Food, Travel

Weekend in London

So this weekend we took the bus up to London for a couple of days catching up with friends.

I started off Saturday morning feeling pretty smug that we’d got to Bristol Bus Station in good time, no stress. Then as we got to the front of the queue to board the National Express bus to London, we were politely informed that our booking was for the Megabus, which was departing from behind Debenhams in about 4 minutes.

The mad dash through the Bear Pit and to the bus, brought to my attention just how out of shape I am – I’m talking chest pains, shaking, and waves of ‘I’m going to throw up’. Definitely need to get back the gym, ASAP.

But, we made it on to the bus. And we coped with three hours of confinement surrounded by awkward conversations and people eating strange, funky smelling salads. Once we arrived at Victoria Coach Station we hot footed it over to the underground (with a quick stop at McDonald’s, don’t judge!) and off to South Kensington for the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Comptoir Libanais

Before we dived head first into our culture trip at the V&A, we went for ‘a feed’ at Comptoir Libanais.

I’ve seen a few of these around, with a vast menu of Lebanese dishes, but never tried them out before. It was very busy, but we were quickly seated outside under the heaters with the promise of inside spot when it opened up (we ended up deciding to stay out).

Despite the obvious mad rush of Saturday lunch time, the staff were lovely. However, I was pretty underwhelmed by the food.

My friend and I shared the Mezze platter for two. To be honest, it was probably a fair portion for one person – but a very light meal for two people to share. At the very least two of each thing on the plate- we had to split one falafel?!

But I would definitely recommend their homemade lemonade vodka drink – I had the Toufaha with apple, mint and ginger; it was so refreshing. Plus it helped take the edge off my already aching feet (breaking in new DMs is such a pain).

Victoria and Albert museum

After lunch, we went to the V&A, and we wondered round. We spent a good couple of hours looking at some impressively old statues, paintings, jewellery etc.

There’s currently a Dior exhibition on, which looks really good but it had sold out and the queues were long – so if you’re planning on seeing it then book ahead and get there early!

When we’d seen enough at the V&A we went for a few drinks before heading off to our Airbnb.

The Bite, Dalston

After checking into our Airbnb, a lovely little flat just minutes away from Dalston station, we had a quick power nap (we’re old now) and then went out to find some food.

We wanted comfort food, ie pizza, and somewhere chilled out and cosy to have dinner – The Bite checked all boxes. Read all about The Bite here.

Fix 126

A little morning stroll round Shoreditch brought us to Fix 126, for a coffee and a freshly made fruit smoothie. And a delightful doughnut!

Chick’n’Sours, Sevendials

We met up with more friends and went to one of the Chick’n’Sours, by Sevendials, bang on midday.

I was actually quite surprised at how many people were there, ready for some delicious fried chicken that early on a Sunday.

I had the chicken tenders, with their incredible hot sauce and a little pot of blue cheese as well – heaven.

After checking out the pelicans in St James Park, we headed back to Victoria and another bus journey home.

– Verity May

Jumpsuit – Marks & Spencer, Trainers – Converse, Leather Jacket – Marks & Spencer (10+ years ago!)

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Food

Greens, Zetland Road, Bristol

Turn off the busy parade of Gloucester Road, and you find a handful of cute, independent restaurants along Zetland Road. One of my favourites for a special occasion is Greens; serving a small menu of traditional British dishes with influences from international cuisines, using high quality, local ingredients.

Greens is a ‘neighbourhood’ restaurant, taken over by Head Chef Martin Laurentowicz, and front of house Nick Wallace, in 2012, whose partnership began in fine dining restaurants in Scotland.

From the outside, Greens looks cute and cosy; very enticing when you walk past at night. And inside it’s decorated very simply, with a cool, intimate atmosphere. It’s the kind of place you can dress up for on date night, or pop in on the spur of the moment if there’s a spare table.

Last time we went was over the weekend between Christmas and New Year, the time when you have no real clue what day it is. There were a handful of other tables, a mix of families, friends and dates.

To start I had the wild mushroom and buffalo mozzarella arancini with aioli and truffle oil (£8.50). Mushroom and mozzarella are always a perfect combination, so these were fried delights.

This was followed traditional Cullen skink with smoked haddock, braised leeks and cripsy potatoes (£16.50). Cullen is a thick Scottish soup – the smoked haddock flavour was almost overwhelming, but the braised leeks added a little taste of sweetness. Overall, it was a little too salty for my taste, but I did enjoy it.

Finally we shared a sticky toffee pudding with ice cream and cream. It was rich, decadent and amazing.

Greens is a lovely little place for an evening meal, especially if you catch their evening set menu of two courses for £17.95 or three courses for £23.95, Monday to Thursday.

Greens Restaurant. 25 Zetland Road, Bristol BS6 7AH.

Food

Quay St. Diner, Bristol

If you’re looking for a new brunch, lunch, dinner, all day dining spot in Bristol city centre, Quay St. Diner is the place to go. The California inspired restaurant is located in the former premises of Roll for the Soul, and has hit the spot with it’s laidback atmosphere, colourful interior and delicious menu.

Pride of place in their open kitchen is their custom charcoal grill, which has enabled them to build the menu around cooking over an open fire; ‘live fire cooking’.

We ventured in there on a rainy Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago, for breakfast (maybe brunch is more accurate, it was nearly midday!) and were absolutely delighted with it.

First off, the coffee – I ordered a latte (£2.80), while Tom had a flat white. I’m not really much of a coffee expert, but I loved the giant teal coffee cup, and thoroughly enjoyed the coffee!

The brunch menu, served 9am-12pm Mon-Fri and 9am-2pm on the weekend, is full of tasty, California influenced choices, from Pancakes and Fruit to Brunch Tacos topped with grilled tomato and ancho chilli salsa, smashed avocado, pumpkin seeds, fruit salsa and pomegranate!

We both went for the Huevos Rancheros (£7) – baked Mexican eggs in a tomato salsa with crumbled feta on top and sourdough dippers, and added bacon (£2). It was incredible. The salsa was a little on the hot and spicy side, but full of flavour, and the contrast with the feta was just right. Oh, and the thick chunks of bacon were amazing.

The all day menu also looks exciting; small plates, tacos, and a selection of burgers, steak, salad etc. We’ll definitely be back to try it out.

Quay St. Diner is a great, friendly and welcoming place, with full flavour, smokey, delicious food – go now!

Quay St. Diner, 2, Quay Street, Bristol, BS1 2JL. 

Food

Wallfish Bistro, Clifton

Award winning restaurant, Wallfish Bistro is quietly tucked away on Princess Victoria Street in Clifton. It’s a small place, with a handful of tables upstairs and a few more in the basement, simple decor, and a laid back atmosphere. The menu offers contemporary British dishes, with an emphasis on fish and seafood.

As it was a special occasion (my mum’s birthday), we may have gone a little overboard with our food order, but once we’d read the menu it was hard to maintain self control – we wanted to try it all.

For the first round of food, between us we ordered an assortment of appetisers: Green Sicilian olives (£4.00), Radishes with mayonnaise and celery salt (£3.50), a Porlock oyster (£2.90) and the Scrumpy-fried oyster with jalapeno mayonnaise and pickled vegetables (£3.00). I’m not the biggest fan of oysters, but I had a little try of the fried oyster, and I’d definitely recommend it.

Then for a starter I had the Portland crab on toast with pickled cucumber, lemon and watercress (£9): big juicy flakes of crab, which contrasted perfectly with the tangy pickled cucumber.

For my main course I had the Smoked haddock (£18); a sizeable piece of fish, served up with braised leeks, saffron and a few mussels scattered around the edge. The combination of the sweet leeks, and the intensely fishy taste of smoked haddock was spot on.

Tom had the Rack of Cinderford Lamb (£22) which came with peas, girolles, shallots and green sauce. I don’t eat lamb, but he was adamant that it was the best lamb he’d ever had.

Finally, we made it to dessert, with a few simple offerings on the menu – I went for the Chocolate mousse cake with raspberries and creme fraiche (£6.50).

Wallfish Bistro is a perfect little place, however, the restaurant is currently up for sale, so if you’re tempted by all this insanely delicious food then call up and book a table ASAP!

Wallfish Bistro – 112 Princess Victoria Street, Clifton, Bristol, BS84DB

Cardiff Bay, Cardiff
Food, Travel

Thali at Chai Street and Cardiff Bay

Last week, on an after work trip over to Cardiff, we decided to pop down to Cardiff Bay and soak up the last of the evening sun.

Cardiff Bay

I haven’t been down to Cardiff Bay in at least a couple of years, but it’s still just as buzzing as ever, with a lots of new exciting restaurants and bars around the waterfront.

Cardiff Bay, Cardif. Trousers: Zara, Tshirt: Monki
Tshirt – Monki, Cropped trousers – Zara, Sandals – Dr Martens.

Cardiff Bay, Cardiff

Chai Street, Cardiff Bay

This is my second visit to a branch of the Cardiff local gem, Chai Street Indian Street Kitchen. It’s a really laid back restaurant, with the best, bright and dazzling decor; ideal for just dropping in on a whim, or for a special meal.

Chai Street Indian Street Kitchen, Cardiff Bay

I went for the Traditional Chicken Thali (£11.95) – a spicy chicken curry, a potato curry, dal, raita, pickle, mini poppadums, rice and a naan bread. I love to try a bit of lots of different things, so thalis are ideal for that, plus the Chai Street thali is slightly different every time. Despite the heat, the chicken curry was definitely the highlight for me though.

Chicken Thali at Chai Street, Cardiff Bay

Tom, meanwhile, went all out and ordered the non-vegetarian Chai Special Thali (£13.25). This was a meal and a half, it included: a starter (baji), a chicken curry, a lamb curry, and some of the potato vegetable curry, as well as dal, raita, pickle, poppadums, rice and a naan bread.

Thali at Chai Street, Cardiff Bay

It was a really delicious thali (almost as good as Thali in Bristol), but I think next time I’m going to try out some of their ‘Street Delights’. The chicken lollypops (marinated with spices, ginger, garlic and then fried!), Prawn Chatpata and the samosas all sounded, smelled and looked incredible!

If you find yourself down at Cardiff Bay, hungry and fancy some authentic Indian street food, then definitely check out Chai Street. They also have restaurants in Canton and on the High Street in Cardiff – so there’s no excuse not to visit.

Food

Edit: Audiophile restaurant on Cheltenham Road

One of Cheltenham Road’s newest offerings, Edit, is a unusual blend of classy tapas restaurant and cosy music bar. Labelling itself as an ‘audiophile restaurant’, the concept is inspired by Tokyo’s food and drink scene; offering Asian-inspired tapas style small plates, with an impressive Klipsch heritage sound system playing a range of ambient, soul, funk, electronica and world music. The idea is to delight all of your senses, and it achieves this, for the most part.

It’s very much a ‘drop-in’ place, with long high tables and bar chairs – making it feel casual yet a little sophisticated at the same time. The drinks menu is extensive and impressive, prepare yourself to be dazzled by a wide range of spirits, sake, beers and wine.

We decided to order and share a variety of their small plates and snacks; mushroom and miso bao, kimchi, fried squid with mango chilli sauce, chicken dumplings and prawn dumplings. For five dishes and two drinks it came to £32. 

Fried chicken dumplings from Edit, Cheltenham Road

While the food arrived in seemingly random dribs and drabs (including one of our plates being delivered to the couple sat next to us), it was all incredibly delicious.

Fried squid, Edit, Cheltenham Road, Bristol

The slightly spiced, fried chicken dumplings in gyoza style parcels, were the standout dish for us. But the fried squid was a close second; it would be a perfect dish to pick at while having a few drinks. I would advise ordering quite a few dishes if you’re hungry, they’re little and delightful and definitely leave you wanting more.

Mushroom and miso bao, Edit on Cheltenham Road, Bristol

Despite the slightly disorganised service, and a missing dish, we will definitely be returning.

As a concept, Edit is unique and quirky, just right for the Cheltenham Road/Gloucester Road junction that it finds itself on. However, it’s definitely more of a drinks,snacks and music venue, than somewhere you want to come for ‘dinner’ and leave completely filled up.

Find out more about Edit on Cheltenham Road, Bristol here.

Food

OOWEE Diner, Bristol

Over the last couple of months it seems like everyone has been talking about OOWEE diner in Montpelier, so last night I finally got to see what the hype is all about. Having made no dinner plans, but desperate for a decent burger this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Tucked away in a corner of Picton Street, OOWEE diner is a tiny little place filled with the most incredible smell of burgers, fries and all things greasy and super unhealthy.

 

OOWEE dinner burger in Bristol

It was pretty hard to narrow down what we wanted to just one meals worth of food – it all sounds, and smells, so so good. I went for the The Pimento: a beef patty with spicy pimento cheese, pickles and relish, with added bacon. (£6.50 + £1)

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The patty itself was well done on the outside but perfectly juicy on the inside; falling apart in your mouth kind of thing. The bacon was crispy and delicious, and the pickles were big – which always earns bonus points from me. The spicy cheese gave it that little extra kick to round off the flavour.

Dirty fries from OOWEE Diner, Bristol

I also went for some of their dirty fries – Bacon Jalapeno fries (£4.50), and a side of Buffalo Shrimp (£5). The fries didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but they were still wonderfuly decadent in their excessiveness. The overwhelming highlight though was the huge, juicy Buffalo Shrimp, while there was only five in the serving they were absolutely amazing, so next time I’m definitely going to give the Shrimp fries a try.

Buffalo Shrimp from OOWEE Diner, Bristol

OOWEE Diner is up there with some of the best burgers in Bristol. It’s simple, no fuss, dirty fried food that will fulfill all unhealthy food cravings. It’s also pretty good value!

Ljubljana Food guide
Food, Travel

Ljubljana

I’m excited to write about Ljubljana because I had no idea what to expect from the city and it was completely amazing. Despite being the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana has a small-town friendly feel, especially in the old part of the city.

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We found some great places to eat in Ljubljana, although I did struggle a little as there was a lot of venison, veal and lamb on the menu, which I don’t eat.

Eating fresh, homecooked food is a big part of Slovenian culture – they have a market every day in Ljubljana selling all kinds of produce and you can really tell that Slovenian’s pride themselves on the quality of their food.

Open Kitchen

If you’re planning a trip to Ljubljana then make sure you are there for a Friday. They have an incredible food market where restaurants from all over Slovenia come to the city and set up a stall. It’s the best place to eat amazing, and cheap, food in Ljublana – your dining choices are almost overwhelming.

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We went there for lunch after we had done the free Ljubljana tour, and then in the evening we walked around looking at restaurants and eventually ended up back at the food market having shrimp noodles and chicken from two different stands.

Hood Burger

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We had heard that Hood Burgers were the best burgers in Ljubljana – but they were based a little further out from the city than we want to walk. So when we stumbled across the Open Kitchen we were even more excited to discover there was a Hood Burger stall.

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For just 5 I had one of the most delicious burgers I have ever had – I went for a cheeseburger while Chris had one with bacon. If you don’t make it to their Open Kitchen stall on a Friday I would definitely recommend making the trip out to Yams Road 105, Ljubljana.

Klobasarna

IMG_9839On one of the main streets in the old town, look out for the giant sausage hanging in the air. Here you can sit outside in the street enjoying the sunshine and eat delicious, traditional Slovenian sausage.

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We both had half a sausage with mustard, horseradish and bread for just 3.50. Klobasarna is the ideal place for a quick lunch in Ljubljana.

Most

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The riverside in Ljubljana is lined with restaurants and bars, and it’s a beautiful setting for an evening meal. All of the restaurants had great menus and we had a hard time choosing where to eat. Eventually we decided on Most, which is just next to Butchers Bridge. They have plenty of tables outside where you can enjoy the buzzing atmosphere along the riverside, but if it’s cold they also have a huge inside seating area.

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We both had the Beef Broth with Noodles to start, as we had seen it on almost all the restaurants’ menus. When it arrived it looked watery, but the flavour was strong and delicious.

For the mains I had a really difficult time choosing between the Home-made Buckwheat Ravioli filled with porcini mushrooms and truffles in a leek and shrimp sauce, or the Spelt Spaghetti with Smoked Trout with champignons and semi-dried cherry tomatoes. I settled on the spaghetti (despite having sworn off pasta and pizza when we left Italy), and Chris went for the Tagliatelle Most  with chicken breast, green peppers, home-made basil pesto, plum tomatoes, and roasted pine nuts.

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The pictures don’t do them justice, but both dishes were delicious, and you could taste the freshness of the ingredients. The combination of trout and curry flavours with the pasta made it a completely different dish to the pasta that we over indulged in in Italy. If I ever make it back to Ljubljana, I will definitely be going back to Most to try the ravioli.

Take a look at Most’s menu here.

Cat Caffe

Not strictly somewhere to eat, but we loved Ljubljana’s cat cafe so much that we went twice in the two days we were in the city! It’s a little way out of the main area in the old town, but it’s worth the walk.

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The cat cafe is a great place to sit down and relax with a glass of local Slovenian wine, in the company of five lovely cats – perfect if you’re having feline withdrawal.

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Travel Tips and Recommendations

  • I can’t recommend enough the Free Map for Young Travellers for Ljubljana – pick up a copy as soon as you arrive! We had no guidebook and very few recommendations, so this map with useful tips and places to see, eat and drink was indespensable.
  • Do the Free Ljubljana Walking Tour – they run every day at 11am, starting in front of the pink church in Preseren Square and take about two and a half hours.
Roast Dinner in Bristol
Food

Roast Dinners in Bristol

Roast Dinners are a big thing in Bristol and you’re absolutely spoilt for choice when Sunday afternoon rolls around.

Bristol Foodie’s blog on roast dinnners in Bristol has been really useful for finding great places to eat, so I thought I would start my own.

The Lazy Dog
112, Ashley Down Rd, Ashley Down, Bristol
BS7 9JR
0117 9244 809
Price: £10.95

A modern, cosy pub in Ashley Down, The Lazy Dog is a great place to end the week with a Sunday Roast.

Roast dinner at The Lazy Dog
Roast dinner at The Lazy Dog

We turned up at about 1.30pm, without booking and it was pretty busy but we found a little table in a corner. The beef was perfect, the yorkshire was huge and just the right combination of fluffy and crispy, and there was plenty of roast potatoes and vegetable.

Roast dinner at The Lazy Dog
Roast dinner at The Lazy Dog

Yurt Lush
Plot 3, Isambard Walk, Temple Quay, Bristol,
BS1 6DG

Price: £13

Right next to Temple Meads is Yurt Lush, is the one permanent home of Eat Drink Bristol Fashion. Inside is pretty warm in the summer so we sat on one of the benches outside. We didn’t book a table even though you can, but at 2pm on a Sunday there were two or three empty tables. The Yurt Lush roast is a little more than some others at £13, but the setting and the food make it worthwhile.

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Appetisers

The appetisers were delicious, and an added bonus to a great roast dinner.

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There was a fairly long wait for the food, and intially I was a little disappointed with the amount of vegetables, but there was a generous helping of meat and a huge yorkshire pudding.

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The Social
130, Cheltenham Road, Bristol
BS6 5RW

Price:

Stepping inside The Social feels a bit like going into a Tardis, a brief look in the window made us think it was quite small and very busy but when you go in it’s suprisingly big – we easily found a table towards the back at about 1pm for our roast dinner.
The atmosphere is laidback and cosy, perfect for recoperating after a heavy night or meeting up with friends.
However, the wait for the Sunday Roast was well over 45 minutes, and by the time they arrived we were desperately hungry!

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The size of the roast dinner made up for the wait though, plenty of tender beef as well as a generous amount of perfectly cooked vegetables. It might not look fancy, but it was just want a Sunday roast should be – delicious, fresh comfort food.

The Volunteer Tavern
9, New Street, Bristol
BS2 9DX
Price:£11.95

I’d heard really good things about roasts at The Volunteer Tavern, so I was pretty excited to try it out. We tried to book in advance, but apparently you can only book if you’re a party of 8 or more. When we arrived at 1pm all the empty tables inside were reserved, so we ended up sitting outside at the back.

We both went for the beef, and the food came out within about 5 minutes of ordering. Unfortunately, this was the only really impressive thing about the roast.

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For me  some of the meat was a little fatty and chewy, so much that I couldn’t cut some bits with a knife. However, there was plenty of meat that was tender and delicious.

The vegetables were a little on the stingey side – one brocolli floret, boiled carrots and cabbage – all well cooked but nothing special. And the yorkshire pudding was minimal. The roast potatoes were the highlight, crusty but fluffy on the inside.

Overall, for the price I wasn’t impressed with The Volunteer Tavern, there was nothing wrong with it, but I’ve definitely had better roast dinners in Bristol.

Under the Stars, Bristol
Food

Under The Stars, Bristol

Located at the top of the harbourside in Bristol, Under the Stars is a lovely little bar and restaurant on a boat. It’s ideal in the summer when you can sit out on top and enjoy the harbour, but even in the winter the downstairs area is perfectly cosy. We had a little table by the window so we could look out over the harbour.

Under the Stars serves tapas and Pizza, all of which sounded too good, so we ordered both!

Oak Smoked Trout and Spanish Chorizo
Oak Smoked Trout and Spanish Chorizo

Under the Stars tapas

Oak Smoked Trout with roasted piquilo peppers, sherry vinegar and chilli oil (£5)  Incredible flavours, the chilli was an amazing twist to the strong fish flavour.

Spanish Chorizo cooked with Somerset Cider, red onions and garlic (£4.50) You absolutely have to order this, the meat is soft and deliciously infused with the flavours of the cider and red onions. Use the extra bread to soak up the leftover sauce – don’t waste a drop!

Patatas Bravas with tomato chilli sauce and alioli (£3.75) Not the most exciting of the tapas dishes, but the chilli certainly added a kick. It worked well with the other two intensely flavoured dishes.

Patatas Bravas
Patatas Bravas

Pizza at Under the Stars

Calabria – Italian nduja chilli salami, buffalo mozzarella and black olives (£10.00)
Thin and just a little crispy on the crusts, there was plenty of cheese and the salami was just the right amount of spicy, and of course the olives- a pretty perfect pizza!

Calabria Pizza

Under the Stars is a lovely little boat perfect for a romantic meal, or a quiet evening with friends. I look forwards to going back in the summer and sitting outside enjoying the sunshine and harbour side atmosphere.