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. 

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Food

Got Beef, Cardiff

Inspired by street vendors and food trucks, Got Beef initially started out as a mobile catering business for gourmet burgers, and then took up residence as a pop up kitchen at The Canadian in Adamstown, Cardiff. In 2014, Got Beef fully joined Cardiff’s growing burger scene with its own restaurant on Whitchurch Road.

Got Beef burgers

Offering a creative burger menu, and some very indulgent sides – it’s best to go there hungry. There’s a lot of mouth watering choices, and a special mention definitely has to go to the Donald Trump burger – ‘Mexican cheese, American cheese, Russian dressing, topped with a tiny pickle’!

I went ‘dirty’ with my food choices. I order the Dirty South burger (£8): a tender beef patty, with cajun onions, a homemade bbq sauce, jalapenos, cajun mayo and American cheese all served in a brioche bun. The burger itself was great, and the jalapenos gave it a real kick – I would say that the bun was a little oversized compared to the burger though, but overall it’s up there with the best burgers!

On the side I went for the dirty fries (£3.55) – perfectly cooked fries topped with American cheese, bacon sprinkles, jalepenos and chipotle sauce. It was a perfect portion size for one person; indulgent, delicious but not too excessive.

The true highlight of the meal was the halloumi fries (£3.60) – big chunky pieces of cheese fried and smothered in hoisin sauce, peanut crumble and sesame seeds.

We went on a Monday evening, and the place was buzzing – it’s probably worth booking a table. We were slightly disappointed with how long we had to wait after we ordered the food, and a long gap between burgers and sides arriving – but it was very busy and the staff were all lovely.

If you’re after a burger in Cardiff, Got Beef should definitely be on your shortlist!

Got Beef – 83, Whitchurch Road, Cardiff, CF14 3JP

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.

Travel

A Cornish wedding

This weekend, I went down to Cornwall for a beautiful wedding – perfect, sunny weather, old friends, many many drinks, and a picturesque location made for a wonderful time.

Harlyn Bay

We travelled down Friday afternoon, and went straight to our B&B in Harlyn Bay near Padstow. We were staying in the Harlyn Inn; a pretty basic room above a pub, but literally just across the road from the beach.

Sadly we didn’t have much time to spend on the beach, but it’s the perfect little spot for sunbathers, dog walkers and surfers. We did find a little time to dip our toes and take in the view before dinner though.

Holiday in Padstow, Cornwall
Halter top from Primark, midi skirt from Zara, platform sandals from Dr Martens.

I picked this yellow floral midi skirt up in Zara’s sale this week. It’s a-line cut is so comfy and flattering, and I love the jazzy pattern, perfect for super sunny days like we’ve been having recently.

The View, St Merryn

For our dinner we walked about twenty minutes up the road to The View, St Merryn.

Dinner at The View, St Meryn

The restaurant is located in a holiday park, you go past a play area, up the steps and there’s a little inside area with a few tables and a covered outside seating area with the most stunning views across the fields to the sea.

The View, St Merryn
The View

I had the fish goujons, that came with a generous portion of fries and a delicious salad and balsamic dressing. Amy went for The View burger – beef, cheddar cheese and chutney.

The View is a lovely little, family run restaurant that’s definitely worth visiting.

Summer wedding in Trevone

The wedding was at the Well Parc Hotel, Trevone. The hotel has a perfect garden overlooking the beach and the seas, the ideal backdrop for an outdoor ceremony. And the weather was absolutely incredible.

Wedding venue, Well Parc Hotel, Trevone

After a buffet lunch, there were of course pasties and chips in the evening, with plenty of dancing, laughter and far too many photos – all round it was a wonderful venue for a lovely Cornish wedding.

Summer wedding guest dress
Mint green halter neck lace dress, Boohoo from ASOS

Summer wedding venue - Well Parc Hotel, Trevone

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.