Bristol vs the world

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

Tag: food

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

 

Food Friday: Ode to the Chippy

Fish and Chips

Dear Local Chippy,

I read an article today, discussing how chip shops are undergoing a revolution. I’m fine with that, I really am. I’m all up for making sure fish is sustainably caught and freshly cooked (though I think you’re already doing that, to be honest). Even if I’m more of a battered sausage girl myself.

But don’t go going too cool on us, will you? Not like all those burger joints where you have to queue for hours to get into. Don’t forget that the burger is American: it’s overconfident, it knows it can be big and bold and flashy. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, not if you can pull it off. But you, fish & chips, are the British national dish. You can’t quite get away with it. You’re just too humble, almost to the point of self-deprecation, always in disbelief that you are quite so loved.

You are, should always be, those small takeaways with white-tiled walls. Where we queue for our dinner and wait for it to be doled out in paper growing increasingly transparent from grease, careful to not look the other people waiting in the eye. You are the shop I leave with my mouth watering and my hair smelling of vinegar.

I like how you serve my mushy peas in a Styrofoam cup and I like it when you give me piles of the crispy, orange-brown chip ends you hardly ever get in a pub or restaurant (or not enough, anyway). I like how your batter is as thick as the meat it covers and how it crunches when I bite it. I like how you drown my chips in oil and vinegar and grease that drips down my fingers as I eat.

I like that your food works as well in front of the telly on a cold Friday night as it does on a British beach in summer. Even if the latter does involve fending off seagulls with a wooden fork.

I like how you don’t need sexy-sounding names, like those cool burger places. Your names are fun instead, like ‘Paul’s Plaice’ and ‘Frying Nemo’ and ‘Codfather’.

I know you’re not all as good as one another. I know some chip shops don’t quite have the batter recipe right, or don’t deep-fry the chips quite long enough (or maybe it’s too long?) so they’re too soggy, too chewy, not-quite-the-right flavour. I know it’s not easy doing what you do well.
Chippy, I know we’re both too British to be comfortable with me expressing too many emotions about why I like you. So I’ll just say that you’re doing well just as you are. Don’t go changing too much.

See you soon,

Amy

Visiting Bristol this summer and fancy trying the British national dish? My personal favourites are Farrow’s Fish & Chips in Totterdown and Crispies. But others I’ve seen recommended are Fishminister in Southville, Bishopston Fish Bar in Horfield, Argus Fish Bar in Bedminster. Bristolians – where are your favourites?

Image Credit
Fish & Chips: Alamy/Simon Belcher via The Guardian

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Food Friday: Breakfasting in Copenhagen

When I’m not gobbling granola (/spilling it on my work clothes) in a rush to get out of the house, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. Especially on holiday: waking up slowly with a tea and well-cooked food has to be one of life’s simplest, greatest pleasures.

Although we ate a couple of ‘boring’ breakfasts in our apartment (well, if you can call Coco Pops from a flipping variety pack boring), we made room for a few Danish pastries too. Here’s a round-up of the spots we found.

Granola Interior via Red Matter
Breakfast at Granola, Copenhagen

Granola
Værnedamsvej 5
1819 Frederiksberg C
If someone said ‘imagine a 50’s American-style soda fountain without plastic, and designed by a Dane’, I’d be picturing something a little like the gorgeous Granola. It’s not only pretty, though; Granola wasn’t just my favourite breakfast in Copenhagen – it jostles for a place in my list of best ones of all time. And considering I take the first meal of the day very seriously, that’s no mean feat. Our ‘sweet’ breakfast platter consisted of yoghurt with compote and granola, fresh fruit, a pancake-y/french bread concoction, toast and – best of all – a home-made, Nutella-esque chocolate spread with actual nuts on top. (I later found out you can buy this to take home. Gutted I did not know this earlier.). My fruit smoothie was also excellent. Smaller breakfasts are available, as is a savoury larger breakfast. Or if you’re feeling really hungry you can get a sweet-savoury combination. Also open for lunch and dinner, if you fancy returning for one of their ‘hard’ shakes.

Breakfast from Bagerdygtigt, Istedgade, Copenhagen
Bagerdygtigt, Istedgade, Copenhagen

Bagerdygtigt, Istedgade, Copenhagen

Bagerdygtigt
Istedgade 120
1650 KØBENHAVN V
Did you know Danes don’t call Danish Pastries Danish Pastries? They call them ‘wienerbrød’ (Vienna bread).

Whatever you want to call them, the Danes do make them well and this friendly bakery, 5-10 minutes from ‘our’ apartment, was no exception. The perfect combination of being really tasty without being too sweet or sickly. We chose to take ours back at the flat, but there was also plenty of space to eat in.

 

Breakfast at Andersen Bakery, Copenhagen

Andersen Bakery
Three premises, by Tivoli Gardens (Bernstorffsgade 5), and in Frederiksberg (Gl. Kongevej 148) and Osterbro (Østerbrogade 103)
Continuing the unexpected pastry facts, the original incarnation of this well-known Danish bakery was actually in Hiroshima, Japan, way back in 1962; the founder, Shunsuke Takaki, was inspired by a trip to Denmark a few years before.

But while that’s interesting, what you really need to know is that there’s a reason pretty much every website, blog and guidebook recommends this bakery. The ever-so-flattering-and-cool photo just about sums it up. And I was possibly even more happy once I’d tucked in to the pastries. Not a bad way to start a birthday.

Photo Credits
Granola Interior: Red Matter via Pinterest
Bagerdygtigt interiors Bagerdygtigt’s Facebook page
Granola food, Bagerdygtigt food, Andersen Bakery breakfast: My own, please credit if using.

Next Food Friday: Lunches and Dinners

Food Friday: Cheap eats in Singapore

As I mentioned in my last post, Singapore isn’t exactly a budget travel destination. The prices aren’t quite London standards, but they certainly don’t tally with what you expect from the majority of South-east Asia.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat well on the cheap. Instead of heading to a restaurant, seek out the city’s hawker centres – huge food courts selling Singapore’s version of street food (actual on-street food carts don’t really exist here – these hawker centres are Singapore’s way of regulating them and, I imagine, helping to keep their deserved squeaky clean reputation). Not only are they well-priced – you’re looking at less than £10 for a meal for two with drinks – but they’re also an unmissable experience in themselves. Buzzing and busy, they’re where the locals meet and you could find yourself sharing a table with a huge range of interesting people. In fact, it was thanks to the Chinese family sat next to us in one food court that I discovered lime juice (so. good.). Even if you end up with a table to yourself, these are perfect places for people watching.

In fact, all factors combined, I’d probably go as far say that the hawker centre experiences were some of my highlights of our time in Singapore.

Top tip for hawker centres? As everyone will tell you, the longer the line at the stand, the better the food. So don’t be tempted by convenience (you’re on holiday, what’s the rush?!) and instead make time to queue up – it’ll probably be worth it!

We tried out five different food courts – here are my thoughts. (NB. I’m a rubbish blogger and forgot to write down the name of the stalls we tried, so I’ve concentrated more on the atmosphere and experience than food itself. TripAdvisor contains some great reviews with stall recommendations, however, as do blogs – or you could just do as we did and gamble!)


Maxwell Road Hawker Centre, Chinatown
Although not as busy as some of the more central centres, Maxwell Road is still quite well-known on the tourist circuit. Due to a jet-lag induced late morning nap on our arrival in Singapore, we visited relatively late for lunch so had no problems with queues or finding a table, but I’ve read reviews that suggest there can be. Not the most atmospheric of the food courts we visited, but this was probably because it wasn’t as busy. But the food is excellent – we both had (very generous portions of) seafood rice, which I’d highly recommend if I could remember the name of the stand… At this point we hadn’t discovered the joys of the fresh drinks on offer, so were boring and went for canned drinks so I can’t offer advice on them.



Tiong Bahru Market
Making the most of our unlimited SMRT journey tickets, I convinced John that we should make a trip to the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood so I could visit Books Actually (deserving of a post in itself). And OK, I also quite wanted to see the shop that only sells glass-less glasses (the area is like the Singapore Shoreditch). As we were in the area, we decided to stop in a Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre for dinner, which I’d read good things about; many local bloggers claim to make special journeys here from far-off (or as far-off as you can get in Singapore) districts. This certainly appeared to be the case on our visit; even mid-week, we noticed a lot of people arriving and leaving by taxi. It certainly felt more ‘local’ and less touristy than the other centres we visited, though the same could be said for the Tiong Bahru area in general.
Tiong Bahru hawker centre is also, in its way, an historical destination. Although, as mentioned above, Singapore doesn’t really have ‘street food’ any more, it used to be a big problem for the city. Tiong Bahru market – originally Seng Poh – was the first of these regulated centres, opening in 1950. With just one floor, the centre was quite different to the one you visit today. Renovated between 2004 and 2006, it is now a multi-story experience that can seat up to 1,400 diners at any one time. To put it into perspective, the UK’s biggest restaurant (Bristol’s Za Za Bazaar) seats up to 1,000.

Despite its size, Tiong Bahru hawker centre wasn’t as intimidating an experience as you might expect. Possibly because this was the quietest of the centres we visited – a lot of stalls were closed in the evening so if there’s a particular stand you want to try then I’d recommend a lunchtime visit. However the food we tried – chilli tofu for me and a rice dish for John – was probably some of the most flavour-full we had in Singapore.




Tekka Centre Food Court, Little India
Brightly-coloured buildings on hot, dusty roads: Little India feels like a world away from the rest of Singapore and is a must-visit. While you’re here, be sure to visit the local food court, which is close to the SMRT station exit. Although not quite fair to judge (it was the only centre we visited for lunch rush-hour, which appears to be the busiest time for the centres), this was also definitely the liveliest of those we ate at. Finding a table wasn’t easy, but we did manage to do so! But many others appeared to get around the problem by eating at the stands they had just bought from.

It was also possibly the least well-kept of the centres we visited, feeling slightly dustier and older. If it had been the first we visited I can imagine having felt quite intimidated by the whole experience. But it’s worth sticking out – the food was tasty, cheap and offered a different selection to the others we visited; unsuprisingly, there were more curries on offer than elsewhere.

It’s perhaps worth noting that the traditional Indian way of eating many of these meals is with your hands. However there’s plenty of stalls that provide cutlery (we were boring and ate at one of these, and the food was still perfectly good). If you do decide to go for the hands-on experience then there are taps at the exit – so get stuck in!


Makansutra Glutton’s Bay
Located in near the touristy harbour, Glutton’s Bay understandably isn’t the most authentic of hawker centre experiences. It’s just that bit too clean and shiny and ordered. That isn’t to say it’s not worth a visit though – of the centres we visited at night, it was probably the livliest, the location is ideal, and we enjoyed eating in the (properly) open air.
We didn’t try a main meal here so you’ll have to trust TripAdvisor for that, but we just had to try the Durian fruit desserts. It definitely tastes better than it smells! We also shared a huge coconut water – well, it has to be done.

Glutton’s may not be the ‘real deal’ like some of the others, and it’s a little more expensive, but if you’re looking for food in the bay area then you could probably do a lot worse.Chinatown Food Centre
This food centre is huge. As with Tiong Bahru, the ground floor is dedicated to wet market stalls. Head upstairs and you’re confronted with a labyrinth of stands offering starters, mains, desserts and drinks. This is where I was introduced to lime juice by a family sat next to us – and it was probably the best lime juice of the whole trip (believe me, I tried quite a few of them…). The deep-fried prawn balls with chilli sauce were also pretty tasty.

As with Tiong Bahru, a lot of the stands were closed in the evening. However it was still full of families, friends and lone locals enjoying the food. Despite it being busy, the atmosphere was just that bit more relaxed that at the Tekka Centre without being too quiet (which Tiong Bahru was on the verge of being). That, combined with nabbing a table by the edge which allowed for people watching on the streets below, probably made this my favourite of the centres we visited.

Photography Credits
Maxwell Road Hawker Center (exterior): Etour Singapore; Maxwell Road Hawker Centre (interior): Your Singapore; Tiong Bahru (exterior): Go Asia @ About.com; Tekka Centre (interior): Gogobot; Tekka Centre (exterior): Singapore.com. All images should link through to original page. All other images are my own, please credit if using.