8 April 2014

Mathilda's Chilli Bar

When I heard that a new chilli restaurant was opening in the Bearpit, I knew this was somewhere I was going to try very hard to love. I think it’s the attraction of a restaurant that is confident enough to serve one thing. Mathilda’s Chilli Bar serves chilli. Admittedly it comes in two varieties, but that’s about it. Like chilli? Go to Mathilda’s. Don’t like chilli? Don’t. It’s as simple as that.

And speaking of simplicity, Mathilda’s is definitely setting out its stall in terms of décor. Black walls, white tiling and tea-lights in treacle tins are about as decorated as it gets (if you discount the row of tiny cacti and Tobasco sauce bottles above the kitchen). The effect is striking.

26 March 2014

The Stable

The Stable opened on the Bristol Harbourside last year, with a promise of ‘pizza, pies and cider’. A West Country chain, they have five venues across the South-West, with a new location in Newquay due to open next month. They focus on South-West producers, and there are plenty of local name-checks to keep a Bristol food-lover happy.

The Stable is an impressively large restaurant, with huge wooden sharing tables and a vast bar which dominates the area. The venue is referred to as a ‘Cathedral to Cider’ which suggested to me that this was a place where the drink might be more important than the grub.

13 March 2014

The Ox

The Ox Bristol steak restaurant by food blogger, Avon Gorged
I have a bone to pick with The Ox restaurant. It’s only been open a couple of months and yet it is responsible for a surge of food photography which quite frankly, on a Monday morning I could do without. Instagram is suddenly full of rare steaks. I can barely get on Twitter without seeing photos of huge home-cooked chips and delicious things on toast. It’s a good job I have my own office because it’s really not acceptable to drool at your desk.

After several weeks of torture therefore, I decided it was no good. I was going to have to try this out for myself. And so I took my big slobbery chops and got stuck in.

27 February 2014

Thali Café

Thali Cafe Bristol by Avon Gorged
My family love Indian food. We cook it, we order it in and we frequently get together to eat at our favourite restaurants. My sister loves it so much she held her 6th birthday party at our much-loved local curry-house. So bearing that in mind, I could think of no better choice of restaurant for their most recent visit than long-standing Bristol institution, Thali Café.

Thali Café has been serving happy customers with Tiffin take-aways and glorious Thalis for fifteen years. They can now be found in four venues across the city demonstrating the enduring Bristolian love for all things Thali. On this occasion however, the original restaurant in Montpelier was the venue of choice.

14 February 2014

The Gallimaufry

The Gallimaufry Bristol - Avon Gorged
The Gallimaufry (or ‘Galli’) was the first place I ate in when I moved to Bristol. In that time I have eaten there on numerous occasions. Some good, some brilliant, some just missed the mark. But all in all, it’s a place which can be relied upon to serve up some decent food with an equally decent price tag.

Local producers are proudly displayed in this bar come restaurant on Gloucester Road. After opening in 2012 they were quickly named Best Newcomer at the Bristol Good Food Awards in the same year, and have upheld a loyal following ever since. The Galli serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner, in a trendy environment displaying ever changing local art and plenty of live music events to enjoy whilst drinking or dining. 

6 February 2014

Bill's Bill's Bill's
The Triangle, Bristol

I’m not usually a big fan of a chain restaurant. I think a lot of it has to do with the huge mix of dishes on the menu...if I see the words ‘Cajun’ next to spaghetti carbonara I get a bit edgy. So with that in mind, I was a little wary when I first visited Bill’s new restaurant on the Triangle.

It was my first experience of a Bill’s, as I’m reasonably northern and most of their restaurants are in the south, including fifteen just in London. The Bristol branch opened last year and hearing good things, including the buzzwords “good value”, I thought it best to try it out myself.

And it can’t have been bad...because I've been back four times since.

28 January 2014

Small Bar

It was an embarrassingly long time before I set foot in Small Bar, Bristol’s newest craft beer venue. I have no excuse for this. However, now I’ve finally made it I can assure you it won’t be long before I return. 
Small Bar occupies a lovely building on King Street, which is rapidly becoming a real destination for decent beer in Bristol (The Royal Navy Volunteer Tavern and Beer Emporium are just across the street). The name Small Bar had given me the impression that I’d struggle to find a seat at 7:30pm on a Friday. Thankfully the place is anything but small, given you plenty of perching options to while away the evening. The interior is very pared down, with plenty of low lighting and wood giving you the feeling of a good local boozer.

7 January 2014

The Bristolian

Breakfast menu at The Bristolian, Bristol
It’s a new year, and a very good time to be in Bristol that’s for sure. With lots of new potential eateries on the horizon I thought I would start 2014 instead with a very local haunt for me, and one many Bristolians are familiar with, not least because that’s its name.

I’m reliably informed that The Bristolian in Montpelier has been around for some time. However it was rebranded and reopened a little over a year ago and, judging by the hordes crammed inside during my visit, it seems to be pretty darn popular. The whole place has a very welcoming vibe – upon entering you’re greeted by a counter bursting under home-made salads, quiches and cakes and some very friendly staff. The tables are nestled amongst pot plants with hundreds of cushions inviting you to relax and plenty of chatty folk enjoying their weekend.

2 December 2013

Colour and Cuisine
Da Boes & Motley Collective

A few weeks ago I attended an event hosted by Falmouth-based culinary events company Da Boes, in collaboration with “creative folk” Motley Collective. Having no prior knowledge of either company I was a little nervous about what to expect. A little light Facebooking uncovered that Motley Collective aim to create “visually appealing portraits using paint and props”. Bearing in mind the event was entitled ‘Colour and Cuisine’ this was my first clue that I could be in for an interesting evening. It turned out that the goal of the event was to use food to make as much mess as possible. 

Challenge accepted. 

5 November 2013

Boston breakfast
Boston Tea Party (Gloucester Road, Bristol)

Boston tea Party, Gloucester Road Bristol
I make no secret of the fact that I’m a big fan of Boston Tea Party. I am a regular frequenter of the Boston on Cheltenham Road, opting to visit for many reasons, not least because it’s five minutes’ walk from my front door. So on a blustery Autumn Sunday I decided to make my legs work a little harder, and headed off to visit their newest addition on Gloucester Road.

This particular branch opened just a few weeks ago, but is already a huge hitter on the Sunday breakfast scene. Having visited most of the Bostons, the thing that struck me first about the Gloucester Road venue was its style - the place really does look fantastic. And I admit that my expectations were high on that front, because the first thing you see as you’re walking in is a giant mural of a boiled egg. What could be a better breakfast welcome than that?