Moroccan Tastiness

Al Bab Mansour, St Nicholas Market, Bristol, BS1 1JQ

AlBabMansour1

Slow cooked lamb

Had lunch with a friend here recently. We both chose the Moroccan lamb dish which was slow cooked lamb with vegetables served with a choice of rice or couscous which was very tasty. The lamb melted in the mouth and went well with a spicy harissa sauce. Tasty food indeed.

A bit pricey for lunch (£6.50) although I really enjoyed the food here. Would have preferred either more food or a lower price as I think the amount of food wasn’t substantial for the price.  The other main meat/fish dishes they serve are priced between £5.50 – £6.50 and the vegetarian dishes from £2.50 -£4.99

AlBabMansour2

Mayflower Chinese Restaurant

3A – 5 Haymarket Walk The Haymarket, Bristol, BS1 3LN

Deep fried shrimp in chilli salt

Deep fried shrimp in chilli salt

Beef with spring onions and ginger

Beef with spring onions and ginger

Visited this place recently with friends none of whom had ever tried this restaurant before. A really nice, comfortable and friendly place with excellent service. We tried a wide range of dishes and in general agreed that they were very good. Worth a visit! I’ll definitely go back.

KarenRoast Duck Ho Fun
A good portion-sized dish, fresh pak choi, good duck with a nice texture. A nice flavoured dish that’s very filling.

MattStewed Beef Brisket HotPot
A tasty nice dish with big chunks of well cooked meat.

JohnSweet and Sour Chicken
A very good dish that had peppers and onion. Would have preferred more onions and more pineapple.

lovefoodpinnySteamed Salmon Fish Belly with Black Bean Sauce; Stewed Beef Brisket HotPot; Roast Duck Ho Fun; Beef with Spring Onions and Ginger

Tried all four of these dishes and I really liked them all. The salmon dish was tasty, the delicately steamed fish tasted good with such a spicy sauce – not what I would have expected to work.

The beef brisket dish was sublime, so very, very tasty. It melted in the  mouth as it had been cooked well.

The duck Ho Fun dish I loved – the smoky flavour of the noodles, something I would want to recreate if attempting to cook this. Sesame oil must have been used.

The beef with spring onions and ginger was delicious and full of flavour. A must-try.

BotchThree Roasties Platter (Duck, Pork Belly & Honey Roasted Pork)
The portion size is amazing. Crispy skin with a sweet sauce. I was very pleased with this dish.

Adam – Three Roasties Platter (Duck, Pork Belly & Honey Roasted Pork)
This was a really good-tasting dish and it had a really good amount of meat.

Tasty to-fu

Tasty to-fu

JamesDeep Fried Japanese Egg To-fu
A very flavoursome dish – I’m still eating. Was expecting the to-fu to be fried though.

BlenchlyDeep Fried Squid in Chilli Salt
A hit of crispy squid with a good flavour.

TintenfischBeef with Spring Onions and Ginger
It was nice enough.

http://www.mayflower-bristol.co.uk/

Fortnightly wine spot (08/06/12)

Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2010 Allan Scott Family Winemakers

I really enjoyed this  New Zealand white wine. It has a multi-layered taste that changes from sweet to not too dry and a fresh citrus taste without minerality. Really nice indeed. I tried this wine with chicken and stilton (a strong-tasting cheese) and it went well. This wine retails at £15.

Clefs du Pontif 2009 Grenache Syrah

This French red wine is smooth, fruity, tasting of cherry. It’s evenly balanced in terms of Grenache and Syrah and goes well with cheese and meat dishes. It retails at £12 and is good value – every year I buy a few cases of this wine.

Friedfully Good

Soup ‘n’ Sandwich, 3 Fairfax Street, Bristol, BS1 3DB

Soup ‘n’ Sandwich

Received an email from friends saying they were going to Soup ‘n’ Sandwich and asking whether I wanted to come along. My head felt sore – it was the morning after the German BeerFest and I had cycled 4.5 miles that morning to reach an appointment. Without  a moment’s hesitation, I was on my way to Soup ‘n’ Sandwich.

After all that cycling (and drinking), I was very happy to have their ‘Special Breakfast’ (sausage, bacon, fried egg, toast, buttered bread, a choice of beans/tomato, and a bowl of chips with a mug of tea for only £3.60). The waitress asked whether I would prefer beans or tomato – I stood for a few seconds staring blankly with my mouth open until she said “I’ll give you a bit of both”. That’s what I like about this place. My friends with their even larger appetites opted for the ‘Hungry Breakfast’ where you have an additional fried egg, sausage and toast all for £4.60.

Soup ‘n’ Sandwich serve hearty food all day at a decent price, especially when you think they’re in the city-centre. They’re a cafe that serve hot drinks, sandwiches and hot food. It’s decent food at a price that’s right.

The ‘Special Breakfast’ (the accompanying bowl of chips, not shown)

The ‘Hungry Breakfast’ (unfortunately the chips are a bit blurred)

Chips, Fidel and Che

Pellegrino’s chip shop, 17 Christmas Steps, Bristol, BS1 5BT

Chips and fried sausage with curry sauce

Fidel and Che accompany your chips (unfortunately the photo’s a bit blurred)

A few days ago, after drinks at the German BeerFest, I found myself sozzled and hungry in the city-centre. It was  too late for a ‘sit-in’ meal so I went along with friends to what I call the Cuban chip shop (photos of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara hang on the wall).  They have the usual choice of food you would expect from a chip shop, including haddock, cod, plaice, mushy peas and faggots (minced meat offal with herbs). We ate chips, fried battered sausages with curry sauce and this went down well. All freshly cooked and tasty.

Fortnightly wine spot (15/05/12)

Kayena Vineyard Tamar Ridge Gewurztraminer 2008

I really enjoyed this Tasmanian white wine made from grapes grown in the Tamar Valley. It has a fresh, citrus, and lychee taste with a long finish. Very nice indeed. I tried this wine with roasted sea bream and it went very well. It retails at £10.

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Autumn Riesling 2008

This Australian dry white wine I thought was nice with a taste that reminded me of marzipan (in a good way). It retails at £10 and goes well with fish and chicken.

German BeerFest 2012 Bristol (03/05/12)

Had fun yesterday with friends at the start of this five day annual event that tries to replicate the German Octoberfest in Bristol. The beer was nice – two varieties in litre glasses, the Erdinger wheat beer (a nice, flowery and fruity taste) and a Filscher Pilsner (a strong refreshing taste). Preferred the Erdinger variety. Have a hangover today so I’m keeping this post quite brief. Staff were dressed in German dirndel outfits and there was a band playing loud non-German music – such music didn’t really make sense (my moan of the day).  The organiser went round to tables explaining that they weren’t planning on holding this event this year on the Thursday, so last minute planning in terms of licensing meant that no German sausages were on offer for that day – shame. Instead, they had a crepe stand making sweet/savoury crepes – not quite the same but the beer was nice enough.

The tour follows on to Southampton, Reading and Cardiff. For information follow this link http://www.beerfestuk.com/locations.html

Shining Brightly

Kohi-Noor, 211 Whiteladies Road, Bristol, BS8 2XS

I remember two friends introducing me to the delights of the food served here a few years ago but for some reason – probably living the other side of Bristol – I had not been back since. This is of course a lame excuse so I decided to go back and, a couple of days ago, I came here with friends for a meal. I particularly enjoyed the food and within a few days I was back again. This review shows the verdicts from the two trips.

I thought the service excellent, the staff attentive without being intrusive. The decor is fairly modern and quite tasteful. But of course what really matters is the food.

Goan fish curry

Goan Fish Curry – I chose the Goan fish curry dish as I wanted to try something a bit out of the ordinary and I found it delicious. The oily fish worked perfectly with a citrus sauce that included green chillies, onions and spices, the acidity cutting through the oiliness. Lovely! It was served in a novel fish-shaped ceramic dish.

There’s a great choice of dishes at this restaurant, many of which you won’t find at your average curry house, for example the Kadak Kebab Samarkand, the Gosht Belliram and the Raan-A-Sikandari. I tried the naan bread which are large and the pilau rice, and both were tasty. I also loved the mixed tandoori starter (I can’t resist food cooked tandoori-style) and the Lal Mass – a delicious and very spicy lamb dish decorated with strips of ginger.

On the first trip, a friend had the Raan-A-Sikandari (whole lamb shank marinated in spices) and it looked irresistible. I tried this myself on the second trip and it was sublime – the meat fell away from the bone and had a ‘melt in the mouth’ texture. The spices had an aniseed taste and I wonder if the chef had used star anise or tamarind.  I’m not sure how but I managed to eat a chocolate dessert too. I was expecting from the menu photo for it to be a hot dessert but when it arrived it turned out to be a cold dessert –  very moorish.

Lal Mass – highly tasty

Large and very tasty naan bread

Tandoori starter – a choice of different meats

Raan-A-Sikandari (unfortunately the photo is a bit blurred)

 By lovefoodpinny

Raan-A-Sikandari — “A royal dish of Nizam Hyderabad” formed the description of the lamb shank at the Kohi-Noor, and even though I never met Nizam-ul-Mulk, I can be fairly confident that he would be happy with what is prepared. The shank came to the table, dressed in a tin-foil plume. The sauce was really rich, fresh and spicy without being overpowering. The meat was really very soft and tender and fell off the bone. Even the marrow tasted good. The restaurant itself is pleasant and the service was good. The meal was a bit more expensive than we ordinarily pay but worth it.    By Botch Claypole

Lal Mass – Highly tasty and a very spicy lamb dish, which is what I was looking for.    By Tintenfisch

Chana MasalaNice enough.    By Blenchly

Sag Paneer & Mushroom Pilau riceEnjoyed this.    By James W.

http://www.kohinoorofbristol.co.uk/

Chocolate dessert

Finito


Eat Drink Bristol Fashion (25th April to 7th May) – Interview with Michelin Star Restaurant Chef Josh Eggleton

Lovefoodpinny recently interviewed the Chef Josh Eggleton about this exciting venture.

How did the idea/concept for the twelve days of dining in Bristol originate?  

The inspiration for Eat Drink Bristol Fashion came early last year following the first pop-up restaurant Luke Hasell (co-director of EDBF) put on as a joint venture. Luke has a farm nearby the pub and co-owns Tipi Events, the company that put up these Tipis for a range of events and I knew him as he supplies me with beef from one of his farm’s spin offs – The Story Organic Meat Group.

As Luke had the land and the tipis, we whacked one up overlooking Chew Valley Lake and thought it would be fun to serve my Sunday Lunches in this unique setting. We sold it as a “Secret Sunday Lunch” and gave people a destination to get to in the morning. We picked them up in a tractor and trailer, put a band on and wowed them with the whole concept. We served 400 that day and the whole thing spiralled from there!

The difference about this event is that it is restaurant led. We are aiming to celebrate some of the best independent restaurants and suppliers by bringing them to the centre. The idea of bringing in different restaurants to one place came from our popular “Evening with the Chefs” event that we’ve been running at the Pony for a few years now and sees 3 or 4 places team up to serve one menu. Above all else it’s diverse – you can have anything from a 6 course taster, a Sunday roast, or just a snack in our modern British tapas bar. Failing that, just come down for a cider and enjoy the surroundings!

www.eatdrinkbristolfashion.co.uk

Are any further events planned?

We always have a range of events and speciality evenings planned at the Pony & Trap while events is TipiEvents’ bread and butter! In terms of joint collaborations, we may look to do something  a bit more permanent in Bristol in the near future but it is early days on that one. We will almost certainly do something in the Chew Valley later in the summer though so watch this space – you can stay up to speed by signing up to the Pony & Trap mailing list at www.theponyandtrap.co.uk

Josh Eggleton

What do you feel Bristol offers as a ‘food city’?

As a food city it offers so much and that is what this whole event is about! We want to shout about all the good stuff that is going on here and let the national press know that there is life outside London.

Bristol is thriving with so much going on in the form of differing restaurants, festivals, pop-ups, food clubs, online communities and much much more. The rich multicultural fabric of our city is well represented in the food scene and I believe the South West is the best region in the country for produce. A great coastline and a whole host of organic farms makes it a great place to be working right now.

To improve it, I’d like to see more independent restaurants given a chance to shine in the centre of the city. The authorities have done so much good work in making the waterfront and centre a lovely place visually, but scratch beneath the surface and there is a dearth of thriving independents. We could do with giving them a leg up to move in to the city to give Bristolians more option than all you can eats.

Is there a particular meal you can recollect that changed your outlook on food and why? 

There is no one particular meal that changed my outlook – I just love food and love to cook. Some people have other hobbies and while I enjoy a load of different things, even  in my spare time I will go to a new restaurant or be reading a cooking book. Rightly or wrongly, food is not only my work and passion – but it’s there in my downtime too!!

On an evening where you could indulge yourself and cook any food of your choice what would you choose?

I rarely get the opportunity to cook for myself but when I do it’s something very simple. To be honest, when indulging my choice would be a nice big portion of fish and chips from the shop. My favourite meal without doubt. The only food I won’t eat is baked beans!

Lunchtime Bites – The Kofta Bar, Bristol

The Kofta Bar, St Nicholas Market, Bristol, BS1 1JQ

Delicious!

The Kofta Bar

This place serves fresh Lebanese food – I tried the lamb kofta wrap which was large and very tasty indeed. A khobez (a type of flatbread) filled full to the brim with hearty chunks of lamb, cucumber, a roasted red pepper hummus, shredded red cabbage, chilli with poppy seed relish, parsley, feta cheese, cumin, rose harissa and tahini sauce with baba ganoush (mashed aubergine (eggplant) with olive oil and seasoning that has a smoky taste). This tasted so good.

I’m really surprised they don’t regularly have a queue of people here. It’s worth noting that they do both a vegetarian and a salad box version. The cost was £4.25 whilst the vegetarian version is £3.95. In addition, with the ‘salad box’ version you choose between a spicy butterbean or cous cous salad.

Other items they make are ‘salad lunchboxes’ where you select four ingredients from a list and a grilled wrap where again you a have a selection of ingredients to choose from. In the case of all dishes you can ask for ingredients you don’t like to be left out. There’s certainly a lot of choice for vegetarians here.

This place is worth a visit.

Fortnightly wine spot (21/04/12)

Yalumba Octavius Old Vine Shiraz 1994

This Australian dry red wine made from grapes grown in the Barossa Valley has quite a blackcurrant taste. I preferred it’s aroma which is wonderful and ‘full on’ and which reminds me of really good sherry, in comparison to it’s taste which I found to be disappointing. This wine retails at £90 and goes well with red meats.

Invivo Pinot Noir 2009

This New Zealand red wine made from grapes grown in Central Otago is ‘unfiltered’ and appears cloudy which is a bit startling at first sight. It has a ripe cherry taste and was nice and not too aggressive in taste. It retails at £17 and goes well with red meats.

Lunchtime Bites – Rubicon cafe lounge (cafe and chocolatier)

26 Chandos Road, Redland, Bristol, BS6 6PF

Rubicon cafe lounge

A selection of chocolate treats

Rubicon is a fantastic cafe on Chandos Road in Redland. It’s clean and friendly but two things stand out about it: the food and the owner. The day I was there with my friend Kimi they were selling three kinds of cake by the slice, and yes we tried all three. They were all good but I would especially recommend the fridge cake to anyone who loves chocolate. I also had some chocolate truffles, which were superb, and a very tasty panini which came with the nicest salad I’ve had in ages (partly because I don’t have salad that often… but my point is that it was really good). They also carry James chocolates http://www.jameschocolates.co.uk/ which I will have to try on my next visit.

The owner is awfully nice and he made us feel really welcome. I think I’d be a regular there if I lived closer.

There’s an excellent curry house next to it so the people of Chandos Road are really spoiled.

http://www.rubiconlounge.co.uk/

By Tim Kovacs

Fortnightly wine spot (07/04/12)

Reichsrat Von Buhl Riesling Jesuitengarten Beerenauslese 1992

This vintage German white wine was dry, flowery and spicy in taste with a caramel end-taste. It was really lovely to drink and retails at £108. This wine goes well with meat as well as seafood.

Reichsrat Von Buhl Riesling QbA Trocken 2009

This German dry, white  wine is multi-layered and full in flavour tasting of apricots – delicious! This wine goes well with meat, cheese and seafood dishes and retails at only £11 which is extraordinary.

Easter biscuits

Lunchtime Bites – Summerhill Bakery, 97 Summerhill Road, St George, Bristol, BS5 8JT

Easter biscuits

Feta cheese with spinach bake

A few days ago whilst travelling to my vegetable patch, I was feeling slightly peckish (to say the least), I stopped by at this bakery for something to eat. There is a lot of choice and it was not an easy decision but in the end I plumped for the Easter biscuits and a feta with spinach bake. The Easter biscuits had a delicious cinnamon and sweet-spiced flavour so a good buy I thought. I’m not really sure where this tradition began but the ones made at this bakery are really lovely. I also tried the feta with spinach bake and thought that this was really tasty, a lot of filling that also included chunks of potato and pureed spinach.

This bakery is really popular with the locals and although it’s not a ‘trendy’ type of place, the choice of freshly baked food is great and the service is really friendly.

Fish ‘n’ chips

George’s Fish Bar, 183 High Street, Hanham, Bristol, BS15 3RD

Haddock and chips - Yum!

Haddock and chips bought from George’s – I actually think this place cooks the best fish ‘n’ chips in the South West with the exception of somewhere I remember serving fish ‘n’ chips in Cornwall. Took a photo as you can see but I think it doesn’t do the food at George’s justice. The fish batter is so, so tasty, the portions are large, freshly cooked and they take tremendous pride in the food they cook and serve. Each day they show the name of the boat from which the fish was caught. Delicious fish ‘n’ chips!

Lunchtime Bites – piri piri chicken to go

Portuguese Taste, St Nicholas Market, Bristol, BS1 1JQ

Piri piri chicken to go

I’m a newcomer to Portuguese food – I bought lunch from Portuguese Taste a few days ago. It’s been based at St Nicholas Market for several years now but to my shame I had never eaten here before and I was in for a treat as the food here does not disappoint. You’re given large portions that includes plenty of fresh vegetables. I tried the piri piri chicken served with rice which I found to be very tasty indeed – lots of tomato, onions, chicken, carrots, broccoli and peas. The piri piri is the African bird’s eye chili variety that has a kick to it.

The majority of dishes at Portuguese Taste are priced from £4.50 to £5.50 with the exception of soup dishes at £2.00/ £2.20. Other dishes they were serving include cod fillet with tomatoes served with rice and salad, a beef stew served with rice, chips and salad, meatballs served with rice, chips and salad, as well as pork and chickpeas served with rice.

You can eat within the food market or you can eat nearby in one of the City’s parks. I chose to eat with friends in the nearby Castle park.

Portuguese Taste

This place is worth a visit.

Garlic, lemon & thyme roast chicken

This is a delicious and easy roast chicken recipe.

Roast chicken with garlic, lemon & thyme

  • A 1.5-2 kg whole raw chicken (preferably free-range) with the innards (entrails) removed
  • A whole garlic bulb (made up of approximately 10 individual cloves)
  • 5 Fresh lemons (preferably unwaxed)
  • A bunch of thyme herb
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil

Step 1 – Ensure that the raw chicken has been removed from the fridge and kept at room temperature for as short a time as possible.

Step 2 – Ensure that your oven is pre-heated to a temperature of 190 degrees Celsius.

Step 3 – Place the raw chicken into an oven-proof dish. Rub the chicken with salt, black pepper and olive oil.

Step 4 – Cut the fresh lemons into half and squeeze the juice of two halves onto the chicken. Place two of the other lemon halves into the internal cavity and place the remaining lemon halves within the oven-proof dish with the chicken.

Step 5 – Place the thyme herb into and under the skin of the chicken – this will add a delicious flavour to the chicken. Peel the garlic cloves and cut each clove in half. Cut small incisions all over into the chicken and place the garlic cloves (that have been cut into half) into these incisions. Cover this oven-proof dish with baking foil whilst cooking to ensure that the chicken remains moist and succulent and does not dry out. The garlic when roasting will give a delicious and mellow garlic flavour and when you slice through the chicken, the garlic will be visible.

Step 6 – Cook the chicken for approximately an hour ensuring that the chicken is fully cooked – you may need a slightly longer cooking time. A way to check that the chicken is cooked through is to cut between a chicken leg and the body and to check that the juices flow out, also there should be no blood or red/pink colour here and the flesh should be white coloured.

There you have it, a tasty treat. Enjoy!

Fortnightly wine spot (23/03/12)

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 20 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009

This New Zealand white wine is nice, dry with a citrus/lime taste. Bought at just under £17 which I thought was a bit over-priced for this wine.  This wine goes well with seafood.

Serre Alte Barolo Riserva 2004

This Italian red wine I thought was alright but nothing special, in fact it was a bit disappointing. A very dry wine with no real substance to it – a bit of a light-weight for a red wine. Bought at just over £21 which is very over-priced. This wine goes well with cheese and red meat dishes.

Fortnightly wine spot (10/03/12)

Amarone Della Valpolicella 2008 Pietro Sartori

This Italian red wine is full-bodied and I found it to be too dry for my taste. Bought at nearly £15.  This wine goes well with strong cheeses.

Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Daniel Schuster

This New Zealand white wine has a delicious blackcurrant taste with minerality and a smooth, dry finish. Bought at £15, a must try as it has an ‘expensive’ taste. It goes well with chicken and seafood dishes.

Lunchtime Bites – pick a pitta

Pick a Pitta, St Nicholas Market, Bristol, BS1 1JQ

Pick a Pitta

“You’re going to kill Falafel King”, said the bloke three places in front of me in the queue as the chap handed him his falafel. And certainly on a number of points this place has the edge over its regal rival. For many of us city-centre wage slaves, it’s a lot more conveniently located than the van by the harbourside, and  of course way more central than Cotham. It’s also better staffed than the Falafel King van – one person takes your order, another cooks and a third stuffs all the ingredients into a pitta – so you’ll get served a lot quicker than at the van. And if you really fall in love with the place, you can build up loyalty points – buy 10 and the 11th is free.

But kill Falafel King? I have to say I’m not so sure and the reason lies, oddly enough, in the sauce. You can choose any or all of: lemon and olive oil, chilli or tahini. I’ve had all three and, latterly, chilli and tahini only and in every case I found the sauces far too sweet and runny to the point that they dripped all over me. You might just about get away without sauce but I think falafel is the sort of meal that really calls for a bit of chilli and tahini, and if you get it wrong you can ruin the whole dish. At £3.95, Pick a Pitta is also 45p pricier.

The king may rest easy in his bed for a little while yet.

By Tintenfisch

Lunchtime Bites – sabich

Falafel King, Bristol, (Harbourside) BS1

Sabich served in a home-baked pitta – Delicious!

I had a sabich  for lunch yesterday from the food stand Falafel King located by the harbour in the  city-centre. This dish consists of fried aubergine and sliced hard-boiled eggs served with loads of tasty chopped red and white cabbage with a vinegarette and tahini sauce. It was served in a large home-baked pitta (you can choose from white or a wholemeal pitta). You can also add more tahini sauce as well as a sweet mango sauce or a spicy chilli sauce if you prefer. I opted for more tahini sauce and the sweet mango sauce. Cost £3.50 – really good value for money with such large-sized portions. They also do  a £4.50 version of all dishes where you’re given even more food for your bucks – incredible.

Sabich – a quarter eaten. Yum!

The food Falafel King serve is middle-eastern vegetarian and you’re given generous portions, including of course falafels. They also have a restaurant located at 6 Cotham Hill, Cotham Down, Bristol, BS6 6LF.

Worth a visit.

Check out the first review of Falafel King at
http://lovefoodpinny.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/lunchtime-bites-falafel-king-bristol-bs1/

Weekly wine spot (23/11/11)

Chateauneuf du Pape Bosquet 2005 Des Papes 2005

Delicious, this French red wine is multi-layered in its taste. To start, it has a sweeter taste and follows with a very dry finish. Bought at just over £20, a true bargain for such a delicious taste. Well worth drinking. This wine goes well with red meat and game dishes.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 3 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010

What a truly great New Zealand white wine. It has minerality and a delicious gooseberry and passion fruit taste and it’s dry yet fruity, with bite to it. Bought for £15. A wine you should try. This wine goes well with chicken as well as pasta dishes.

Weekly wine spot (13/11/11)

Morillon Blanc (2009) by Jeff Carrel

A Chardonnay from France with a delicate honey aroma and a delicious rich, buttery texture. A dry white wine that is well balanced and not too dry. Well worth drinking. I advise that the price of this wine does not match its delicious taste as I bought it at £11.49 – a true bargain for such an exquisite wine.

This wine goes wonderfully with fish, chicken or pork dishes.

 

Allegrini Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico (2008)

This is a very full-bodied Italian red wine. It has an aroma and taste of ripe cherries and chocolate and is silky smooth – delicious!

Bought at just under £15, it beats a lot of the French contenders in higher price ranges and I keep going back to it. This wine goes well with hearty red meat and game dishes. Enjoy!

Lunchtime Bites – A sausage sandwich – The Bristol sausage shop, St Nicholas Market, Bristol, BS1

Lunchtimes can be tough times for lazy misers in Bristol. An overpackaged sandwich from one of the “express” supermarkets will set you back a couple of quid; go looking for a hot meal and you’ll be lucky to see change of a fiver.

There are notable exceptions, of course, and one of them is the Bristol Sausage Shop in St Nicholas Market. The stall’s main stock in trade is a variety of exotic sausages that you take home and cook yourself but at lunchtime the proprietor does a nice side-line in “sausage sandwiches” – two fat bangers in a baguette with onions, relish and mustard, and yours for £3.

The Bristol Sausage Shop

The choice, as you might expect, is not as wide as it is on the cold counter next door. On the two occasions I’ve been, I was offered the choice of lamb or pork-and-something (the “something” varied and, to my shame, I cannot now remember what it was in either case). The sausages are delicious, truly having a flavour of their own, and you’ll need a pretty hefty appetite if you’re still to feel hungry after chomping through that little lot.

A word of warning to those who like to eat on the hoof. I spent a happy fifteen minutes wandering aimlessly about Castle Park and stuffing my face, and it wasn’t until I’d finished that I noticed that the relish had been quietly dripping out of the end of the baguette and down the front of my shirt. If you have the misfortune of working with people who enjoy a laugh at your expense, you may find it better to remain seated while eating.

And the verdict? Well, healthy eating it ain’t and the hardened niggard may baulk at the thought of £3 for lunch but it’s a hot, tasty, filling meal, your pennies stay locally and, particularly in a city like Bristol, you can pay a great deal more for an awful lot less.

The Bristol Sausage Shop

By Tintenfisch

Photos by Botch Claypole

Lunchtime Bites – Falafel King, Bristol, BS1

Bristolians, especially those who frequent the centre, have long known where to get falafel (פלאפל), the middle-Eastern deep-fried chickpea balls. Falafel King is a food stand right by the harbour in the middle of town. The food consists of either falafel balls or boiled egg and aubergine (‘sabich’) and comes in pitta pouches. It tastes fresh and healthy and the portions are acceptable. They are great with special diets – all the food is vegetarian, and they will give information about their ingredients if asked.

Falafel King, Bristol, BS1

We visited early afternoon, sitting for a while by the overcast harbour as Tintenfisch gazed out mumbling “Call me Ishmael”, but they are open all day and until late in the night. The woman at the stall possesses a unique view of the world. Cost: £3.50. Better than Subway.

Verdict: “OK”.

By Botch Claypole

Check out a later review of Falafel King at
http://lovefoodpinny.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/lunchtime-bites-sabich/

Two Day Coffee Roasters, 135 St Michaels Hill, Bristol, BS2 8BS

My friend Blenchly, who used to live in this area of Bristol, introduced me to this place. They sell ethically-traded speciality coffees (as coffee beans or ground coffee to take home, or to drink in the shop) and their name – Two Day Coffee Roasters – points to the fact that none of their coffees are kept for more than two days after roasting. They have a broad and ever-changing range of coffees available, many of which have been awarded ‘the Cup of Excellence’ mark, an award that is said to be the highest accolade that may be given to coffee.  The Cup of Excellence website (2011) states that it “is a strict competition that selects the very best coffee produced in that country for that particular year”.

A selection of coffee beans ready to take home

The owners, Petra and Frank, first came across a ‘coffee roaster’ selling freshly roasted coffee ten years ago in Japan, where they were living at the time. The owner did not speak English and this, as Petra told me, “made communication with him difficult, however they could immediately taste the difference of freshly roasted coffee”.

A chance to smell the coffee grains before hot water was added

As well as coffee, Two Day Coffee Roasters sell equipment and wares for you to enjoy your coffee and they have a mail order delivery service too. They also organise tastings of coffees, and a couple of days ago I visited for a tasting.

Petra and Frank selected six different coffees, giving a range of taste, for me to try. First of all, we went through smelling what Petra called the “fragrance” of each of the freshly-ground coffee beans. She then added hot water, creating a froth and “locking-in an aroma”. Petra showed me the act of breaking the seal with a spoon to release the aroma and how, by breathing in deeply, you can gain an insight into the coffee. We then tasted the coffee by spreading the spoon across the coffee, slurping from it immediately to make sure the coffee spread quickly around the mouth. As the coffee grains remain in the cup, the coffee is constantly ‘extracting’ so that if you leave it for more than three or four minutes it can become ‘over-extracted’ and bitter. There is, in fact, a “golden period” during which the flavour will be at its best, although this depends on the amount of coffee and water used. I had never tasted coffee in this way before and it gave me a whole new outlook.

Petra smelling and tasting the coffees

The coffees I sampled were (with tasting notes):

Musasa (from Rwanda) — raisin, sundried tomatoes and chocolate.

Abakundakawa Rusashi (from Rwanda; this coffee has a ‘cup of Excellence mark’) — a well-rounded, jasmine tasting, medium-dark roasted coffee.

Gethumbwini Peaberry (from Kenya) — a fruity, vibrant, sharp yet smooth coffee, with a slight blackcurrant tang.

El Borbollon (from El Salvador) — my favourite in this tasting! A mellow, smooth, dark-roasted coffee.

Finca San Francisco Tecuamburro (from Guatemala) — a fruity, easy-drinking, medium-roasted, microlot coffee. Microlot means that it is growing in a particular part of the plantation and it is therefore processed differently. In the case of this specific coffee it is growing at the highest point of the plantation.

Fazenda Rodomunho (from Brazil) — a nutty, biscuity, well-rounded flavour. A medium-dark roasted coffee.

The coffee roaster

Petra advised me that coffee loses a lot of its flavour after seven days, so it is worth buying in small amounts, and for a fresh taste it is worth grinding the coffee beans just before you want to drink the coffee.

Unroasted coffee beans

Unroasted coffee beans

From the tasting, I found that I prefer darker roasted coffees, although one can of course develop a wider taste by regularly sampling other varieties.

Interestingly, Petra pointed out that the darker the roast, the less complex the taste of the coffee, is likely to be. They can even create a blend of coffee specifically for your own taste.

Two Day Coffee Roasters is well-worth a visit. It will change your perspective on drinking coffee for the better!

www.twodaycoffee.co.uk/

www.cupofexcellence.org/

Reference: The Cup Of Excellence website (2011) [Online]. Available from: http://www.cupofexcellence.org/WhatisCOE/tabid/184/Default.aspx [Accessed 14th September 2011].

“Yummy yum yum” – the Barley Mow Bristol

39 Barton Road, The Dings, Bristol, BS2 0LF

Last Friday I met with a group of friends at this pub that has the tagline, “real beer, real pub”. The Barley Mow Bristol has over recent years had a resurgence as it is located in an area of re-development and new housing from what was mainly an area of  non-residential, work buildings. It is owned by the Bristol Beer Factory, an independent brewery that use locally grown malt and hops to produce their beer.

The pub menu board caught my eye with the title “yummy yum yum” for the ‘special baguette’ of the day, containing “top rump steak” and garlic mushrooms served with horseradish sauce, salad with a cream vinaigrette and chips. Our group ordered this and the Minty, Heidi and Moo Pieminster pies. We agreed the service was great and that the food was “yummy yum yum”. The Minty pie has lamb, carrot, swede, rose wine and mint; the Heidi pie has goat’s cheese, butternut squash, spinach and red onion; the Moo pie has steak, ale and vegetables. The pies are made by the Bristol-based company Pieminster and were cooked and presented well at the Barley Mow on a base of delicious creamy mashed potato with peas and a tasty mouth-watering, dark and rich onion and meat gravy.

I tried the No 7. traditional bitter which has a tasty rich toffee taste and the Ashton Press cider, a golden coloured medium-dry cider that was delicious and is made locally from the Long Ashton Cider Company.

The Barley Mow website states that, “it is a real community pub, offering great locally brewed ales, home-cooked pub food, a courtyard garden and a real fire” and I agree.

A real treat – the Barley Mow Bristol is well worth a visit.

www.barleymowbristol.com

www.bristolbeerfactory.co.uk

www.butcombe.com/shop/ashton_press_cider.shtml

http://www.pieminister.co.uk/

A Minty Pieminster pie served on creamy mashed potato, peas and a rich onion and meat gravy

A baguette of "top rump steak" and garlic mushrooms served with horseradish sauce, salad with a cream vinaigrette and chunky chips

Wanted to show the tasty chips (unfortunately, the photo's a bit blurred)

Well worth a visit

A Review – Brauhaus Lemke, Luisenplatz 1, Charlottenburg, 10585 Berlin

  • 13th and 14th August 2011 (part 11 (final part) of the Berlin Posts)

This is a microbrewery in Berlin that has been running since 1999. It has two branches, this one in Charlottenburg and the other at Hackescher Markt.

At my first visit I tried the Lemke Original beer which is a dark beer that has a malty aroma and a delicious chocolatey end taste. I thought it was lighter than most dark beers. I also tried their Hefeweizen beer, orange in colour and which they promote as being fruity and tangy. I agree it is and it is tasty. With this beer I ate brezel, a delicious freshly baked knot-shaped bread.

From the menu, I tried the zwei Berliner Bouletten fennel, dazu Bauernbrot und Landbutter which is a Berlin speciality of meatballs served with bread and butter. This was so tasty, the meatballs needing no accompanying mustard. There was a bit of paprika in the meatballs, and fennel giving a fresh and aniseed taste and making them aromatic. They also had onion adding moistness. These were very tasty indeed. They were served with a good salad of red, green and yellow peppers, tomato, sweetcorn, frisee lettuce, cucumber, finely chopped red cabbage with a lovely vinaigrette. With this I tried the Lemke Saisonbier which was cloudy, orange, hoppy and fruity. I was given a small dish of barley as a bar snack which I had never tried before to go with the Saisonbier. Interestingly, the barley at first, tasted chalky but then seemed to highlight the taste of the Saisonbier – very nice. Another of their beers is the Lemke Pilsner goldbland which I also tried. It’s a cloudy pilsner full on flavour. The Brauhaus Lemke tagline is, “Eine Frage der Aehre” written on their menu with an illustration of barley. It translates as “a question of ears”, referring to the ears of barley.

At my follow-up visit, I tried the Brauhaus Grillhaxe mit Bratkartoffel, sauerkraut which was a pork knuckle (cooked on-the-bone) served with fried potatoes and sauerkraut. The pork was very tender, very tasty. I also tried the steak mit gorgonzolasoße auf Blattspinat, dazu kroketten und salat which was pork steak with gorgonzola sauce, served with spinach, potato croquettes und salad. This was my favourite meal on the entire trip to Berlin. It was simply bliss. The pork steak was tender and full of flavour, the gorgonzola sauce was delicious, the spinach was not overcooked and was full of flavour and the potato croquettes had a lovely earthy taste.

I have just looked at the Christmas menu on the Brauhaus Lemke website – oh, how I wish I lived in Berlin.

www.brauhaus-lemke.com

Brezel, a freshly baked knot shaped bread

Lemke Saisonbier and a dish of barley

Brauhaus Grillhaxe mit Bratkartoffel und sauerkraut

Steak mit gorgonzolasoße auf Blattspinat, dazu kroketten und salat

A Review – Berlins Klassisches, MeinekestraBe 25 (off Kurfurstendamm), 10719 Berlin

  • 12th August 2011 (part 10 – Berlin Posts)

This is a welcoming restaurant/bar where the service was excellent. Here I tried the Weizenbier kristall, a light coloured well-rounded wheat beer and Paulaner Hefe Weissbier, a refreshing cloudy wheatbeer from Bavaria. Both great tasting drinks.

Unfortunately, no website could be found for this place.

A Review – Vietnam Restaurant, Georgen Straße 25 (across the road from the Friedrichstraße U-bahn station), 10117 Berlin

  • 12th August 2011 (part 9 of the Berlin Posts)

Vietnamese  food is my personal favourite. I came here around three years ago and was really pleased with the food, and so I felt it would be worth making a visit. I tried two dishes and found unfortunately that both were consistently bad. I was really unhappy with the food. It was my birthday and I was looking forward to a nice meal – I was very disappointed. From the photos below, the two dishes do not look in anyway particularly bad. However, I tried the fried red perch fillet with mixed vegetables with a tamarind sauce that was listed on the menu as being spicy and found that the coating to the fried red perch fillet was so brittle that I had to stab at it with my knife in a very gruesome way, the tamarind sauce was bland and the vegetables were tasteless and possibly old. The other dish I tried was the grilled chicken with lemongrass and chilli delivered at the table attractively sizzling away on a hot pan. This dish which was also listed on the menu as being spicy, I found it to be tasteless and bland. The consistency of the sauce was as though lots of monosodium glutamate had been added and reminded me of those awful bottled sauces found in supermarkets that contain no fresh ingredients. Similarly, the vegetables were tasteless. Overall, both dishes lacked flavour and freshness.

A consistently bad and disappointing meal. No website could be found for this restaurant.

Consistently bad - fried red perch fillet with mixed vegetables with a tamarind sauce

Consistently bad - grilled chicken with lemongrass and chilli

A Review – KaDeWe Berlin, Kaufhaus des Westens, Tauentzienstraße 21-24, D-10789 Berlin

  • 12th August 2011 (part 8 of the Berlin Posts)

According to their website (2011) this store was opened in March 1907. On my visit, I found it has a nice selection of chocolate, a gourmet floor on the sixth floor currently with an international delicatessen, four champagne bars as well as several gourmet bars such as the chocolate bar, Le Buffet and the Leysieffer Café.

This is really worth visiting.

www.kadewe.de

The KaDeWe store

 

Fruits at the KaDeWe

 

Selection of eggs at the KaDeWe

Reference: KaDeWe Berlin website (2011) [Online]. Available from: http://www.kadewe.de/de/das_kadewe/unser_haus_historie/[Accessed 23rd August 2011].

A Review – Dicke Wirtin (fat landlady), Carmerstraße 9, Savigny-Platz, 10623 Berlin

  • 10th August 2011 (part 7 of the Berlin Posts)

This bar is nearby one of the universities in the city and is reputed to have been a regular meeting place during the late 1960s student riots in Berlin. There are several rooms and it is a popular place with both locals and students. At the rear of the bar, a mannequin stands wearing a police/military uniform.

They do snack-type meals here. I tried the Berliner Kindl Pilsner beer which I found to be a well-rounded and a slightly tart brew – very nice indeed.

This interesting and friendly place is worth visiting.

www.dicke-wirtin.de

The Fat Landlady

 

Berliner Kindl beer

A Review – Akropolis, Wielandstraeß 38, Charlottenburg, 10629 Berlin

  • 9th August 2011 (part 6 of the Berlin Posts)

This Greek restaurant has been here for over eight years. I try and make a visit every time I come to Berlin as the food is extremely tasty, the place appears frequented by a lot of people who live locally and as the owner has a habit of giving free ouzo at the end of meals. I tried the Gyros skerdatos with garlic which was delicious – a selection of meat cooked over a grill giving it a lovely smokey taste. Also, I tried the moussaka with a garnish of feta cheese. This moussaka is outstanding – it has an airy mousse-like layer of egg/cheese to it that I have never been able to recreate. Found the beer Haake Beck Pilsner from Bremen, Germany which I had never tried before has a refreshing taste with a nice pungent aroma.

Unfortunately, no website could be found for this restaurant.

Moussaka

A Review – Brauhaus Spandau, Neuendorfer Straße 1, Spandau, 13585 Berlin

  • 10th and 13th August 2011 (part 5 of the Berlin Posts)

This is a microbrewery and a hotel that I found makes both delicious food and beer. It has two indoor levels with adjacent rooms where you can eat as well as a large beer garden. Whereas breweries tend to do seasonal beers, here they produce some additional varieties of beer for specific months. On my first visit, I tried their Havelbrau, an unfiltered and cloudy, fruity, golden beer that lacks the sharpness of a pilsner and which I found to be very smooth. I could drink a lot of this. Foodwise,I tried a Brezel which is a freshly baked knot shaped bread as a snack that has some salt to the coating. It was delicious.

At the follow-up visit I tried one of the ‘chef’s choice’ the Schweineruckensteak vom Grill mit portion Pfifferlinge und bratkottofeln which is grilled pork steak served with fried potatoes as well as chanterelle mushrooms which are in their growing season right now. This dish was delicious, although the chanterelles topped with parsley were cooked with finely chopped pork, whereas I would have preferred and cooked them without the pork to be able to enjoy their own flavour. Saying that though the stocky texture of chanterelle mushrooms make them great to serve alongside meat.

Also, I tried the Knusprige schweinshaxe mit sauerkraut und hausbrot which is a crispy knuckle of pork on-the-bone roasted served with sauerkraut and home-made bread. This was very tasty, the pork skin being so crispy and yet the inner meat was so tender and the dark bread was very malty. The sauerkraut had fennel which gave a fresh aromatic aniseed taste. Also, I tried the Weizenbier (hefetrub vom fass) a golden cloudy wheatbeer tasting yeasty with vanilla and banana notes which I liked a lot. I managed to also eat a chocolate, mango ice cream dessert made by FloridaEis.de which I was really impressed with. It tasted moorish and very gelatinous in texture which is lovely so a big thumbs up for this ice cream.

You will miss out, by not eating and drinking here.

www.brauhaus-spandau.de

Schweineruckensteak vom Grill mit portion Pfifferlinge und bratkottofeln

Knusprige schweinshaxe mit sauerkraut und hausbrot

A Review – Brauhaus Mitte, Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 13, 10178 Berlin

  • 9th and 11th August 2011 (part 4 of the Berlin Posts)

This is one of Berlin’s microbreweries and is located in what was the East before the removal of the Berlin wall. The building looks like a fast-food burger joint – it was built in the concrete period of the 1960s/70s, and although there is an outside area to sit at the front of the building, the inside of this brewery hall that has several adjoining rooms is inside a shopping centre. Do not let this appearance prevent you from visiting as you will miss a place that makes excellent food and beer. The staff here, take pride in the food and beer they produce. At my first visit, I tried the Brauhaus Saisonbier which is the beer of the season. This was a nice smooth fruity beer. Also, I tried the Brauhaus Pilsner that has a golden colour and is very hoppy to taste. With these I ate Brezel a freshly baked knot shaped snack which was still warm from the oven and very tasty.

At the follow-up visit, I tried the Bavarian speciality Brauhaus Schweinhaxe mit Stampfkertoffeln und sauerkraut which is a roasted pork joint served with mashed potato and sauerkraut (finely shredded pickled cabbage). This Schweinhaxe was the tastiest tried on this trip with such an amazing crackling to it. The sauerkraut had crushed juniper berries which added a whole new dimension, a fragrance and taste all of it’s own – a good tip, adding crushed juniper berries to cabbage. I have done this with red cabbage, shredding the cabbage, pickling it overnight with the crushed juniper berries, red wine, brown sugar, cinnamon and red wine vinegar before cooking it.

Also, I tried the Bierkutschersteak schweinenackensteak mit schinken, tomaten und mit kase uberbacken, dazu bractokartoffeln und salat which is a pork steak cooked in beer topped with melted cheese, a layer of ham and sliced tomatoes, served with fried potatoes and salad. This was very tasty, the beer adding a delicious flavour and I noted the salad was also good – it had so much to it, not just the usual salad items you would expect in Britain but also chopped green and yellow peppers with a tangy tasty dressing.

I also enjoyed the Brauhaus Hefeweizen Hell beer. ‘Hell’ meaning unfiltered, the orangish beer was cloudy and had a delicious flowery, fruity yet tangy taste.

Definitely, worth a visit.

www.brauhaus-mitte.de

A Review – Sophie’n eck, Große Hamburger Straße 37, 10115 Berlin

  • 8th August 2011 (part 3 of the Berlin Posts)

This lovely restaurant/bar is located on a quiet corner street and has an impressive outside facade and vintage-style wall hangings to the inside. It is in what was the Jewish quarter. This is a bohemian, trendy area with lots of individual one-off shops. Although it has no beer garden, it does have an outside area along the front of the building to the footpath where you can drink and watch the world go by. Had refreshing Berliner Pilsner and Berliner Weiss beer.

www.sophieneck-berlin.de

Berliner Pilsner

A Review – Gasthaus Krombach, Meinekestraße 4 (off Kurfurstendamm), 10719 Berlin

  • 7th and 10th August 2011 (part 2 of the Berlin Posts)

This place has several wooden panelled rooms where you can eat as well as a main bar. It makes delicious food with the bonus of  large portions. At my first visit, I opted for two dishes. Firstly, the hausgemachte konigsberger klopse mit kapernsauce und salzkartoffeln which is meat balls with a caper sauce served with lettuce and boiled yellow potatoes topped with chopped parsley. The potatoes tasted especially good, very flavoursome and waxy and I had not tasted anything like the caper sauce before, a very creamy sauce with a citrus-like flavour from the capers – delicious. Also, I tried the dish hausgemachte eisbeinsulze mit remouladensauce und bratkartoffeln which is a boiled knuckle of pork on-the-bone, served with lettuce, a mashed pea sauce, horseradish sauce, sauerkraut and fried potatoes. The potatoes had been fried with onions and fnely chopped pork and was perfect for eating with beer. The pork knuckle tasted wonderful as though this meat had been pickled prior to cooking giving it an incredible depth of flavour. I also tried the Berliner Pilsner which has a light yellow colour and a strong refreshing flavour.

On the second visit, I tried the grobe deftige kohlroulade mit specksoße und salzkartoffeln. This was half a cabbage (which was huge) boiled and stuffed with minced beef, served with a bacon sauce and boiled yellow potatoes. This was tasty and the cooked cabbage was impressively sweet and not sour tasting unlike what you would expect from boiled cabbage. Also, yes greedily I tried the saftiger schweinebraten mit bratensoBe, rotkohl und kartoffelkloßen which is roast pork, served with red cabbage, freshly made potato dumplings and a meat gravy which was delicious, my favourite of the tried dishes.

All of the food was extremely delicious. This place is not to be missed.

www.gasthaus-krombach.de

Berliner Pilsner

Hausgemachte konigsberger klopse mit kapernsauce und salzkartoffeln

A Review – Zillemarkt, Bleibtreustraße 48a, Charlottenburg, 10623 Berlin

  • 7th, 8th and 9th August 2011 (part 1 of the Berlin Posts)

I came here before around three years ago with some friends. It is a lovely wooden panelled restaurant that has a bar and is also a cafe during the day. It has an impressive stained glass skylight in the main indoor area and as the enclosed rear garden is next to the S-bahn station Savignyplatz,  you can watch the German ICE trains zip by. The staff here are friendly and helpful with the aim that you enjoy yourself. On my first visit on this trip, I tried the Zillebrau beer. It has a pale yellow colour and is a flowery-tasting beer. I also tried the Berliner Weiss which is brewed in Berlin and is a sour-tasting wheat beer served in round glasses. A flavoured syrup is added of either the two flavours sweet raspberry, red in colour or woodruff which is sour in taste and which is green. I particularly like the sour woodruff Berliner Weiss but unfortunately only the sweet raspberry flavoured-syrup was available at the time of my visit.

At the second visit to Zillemarkt on this trip, I tried the cocktail caipirinha made with pitu, brown sugar and lime juice. This was deliciously refreshing and made well. The appetiser of a selection of bread served with lard was given, a traditional Berlin dish. The lard did not appeal to me but the selection of bread was delicious, especially the dark types.

I tried the kasslerbratten and the Berliner eisbein. The kasslerbraten is a lightly salted and smoked pork chop served with sauerkraut, boiled potatoes topped with chopped chives, salad and a paprika sauce. This was heavenly. The Berliner eisbein is a knuckle of pork boiled on-the-bone, a traditional Berlin dish. It looks uninviting and not particularly appealing mainly I think because of its thick layer of fat on the meat joint but is very tasty, the cooking of this joint on-the-bone lending a rich flavour. It was served with peas mashed in a delicious meat-based stock with chopped carrots, as well as finely shredded sauerkraut (pickled cabbage), boiled yellow potatoes and mustard. The sauerkraut having a tangy vinegar taste cuts through the fat of the meat making a perfect combination.

I also tried the Zille brau schwarzbier one of their own-produced dark beers. A very tasty brew with a chocolately end-taste which is quite light for a dark type of beer.

This place is well worth a visit.

www.zillemarkt.de

Kasslerbraten

A selection of bread served with lard

A Review – Introduction – a snapshot of eating and drinking in Berlin

Just over a week ago, I visited Berlin. I really love this city, I think it is probably my favourite. This visit was my eighth visit, the first being back in 2002. Without meaning to sound cliched, Berlin has a buzz all of its own that I have never encountered in any other place. I remember a student friend, who had spent several months working there, looking straight at me quite seriously and saying she thought I would love berlin. At the time, I never really understood why she thought this. Now I understand.

I would have loved to have written a post every day or two during this visit but this never happened. For one thing, I was having too much fun but on a more practical note, it seems that places where you can use the internet are getting very difficult to find. By the time I did find somewhere, it was half-way through the week  – how times have changed since the last time I visited this city three years ago. Of course, writing  a blog from a mobile phone is entirely impractical.

You can only visit a few places in a week so the ‘Berlin posts’ are really a snapshot of eating and drinking in Berlin. For a sense of completeness, as well as being totally greedy, I tried to make two visits to each venue – one to try drinks and one to try drinks and  meals. I took photos of all the food dishes but unfortunately, only a few of them are worth including.

The Oberbaumbruecke across the river Spree

The Fernsehturm built in the 1960s

Change to Potsdamer Platz since the removal of the Berlin wall

A Review – Raj Mahal City, 69 Clarence Road, Redcliffe, Bristol, BS1 6RP

Two nights ago I came here for a meal with a group of friends. We all agreed that the indian food here is delicious! I had a Bahari lamb from the ‘chef’s specialities’ which had a melt in the mouth texture that suggested slow-cooking. No one in our group of ten was disappointed and the service was excellent. Several of us ordered dessert. One item in particular caught the eye  –  Kuaky, a cute plastic duck containing chocolate ice-cream. The waiter told us that their other branch on Frome Valley Road, Bristol, BS16 has another dessert, Punky penguin, much to the delight of two penguin fanatics in our group.

This place is well worth a visit.

http://rajmahalbristol.co.uk

(Please note, a more recent review of this restaurant can be found on this blogsite posted on the 21st February 2012 – it is also viewable from the following link)

http://lovefoodpinny.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/raj-mahal-city-bristol/

Baked fish with cherry/ vine tomatoes and basil – Quick & easy

Sea Bream cooked with basil & vine tomatoes

Two readers have asked me for quick, simple recipes that are ideal for when you come home tired from work. This recipe is the first of many on this topic.

  • Filleted fish or whole fish with the innards (entrails) removed
  • Cherry or vine tomatoes
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sprigs of basil
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Fresh lemon
  • A pinch of salt

Step 1 – Preheat your oven at 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Step 2 - Place the fish onto a sheet of baking foil that is large enough to be used to encase the fish.

Step 3 – Squeeze the fresh lemon onto the fish and add olive oil, salt as well as the sprigs of basil. Place the cherry/vine tomatoes with the fish. If you use vine tomatoes, it is worth including the vine with the tomatoes as this will give a wonderful aroma to the finished dish.

Step 4 – Seal the edges of the baking foil to enclose the fish with the cherry/vine tomatoes, ensuring that the foil is closed tightly to prevent any steam from escaping.

Step 5 – Place the parcel of fish onto a baking tray into the oven and cook for approximately 15 minutes, ensuring that the fish is cooked through.

Tasty served with a salad, or with boiled potatoes and other cooked vegetables.

Enjoy!

Roasted red pepper soup

A reader has contacted me asking for a red pepper recipe as his wife has just recently bought a large quantity of red peppers. I hope this recipe will be of assistance.

  • 500g red peppers
  • 1 litre chicken stock (can be substituted with a good quality vegetable stock if you prefer)
  • 200g potatoes
  • 100g onions
  • 120ml of sour (cooking) cream
  • 6 average-sized tomatoes or a teaspoon of tomato puree (if you use tomato puree, then add approximately half a teaspoon of caster sugar as the puree is relatively sour in taste)
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Sprigs of parsley

Step 1 – Cut the red peppers in half lengthways and remove the seeds.

Step 2 – Roast the red peppers in olive oil in a preheated oven at 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 10-15 minutes, or until the skin becomes darkened. Leave the cooked red peppers to cool in a clean plastic bag which will allow you to remove/peel away the skin which you discard. This will give a sweetness to the red peppers.

Step 3 – Chop the cooked red peppers.

Step 4 – Boil the potatoes until they are cooked through and chop these into approximately 3cm chunks.

Step 5 – Chop the garlic, tomatoes and onions finely. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the chopped garlic, tomatoes and onions frying them until they are cooked.

Step 6 – Put the cooked potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, onions and peppers into a large saucepan. Add the chicken/vegetable stock and cook on a medium gas/electric hob for approximately 30 minutes.

Step 7 – Using a hand blender or food processor, blend the cooked mixture until it is a smooth consistency.

Step 8 – Return the mixture to the large saucepan, adding the cooking cream and cook at a low heat for approximately 15 minutes. Taste the mixture and add salt, black pepper to taste. Top with some chopped parsley.

Makes approximately 4 servings.

Serve with crusty bread.

Enjoy!

Roasted beetroot with rosemary

This is a seasonal recipe for right now.

  • Beetroot
  • Rosemary herb
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

Step 1 – Chop the beetroot into large wedges and place these into an oven-proof dish. You can leave the skin on washed beetroot.

Step 2 – Add olive oil to the beetroot.

Step 3 – Chop the rosemary finely and add this to the beetroot.

Step 4 – Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Step 5 – Roast for approximately 30 minutes, or until the beetroot is cooked through.

Step 6 – Add salt to taste.

Enjoy!

Bramley apple crumble

Well, how does one follow bread and butter pudding ?  With great difficulty, however this recipe for Bramley apple crumble is not to be missed. I have made crumbles over the years, trying numerous varieties of apples and found that bramley apples give that divine gooey yet chunky texture when cooked that is so just right for a crumble.

  • 400g of Bramley apples
  • 300g of plain flour
  • 50g of brown sugar (for the crumble topping)
  • 10g of muscovado brown sugar (for the crumble topping – it will add a rich toffee-like taste.)
  • 100g of brown sugar (for adding to the apples)
  • 200g of unsalted butter
  • 20g of brown sugar (for sprinkling onto the top of the crumble mixture at the end prior to cooking)
  • A sprinkling of ground/grated cinnamon to taste
  • A pinch of salt
  • A small amount of unsalted butter for greasing your oven-proof dish

Step 1 – Peel and core the bramley apples and cut into chunks approximately 3/4cm in size.

Step 2 – Place the bramley apple chunks into a saucepan with brown sugar and cook on a gas/electric hob on a low heat until the apple chunks have cooked and are a gooey yet chunky texture. You may wish to add more brown sugar to taste as bramley apples are quite sharp. It is worth keeping an eye on the cooking of the apples to make sure that they do not burn. You may need to add a little water, approximately a third of a cup to help with this.

Step 3 – Cut the unsalted butter into cubes and mix this with the plain flour, using a few cubes of butter at a time. Continue doing this until the mixture has a crumb-like texture.

Step 4 – Add the salt, cinnamon, brown and muscovado sugar to the crumble mixture and mix. The muscovado sugar will add a rich toffee-like taste.

Step 5 – Grease the ovenproof dish with a small amount of unsalted butter and pour the cooked bramley apple mixture into the bottom of the dish.

Step 6 – Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly on top of the bramley apple mixture. Add a sprinkling of the extra brown sugar onto the top of the crumble mixture as this will give a nice crunchy texture to the crumble topping.

Step 7 – Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Step 8 – Place the dish into the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the crumble topping is cooked and a golden brown colour.

This recipe feeds four and is tasty served with cream, custard, or vanilla ice-cream.

Enjoy!

Bread and butter pudding

This is possibly my favourite dessert of all time.

  • butter, enough to spread liberally onto one side of each slice of bread
  • 10 slices of bread
  • 50g sultanas or currants
  • 2 eggs, preferably free-range
  • 300ml milk
  • 20g sugar
  • grated cinnamon to taste
  • grated nutmeg to taste (nutmeg works well in dishes as this one that contain milk and grating the nutmeg from fresh will add an amazing aroma to the dish)
  • three drops of vanilla extract (or add to your own taste)
  • a small amount of unsalted butter for greasing your oven-proof dish

Step 1 – Grease a large oven-proof dish with the unsalted butter.

Step 2 – Spread each slice of bread with butter on one side. Some suggest the crusts of the slices of bread are removed but I feel they add some texture so I would suggest that they are left on. The slices can be cut diagonally into half, however this depends on your own preference.

Step 3 – Arrange a layer of bread, buttered-side up, in the bottom of the dish, then add a layer of sultanas/currants. Sprinkle with a little grated cinnamon and nutmeg, then repeat the layering of bread and sultanas and sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg, until you have used up all of the bread. Using nutmeg freshly grated will add a lovely aroma to the pudding.

Step 4 – Warm the milk over a low heat so that the milk is hot, although the milk should not be boiled.

Step 5 – Crack the eggs into a bowl and add two-thirds of the sugar. Lightly whisk this mixture.

Step 6 – Add the warm milk to the egg/sugar mixture and add the drops of vanilla extract. Stir well and pour this mixture over the layers of bread. It is worth noting that the milk should not be too hot as this can cause the milk to curdle.

Step 7 – Sprinkle the top layer of bread with the remaining sugar.

Step 8 – Preheat the oven to 180C/355F/Gas 4.

Step 9 – Place the dish into the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the egg mixture is cooked and the top of the pudding is a golden colour.

This recipe will feed 4 hungry people.

Enjoy!

Lunchtime Bites – Caribbean wrap

 Caribbean Wrap, St Nicholas Market, Unit 33, Bristol, BS1 1JQ

Goat curry, rice and okra in tomato sauce

It was a nice surprise to find good Caribbean food in the market. The goat was juicy and tender and the sauce was tasty. I’ll be going back. Goes well with grapefruit Ting.

By Botch Claypole

Fortnightly wine spot (25/02/12)

Dom Perignon Vintage 2002 Champagne

Dom Perignon Vintage 2002 Champagne

I know this is a champagne rather than a wine but as I was lucky enough to recently try it, I thought it was worth reviewing. It is lovely, smooth, multi-layered, with a hint of vanilla. Worth drinking and needs no food to accompany it.


Chateauneuf du Pape 2006 Domaine du Grand Tintel

This delicious full-bodied French red wine has a taste of deep sweet cherries with peppery overtones. This wine goes well with meat and game dishes.

A Review – Raj Mahal City Bristol

69 Clarence Road, Redcliffe, Bristol, BS1 6RP

I had a meal with friends at this restaurant a couple of days ago. The food was delicious and the service was excellent. We ordered poppadoms with a selection of pickles/chutneys as a starter (a lime pickle, a mango chutney, a chopped onion, tomato and coriander dish, and a sweet yogurt-based dish).  This was followed by a variety of main dishes.

Toby – had the chicken tikka jay special with roti. Simply stunning. It was so good I could go home without Kuaki and not feel disappointed (you’ll need to refer to a previous review of this restaurant on this blogsite regarding Kuaki).

Blenchly – had the lamb tikka jay special with roti. Verdict – same as him (Toby). It was good food.

Tintenfisch - had the Raj Mahal special chicken, with a garlic naan and pilau rice. Included a lot of onions. Very nice indeed.

Botch Claypole – had the Bahari lamb with a keema naan and pilau rice. A slap-up big hearty meal.

lovefoodpinny – had the chicken garlic chilli masala which was very spicy, with tomatoes and fresh green chillies with a garlic naan – delicious. In addition, I had two mango lassi drinks which were freshly made and lovely.

http://rajmahalbristol.co.uk

Check out the first review of dining out at Raj City Mahal at

http://lovefoodpinny.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/a-review-raj-mahal-city-clarence-road-redcliffe-bristol-bs1/

 

Thai is best!

Lunchtime Bites – Fullers, Old Fish Market, 59-63 Baldwin Street, Bristol, BS1 1QZ

Set in what used to be a fish market, this Fullers pub includes a Thai restaurant serving delicious lunches and evening meals. I visited with a group of friends for lunch.

Tim – tried the Thai chicken green curry which was served with delicious basmati rice. All tasted freshly cooked and I was very happy with this meal;

Blenchly – tried the stir fried tofu with vegetables which was good, although wished I had picked something spicier.

Matt – tried the chicken, basil curry which was nice.

Botch Claypole - tried the sweet and sour chicken and was really unhappy with it as the sauce was tasteless, it was basically sugar and I didn’t like the chicken.

lovefoodpinny – tried the beef rendang which I thought was very tasty and spicy indeed. It was served with properly cooked rice and two vegetable spring  rolls with a sweet/sour dipping sauce. It all tasted freshly cooked – yum!;

All lunchtime Thai dishes are £6 which is good value and the Fullers beer including London Pride went down very well.

http://www.fullers.co.uk/rte.asp?id=4&itemid=195&task=View

A Winter warmer

A flat hat Winter warmer - hearty and yum!

Lunchtime Bites – The Kings Head, 60 Victoria Street, Bristol, BS1 6DE
This is my favourite pub in central Bristol. The place is tiny and it’s in a time-warp. The staff are genuinely welcoming and the beer is good. I had a Winter Warmer (£5.45), which is a large Yorkshire pudding filled with beef mince in gravy, with mash topped with cheese. I had it with a pint of Doom Bar (£3.30 ono) and it filled me up. By Botch Claypole

I love this pub. It is a tiny, one-roomed affair, the rear being screened off with wood panels to form a cozy seating area that resembles a railway carriage. The decor throughout is warm and muted and, perhaps most importantly these days, it feels as though it hasn’t been changed in a very long time. Both staff and clientele combine to make the place feel welcoming so that once you’ve sat down you won’t want to get up again in a hurry.

The beer is, well, beer. There are a few Sharp’s ales on and I’ve grown quite partial to Doom Bar. I’m not in a position to say how well it is kept, but I find that a couple of pints will slip down quite easily.

Stilton Pig (sausage, mushroom, bacon and cheese in a baguette) - delicious!

The food is worthy of special mention, however. It is basic, filling, unpretentious and very reasonably-priced. £5 (give or take 50p) will buy you a good-sized roll filled with sausage, bacon and cheese, a choice of burgers, chilli-con-carne or the wonderful “flat hat” – a plate-sized Yorkshire pudding with your choice of filling. In keeping with the decor, this is not modern gastro-pub fare but for those of us looking for a decent pub meal that won’t break the bank, this is hardly a criticism. By Tintenfisch

A Flat hat Winter warmer

In my case I picked the ‘wrong’ dish as I had chill-con-carnie (cost of £5.55) which I was really disappointed with – the sauce tasted as if it was a shop bought bottled sauce, there was hardly any minced beef in this dish and it was served with microwaved rice. In contrast, I tried the flat hat Winter warmer, a large Yorkshire pudding into which there’s beef, gravy, mashed potato, topped with cheese. This was delicious and for which I’m going to make a visit back to this pub next Thursday. I think it’s worth eating this pubs’ own specialities such as the flat hat Winter warmer where you have a delicious, tasty and hearty meal rather than a chilli-con-carni which let’s face it you can buy anywhere. Worth a visit. In fact I’m planning on making a regular weekly Thursday trip to this city-centre pub that has wood panelling and reminds me of a lovely old train carriage. Great, and has a special warm and friendly atmosphere. By lovefoodpinny

Lunchtime Bites – The King William ale house, Bristol, BS1 4EF

A nice pint of beer

I came here for lunch a couple of days ago with friends. We ordered a fish pie, sausages with mashed potatoes, and a plate of chip wedges. With the exception of the chips which was an extra portion, the dishes cost £6.50 which was relatively expensive for the food.

The fish pie tasted nice but had hardly any fish, although on the good side there were lots of prawns and mashed potato. It was served with carrots and peas and it was a shame that these vegetables did not have any butter as they were dry. The sausages were not particularly nice as they tasted cheap and were gristly and were again served with carrots and peas that needed buttering. We were undecided as to whether the mashed potatoes were made from ‘real potatoes’ or from powdered potatoes. The chips were overcooked which was disappointing. The consensus was that this is a place for good beer.

Fish pie (unfortunately blurred photo)

Sausages, mashed potato with vegetables (unfortunately blurred photo)

Blueberry and amaretto layered dessert

Tasty!

This is a delicious, quick  and easy dessert recipe.

  • Amaretto biscuits
  • Blueberries
  • Ripe peaches sliced
  • Whipped cream
  • Custard (cold)

Step 1 – Crush amaretto biscuits and spoon this into a serving dish as the bottom layer.

Step 2 – Pour freshly made (or shop bought if you prefer) cold custard on top of the crushed amaretto biscuits.

Step 3 – Pour a layer of the whipped cream on top of the custard and add a sprinkling of blueberries and sliced ripe peaches.

Step 4 -Pour a layer of custard on top of this layer of blueberries and repeat with a layer of whipped cream and blueberries and sliced ripe peaches. Repeat steps 2,3 and 4 until you have reached the top of the serving dish.

This dessert is best served the same day.

Blueberry and amaretto layered dessert

Thanks to Barbara for this recipe and for the opportunity to try it.

Enjoy!

Chops away – marinated lamb

Lamb chops - sublime!

This is delicious, quick  and an easy recipe for crown roast lamb.

  • Crown rack of lamb (roughly 8 ribs).
  • Coarse grained salt
  • Black pepper cloves
  • Olive oil

Step 1 – Ensure that the rack of lamb has been removed from the fridge and kept at room temperature for as short a time as possible.

Step 2 – Ensure that your oven is pre-heated to a temperature of 190 degrees Celsius.

Step 3 – Grind the black pepper cloves and the coarse salt. Rub olive oil, and a liberal quantity of the freshly ground salt and black pepper onto the lamb.

Step 4 – Place the lamb onto a sizzling hot pan on your stove top cooker, cooking each side of the joint for around 2 minutes. This will seal the flavour of the lamb and keep the joint moist.

Step 5 – Cook the rack of lamb for half an hour in the pre-heated oven. Cook for longer if you prefer well-cooked meat but avoid the meat from over-cooking and drying out.

Thanks to Barbara for this recipe and for the opportunity to try it.

Enjoy!

Fortnightly wine spot (11/02/12)

Chateauneuf du Pape 2009 Domaine de Valori

This French red wine I liked but found it to be too dry for my taste. Bought at just over £23.  This wine goes well with strong cheeses.

Chateauneuf du Pape 2009 Domaine Des Senechaux

This is a delicious French red wine. It has a distinct delicious almost caramel-like taste with a smooth and velvet finish and it’s not too dry. Bought at just over £28, a must try. This wine goes well with meat and game dishes.

A perfect steak supper

This is delicious, quick  and easy recipe for medium-rare cooked steak.

  • Raw beef steak slices cut to approximately 3/4 of an inch.
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil

Step 1 – Ensure that the beef steak has been removed from the fridge and kept at room temperature for as short a time as possible.

Step 2 – Rub the steak with salt and pepper and olive oil.

Step 3 – Ensure that you have a frying pan or griddle at a sizzling hot temperature.

Step 4 – Place the steak in the sizzling hot frying pan/griddle and cook the meat for around only two minutes flipping the steak over approximately every 30 seconds to ensure you have wonderful medium-rare steak. Serve the steak with a variety of vegetables of your choice.

Delicious

Thanks to Barbara for this recipe and for the opportunity to try it.

An alternative to seasoning the steak with salt and pepper prior to cooking is to add a splash of sherry wine vinegar to the steak whilst it is cooking. Enjoy!

Whisky-chocolate dessert

This is a delicious recipe and it freezes well for up to six months so it can be made in advance for any forthcoming occasions. This recipe feeds four people.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon of castor sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of whisky
  • 2oz of walnuts or other unsalted nuts
  • 8oz of unsalted butter
  • 8oz of cooking chocolate
  • 8oz of digestive biscuits
  • 2oz glace cherries

Whisky-Chocolate Dessert

Step 1 – Whisk the eggs with the sugar to a thick and creamy texture.

Step 2 – Melt the unsalted butter.

Step 3 – Gradually whisk in the melted butter to the egg and sugar mixture

Step 4 – Crush the digestive biscuits and add this and the whisky, walnuts and glace cherries.

Step 5 – Melt the cooking chocolate and add this.

Step 6 – Spoon the mixture into a well-greased loose-bottomed 7″ cake tin and evenly smooth out.

Step 7  – Place in the fridge for a few hours until this has chilled.  Serve with whipped cream.

Yum!

Thanks to Barbara for this recipe and for the opportunity to try it.

Enjoy!

Fortnightly wine spot (27/01/12)

Wilson Creek Almond Champagne, Temecula Valley, California

A champagne some might argue is not strictly a wine, however this is so delicious that I felt it should be included. I was lucky enough to try this on New Years’ Eve as friends brought this along from their travels.  This is a ‘must buy’ and is so, so lovely it’s worth drinking without any food. It has what I can only describe as a taste similar to that of the dessert a bakewell tart, although this description really does not do it any justice as it has such a great taste.

Wilson Creek Almond Champagne

http://www.wilsoncreekwinery.com/

 

Bardolino Classico 2010 Zeni

This Italian red wine I liked as a lighter red wine that is a perfect to drink with a lunchtime meal. Bought at just over £8, this is great value.  This wine goes well with meat as well as pasta dishes.

Lunchtime Bites – Frome valley farm shop & cafe

Poplars Farm, Frampton Cotterell, Bristol, BS36 2AW
This is a gem of a cafe. Next to the farm shop which sells an array of local and organic produce from fresh vegetables and herbs to fresh meats, pies & quiches, bakery items, frozen fruits and organic beers and juices. The cafe serves food made from the same local & organic produce in a traditional country-style setting. In summer the veranda is a relaxing place to chill and get some rays. You can even watch the chickens and feed the pigs.
In less favourable weather, the inside is sweet & cosy. My favourite dish is the scrambled eggs. Always cooked to a slightly runny consistency, served in ample portion on a slice of toast and with a side helping of cooked cherry tomatoes on the vine. Simple but delicious. This time, it being the festive season, I treated myself to a side portion of bacon & a splash of brown sauce…mmmmmm…. They always have a range of home-made cakes and biscuits displayed on the gingham tablecloths to tempt you. We usually have to book as it is a popular venue and can get very busy with a bit of a queue to order but once you’re seated the food is served fresh & promptly always by a friendly face. A good place to escape to the country for an hour (or two) away from the office.
By Karen Cooper

Weekly wine spot (02/01/12)

Domaine La Cabotte 2009 Massif d’ Uchaux Garance

This French red wine I like a lot – it is almost caramel-like and has a great multi-layered taste. Definitely worth a try. Bought for just over £10 which is astounding as it has such a great taste. I plan to add this wine to my ‘must buy’ list. This wine goes well with blue cheeses.

 

Marlborough Riesling 2009 Allan Scott Family Winemakers

This New Zealand wine I found to be too dry for my liking, however it does have fruitiness. Bought at just over £16. This wine goes well with chicken and seafood dishes.

Weekly wine spot (15/12/11)

Chateauneuf du Pape 2006 Chateau des Fines Roches

This is a great French wine – different as it’s a white Chateau neuf du Pape. Has a clean finish and is not too dry. Bought at just over £25, a must try. This wine goes well with chicken and seafood dishes.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 1 Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Another great New Zealand white wine from the Marlborough estate. It has minerality and a delicious blackcurrant taste and it’s not too dry. Bought for £13. Well-worth trying. This wine goes well with chicken and fish dishes.

Spicy goodness – Spice of India

Spice Of India, 13 Small Street, Bristol, BS1 1DE

I have been going to this Indian restaurant since I first came to Bristol back in 2000. It’s in the city-centre, tucked away on one of the back streets. Having moved away from Birmingham, the curry capital of the UK, I was very keen to find somewhere in Bristol which served great Indian food. Spice Of India does this and I’m so glad it’s there.

Spice Of India

A few days ago I came here for a meal with a group of friends and we had a variety of dishes. Here are the verdicts.

Samba Chicken — I really enjoyed this dish. I normally pick spicy dishes, yet I decided to opt for something far less spicy but coconut centred. Really tasty, I would have this dish again.   By lovefoodpinny

Chuka Sabji Dall — Culinary equivalent of a hot mud bath, thick and sloppy, pleasantly warming and comforting. It left me feeling satisfied yet a bit mucky.     By Toby

Chuka Sabji Dall — The old favourite.     By Blenchly

Lamb Dansak — Thick lentil sauce with good flavours and succulent chunks of lamb which fell apart. Not as hot as I had expected (it being in the Hot section of the menu) but the level of spice was just right. I find it’s better to be able to enjoy the flavours of a curry instead of numbing your taste buds. A very tasty dish that I would choose again. My only disappointment with this visit to Spice Of India was the service. Normally very friendly, our waiter seemed to be distracted & grumpy and cleared the plates before we’d all finished – something that irritates me!     By Karen

Kufta Bhuna — The best dish I’ve had in Spice of India!     By Matt

Balti Chicken — It was nice and meaty and a bit sweet. The bread was nice and so was the beer.     By Botch Claypole

Bahar Chicken — This was tasty!     By Tintenfisch

Spicy food enjoyed with friends