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: England: Bristol

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: 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

Read all about it: The Times Newseum, the Paintworks

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I’m just back from ten days in beautiful Portugal (much more on that later – so many blog in my head!). There’s nothing like a holiday to make you realise how much you overlook at home. I’ve said it before, but, despite constantly being on the lookout for new bars, restaurants and shops in Bristol, there’s plenty I think about doing and just simply don’t get round to. When you’re on holiday, you want to cram in everything that sounds of interest, because who knows when you’ll be back. Why don’t we apply the same principle at home, especially to temporary exhibitions? So our new resolution is to act more like tourists our my own city. Whether it’s stopping for a rest on a bench by the harbourside to watch the world go by, treating ourselves to a spontaneous drink ‘just because’, going on road trips to nearby towns and countryside, or making sure we actually go to the things we say sound interesting (well, money permitting that is!).

So a day after getting back and still in holiday/resolution mode, we popped down the road to visit Read All About It, The Times‘ ‘Newseum’ exhibition currently in the Paintworks’ event space.

The exhibition explores The Times’ archives and the delivery of news from 1785 to the present. It has displays on key events such as war, photographing Everest and the expedition to climb it, and JFK’s assassination, and features artifacts such as original copy submitted, typewriters, Dictaphones and notebooks. There’s information on codes used for some stories and five animations that compliment the displays. And the photography on display is incredible, too.

In the centre, there’s also a display of smartphones constantly updating with news from outlets such as Reuters and ATP. When seen next to the rest of the exhibition, it really is amazing how immediately we can get information now – and how much of it there is out there.

Bristol Culture Newseum

You can also print off the front page of The Times from a day of your choosing – we went for our birthdays (though realised later that we should have gone for the day after to get the news from our actual birthdays. Oops!). Though if you choose a date before 1965 (I think? Some time about then), the front page will just show notices and advertisements – imagine that selling a paper today!

Although very interesting (and free!), the exhibition is quite small, taking 30-45 minutes or so to get around. It’s also, as you’d expect, Times-centric, concentrating on how they delivered the news and big stories for them and so it’s certainly not a comprehensive discussion on the evolution of news delivery. For example, I don’t think I saw a single mention of blogging or Tweeting, even though there are probably some comparisons to be made (for example, one correspondent in the ’80s got travellers to deliver censored information – I suppose travellers blogging and tweeting about countries they go to, things they’ve seen from places where news, and certainly uncensored news, isn’t so forthcoming might be today’s equivalent?).

As such, although interesting, the exhibition’s probably not worth a special trip from too far away unless you’ve got an interest in journalism, or the history of the news. That said, that does kind of contradict my new ‘go and see something if you think it sounds interesting’ mentality, so if you like the sound of it ignore me and go! And it’s absolutely worth popping into if you’re in the area. Alternatively, you could make it into a bit of a day trip and combine the exhibition with a drink in Bocabar upstairs, a wander round Arnos Vale or a visit to some of the many other lovely places in nearby Totterdown/Knowle.

Overall, if you overlook the Times-promoting-y/probable data gathering-ness, this is an interesting exhibition. A few gaps as you’d expect but worth your time if in the area or you’re interested in the subject area.

Details
Read all about it! The secrets behind the news, The Times Newseum
Website: http://www.paintworksevents.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-item/view/heroes-and-villains-exhibition/
Entry free
Open 10-6, until 9 July
The Paintworks Event Space, Bristol, BS4 3EH

Photo Credits
Middle and bottom: Bristol Culture
Top: My own, please credit if using

Times-newseum-Paintworks-Bristol

 

 

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

 

Balloons!

One of my favourite things about living in Bristol is how, on a clear day, you’re almost guaranteed to see a hot air balloon or three floating in the sky.

And sometimes, on a really special night, you can be sat in the garden with a cup of tea and ten will glide past – a mini balloon fiesta – passing so close that you can hear the roar of the fire in the basket.

You’d think I’d be bored or at least complacent about them by now, but no – and hopefully I never will be. I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something about a hot air balloon that never fails to make me smile.

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