header – Chomp Interior: Bristol Post
Black Pudding Beignets: HannahVJones on Tripadvisor
Classic Burgers: Don B on Yelp
Second/Final interior pic: Bristol 247

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Food Friday: Ultracomida, Narbeth

Ultracomida Narberth

You’d think that on the 27th December, stuffing yourself with more food would be the last on anybody’s priority list. But I challenge the fullest of people to remain unhungry after setting foot inside the Ultracomida Delicatessan in Narbeth, Wales.

This lovely Pembrokeshire market town isn’t wanting for cute and quaint shops and restaurants, and from the outside Ultracomida doesn’t immediately jump out. Until you look through the window and start drooling over the selection of meats and cheeses and sweets and other Spanish goodies on display.

And then, at the back of the shop, is the Ultracomida restaurant. And while might look relatively simple (in a nice way), the food is anything but plain.

Between five of us, we polished off the berenjas con miel (cumin roasted aubergines with honey), meatballs, chipirones (breaded, fried squid served with alioli), tortilla, the cheese and meat platters, patatas bravas, and of course some olives and breads. Although all were delicious, my personal favourites were probably the aubergines and chipirones – even my squid-averse sister enjoyed the latter (though let’s be honest, who can dislike anything served with alioli).

Ultracomida Narbeth

And despite the amount of food we’d consumed in the last few days, we couldn’t resist finishing off with the hot chocolate – so thick you had to eat it with a spoon (quite frankly, I don’t understand why this isn’t the norm). Sadly there were no churros available to dunk (representative photo of what they would have looked like in the photo above, to demonstrate chocolate thickness), but it was still delicious. I also may have tried some (a lot) of my Dad’s turrón selection – mainly the one that was described as being a bit like peanut butter. Being a big peanut butter fan, I am slightly biased, but oh my goodness it was amazing.

Ultracomida Narbeth
Sadly the lack of availability was a bit of a theme; visiting towards the end of their opening hours for the day (and possibly due to the time of year), a lot of the dishes had sold out and I think our meat and cheese platters were possibly just made up of what they could pull together. We enjoyed the food we had, but if you want to make sure you get your pick of the dishes then I recommend getting there early.

That minor quibble aside, Ultracomida is well worth a visit next time you’re in the Tenby area. Friendly service, relaxed and unpretentious surroundings and really good food – perfect!

And despite how full you are by the end, I challenge you to not be tempted to take a souvenir of your meal home from you when leaving through the deli.

UltraComida Narberth

The Details
Ultracomida
7 High Street, Narbeth, SA67 7AR
http://www.ultracomida.co.uk/page/restaurants/narberth
Open Monday-Saturday, 10-5pm (last orders 4:30pm). Deli open until 6.
Closed Sundays

Photos all courtesy of Gourmet Gorro

Food Friday: Sticks n Broth, Bristol

Sticks n Broth, Bristol, interior

One way to tell that I really, really like somewhere is if I don’t just want to go back, but want to show off my ‘find’ to other people. I find myself repeatedly taking visitors to Bristol to the Thali Cafe and Bocabar, and am always looking for an opportunity to take my parents to Arnos Vale (they just won’t believe that a walk round a cemetry makes for such a pleasant few hours. I’ll show them, one day).

A recent addition to this list is Sticks n Broth, a relatively new restaurant on Baldwin Street specialising in Japanese ramen (noodles) and yakitori (skewered food). We were actually introduced by friends, and not long after suggested going there with John’s parents before going to a comedy gig at Colston Hall (Dave Gorman, in case you’re wondering. It was brilliant).

sticksbrothoutside

Between visits, we have (I think) tried a variety of both the donburi and ramen dishes, and are yet to be disappointed. The food is fresh and the portion sizes extremely generous – they don’t scrimp on the meat and just fill you up with noodles, rice and vegetables, you get more than enough of everything. There’s also a good drink selection, including a number of Japanese/Asian beers. I was eyeing up the smaller dishes too, which all smelled and looked amazing. Maybe next time…

sticksbrothbeer

Service is fast, friendly and relaxed. Talking of which, I have to give the team a shout-out; we left an engagement card here on our first visit. I emailed thinking there was no chance of getting it back, and they initially couldn’t find it. However a few days later they emailed again saying it had turned up, and to pop by any time. Thank you team – especially Richard.

Back to the restaurant; small and often busy, it can get a little loud, but not so much so that we felt uncomfortable or even that it wasn’t parent-friendly. And despite it being a small, busy restaurant – you aren’t rushed through your meal. A good thing, considering the portion sizes (and for us less-dexterous, as you might be using chopsticks).

sticksbrothfood2

Talking of chopsticks, a word of advice: don’t be too proud to take any knife you’re offered, or to ask for one – particularly if you’re going for something like the big porky ramen. Trying to slice up a hunk of pork with chopsticks is not easy (I was too proud. And I may, therefore, have resorted to using fingers to break up food. In front of my future parents-in-law. Fortunately they’re the relaxed, non-judgemental types, but still…).

Sticks n Broth’s dishes are unlike anything else I’ve tasted in restaurants over here (which means I’ve either been frequenting the wrong restaurants or other places are seriously missing a trick). The dishes seem fresher, the flavours of each ingredient crisper, than other places. Having never been to Japan, I can’t vouch for its authenticity, but it tastes good and that’s the main them; the ultimate proof being that it converted former ramen virgins (John’s parents).

While it’s not budget, dishes cost £10-£14 (most being £10-£12), which I think is pretty good value considering the portion sizes.

Whether you’re a seasoned ramen fan or new to Japanese foods, this is one to add to your Bristol ‘to visit’ list. And when you go, there’s a good chance you might see us there, introducing more friends and family to their delicious broths.

Useful Info
Sticks n Broth, 48-52 Baldwin Street, Bristol, BS1 1QB
Tel: 0117 925 5397
Bookings taken
Food served 12-11 Mon-Thurs (drinks served until 12), 12-‘late’ Fri & Sat
Closed Sundays
Main menu (excluding the smaller, starter-style dishes) can be found here

All pictures taken from the Sticks n Broth website.

sticksbrothfood1

Food Friday: Lisbon eats part II (3 years later)

We visited Lisbon three years ago, and, as I wrote about our visit then (well, on another blog and I kind of just brought the post over here), another city-overview post might be a bit of overkill. But I can assure you that we weren’t disappointed with our decision to spend a few days revisiting the city at the beginning of our recent Portugal adventure.

We did have a few new discoveries on our trip though: firstly nearby Sintra, and also lots of lovely restaurants. More on the former soon, but as it’s Friday today, I make it Food Friday! So here’s Lisbon Eats: Part 2!

Fumeiro de Santa Catarina Fumeiro This little restaurant is tucked away on the corner of two quiet streets in the Santa Catarina area (near Bairro Alto); we were staying five minutes away, yet if it wasn’t for Tripadvisor’s ‘best nearby’ feature, I doubt we’d have discovered it.

Each dish at Fumeiro de Santa Catarina is contains a smoked element (smoking meat is an Iberian tradition – but it might not be the meat that gets smoked here). It’s not quite tapas, but plates are small – our waitress recommended we ordered three between the two of us, which was enough, but we probably could have fit more in if we wanted to gorge – or couldn’t make up our minds (which looked to be the case for some of our fellow diners).

We went for the roasted vegetables with mozerella, broad beans with ham, and octopus in a barbeque vinegarette. They were all delicious; the smokeyness really added something to all the dishes (I particularly enjoyed the flavour it gave to the aubergine), without being overpowering. However the octopus was definitely the star of the show.

Mozerella and vegetables Fumeiro Santa CatarinaOctopus at Fumeiro de Santa Catarina, LisbonBroad beans fumeiro

Service was friendly and prices were good; two (small) alcoholic drinks, three mains and olives came to under €30. (As with many European restaurants, the extras they place on the table aren’t free, but the olives were worth it. We resisted the very nice looking cheeses, so I’m not sure how much they would have cost, but the olives were just €1 so don’t worry too much about tucking into them.) Even on a Wednesday night, the restaurant was full by 8:30/8:45ish (still on English-eating time, we turned up at 7:30 when it was just us and one other couple – the Portuguese eat much later than us Brits). So it’s probably worth a reservation if you want to guarantee yourself a spot past 8. Also worth noting is that they can’t take overseas bank cards and the nearest cash machine is just under ten minutes away, so make sure you’re stocked up on Euros before visiting.

Great food and an interesting experience in a relaxed atmosphere, Fumeiro de Santa Catarina is a must-visit if you’re in the Bairro Alto or Santa Catarina area – and well worth making a trip for even if you’re not.

The Details

Fumeiro de Santa Catarina
Travessa do alcaide, 4C
Open Tuesday – Saturday, 19:00 – 00:30
Telephone: 92 640 9775 – 213471002
Website: https://www.facebook.com/fumeirosantacatarina/info

Mercado-da-Ribeira_Time-Out

Mercada da Ribeiro
The one change we did notice about Lisbon was that the area we were staying in – particularly Rua Boavista – seemed to be at the beginning of a process of gentification. Among the old ginja bars and pastelerias was a furniture store full of ‘hip’ furniture, an electric car shop and a shabby-chic style bar complete with table football which seemed to attract a younger crowd than the surrounding places. The older, more traditional outlets still far outnumber the ‘cool’ ones, but I couldn’t help wondering if this was the next ‘cool’ Lisbon neighbourhood (if it’s not already).

The nearby Mercado da Ribeira development has certainly helped add kudos to the surrounding area. The 19th-century building itself isn’t new; it has been home to the traditional market for many years. But the new Time Out development in another part of the building only opened a few months ago and it’s clearly already a popular hangout. The Mercado is like a massive, upmarket food court, hosting a number of stalls from well-known Portuguese restaurants, and five with food by their top chefs. You grab your food and sit down on a stool at one of the communal benches – although it looked pretty busy both times we visited (3pm for lunch, and 9pm for dinner. Yes, on the same day), we managed to grab two seats together both times – though it was much easier at lunch.

I say grab your food, but there’s a bit more waiting involved than in your typical food stand. It’s made fresh to order in front of you, leaving your mouth watering. But if there’s likely to be a long wait (in the evening, our meals took 20/25 minutes or so) they’ll hand out a buzzer that’ll go off when the food is ready, so you can relax in your seat and take in the atmosphere instead of hanging around at the stand.

Most of the stands also serve drinks, but there’s also a bar in the centre of the room – with ‘self-service’ beer!

Cozinha de Felicidade

At lunchtime, we sampled Cozinha da Felicidade. I had the scrambled eggs on bread with sausage, which was amazing. The sausage was really meaty and gamey and the bread was gorgeous. John’s meal trumped it though – a meaty ‘pie’, but with mashed potato instead of pastry – very fuzzy photo above (apologies). (Though the Portuguese menu I’ve found describes it as a ‘Rosti de batata’ – potato rosti – which is probably a more accurate description.). My food was great, but I still had food envy. In the evening we went for Cafe de Sao Bento, the outpost of a well-known restaurant in the city once voted the best steak in Lisbon. John went for the steak sandwich, whereas I decided I had to sample the ‘steak sao bento’, which came in a creamy sauce that was almost like a less-rich bearnaise. (I plumped for the rib eye as it was by far the cheapest cut on the menu, but other options were available). We both thought our meals were on the well done side of medium, so if you prefer more pink to your meat then do ask for it medium-rare or rare. Otherwise both dishes were excellent; I definitely wasn’t trying to spoon the remainder of my sauce into my mouth at the end (and by spoon, I mean try and get a substantial amount onto a fork)…

Cafe Sao Bento Mercado RibeiraCafe Sao Bento Mercado Ribeira

If you fancy a more traditional restaurant experience, there’s a couple of outlets on the outside with terraces and tables. There’s also a gelataria and pastelaria for dessert and a cocktail bar if you don’t fancy the self-service beer.

On a Thursday night, the room seemed full of a huge mix of people from families to young and old groups of friends catching up, to couples to tourists. It was lively, loud and a great way to sample some of the local restaurants and chefs in an informal atmosphere – and ideal if you and your party are at odds about what you fancy for dinner that evening.

The details
Mercado da Ribeira
Avenida 24 de Julho, Cais do Sodré

Opening Hours
Sun-Weds: 10am-12midnight
Thurs-Sat: 10am-2am

View from Ibo, Lisbon

Ibo
We ummed and ahed about Ibo. It had good reviews and plenty of very positive blogposts about it. We love curries. It overlooked the water. But it was expensive, especially for Portugal. Eventually we decided to spoil ourselves. This turned out to be the best food-related decision of the holiday.

Sat in a former warehouse on the waterfront behind Cais do Sodre station, Ibo’s menu is inspired by Mozambican and Portuguese dishes: think seafood curries, fish dishes and steaks. I had the prawn curry, which came with rice and two condiments (some of the best chutney and lime pickle I have ever tasted). John went for the octopus fillet with beans and coriander rice. Both dishes were amazing – fresh and full of flavour, and mine had a hint of spice without it being overpowering.

wpid-img_20140627_195501.jpg
wpid-img_20140627_195519.jpg

And then there were the desserts. I tried the caramelized banana with cream ice-cream and sesame seed brittle, while John plumped for wild berry cheesecake. There aren’t enough adjectives to do justice to these meals so let’s just say that they tasted even better than they looked.

Ibo dessert

Ibo dessert

Coming in at around €60 for poppadoms, two mains, two desserts and a glass of wine (they ask you what you like, whether you’re happy with house white or more, bring out a suggestion and check whether you like it), Ibo’s not exactly a budget option. But considering the quality of the food and the location (we watched the sun begin to set over the river as we ate, the area relatively quiet save for the occasional passing cyclist, runner or walker), I certainly wouldn’t say it’s overpriced. The perfect place if you’re a curry and/or seafood fan after a slightly more ‘special’ meal in Lisbon.

Ibo

The details
Ibo
Cais do Sodre (behind the train station)
Website: http://www.ibo-restaurante.pt/
Opening Hours:
Tues-Thurs: 12:30pm-15:30pm; 19.30pm-11pm
Fri-Sat: 12:30pm-17:30pm; 19:30pm-01:00am
Sunday: 12.30pm-15.30pm
Closed Sunday evenings, Mondays

Park bar Lisbon

Where to drink
We loved Park, situated on top of a multistory carpark in the area where Santa Catarina meets Bairro Alto. We initially went to watch Portugal’s last world cup group game, but the television was in a covered area and we couldn’t resist the lure of the terrace overlooking the streets below and the river and 25th of April bridge beyond. Complemented by table service and a soothing soundtrack, Park is the perfect place for a relaxed couple of drinks after a day’s sightseeing.

The Details
Park
Calçada do Combro 58
Open every day, 13:00-02:00

Image Credits
Fumeiro de Santa Catarina interior: Fumeiro de Santa Catarina’s Facebook page, by Beatriz Tomáz
Mercado de Ribeira Portuguese Independent News
All other images my own, please credit if using.

(If you want to see where we ate last time, I wrote about them too. However this was three years ago, so I can’t still vouch for their quality.)

Food Friday: The Gallimaufry, Gloucester Road, Bristol

The Gallimaufry, Bristol

Home to a host of independent shops and restaurants, and some really excellent charity shops, Gloucester Road is a favourite haunt of many Bristolians. Yet in 18 months of living in the city, I had never explored the area. I had even, once, made it as far as Enso Martial Arts on Cheltenham Road (which eventually becomes Gloucester Road), but for 6 Nations/pub-related reasons, didn’t venture any further.

So a few weeks ago, on a sunny Saturday, John and I decided to be Bristol tourists and venture into this, to us unknown, area of North Bristol.

It was soon clear why we don’t really come here. Stokes Croft to Cheltenham Road to Gloucester Road isn’t a short walk, especially after running errands in town. So by the time we made it to Gloucester Road, we were already thinking about our stomachs! Having heard and read many positive things about the Gallimaufry (or ‘Galli’), we made an uncharacteristically quick decision to settle down there for lunch.

origami

I could immediately see why this pub/restaurant is so popular. We walked into a wooden-floored, wooden-tabled bar, with mis-matched sofas and soft chairs at one end and origami animals hanging from the ceiling. Simple and charming, without feeling try-hard/fake chabby-chic/twee.

(There’s also seating outside if you can nab it (we couldn’t), or a ‘proper’ restaurant upstairs.)

Another great thing about the Galli is their local connections. They encourage local artists, and musicians can participate in open mic nights. All ingredients are ethically sourced, and mostly from Bristol-based companies. All ingredients are ethically sourced, and mostly from Bristol-based companies.

And I can vouch that the food is not only ethical, but tasty too. Eating from the ‘brunch’ menu, John and I both went for the shredded pork sandwich (£7) with triple cooked chips (£3). The sandwich came served on doorstop-style bread slices and was perfectly cooked with very little fat. Regular readers might know that I’m fussy about my chips but these were amazing. Just the right amount and combination of crunch on the outside and fluffiness on the in. You know food’s good when you’re absolutely stuffed but you just don’t want to stop eating!

The Galli also has a decent selection of beers on offer too, including a couple from Bristol Beer Factory. The cider selection was less extensive but still decent.

Excellent food, friendly service and a relaxed atmosphere; despite it being far from home (in central-ish-Bristol terms), I’ll definitely be paying the Galli a repeat visit.

The Details
The Gallimaufry
26-28 The Promenade, Gloucester Road, Bristol, BS7 8AL
Website: http://thegallimaufry.co.uk/

Image Credits
Header image, origami image: The Gallimaufry’s website
Sofas/tables interior image: Food with Mustard
Bar interior image: Courtesy of Tripadvisor

The Gallimaufry, Bristol

The Gallimaufry, Bristol