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. 

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Food, Travel

No Sign Wine Bar and Casa Mexicana

Earlier this month I turned 28 and Tom planned out a surprise activity. Although I really hate surprises, it actually brought back all the excitement of waiting to find out what you’ve got for your birthday.

So, after an early start (7am, no birthday lie in!), all was revealed – surfing lessons in the Gower!

Surfing on the Gower

The lesson was at Llangenith beach, about an hour and half away from Cardiff. Llangenith is a beautiful wide bay with plenty of waves for the pro surfers and complete beginners to do their thing.

Surfing is something I’ve always wanted to try, but have been a bit apprehensive about actually doing it.

We did a three hour beginners lesson, in a group of nine, which included wetsuits, surfboards and lots of great instruction. Our instructor was great, he went through the basics of safety, the board, and how to stand up with enough information to put me at ease, but without a lot of standing around.

I discovered that surfing is very handwork; I have a lot of bruises, swallowed a lot of seawater and didn’t manage to stand up on the board. It’s definitely not my hidden talent, but I enjoyed myself and am eager to give it another go soon!

No Sign Wine Bar, Swansea

After peeling ourselves out of the wetsuits, drying off and getting back to the car, we headed to Swansea for some lunch.

I graduated from Swansea University in 2013, and except for a brief visit for a  Manic Street Preachers gig at Liberty Stadium, I haven’t been back since. We parked up at the bottom of Wind Street, and walked up to No Sign Wine Bar. It was almost surreal seeing the places that had completely changed, and some places (Revs, Walkabout!) that were exactly the same as they were.

No Sign Wine Bar is one of my favourite places in Swansea, it has a real cosy feel as you walk in, but it’s deceptively huge. I went for a mozzarella and tomato panini, while Tom had the biggest portion of fish and chips.

Casa Mexicana, Zetland Road

To wrap up the birthday celebrations, I’d organised a meal with a few close friends at Casa Mexicana on Zetland Road.

Casa Mexicana hands down do the best nachos I’ve had in Bristol. It’s a very generous heap of tortilla chips, with mixed cheese, refried beans, salsa, guacamole and sour cream piled up on top. The regular nachos are £5.50, and you can add jalapeños and chorizo or spicy beef for just 45p more.

Bristol’s best nachos - Casa Mexicana, Zetland Road

If you only order one thing at Casa Mexican, order the nachos (but also order everything else because it’s all incredible).

I then had the enchiladas (£12.95) – corn tortillas rolled up and stuffed with tender shredded beef (you can also choose chicken or vegetable), in a dark bitter nut molé sauce and served with rice and beans.

Enchiladas from Casa Mexicana on Zetland Road Bristol

All round, everyone enjoyed their food, and it’s a great relaxed and friendly place for a group meal.

Casa Mexicana, 29 – 31 Zetland Rd, Bristol BS6 7AH. 

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.

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.

Travel

Falmouth, Cornwall

Falmouth is one of my absolute favourite places, a long stretch of beach (no waves for the surfers though), and a cute, winding high street filled with unique shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants:

Rick Stein’s

You can’t book a table at Rick Stein’s so you just have to turn up and keep your fingers crossed that the queue isn’t too big. We went with the intention of going elsewhere if the wait was long, however once we were inside, and we smelt the fish, we couldn’t resist.

After about 20 minutes and we were sat at a high table near the kitchen. The atmosphere is laid back and casual, but definitely a few steps up from your local chip shop at home.

We were all tempted in by the three courses for £20 menu. To start with I had the Amritsari Fish, which was fried sea bream in a chickpea batter, garlic and ginger sprinkled with chat masala. It was the perfect combination of flavours – the pieces of sea bream were quite spicy but you could still taste the flavour of the fish and it was served with a cool cucumber raita dip.

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For the main course we all went for the cod, after all Rick Stein’s is THE place for fish and chips in Falmouth. The batter was delicious and crispy, the chips were chunky but not too big, and even the mushy peas looked good.

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For pudding there was a choice between strawberries with pouring cream, Lemon Posset with mixed berry compote, or sticky toffee pudding.

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Rick Stein’s is definitely worth the wait, but the dishes are large so if you have a small appetite maybe just enjoy a main dish.

Discovery Quay

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat in Falmouth, then Discovery Quay is a good place to start – you have your regulars Pizza Express and Zizzi’s but also three sister restaurants The Ranch, The Shed, and The Shack, all catering to slightly different tastes

The Shed

Half cocktail bar, half restaurant, The Shed’s menu is very simple but it captured our attention and I was keen to try the Shed Burger.

Cornish beef, bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, a big slice of pickle, onion rings, and BBQ sauce served in a brioche bun with fries. Just as incredible as it sounds. The only, only let down was the tiny portion of BBQ sauce – I completely forgot there was supposed to be BBQ sauce until I tasted it in the last few mouthfuls. But, it was still very nearly perfect.

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The Shack

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You can order Oysters individually for £2 each.

I had the Sea Bass with sweet potato mash, green beans and capers. I can’t quite explain how good it was – the combination of flavours was spot on. image(13)

 

We also had some delicious lunches while in Falmouth, in between pasties, which are definitely worth mentioning:

Trelissick
Trelissick is a beautiful National Trust property that runs down to the River Fal; it’s a great place to stop off for lunch. Entrance to the gardens is £8.50 for non-member adults, but you can park for £4 (or free for members) and enjoy their lovely cafe as well as take a look at the art gallery. They have sandwiches, toasties, pasties and hot food options..

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I had a bacon, brie and cranberry toastie – a combination that’s hard to resist – and it was amazing.

Truro Arts Cafe

No trip to Falmouth is complete without a trip on the river –  the FalRiver Enterprise boats goes from Falmouth to Truro(stopping by St Mawes). The trip takes about an hour and a half – two hours, and it’s definitely worth it.

In Falmouth we sat outside the Truro Arts Cafe, next to the Royal Cornwall Museum and had smoked salmon and cheese sandwiches surrounded by lovely flowers.
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 Charlotte’s Tea House

Located upstairs in the Coinage Hall, Truro, Charlotte’s Tea House is a step back in time to the Victorian era, with traditional cream teas and a selection of homemade cakes. They are only open until 4.30pm though!

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Pasties!

Lastly, you can’t go to Cornwall without eating at least one pasty. Rowe’s bakery had some amazing combinations, including pork and Ratler cider, and steak and Doombar. My favourite was the extremely cute, and delicious, Pixie sized traditional pasty from Oggy Oggy.
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