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CRUMBS BATH & BRISTOL NO.54 OCTOBER 2016
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IF I ONLY HAD A GRAIN SPELT MIGHT WELL be ancient, but it’s far from old news – quite the opposite, in fact. Grains are, like totally hot right now, hailed for their high nutritional value (we’re talking all kinds of vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre and antioxidents) and lack of nasties. And the particular form of wheat we’ve cast the spotlight on this issue is no exception. Why, exactly, are we so hung up on spelt this month? Well it’s timely for one thing (it’s currently harvest time at Somerset spelt farm, Sharpham Park), and it’s also a top ingredient to focus on in the throws of Organic September, as its hard-asnails husk makes chemical-free cultivating a dream. Check out our recipes for ideas on how to use it in the kitchen. We’re kicking off a new regular feature this ish, too – Hip Shops. Retail is a huge part of the local food scene, so we figured we should spend a little more time investigating our indie stores, and the pros behind them. (You know, those people who help us nail a wine match for dinner, lend a hand finding last-minute presents for food-obsessed pals, or introduce us to a new favourite ingredient.) Each month we’ll be visiting a different food-focused store in Bristol or Bath to see what culinary treasures they have to offer, while prizing some speciality knowlege out of ’em. We’ve also been chatting to Polpo founder Russell Norman about bringing his sort-of-chain to Bristol. (That it’s one of his fave cities in the country can’t hurt.) Okay, tuck right in. APPLE
Jessica Carter, Editor email@example.com
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Table of Contents NO.54 October 2016
B ATH & B RIS TOL
JESSICA CARTER firstname.lastname@example.org DEVELOPMENT EDITOR
MATT BIELBY email@example.com ART DIRECTOR
TREVOR GILHAM CONTRIBUTORS
ILKA KEMP, LAURA PAGE, MARK TAYLOR ADVERTISING MANAGER
KYLE PHILLIPS firstname.lastname@example.org DEPUTY ADVERTISING MANAGER
NEIL SNOW email@example.com ACCOUNT MANAGER
LORENA CUSSENS firstname.lastname@example.org PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION MANAGER
SARAH KINGSTON email@example.com DEPUTY PRODUCTION MANAGER/ PRODUCTION DESIGNER
CHRISTINA WEST firstname.lastname@example.org CHIEF EXECUTIVE
JANE INGHAM email@example.com CHIEF EXECUTIVE
GREG INGHAM firstname.lastname@example.org large version
MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW; 01225 475800 www.mediaclash.co.uk © All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. MediaClash reserves the right to reject any material and to edit such prior to publication. Opinions are those of individual authors. Printed on paper from a well-managed source. Inks are vegetable-based; printer is certified to ISO 14001 environmental management. This month we scoffed Austrian wurst and Slovak dumplings on our jollies in Europe...
08 HERO INGREDIENT Spelt: the grain of our lives 12 OPENINGS ETC Need-to-know goss 21 HIP SHOPS New feature alert! 22 SIX PACK It’s back to school time... 27 ASK THE EXPERT We’re all about that base
10 Spelt salad, by Freddy Bird 31 Roasted miso aubergine, by Georgina Hayden 66 Summer rolls, by Noya Pawlyn
Amazing recipes from the region’s top kitchens
61 HOUSE CALL We drop in on Noya Pawlyn for a Vietnamese-style lunch 68 WANT LIST It’s party time...
40 Chicken with spelt stuffing, by Roger Saul 42 Harrisa-spiced poussin, by Ron Faulkner 46 Confit duck, by Alex Venables 48 Gluten-free Battenburg, by Bridget Pursall 51 SWEET CHILD OF WINE Chris Staines is feeling inspired by Rio...
MAINS 77 YOU’RE BOOKED! Where to hold this year’s Christmas party 88 GRILLED The TV star, author and founder of Polpo, Russell Norman, spills all
AFTERS New & notable restaurants, cafés, bars 100 Pi Shop 102 The Three Gables 104 The Locksbrook Inn 106 San Carlo
111 FAB FOODIE BREAKS An off-season adventure at Watergate Bay in Cornwall 114 LITTLE BLACK BOOK Alex McClaren of Milsom Place reveals his fave foodie hideouts
INNOVATIONS, REVELATIONS AND TASTY AMUSE-BOUCHES
Y t H U g na
HAVING OPENED IN 1976 in an attempt to put a stretch of inner-city wasteland to good use, Bristol’s Windmill Hill City Farm has spent the ensuing years letting people learn more about where food comes from, and offering families a fun break from the buzz of city life. It’s now the farm’s 40th birthday, and they’re planning a hella big celebration, with hordes of foodie treats on offer. Saturday 24 September will see visitors enjoy live music from local bands, games and activities, while they tuck into barbecue and street food delights and get involved with the campfire cooking. Well, you only turn 40 once, right? ✱ windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk
S T A R T E R S
p e l t It’s just a version of wheat, this stuff, and one with a series of not-particularly-appetising names. It’s called dinkel wheat, hulled wheat, farro or spelt – but however you say it, it’s sort of special. And way more appetising than it sounds… SPELT FANS – AND yes, there are quite a few of them – push the environmental benefits of this crop, and it turns out there are quite few of them, too. It’s low-yielding, so takes less from the soil than most grains; it’s weather and disease resistant, so thrives without the need for pesticides or fertilisers; and the food we make from it stores very well – especially the pasta, which lasts, basically, forever. Indeed, so hardy is this stuff that some fans claim that spelt’s thick, protective hull is so sturdy it would even keep the grain within safe from nuclear fallout – though we’re not sure how many people have ever put this theory to the test... Oh, and did we mention that it’s good for you too? Well, it’s true. And it’s delicious. Time, clearly, we gave spelt another look. Spelt’s a hybrid, but a naturally occurring one (it was probably originally a cross between some form of regular wheat and wild goat grass) that first cropped up in the Near East more than 8,000 years ago, and in Europe rather more recently. People have certainly been cultivating the stuff since 5000BC or so, and it was a big noise in the European Bronze Age, in Medieval times, and, increasingly, now, as farms in central Europe, northern Spain and, yes, the West Country have started exploiting the new-found interest in it as a health food. In ancient mythology, spelt was a gift to the Greeks from the goddess Demeter – she’s the lass responsible for the harvests, and, more broadly, the general cycle of life and death – and the Greek Empire spread it across the Med. Certainly, by
around 500BC it was big in southern England, but went on to be totally usurped by regular bread wheat – which is faster and cheaper to grow – only to see an 11th-hour revival in recent years. Back in the day, spelt had a bad rep as poor man’s food – in Horace’s Satire (30BC), the Country Mouse eats spelt at dinner while serving his city guests posher grub, for instance – but no longer. These days the script has flipped, for spelt is most commonly enjoyed by the well-off and well-informed, who appreciate its flavour, its green credentials, its easy-todigest qualities, its versatility, and – of course – its taste. Indeed, though it contains gluten – and so is unsuitable for those who suffer from coeliac disease – spelt is pretty healthy stuff all round, heaving with dietary fibre and complex carbs, B vitamins, and minerals from phosphorus to manganese. Because it’s highly water-soluble – the molecular structure of the protein in spelt is more brittle, for one thing, than standard wheat’s – the good stuff is more easily absorbed by the body, and eating spelt as an alternative to regular wheat has been shown to help with a number of health issues, from allergies and diabetes to high cholesterol levels and autoimmune disorders. The mucopolysaccharides contained in spelt – a sort of carbohydrate with anti-inflammatory properties – digests especially slowly, meaning spelt delivers energy over the long haul in a way other grains don’t. Indeed, when the Roman Legions saw how much energy the speltgobbling Germanic tribes had in battle, they wasted no time in adding it to their
own diets too, calling it ‘marching grain’. These days, you can find spelt flour and spelt goods, including a pale ryelike bread – usually sweet and nuttyflavoured, with a surprisingly soft and light texture – and biscuits, crackers et al, increasingly easily, especially in health food shops. You can use ‘spelt berries’ – the grain’s de-hulled, wholegrain form – as you would rice, so think risottos, soups and stews. And you can substitute spelt flour for regular wheat flour when making just about anything: breads, pasta (particularly good, as it retains a great al dente texture when cooked), cakes, muffins, breakfast cereals, pancakes, waffles and more. Spelt beer is possible, too, and spelt vodka – but the most celebrated alcohol-related use of spelt is in jenever, the juniper-flavoured Dutch liquor from which gin evolved. This all said, spelt doesn’t respond to cooking in quite the same way as regular wheat, so you’ll have to learn a few new tricks – like avoiding high temperatures, and getting the amount of water right. Why’s spelt more expensive than your regular wheat? Well, it’s rarer, less is grown, and – unlike modern wheat – it hasn’t been bred to lose its husk during harvesting, making the removal of the kernel from its protective outer hull an additional task for the spelt farmer. (It’s the toughness of this husk that means we need fewer pesticides, however. Remember that nuclear fallout claim? Well, if it can cope with that, it can certainly keep out a few insects.) Well worth investigating, then, we we reckon – yes, even if it does cost a little bit more…
R E C I P E
Hero Ingredients THIS MAKES A great light lunch or starter. It’s super-simple to make; just make sure you buy great quality sweet prawns – it’ll honestly make all the difference.
Big cheese in the kitchen at Lido Bristol, Freddy Bird, puts spelt to work in this light and filling summer salad…
SPELT, PRAWN, CORIANDER & YOGHURT SALAD (SERVES 4)
large knob of butter ½ red onion, diced 1 cinnamon stick 100g spelt homemade chicken stock 1 clove garlic 3 tbsp natural yoghurt 2 handfuls coriander leaves handful of rocket 200g Atlantic prawns, peeled and cooked ½ lemon Aleppo pepper flakes
METHOD – First cook the spelt: sweat the onion in a little of the butter with the cinnamon stick. Add the spelt, cover with stock and season. Cook until tender, adding more stock as and when necessary. Once cooked, drain and chill. – Next, crush the garlic with a little salt in a pestle and mortar to a smooth paste. Stir it into the natural yoghurt. – Caramelise the remaining butter by frying it gently in a pan until it’s foaming and golden. Meanwhile, chop the coriander leaves. – In a bowl, mix the yoghurt, drained spelt, coriander, rocket and prawns. Squeeze over the lemon and season to taste. – Arrange the spelt salad on plates, drizzle over a little caramelised butter, and sprinkle with Aleppo pepper flakes. Serve immediately. ✱ LIDO, Oakfield Place, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2BJ; 0117 3323970; lidobristol.com
HUBB GROUP IMAGES
S T A R T E R S
The Bath Street Food crew are taking over Queen Square this month, to put on The Great Artisan Feast Festival. To be held between 10am and 8pm on Saturday 17 September, the event will see local artisan producers set up temporary shop alongside street food stalls, deli stands and bars. Visitors can also check out what the guest food speakers have to say for themselves, as well as watch cooking demonstrations and enjoy live entertainment. ✱ bathstreetfood.com
Picture a view of the blazing summer sun painting the sky pink and red as it sets over the sea in our neighbouring coastal town of Weston-super-Mare. And now imagine enjoying the vistas from the panoramic windows of a brand new restaurant as you tuck into some French cuisine. How so? Well, Bistrot Pierre is opening its 16th site this summer in the Victorian seaside town, bringing its classic French bistrostyle staples of steak-frites, boeuf bourguignon and the like with it. Bon appetit, Westonians. ✱ bistrotpierre.co.uk
THEY SEE ME ROLLIN’
The Great Bath Feast is taking a slightly different form this year, condensing itself into nine days of concentrated foodie fun. Events range from cookery classes to afternoon teas, talks to tours and tastings, and will all kick off in Bath from 1 October. The current lineup includes a Bath Bites food fair, children’s farmer’s market food tour, Japanese sake tasting, and 18th century-style public breakfast. Check the website for event deets. ✱ greatbathfeast.co.uk
The creator of Bristol’s much-loved iconic foodie treat, Magic Roll, is launching a brand new project in the city, along with some old Magic Roll pals. Those famous wraps will be the star of the show once again, but this time things are being taken up a notch, with ingredients cooked fresh on-site, and meats being smoked and cured in-house. There will also be Extract coffee, homemade cake, and burgers – there are even plans for evening services of pizza and beer. Stay tuned... ✱ facebook.com/rebelroll
@littlelottieloves tucks into a summertime salad Niçoise
HOP TO TROT
Seen the new, independent beer shop on Fishponds Road yet? Residing in a building not unfamiliar with beer – the former Cross Keys pub – Bristol Beer Shop prides itself in being entirely dedicated to beer (okay, so there are a few ciders, too – you have to have some balance, after all…) by stocking the best brews from a massive range of local craft and micro breweries, as well as international producers. There are also glasses and beer-themed gifts on offer at this new specialist store. Drop by and see what unfamiliar gems you can unearth, why don’t cha? ✱ bristolbeershop.co.uk
Food and drink event biz Foozie has been dishing out quirky food experiences in Bristol for the last year – think hip hop brunches and foodie bingo galas – and now it’s hit the club scene. By which we mean it’s set up Club Foozie, membership to which includes juicy deals, discounts and priority on its unique food events. Of course, it celebrated its launch the only way it knew how, with ‘Hip Hop in a Chip Shop’ (natch) at Soul Fish. Next up? ‘The Sushi Bus’ on 17 September, where passengers will get five courses of sushi while enjoying the Bristol views from a vintage double decker. You can sign up on the website. ✱ foozie.co.uk
You’ve probably noticed that Bath’s Raphael restaurant has been closed since February, thanks to an electrical fire. We have news, though: it’s back in business this month, and raring to go. The gaff has been treated to a total revamp, but we’re assured that it’s managed to keep hold of its previous character and atmosphere. The downtime has given the chefs the chance to come up with some exciting new menus too, which they’re eager to show off to you lot. ✱ raphaelrestaurant.co.uk
Bloody Mary beans on toast sets up @thebristolfoodtour for the day Psst!! Include our hashtag #CrumbsSnaps on your Insta posts to be in with a chance of being featured right here next month!
In the diary... (14 Sept) SIMPLE SUPPERS WITH DIANA HENRY Diana Henry will be showcasing some of the dishes from her new book, Simple, at Topping & Co. bookshop in Bath. Tickets £15. ✱ toppingbooks.co.uk/events (17-18 Sept) WESTON SUPER FOOD FESTIVAL Find it at the old Tropicana, which Banksy recently turned into Dismaland. ✱ westonsuperfoodfestival.co.uk (24-25 Sept) BATH & BRISTOL FOOD FESTIVAL Have a day out with the family at Bath Racecourse at this event-filled festival, with stalls demos and activities. Visit the website for tickets (£5 for kids and £10 for adults). ✱ fantasticbritishfoodfestivals.com
S STTA A RRT E T RS E R S
New Kid kid on on the the Block block New When did you begin cooking, then? At a very early age. I always knew I wanted to be a chef, so got my first weekend job at a local takeaway and was eager to move on to prep as quickly as possible.
How many of you are there in the kitchen brigade? At the moment we are a small team of three. We’re building a team of exciting young chefs, though, to really put Grounded Melksham on the map.
Take us back to your childhood – whatʼs your fondest foodie memory? Being a northern lad, I’d have to say my mum’s stew – or Scouse, as we call it in Liverpool. There really is nothing to beat it in my book, and it tastes even better the following day!
Can we expect much change now youʼre at the helm? Grounded already has a great reputation, so at the moment I just plan on upholding that. That said, however, I will take full advantage of our specials board, getting creative and keeping things interesting...
What was it that first inspired you to cook professionally? Again, I’d have to say my mum – she always cooked meals from scratch using fresh ingredients, and I thought she was a great cook. How did you get into the industry? My first ‘real’ job was at The Royal Hotel in Liverpool. I was 16 and eager to learn, so was taken under the wing of a great chef called David Holdsworth. To this day my methods and approach to running a kitchen stem from what I learned from him. What’s the toughest job you’ve tackled so far? My first head chef position, at Spice Island in South-East London. It was a lovely pub and restaurant, set on the bank of the river Thames with a great historical story. I was worried I couldn’t it justice, but it all turned out fine!
GROUND FORCE Andrew Alty is head chef at the newest branch of Café Grounded, in Melksham
Where might we know you from? Before starting at Grounded I worked at Sam’s Kitchen in Bath. I loved working there because of its inspirational cooking and daily changing menu. What was it that attracted you to Café Grounded? I fell in love with the café-bar atmosphere. It’s got such a welcoming feel, and the menu has something for everyone. This is an exciting time to join the company too, as they are expanding further this year.
Which other local restaurants do you like to eat in? I’m a big Jamie Oliver fan, so I regularly visit the Bath restaurant with my wife, Rosie. I really get his no-nonsense, rustic, don’t-be-afraid-of-food attitude, and there’s always a good atmosphere as well. What makes the local food scene so great, dʼyou think? There is such a range of cuisines – everything from Spanish and Greek to Thai, Chinese and Indian – and the quality is great. There’s so much fantastic local produce available that can be incorporated into them, too. What are your favourite ingredients at the moment? Like all good chefs, I move with the seasons – so now I’m in full barbecue and salad mode, making my own marinades and using whatever is ready in the garden! You grow much yourself? I have a small plot for growing salads, herbs and potatoes, but am toying with the idea of turning it in to a space for chickens, as I eat a lot of eggs! Top 5-a-day? Bananas, blueberries, spinach, kale, broccoli (all great in a smoothie, when you’re in a rush!) ✱ cafegrounded.co.uk
S T A R T E R S
Ask the Owner Who knows the menu best? Who makes the greatest impact on your experience? Front-of-house is your friend!
So, how long have you had your own venue? Since opening The Volunteer Tavern when I was 21, in September 2011. And where did you work before? Prior to that I was at The Hope and Anchor. I worked there from the age of 14, when I created my position as a glass collector whilst having Sunday lunch with my family. I moved up to manager, then eventually to owner. Been in hospitality a while then, eh? 12 years. What drew you into the industry? Chance and opportunity. I worked front of house from a young age, so it shaped me as a person. What’s the best thing about it? It used to be speaking with customers over the bar, sometimes with the odd game of Scrabble or a crossword. However, nowadays I’m not on the bar much, so I think my favourite times are when the pubs are heaving and all the staff are happy and having a good time. I love to buy a round after a busy night, and we all talk excitedly about how well it went and areas we can improve.
THE BIG CHEESE
This is Peter Gibbs, and he’s the head honcho at both The Volunteer Tavern and The Hope and Anchor, which is celebrating its fifth birthday... This could be you! Contact us at: email@example.com
What’s the toughest part? I’m currently working on a development at The Volly that will extend the pub, and house a microbrewery next door, along with some flats. It’s extremely challenging to organise meetings with funders, councillors, architects and consultants whilst running the company at the same time. Without such a strong team behind me I’d be in too deep. What skills have you learnt running your own business? So much – upkeep of the building requires DIY, gardening and cleaning, for example, and business needs accounts, diplomacy and training...
What sort of customers do you get? If you buy into the mantra of quality over quantity, then It does not matter what walk of life you’re from, what your background is or how important you think you are. Our demographic is so incredibly mixed at both venues, and includes everyone from freshers to elders, families to buddies, and dogs to ferrets... What are the bestselling dishes at the moment? Easy: our fish finger sandwiches at both venues, with bread sourced from local bakers. What are the bestselling drinks? I think it always has been, and always will be, our ales. We have six on at both pubs, and always try to have a selection to please all. What d’you think makes this place special to visit? Staff – it’s all down to them. They are outgoing, friendly and inclusive. I like how customers know that they can have high quality, ethically sourced produce in an informal environment too. Oh, and our gardens – both pubs have kickass gardens. What do you think makes great customer service? Being open and accepting. Educate, but don’t patronise or look down your nose at your customers. Where have you visited locally with top customer service? I really liked the new Westbury Park: the staff were very friendly and honest about the teething issues they were having. Where do you eat on your days off? I like going to Brew on Whiteladies for brunch. ✱ volunteertavern.co.uk; hopeanchorbristol.com
S T A R T E R S
In the Larder 4
N IC E & N A T U R A L
We’re keeping our halos nice and shiny this month, thanks to some natural, organic and free-from local food products… 1 SPELTING IT DOWN Sharpham Park Organic Pearled Spelt £2.99/500g Pearled spelt is a great alternative to rice and, thanks to its generous amounts of fibre as well as iron, potassium, zinc and other vitamins and minterals, it’s a bloomin’ virtuous one, too. We’re fans of a good pearled spelt risotto, which we’ve tried with this stuff, produced at Sharpham Park’s Somerset farm. Available from Sharpham Park Shop at Kilver Court and online. ✱ sharphampark.com 2 JOLLY RICE Cocoa Libre Chocolate £1.99/50g Free from dairy, wheat, gluten and nuts, this little number still manages to work wonders in the flavour department, and is brilliant
too. Mix with sparkling water and fresh fruit, or go a little daring and add it to a spirit and mixer to make a refreshing cocktail. Available Waitrose in Westbury Park, Bristol. ✱ rocksdrinks.co.uk
for vegans and coeliacs. Born from the founder’s frustration at the lack of choccy alternatives, the range includes flavours such as orange milk choc (the fave at Crumbs HQ), mint, dark choc, and honeycomb. It’ll be hard to keep your mitts off. Available in Holland & Barrett in Bath and Bristol. ✱ cocoalibre.co.uk
4 THE PITTER END Soffle’s Pitta Chips £1/60g We’ve been munching these with dips as an alternative to tortilla chips – in fact, founder Sophie originally created them as a pre-dinner, beeraccompanying nibble. The chips are made by mixing fresh, raw ingredients into pitta dough, which is then rolled out and roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper. That’s it – literally nothing unnatural. The results take the form of pleasingly crunchy mouthfuls with natural-tasting flavour
3 MAKE A SPLASH Rocks Drinks Orange Barley Squash £3.49/740ml Known for squeezing every last drop of goodness from zesty, organic oranges, Rocks Drinks has come up with a new concentrated barley number. A fresh twist on an old classic, this squash is not only entirely free from artificial colours and flavourings, but is a source of vitamins,
– we’re all over the spring onion and Italian cheese flavour. Available from Emmeline and Number 12 Eastern in Bristol. ✱ soffles.com 5 TOTALLY NUTS Nature’s Path Granola £3/325g This organic granola is responsible for many a crumb on our desks at the moment – we’ve been nicking the tea and coffee milk (shh!) to enjoy bowls of it in the office. It comes in a variety of flavours – think pumpkin and flax seed, and coconut and chia seed, as well as the classics, such as honey and almond, and fruit and nut. We’re keen to get some natural yoghurt and berries involved with these, too. Available online from Ocado. ✱ naturespath.co.uk
S T A R T E R S
GRAPE & GRIND WELL, THIS IS exciting – we’re about to cut the figurative ribbon on our brand new column and formally welcome you to Hip Shops, where we’ll throw the spotlight on a top independent food retailer every month. This issue, we’re kicking off with an offie... Grape & Grind’s owner, Darren Willis, launched the Gloucester Road shop six years ago off the back of a career in wine. Although it now stocks plenty besides, vino is still his speciality, he tells us. “We have more wine than anything else,” he says, looking up at an entire wall of varieties, “but when we started we didn’t actually have beer or anything else. We’ve adapted over the years.” When it comes to sales, Prosecco is still the strongest sparking wine, though go-to choices amongst reds and whites are more spread out, with Italian, French and Spanish styles all popular.
“A while ago it was all about New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc,” Darren says, “but I can see Italian whites getting really big. There’s just so much variety there.” Drinks at Grape & Grind come from all over the world, then, but there’s a skew towards local varieties, especially when it comes to beer. Among the familiar bottles and cans – Wiper and True, Wild Beer, Incredible Brewing Co. et al – we spy some new Good Chemistry offerings. Brewers Bob and Kelly, Darren says, make especially good, modern-style beers. Though Darren is seeing a steady stream of local beer producers starting up, there’s less local action surrounding spirits. That said, there are some top bottles of the West Country hard stuff on these shelves, and Darren is a particular fan of The Collector vermouth, made by the team at The Ethicurean. Gin continues to rule the spirit roost, though.
“It’s still the biggie,” Darren says, “but it won’t be forever. That said, I couldn’t, hand-on-heart, say I know what the next big thing is going to be. Really, craft gin has only recently become mainstream, and a couple of years ago it was just young customers who wanted the unusual stuff.” There are certainly some quality Bristolian gins here, we say. Things like 6 O’clock and Psychopomp. “Well, they’re still going strong, and we do favour local stuff – so long as it’s good, that is!” ✱ grapeandgrind.co.uk
SHOP SPEC What? Booze Where? 101 Gloucester Road, Bristol BS7 8AT; 0117 924 8718 When? Mon-Fri 11am-7pm; Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 11am-5pm
S T A R T E R S
PAR FOR THE COURSE Trio gets super-sized, as we meet six South West cookery courses that will have you sporting your smug face in the kitchen in no time…
1 MICHELIN STAR COOKING AT HOME LUCKNAM PARK
Who better to learn about Michelinstandard cookery from than an owner of one of those coveted stars? Hywel Jones has been exec chef of Lucknam’s Michelin-starred Park restaurant since 2004, and cut his teeth at three-star establishments – so he bloomin’ well knows what he’s doing. On this course you’ll find out all about Michelin and its starring system, before making a threecourse meal under Hywel’s guidance. He’ll teach you about the role of each ingredient, help you perfect tricky techniques, and share his secrets in balancing flavour. You’ll make the likes of Salcombe crab with truffle emulsion, and venison with butternut squash and cumin purée. The class is £175 and that includes refreshments and lunch. ✱ lucknampark.co.uk
2 FAMILY COOKERY DAY VALE HOUSE KITCHEN
Set in a lovely stone outbuilding at Bod and Annie Griffiths’ gorgeous Timsbury home, Vale House Kitchen allows students to work in a state-ofthe-art kitchen under the watchful eye of renowned chefs and cooks. Courses range from fishing to shooting, foraging to brewing, but we especially love the Family Cookery Day that these guys run. The idea is to get people working together in the kitchen, leaning how to whip up great family meals. Ever wanted to crack the ultimate Sunday roast and proper good desserts to follow it? This is the way to go. You’ll learn knife skills and kitchen hacks, and how to prepare different joints of meat for roasting. (Although there is a veggie option too!) The day costs £180 per adult, who can bring a family member (between 10 and 16 years old) along to join in totally free of charge. You’ll get a top lunch, too. ✱ valehousekitchen.co.uk
3 ONLINE TUTORIAL SUBSCRIPTION THE DEVILLED EGG
The guys at The Devilled Egg know how important practical, transferable knowledge is to time-poor students in the kitchen. That’s why they’ve developed these online tutorials, which you can access anywhere from a computer, tablet or smartphone. New content is released every week in the form of videos and recipes, all geared towards gradually building up your skills and knowledge base at a comfortable and achievable pace. A range of dishes, techniques and
ingredients are covered, too. It works on a subscription basis – choose from the Snack, Meal or Feast packages, with prices starting at £15 for a whole year. ✱ thedevilledegg.com
4 PATISSERIE ASHBURTON
This cookery school, perched on the edge of the gorgeous Dartmoor National Park, knows a thing or two about the art of patisserie – it runs an accredited diploma in the subject alongside its range of half, whole and multiple-day courses. The one-day Patisserie class will see you learn to ace short crust, sweet and choux pastry, in order to make impressive sweet treats such as tarts, eclairs, buns and profiteroles. You’ll also create the likes of cranberry and pistachio biscotti and chocolate-dipped honey madeleines, and learn to make creme patisserie. It all costs £165, and includes some savory relief in the form of a right good lunch. ✱ ashburtoncookeryschool.co.uk
5 FAR EASTERN COOKERY
it’s well worth it for its top-notch, freshly caught seafood. And for a cheeky class at this school, obvs. If you’re time-short then try an evening course, but, if you can, go for a full-dayer with a stay-over. This Far Eastern Cookery course is new for 2016 – expect plenty of seafood, veg and rice, and a bit of meat; tips on achieving that exotic balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet; and details on how to nail colourful, aromatic dishes. You’ll also learn to kill and fillet seafood, and to make a spice paste, so you can cook your new recipes (like coconut chilli crab, and mango salad with smoked fish and sweet and sour dressing) at home. ✱ rickstein.com/school
RICK STEIN’S COOKERY SCHOOL
6 BREAD MASTERCLASS
Rick Stein is synonymous with seafood and, nowadays, the beautiful part of the country that we like to call Padstow. Sure, it’s a bit of a drive from these parts, but
If you’ve ever eyed up Bordeaux Quay’s lovely loaves in its deli, or at its market stalls, with green envy (it surely can’t just be us?), then you’ll be pleased to know that its harbourside cookery school offers you the chance to learn how the master bakers make ’em. All kneading myths will get busted, and you’ll be taught how to do it right – as well as how to shape and prove your dough. You’ll bake, steam and fry your different styles of bread, and find out how to make and keep ferments and starters at home. Expect your own fair hands to make creations such as rosemary Liguria focaccia and Mexicanstyle tortilla breads, as well as sweet doughnuts. This three-hour evening session, at Bristol’s biggest purpose-built cookery school, costs £85.
✱ bordeaux-quay.co.uk From fun evening courses to days out with the family and foodie breaks, the South West’s cookery schools have heaps of courses to try...
A cut above...
Try our new tasting menu Longmead Gospel Hall, Lower Bristol Road, Bath BA2 3EB Tel: 01225 446656 12-16 Clifton Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1AF Tel: 01173 291300 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.themintroom.co.uk
AT THE GREENHOUSE IT’S
Join us at The Greenhouse Restaurant this Christmas and enjoy the festive party season in a relaxed and stylish setting, the perfect destination to share in the celebrations with your family, friends and colleagues too. The Greenhouse Restaurant, surrounded by the scenic Wiltshire countryside, is located in the Pavilion at the heart of Wadswick Green. The place to kick back, relax and get you into the festive spirit. We’ll be offering a 2 or 3-course festive fayre (£20pp for 2 courses or £24pp for
3 courses) available for lunch and dinner from 28th November – 24th December. We’ll also be open on Christmas Day for a gourmet dining experience and again on Boxing Day for classic brunch and gastro pub lunch dishes. Our opening times during the festive period are listed below. Further details about Christmas at Wadswick Green, including all of the festive menu’s and upcoming events and more can be found on our website www.thegreenhousewg.co.uk. Booking during the festive period is essential.
FESTIVE OPENING HOURS CHRISTMAS EVE open for lunch and dinner, normal opening hours | CHRISTMAS DAY open for lunch only BOXING DAY open for brunch and lunch, closed for dinner | 27TH DECEMBER closed 28TH DECEMBER closed | 29TH DECEMBER normal opening hours 30TH DECEMBER normal opening hours | NEW YEAR’S EVE open for lunch closed at 3pm evening event from 7:30pm | NEW YEAR’S DAY open for brunch and lunch
The Greenhouse Restaurant is open every day from 9am-11pm Monday to Saturday and 10am-8pm (last orders at 6pm) on Sundays.
You can reserve a table at any time by calling us on 01225 585880 or book online at www.thegreenhousewg.co.uk
THE GREENHOUSE RESTAURANT | THE PAVILLION | WADSWICK GREEN | CORSHAM SN13 9RD
Ask the Expert
What the piZZa master KnOws Culinary stuntman Emiliano Tunno can usually be found at his Bath restaurant Dough, flinging around unusual pizza bases in the kitchen. We drag him out of his natural environment to quiz him about the art of pizza makingâ€Ś
PHOTOS BY PAOLO FERLA
Ask the Expert
So, Emiliano, bit of a pizza professor, are you? Tell us about your experiences in pizza making. It all started when I got a summer job in a restaurant in Puglia – the passion came out, as I had a really good teacher. The owner was the president of Associazione Pizzaioli Professionisti (it’s like the academy of pizza in Italy, and covers the everything from the dough to the finished product and the acrobatics of pizza-making), and so, over the next 15 years, I learned everything there is to know about wheat, the mix of flours, the science of the dough, the best mozzarella to use… Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world as a pizza consultant, opening new restaurants in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and France before coming to Bath to open Dough in The Corridor. Why are Neapolitan pizzas regarded as the holy grail of pizza? There are so many types – metre, classic, Roman, Neapolitan – all are different, but Neapolitan especially so. It’s the most famous because the Neapolitans were the first to export pizza as we know it, and they also put their heart into the pizza, and have a special passion for it.
What is it that Naples does so well, and is so hard to replicate? They keep it really simple, focusing on the likes of the Margherita and marinara pizza. It’s also about the ingredients and the quality of the produce – from the amazing San Marzano tomatoes to volcanic water from Vesuvio, and the original buffalo mozzarella from Campania. You get the best flour in Napoli, too. With Neapolitan pizza, the dough is made in a totally different way, without olive oil. It rises faster and is affected by everything from the time of day to the ambient temperature. You can do a whole training course on Neapolitan pizza alone, because there’s a whole world of rules behind it, and it needs much more experience and knowledge to do really well. So the choice of ingredients is pretty crucial to the end result, then? Absolutely. We use mozzarella and flour from Napoli, and get tomatoes and olive oil from Puglia, because I think they’re slightly better. I know the fields where the tomatoes are grown, who’s picked them, and the local factory where they’re canned. You just can’t beat these raw ingredients, and the way they’re treated.
Let’s move onto cooking, now. Tell us all about pizza ovens. There are four types: wood-fired, gas, combo (a mix of both) and electric. The cooking process is much faster than in a regular cooker; the oven is properly insulated and reaches much higher temperatures, so you’ll always get a better result. Well, a regular cooker is all we have; can we still make something decent? Yes, but you have to adjust your dough for the type of oven. You need to let the dough rise a bit more, or even twice, to get better results. It’s also best to use a pizza stone, and make sure your oven is at the maximum temperature. So, why do you think itʼs crucial to nail the perfect dough? It’s the foundation of the pizza, so is really important – just like the foundation of a building. Not only is it the vessel to carry all the toppings, but it makes the pizza light or heavy, burnt or raw. The dough has to be properly made and properly cooked, and then you can really taste the toppings. It’s the combination of both these elements that make the perfect pizza.
Pizza toppings get all the attention; Emiliano, though, is encouraging us to get serious about the dough...
Letʼs talk texture. Are we after soft and fluffy, or firm and crisp? The perfect texture should have a little crispness, but the inside has to be soft and light, almost melt-in-the-mouth. And how about flavour? It’s like any good bread; it has to have the just the right amount of salt, not too much, not too little. It should taste toasted, a bit nutty… Okay, be honest: how much of a faff is it making your own dough at home? It depends on the skill of the maker, but it’s easy enough to make a basic pizza dough yourself. For a simple dough you just need flour, salt, olive oil, water and fresh yeast. Or you can use a sourdough starter to make a sourdough base. But your doughs arenʼt simple, are they? Tell us about how you pimp yours up. Well, it started with the gluten-free dough and then grew from there. Adding different flavours and using different toppings creates different textures and unique combinations. We wanted to offer customers more choice, and healthier options; less gluten, less sugar, more vitamins and minerals. Just in case we needed an extra reason to eat pizza, now we have it! What do you actually use in your gluten-free dough, then? Corn, rice and potato flour. Gluten-free pizza isn’t usually good, but we tried to make the dough as similar as possible to our classic style, so that gluten-free customers get the same experience as everyone else. Soon, we’re going to offer all the alternative doughs in gluten-free form – watch this space! What difference do these special ingredients make? You get different textures depending on the flour. With the multi-cereal, you can taste the sweetness of the grains, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds – it tastes really good. With the seaweed flour, you can really taste the sea; there’s spirulina in it, too… And the hemp one is really good for you, as it contains omega-3 as well as omega-6.
Tell us if weʼre over-thinking this now, but should the base you choose affect what you top the pizza with? All toppings work with a classic sourdough base, but some toppings work better with particular bases, such as the smokiness of the grano arso or the spices in the turmeric. The multi-cereal and kamut work with all the toppings; hemp works with really fresh toppings; seaweed goes well with the likes of sundried tomatoes and seafood… Sounds great – but we might stick to the basics at home to start with. Can you take us through the method of making the dough? Make a well in your flour, add the warm water with yeast, mix everything with your hands and, when it all comes together, add your salt and olive oil. After 5-6 minutes you can start to fold it. Don’t stretch the dough; you have to really take care over it. It’s a gentle folding motion you’re after, rather than breaking or stressing the dough. You can’t be angry; you don’t want to transfer any anger to the dough! What actually happens during the proving process – and why, exactly, is it so important? The yeast starts to work – the dough makes energy, creating the CO2, which is the reason for the air holes inside. It starts the process of the enzymes and yeast working together to break down the starch to become a simple sugar, and complete the maturing process to make the dough strong. And what about all that fancy spinning you do with the dough – what’s that actually for? To open the pizza really quickly – it’s just one quick movement. It’s a bit like flaring when it comes to cocktailmaking. It’s easy, fast and it looks good! But it takes practice. Alternatively, you can rotate the dough gently with your hands on a kitchen counter and still get the same results.
✱ DOUGH, 14-16 The Corridor, Bath BA1 5AP; 01225 443686; doughpizzarestaurant.co.uk
S T A R T E R S
Kitchen Library The freshest, most inspirational cookbooks of the month
A SHERRY & A LITTLE PLATE OF TAPAS
A YEAR IN MY REAL FOOD KITCHEN
As the enticing title suggests, this book tells the story of tapas and sherry, with 80 easy tapas bar recipes to cook at home. Author Kay Plunkett-Hogge, with help from illustrator and photographer Tamin Jones and illustrator Abigail Read, looks at how sherry is made and which food matches each type before diving into chapters covering cold and hot tapas, desserts and sherry-based cocktails. The main chapters are divided into vegetables, eggs and dairy, seafood, and meat, and recipes include Moorish lamb skewers; salmon ceviche; Galician octopus with potatoes, capers and paprika; and a boozy Beefeater gin granita with pink grapefruit and pink peppercorns. There’s a useful section listing UK suppliers of specialist ingredients, too.
The follow-up to the excellent My Darling Lemon Thyme, the second book from New Zealand chef Emma Galloway focuses on healthy and vegetarian food, as well as the glutenintolerant. Accompanied by her own photographs, these innovative wholefood recipes are nutritious and economical, as well as family-friendly (the author left the professional kitchen eight years ago to become a full-time mother to her two young children, as well as a food blogger). Divided into the seasons, summer dishes include tomato and chickpea salad with green olive dressing; spicy tofu noodles; and flourless banana, cherry and chocolate muffins. We particularly like the courgette, feta and mint fritters, and the raspberry and peach crumble cake. A great family cookbook for health-conscious cooks.
Gill Meller has been an integral part of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage empire for the past 11 years, but this is the first book under his own name – and it’s a cracking debut. Meller is a chef and food writer who cooks with the seasons, and this book features 120 recipes inspired by cooking what’s seasonal and also what’s growing wild. Featuring chapters on food from moorland, garden, farm, field, seashore, orchard, harbour and woodland, the dishes are simple, uncomplicated and often feature just three or four main ingredients. As summer prepares to make way for autumn, recipes to bookmark include cobnut and celeriac soup with kale, parsley and olive oil; venison stew and dumplings; apple rye and cider cake; and crab apple and blackberry jelly.
Kay Plunkett-Hogge Mitchell Beazley, £15.99
Gill Meller Quadrille, £25
Emma Galloway Harper Collins, £20
STIRRING SLOWLY Georgina Hayden Square Peg, £20
Georgina Hayden grew up above her grandparents’ Greek Cypriot taverna in London, and went on to work as a food stylist for Jamie Oliver, who has already hailed Stirring Slowly ‘a modern classic’. Her debut cookbook features a wide range of eclectic recipes wrapped around stories and anecdotes, all of which display a writer and cook with a genuine passion for good food. This is a book that encourages you to spend as much time as possible in the kitchen, preferably making food there that both comforts and revives. Highlights include recipes for creamed greens on toast with poached egg and dukkah; roast harissa butter chicken and cracked wheat; and sticky pork belly salad with fennel and chilli. A wonderful debut from a name to watch.
S T A R T E R S
THE PALOMAR COOKBOOK Mitchell Beazley, £25
Stirring Slowly by Georgina Hayden (Square Peg, £20)
The Palomar restaurant in London has been a critics favourite since it opened in 2014, and it won ‘best restaurant’ in the prestigious OFM awards the year after. Influenced by the rich cultures of Southern Spain, North Africa and the Levant, The Palomar Cookbook features over 100 delicious recipes guaranteed to transport home cooks to the buzzing streets of modern-day Jerusalem. As well as the restaurant’s signature dishes, the book features family recipes and ideas from places travelled to by The Palomar chefs. Pork belly with ras el hanout, dried fruits and Israeli couscous; North African fish stew; and cauliflower steak with labneh and grated tomatoes are just three of the delicious recipes, which appear alongside mezze dishes, sweet and savoury pastries and a number of store cupboard dishes.
WHOLE ROASTED MISO AUBERGINE (SERVES 4)
I’VE MET QUITE a few people who don’t love aubergine, and I can honestly say most of the time it’s because of the way it’s cooked. That rubbery, dry, slightly squeaky texture is pretty off-putting, but that’s purely because it hasn’t been cooked for long enough. Aubergines are a beautiful thing, and when given the right care they are stunning. Take this recipe, for example – I treat the aubergines like a piece of meat, slashing them, marinating them and slowroasting them whole. The result is a deliciously creamy and fragrant dish that takes little effort to make. The other bonus is that you don’t use much oil as you cook the aubergines whole, so it’s light too.
2 aubergines 3cm piece of ginger, peeled 4 garlic cloves, peeled 2 small green chillies, finely sliced groundnut oil 200g vine cherry tomatoes 4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced ½ bunch of coriander, chopped 1 lime, juice only 1 tbsp tamarind paste ½ tbsp honey 3 tbsp white sweet miso METHOD
– Preheat the oven to 180C/375F/gas mark 4. – Pierce the aubergines all over with a knife. Grate the ginger into a mortar and pestle, and bash with the garlic, chillies and a good pinch of salt until
it’s a thick paste. Mix in enough oil to make it spoonable, then spoon it over the aubergines and massage into the incisions. – Roast the aubergines in a roasting tray with the tomatoes for 40 minutes, turning twice. – Put the spring onion and coriander in a bowl, squeeze over the lime juice and mix. – Mix together the tamarind, honey and miso and add enough water to make a thick glaze. Remove the roasting tray after 40 minutes, turn the oven up to 200C/400F/gas mark 6, and drizzle the miso glaze over the aubergines. Cook for a further 15 minutes. – Remove the stalks from the aubergines, then roughly chop the flesh in the tray into coarse chunks. Stir in the dressed spring onions and coriander.
newly refurbished ... Widbrook Grange Restaurant Modern farmhouse cooking from our award winning chef in an elegant grade 2 listed farmhouse, now completely re designed Also open to non residents for dinner
To see what all the fuss is about and to book a table call 01225 864750 or email email@example.com www.widbrookgrange.co.uk
Widbrook Grange Hotel Bradford on Avon BA15 1UH
CHRISTMAS IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK! GIVE US A CALL OR POP IN AND LET US TAKE CARE OF THE REST. WE’LL BE LAYING ON A CRACKING SPREAD WITH OPTIONS TO SUIT EVERYONE – AND OF COURSE YOU CAN WASH IT ALL DOWN WITH OUR DELICIOUS FRESH-BREWED CRAFT BEER! 0117 925 2706 BRISTOL@ZERODEGREES.CO.UK
ath Bakery makes a hand crafted range of speciality breads and cakes from scratch in its own bakeries using only the best quality ingredients sourced as locally as possible and highly skilled bakers trained to ensure consistent top quality products.
Looking for GLUTEN FREE products? Our range of Batch#5 gluten free breads, cakes, and savouries is available at all Bath Bakery Stores or buy online at www.batch5.co.uk
FOR B OOK IN GS PHON E
0 1 225 4436 86
S P E C I A L I T Y P I Z Z E R I A N OW O P E N I N T H E CO R R I DO R , B AT H The only Italian pizzeria that lets you choose your dough, from traditional sourdough to hemp, gluten free, kamut and more
D O U G H P I Z Z A R E S TA U R A N T. C O . U K
Chef! WHAT TO MAKE, AND HOW TO MAKE IT – DIRECT FROM THE KITCHENS OF OUR FAVOURITE FOODIES
Sweet potato cosies up nicely with bacon in a little pastry parcel in our confit duck recipe...
Highlights GREAT GRAIN ROBBERY
Ditch your usual stuffing for this spelt-tastic version Page 40
RICE UP YOUR LIFE
Try this Egyptian-style salad with spiced poussin Page 42
Who needs gluten, anyway? Not this Battenburg cake Page 48
51 GOING FOR A BRAZILIAN Chris Staines looks to Rio for food and wine matching inspo
Against the grain Spelt is the star of the stuffing-based show in this recipe by Roger Saul...
Sharpham Park’s Roger Saul is a champion of spelt. As well as farming the stuff, he’s now written a recipe book all about it. “Try to buy free-range or organic chicken, if you can,” he says, “so there are no pesticides on the grain they eat. Pearled spelt is so versatile, and makes a fabulous base for stuffing the bird, taking up all the delicious flavours from the meat.”
ROAST CHICKEN with PEARLED SPELT STUFFING (SERVES 4)
1 whole chicken (1.5-2kg) 50g unsalted butter assorted vegetables, cut into chunks (onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, swede and cauliflower all work well) 3 tbsp olive oil
PHOTOS BY L AR A HOLMES
For the stuffing: 150g unsalted butter, softened 200g onions, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 3 large thyme sprigs, leaves picked 300g pearled spelt, pre-cooked to packet instructions 100g chestnuts, grated small handful chopped parsley 2 eggs, lightly beaten 50g fresh spelt breadcrumbs
– Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/ gas mark 6. – Start with the stuffing. Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat, add the onions and garlic, and fry for 5 minutes, until transparent. Add the thyme and cook for a further 2 minutes, then add the cooked spelt and the grated chestnuts. Take the pan off the heat and add the chopped parsley. Fold in the egg and the breadcrumbs and season generously. – Put all the stuffing into the cavity of the chicken and truss the legs together, using kitchen string to seal it in. – Put thin strips of butter underneath the chicken skin, especially around the breast meat, which tends to dry out, and then season the whole bird. – Put the chicken in a roasting tin and roast for 30 minutes until the skin is starting to brown, then turn the oven down to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and roast for a further 15 minutes. – Toss the vegetables in the oil and season. Scatter them in the roasting tin, around and under the chicken, then roast for a further 1-1 ¼ hours until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced. – Lift the chicken out of the tray and onto a serving plate, cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place. Turn the oven down to 100C/200F/gas mark 1 to keep the vegetables warm until you’re ready to carve and serve the chicken. ✱ sharphampark.com
✱ Recipe and images taken from Spelt by Roger Saul, Nourish Books £16.99
Rice one! Chef!
This gently spiced, aromatic dish is an exotic favourite of Ron Faulkner…
“This is a beautiful dish that we serve at lunch,” says Ron, owner and chef at Ronnies of Thornbury. “The poussin is delicate and a marked improvement on serving a piece of chicken – it works beautifully on the barbecue, too. “The salad is a take on a classic 19th-century Egyptian recipe, which is often served with a spiced tomato sauce. In this dish, though, we substitute the tomato for the fieriness of harrisa.”
HARRISA-SPICED POUSSIN with KUSHARI SALAD (SERVES 4) INGREDIENTS
4 poussin, boneless and spatchcocked 1 tsp ras el hanout 2 tbsp harrisa 1 lemon, to serve For the kushari salad: 100g basmati rice 150g green lentils 75g wild rice 200ml chicken stock 1 large onion 40ml virgin olive oil ¼ tsp ground nutmeg ½ tsp ground cinnamon 2 tbsp coriander, chopped ½ lemon, juice only METHOD
– Ask your butcher remove the bones from your poussin, leaving just the drumstick and winglet. Remove the meat from the winglet to expose the
bone. Rub the skin with the ras el hanout, and sprinkle it over the meat too. Fold in half so the meat is not exposed to the air, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. – Rinse the basmati rice and place in a saucepan with cold water. Season with salt, cover, and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes, or until the rice is tender. – Wash the lentils, place in a pan, cover with water and cook for 25 minutes until they’re tender but not splitting. Likewise, place the rice in a pan, cover with water and cook for 30 minutes. – Slice the onion and fry in the oil in a large pan. Once the onions are starting to brown, add the nutmeg and cinnamon. Cook for a minute or two and stir in all the cooked rice and the lentils. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper, the chopped coriander and the lemon juice. – Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/ gas mark 5. – Put the poussin in hot pan or grill, skin side down. Once nicely coloured, flip and cook the other side for a minute. – Place the poussin on a chopping board and separate the legs and breasts. Cut away any excess skin and place the legs on one oven tray and the breast on another. Brush the skin with the harrisa and bake. The breasts will take 4-6 min and the legs about 10. – Put the kushari salad on the plates and arrange the poussin neatly on top. Serve with a wedge of lemon. ✱ RONNIES OF THORNBURY, 11 St Mary Street, Bristol BS35 2AB; 01454 411137; ronnies-restaurant.co.uk
A Grape Match!
Wine writer Angela Mount has chosen Intimo Planeta Plumbago Nero D’Avola 2014 to go with this (Great Western Wine, £13.95) “It’s always a challenge to find the right wine to match intoxicating Middle Eastern scents and flavours like these, but I find that the soft, rich, sweet fruit of the Sicilian Nero d’Avola grape is a perfect accompaniment, with enough generous, voluptuously ripe fruit to balance the perfumed ras al hanout and harissa. From Sicily’s leading wine producer, this is gloriously soft, with blackberry and dark chocolate character and a smooth, velvety edge.”
â€œHome of the world famous dirty, dirty fries!â€?
69-71 Gloucester road, Bristol, BS7 8AS | 07830 188054
Restaurant • Bar • Café • Deli Tuesday to Saturday – lunch and dinner Bar open from 11am for drinks and coffees
The A WA R
Woods is available for private parties, corporate entertainment, press launches, weddings and family celebrations. Private room seats 36-40 people. The whole restaurant can accommodate 120 people. Party menu £35 per head
DINE AT WOODS
Lunch and early dinner 2 courses £15 3 courses £20 Lunch: 12 noon - 2:30pm Early dinner: 5:15pm - 6:30pm Tables up to 6 people.
Every Friday Lunch and dinner a la carte also available 24 hours notice required to order lobster, oysters, Dover sole and turbot, subject to availability. All our fish is delivered daily from Brixham.
1st Sunday of the month 2 courses £15 • 3 courses £20 Traditional roast. A la carte also available.
NEW BAR MENU
Featuring 6oz aged Sirloin steak, fries & salad £9.95 Tuesday to Saturday lunch Tuesday to Friday dinner 12 noon - 2.30pm • 5pm to 7.30pm
CHRISTMAS MENUS & OCTOBER FOOD FESTIVAL EVENTS now available on the website 9-13 Alfred St. Bath BA1 2QX • 01225 314812 firstname.lastname@example.org
FARM SHOP & D E
F I SH M O NG E R S & B U TC H E R S
R E S T AU R A N T
RECLAMATION BARN HOP S T F I G
DID YOU KNOW THAT WE ALSO HAVE
FISH & CHIPS AT WHITE ROW?
JUST 20 MINUTES FROM BATH
Duck & cover Chef!
Alex Venables shows us how to cook duck, the French way … The new George at Woolley has been open for over a year now, having changed hands and undergone a bit of a makeover before relaunching in summer 2015. Now, Alex Venables heads up the culinary outfit, having previously been at the Michelin-starred kitchen at Lucknam Park. This is a version of one of the dishes on his menu. Duck confit is a French dish, where the meat is first preserved in salt and herbs, before being rinsed and cooked very slowly in its own fat, for a tender and delicate result. If stored properly in the fat, the duck can keep for weeks – although we bet it won’t get the chance to prove it…
DUCK CONFIT with SMOKED BACON and SWEET POTATO PASTY (SERVES 4)
4 duck legs 25g salt 2-3 fresh sprigs of thyme 300g duck fat green beans, to serve For the smoked bacon pasty: 350g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped glug of olive oil 300g smoked bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped grated rind of 1 orange 4 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 300g short crust pastry 1 egg yolk, beaten METHOD
– To make the duck confit, sprinkle the legs with salt and fresh thyme leaves, season with pepper and cover with cling film. Leave in the fridge overnight. – The next day, remove the duck legs from the fridge and wipe off the salt. Put them in a large pan with the duck fat and heat until simmering. Then turn down and cook for 3 hours, turning occasionally. Once they’re cooked, drain them and keep covered or chill until required. – For the smoked bacon pasty, place the potato in boiling water and cook until tender. Heat the oil and pan-fry the bacon in it, then add the onion and cook until soft. – Add the cooked sweet potato to the frying pan, along with the orange rind and chopped parsley, then chill in the fridge. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. – Roll out the pastry and, using a saucer as a template, cut out 4 circles. Add a spoonful of the bacon and potato mix to each and fold over the pastry, crimping the edges to form a small pasty shape. Brush with the egg and place on a baking sheet. – Put the duck legs on a baking sheet and pop in the oven along with the pasties. Bake until the pastry is golden and the legs have crisped up. – Serve with cooked green beans.
A Grape Match!
Wine writer Angela Mount has chosen Braucol, Vigne Lourac, vin de pays des Cotes du Tarn 2014 (Great Western Wine, £8.95)
“I’m a great believer in local wines matching local food, so I’ve stuck to South Western French roots. We need a light, fruity red with freshness and acidity to cut through the fat and balance the flavours, and this little-known red with its bright, lively, sweet cherry fruit and fresh, wild herb-tinged edge fits the bill perfectly.”
✱ THE GEORGE AT WOOLLEY, 67 Woolley St, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 1AQ; 01225 865650; thegeorgebradfordonavon.co.uk
Gluten can do one as far as Bridget Pursall’s Battenberg is concerned…
GLUTEN-FREE BATTENBERG (SERVES PLENT Y) INGREDIENTS
For the sponge: 175g butter, plus extra for greasing 175g caster sugar 3 free-range eggs 130g gluten-free self-raising flour (we use Batch #5’s!) 45g ground almonds ½ tsp almond extract red food colouring paste (Sugarflair’s Red Velvet paste works well) For the decoration: 8 tbsp apricot jam 500g readymade marzipan 6 tbsp icing sugar (for rolling) METHOD
Bridget can be found in the kitchens of Bath Bakery, which is the biz behind Batch #5. This range of baked goods – which includes everything from bread to duffins, cake to pizza bases – is entirely gluten free, without compromising on taste and quality. To ensure the bakes are totally coeliac-friendly and free from any wheat contamination, they’re all made at a special designated unit. For us folk who have to make do with our regular kitchen, but want to make this number totes gluten-free, make sure all surfaces, tools and utensils are totally spick and span before you start – and don’t prepare anything with gluten in it at the same time!
– Preheat oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and butter a 20cm-square, loosebased cake tin. – Take a 30cm x 20cm strip of baking parchment and fold in half, width ways. Use it to line the tin, keeping the fold stood up in the middle. Make creases at the base of the fold so that the paper covers the bottom of the tin while creating a straight division right down the middle. – Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. This may take a few minutes, but it will ensure the cake is light and spongy. Use a handmixer or a food processor for ease. – Add in 2 eggs and the flour, and mix until just incorporated. Then add in the final egg, ground almonds and almond extract. Mix again until fully incorporated (adding the eggs in 2 stages will avoid knocking out too much air). – Split the cake mixture into 2 different bowls. Add a small amount of the red colouring paste to one of the bowls. Mix until you achieve a pale pink colour. – Spoon the cake mixes into each side of the cake tin you prepared earlier: plain cake mix in one side, and the pink mix on the other.
– Lightly smooth the surface with the back of a spoon so it bakes evenly. – Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes, or until the sponges have risen and a skewer comes out clean. Another test is to gently press the sponge – if it springs back up then the cake is ready. – Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then slide a palette knife around the outside of the sponges and turn them out onto a wire rack. If the cakes have baked unevenly, don’t panic – gently press down with your hands to level them out. Leave until completely cooled. – To assemble cake, place one sponge on top the other. Trim off the edges and neaten them up so they are both the same size. Cut the sponges in half lengthways to make 4 long rectangles. – Warm the apricot jam in a microwave until slightly runny. Brush the long side of one of the sponges with the jam and sandwich together with a sponge of the opposite colour. Do the same with the other two sponges. Sandwich the two pairs of sponges together like a checkerboard and brush the top and sides with jam. (If you’re stuck, look at the picture, which will help you with the checkerboard effect.) – Dust a flat surface lightly with icing sugar. Roll out the marzipan into a rectangle of about 40cm x 20cm; it should be large enough to wrap the cake completely, leaving the ends exposed, and be about 5mm thick. – Turn the cake upside down onto the marzipan and brush the underside of the sponges with jam. Wrap the marzipan around the cake, pressing it gently onto the surface of the sponges, and press the edges together to make a firm join. – Turn back over so the join is underneath, trim a thin slice off each end, and place on a serving plate. This cake will last 10 days in an airtight container.
✱ BATH BAKERY, bathbakery.co.uk; batch5.co.uk
Top Lane, Whitley, Wiltshire SN12 8QX 01225 704966 T f @peartreewhitley
here’s something really special about the Olympics, and this year in Rio was no different. More than 40 separate sports disciplines were represented, in 37 different venues, with 206 countries sending their most talented and strongest athletes to compete. And I watched intently from the comfort of my flat – in total awe of the dedication and strength of character needed to compete at such a level – while reaching for the wine and cheese! South American food has made something of an impact on the world dining scene of late, in particular the fresh and clean flavours of Peruvian cuisine, along with the flavours of Mexico, Argentina and Chile. Brazil, however, is still trying to find a foothold in the hearts of the British public. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have some great dishes, just that the various nationalities who have inhabited the country for long periods of time means there is no real definitive ‘national cuisine’ as such. Instead, the cuisine tends to be very regional, with each region leaning more toward Africa, Portugal, America or India. There’s one dish, however, that most people would agree on: the ‘national dish’ known as feijoada, a hearty stew usually containing smoked, salted bacon, and various cuts of pork and beef (ranging from ribs to shoulders, ears and tails, depending on the region, the occasion and the wealth of the family preparing the stew). There are also beans in there (which give the stew its name), which can vary, but tend to be either the black beans favoured in a lot of South America, or kidney beans. As for wine, well, it has long been acknowledged that Argentina and Chile make some stunning examples of Malbec and Carmenere respectively, but there’s actually a great deal more to discover. With this in mind I set off to my favourite local wine shop, Great Western Wine, and asked for something a little different;
something which wasn’t going to break the bank, but would challenge me to try something new. Now, I must admit to being one of the heathen few not sold on Chilean wines; I tend to find them quite raw, and a bit rough around the edges. However, I wanted to give them another chance, perhaps trying a different grape variety – and so it was that I stumbled (with a little help, and much persuasion) across the Primera Luz Merlot. Although somewhat dubious due to the bargain price tag of £6.95, and the fact that Merlot is not a grape variety that I would automatically think of when considering a Chilean wine, I conceded. Upon first taste I was still a little doubtful, but I put my prejudices aside and took another sip, and was starting to be won over. Here was a wine that cost less than half a day’s parking almost anywhere in Bath, yet which was elegant and fresh, fruity and juicy, and eminently quaffable. I took two. Thing is, when it came to cooking my feijoada to match my wine, the sun was shining and the thought of a heavy stew didn’t fill me with desire, even if it is delicious. So, I took the principal of the dish and lightened it up, making it more of a summery, sharing meal. I was already in South America in my head, wearing my Havaianas and bopping along to some chilled South American tunes, so I took the leap to Mexico with a feijoada taco. With all of the freshness of the red onion, avocado and tomato salsa, yet the deep richness of the stewed meat, countered by the fresh yoghurt, I thought it would make for more of a summer classic. So, I present to you my (almost Brazilian, but certainly South Americaninspired) feijoada tacos. In my version, the stew is made without the beans, which are cooked separately along with some tangy tomato, an avocado guacamole and some fresh zingy yoghurt to lighten things up. These are great served in pots to allow people to build their own at the table, and are a winning companion to my chosen wine.
SWEET CHILD OF
A GOOD SPORT Inspired by the Rio Olympics, columnist Chris Staines comes up with a simple South American dish to match his chosen tipple…
( recipe )
FEIJOADA TACOS (SERVES 6-8)
For the feijoada: 100g streaky smoked bacon, sliced 500g bavette or skirt steak 3 chorizo cooking sausages 500g pork shoulder, cut into 5cm cubes 3 onions, chopped 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped pinch of chilli flakes olive oil 2 bay leaves 2 tbsp white wine vinegar For the salsa: 1 red onion, finely diced 2 long red chillis, deseeded and sliced 4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed 1-2 limes, juice only 5 ripe tomatoes, deseeded and peeled ½ bunch coriander, chopped olive oil For the guacamole: 3 ripe avocados ½ bunch of coriander, chopped ¼ red onion, finely diced 4 fresh jalapeno or red chillis, finely chopped 2 fresh limes For the refried beans: 500g dried pinto or black beans (tinned are also perfectly acceptable, and much quicker to prepare) 2 sprigs fresh oregano 1 medium white onion, ½ left whole and ½ minced 2 medium cloves garlic oil or butter, for frying To serve: flour tortillas natural yoghurt
PHOTO BY PAOLO FERL A
– For the feijoada, heat a large, heavybased saucepan with a fitted lid. Add the bacon and fry until crisp. Remove and keep the oil in the pan. – In batches, sear the steak, sausages and pork shoulder, seasoning each batch. – Add the onion, garlic and chilli to the pan, adding a little olive oil if needed. Season with salt and pepper and fry for 8 minutes or until soft.
– Add the meat back in, along with the bay leaves and white wine vinegar and add just enough water to cover. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 2 hours, or until the meat is tender. – For the salsa, mix the onion, chilli, garlic and lime juice in a bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper and allow to marinate for at least 5 minutes. Chop the tomato and add, then check the seasoning, adding more lime, salt and pepper as necessary. Set aside and allow to stand for at least 1 hour for the flavours to develop. – For the guacamole, peel the avocados, cut them in half, and remove the stone in each one. Place them all in a large bowl and mash with fork or potato masher until creamy. Add the coriander, chilli and onion, and stir well to blend it all together. – Cut each lime in half and squeeze all of the juice into the mixture. Stir well. Taste, and then add salt if desired. – Put the beans in a large pot and cover with cold water by at least 2 inches. Add the
oregano sprigs, whole onion half and garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until beans are very tender, about 1 to 2 hours. Season with salt. – Drain the beans, reserving all of the beancooking liquid. – Over a medium-high temperature, heat the oil or butter in a heavy-based pan. Add the minced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and lightly golden – about 7 minutes. Stir in beans and cook for 2 minutes. Add ½ of the reserved bean-cooking liquid and, using a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, smash the beans to form a chunky purée. – Serve the feijoada, the salsa and the guacamole in bowls in the centre of the table with warm tortillas, natural yoghurt and plenty of wine!
✱ Chris is head chef at Allium at The
Abbey Hotel in Bath, where he also holds regular supper clubs; for dates and tickets, visit abbeyhotelbath.co.uk
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Sunday Roasts served ‘til 5pm
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www.almatavernandtheatre.co.uk 18-20 Alma Vale Road • 0117 973 5171
We are a friendly, family owned inn offering hearty home cooked food, in a small country village setting. Whether you are local or travelling from further afield, you are guaranteed a warm welcome. PUB • RESTAURANT • FUNCTION ROOM • ACCOMMODATION
Christmas menu now available Come and stay in one of our 3 beautiful en-suite B&B rooms
Tunley Road, Tunley BA2 0EB
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Armoury CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS
AID TO MEASURE How big’s your kitchen, asks Matt Bielby? If it’s not quite House Call-size yet, but you want it to look just as groovy, KitchenAid has come to your rescue
Yeah, we’ve had these in the mag before. Like, loads of times. We have – and we haven’t. Let me explain. You see, the problem with regular KitchenAids, of course, is they’re just too damn big. (Also, too damn expensive – but I’ll let that slide.) So here’s a little one. A little one? It looks just the same! But it’s not. Instead, think 20 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter, with a 3.3litre bowl, rather than the 4.8 litres of its big brothers. Still big enough to be useful, but suited to the more compact and bijoux kitchen surface. And to the more compact and bijoux purse, might we assume? Quite so. This mini version of the iconic KitchenAid Tilt-Head Stand Mixer comes in at £399, a little less than at least some
THIS MONTH crumbsmag.com
of the big ones. That said, it looks basically the same as the original iconic version, first released in 1936, and is similarly robust, versatile and high performing. (Not to mention sexy-looking too, of course.) It’s just not as big and clunky. I’m suddenly quite interested, especially as it’s my birthday coming soon… Then you’re in luck, because it’s out from this month – initially through John Lewis, but soon everywhere – and comes in the usual range of trendy colours, like matte black, matte grey and so-called ‘Hot Sauce’ (a kind of punchy red). There’s something called ‘Honeydew’ too, which will be exclusive to John Lewis through the launch period – a sort of ’50s retro pale green. You know, the sort of colour they might paint a Vespa or a baby Fiat.
Small and mighty
Ladies what lunch
What about those fancy attachments – are they included? Yes, it comes with a good starter set – think dough hook, wire whip and flat beater – though it will fit any of the extra bits and bobs designed for the larger models, so you can use it to spiralize, roll pasta, make juice, or, well, anything really. Just in smaller amounts. Which is all I need. I think we might just have found your new best friend.
✱ The KitchenAid Mini Tilt-Head Stand Mixer is out in September, £399, at John Lewis initially and other KitchenAid stockists shortly after; for more, KitchenAid.co.uk; johnlewis.com
HOW WE ROLL
Seeing as we’ve not yet made it to one of Noya Pawlyn’s sell-out Vietnamese supper clubs in Bath, we decided to invite ourselves ’round her gaff for lunch instead, to see what we’ve been missing... Words by JESSICA CARTER Photos by ANIL ILTAS
( house call )
he day that we had arranged to call on Noya Pawlyn for a bit of lunch and a nosey around her enviable Bath kitchen (we don’t just turn up unannounced, you know), happened to be the very hottest of 2016 thus far. We won’t paint too graphic a picture but, suffice to say, after the uphill walk we very much needed to get some water on board and dab our brow. So, as excited as we were to have Noya make us an Asian feast for our lunch, spice was not right at the top of our wish list at that moment in time – as you can imagine. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good chilli kick, but we’d already taken a beating from the sun, and were burning up before we’d even lifted a fork. Luckily, though, this wasn’t going to be a problem. You see, Noya’s speciality is food from her native country – Vietnam – and this kind of Asian grub doesn’t actually focus on spice. “There are lots of herbs in our food,” Noya explains. “It’s much fresher than other Asian cuisine. In fact, it’s all about freshness, and texture, and zing. “At the markets in Vietnam,” she goes on, “you’d buy what was fresh that day, and then eat it that same day, too. “Herbs are especially important; they’re not used as a garish, but as an actual part of the dish.” Indeed, as she speaks we’re eyeing up the colourful, vibrant food that’s been dished up in her lovely light kitchen; there’s plenty of green in the form of crunchy curls of spring onion, crinkly mint leaves and fresh coriander; bright orange slices of pickled carrot; ruby red rings of sliced chilli; and a peppering of white sesame seeds. Noya starts by soaking rice paper water for summer rolls, pointing out the fillings we can choose from. She rolls the first one with marinated prawns to demonstrate the technique. We also tucked into chilli and ginger aubergine; lemongrass and chilli
This aubergine dish was packed with both texture and flavour, the spring onion and herbs adding freshness and crunch
Noya likes to treat mealtime as a sociable occasion, and a chance to try something new
( house call )
chicken stew with jasmine rice; crispy pork spring rolls on baby gem lettuce; and tofu spring rolls made of rice paper. The deeper we dug into this fresh, fragrant lunch, the more it became clear that this lady is a real pro in the kitchen. “I’ve been cooking since I was seven years old. I’m one of five siblings and, although I wasn’t the oldest, I was the oldest girl – which is really the same thing – so I’d need to cook for them all when my parents were working.” At the time, Noya and her family were living in a Hong Kong refugee camp, having left Vietnam when she was seven. Despite leaving so young, Noya still carries with her the cultural importance of food from her home country. Her kitchen is a central, family-focused space: old photographs sit on the dresser, there’s a long dining table which is large enough for the whole family, and an old, eclectic collection of kitchen tools and crockery. Noya learned a lot about cooking from her mum and dad, eating purely Vietnamese food right up until she left home. That doesn’t mean she’s not adventurous, though. Noya loves experimenting, and encourages others to do the same at her supper clubs and cookery classes. “Whether you’re adventurous or not, it doesn’t matter,” she says. “Just give some new things a go, introduce new flavours. You learn to trust your tastebuds; it’s all about confidence. The best meals I cook, and my favourites, are made from whatever I happen to have left in the cupboards.” It was three years ago now that Noya started her regular supper club in Bath, which takes place at The Bear Pad café on Bear Flat. It’s grown from simply cooking for friends to regularly selling out, thanks to word of mouth (and her authentic, accessible food, we bet). “Lots of people come back to the supper club again and again,” she says. “And there’s always something new to try, as the menu is based on just whatever’s available that day.” Noya also teaches cookery, right here in her own kitchen. If you want to see the kinds of fresh, colourful dishes you can learn to make, then you’re in luck, as we’ve secured the recipe for those summer rolls for you...
( house call ) These summer rolls are similar to spring rolls, but are made with rice paper and don’t need frying once assembled, meaning they’re nice and light
SUMMER ROLLS (Gỏi cuốn) (MAKES UP TO 10)
This is a classic summer roll recipe, but you can add anything: marinated chicken, beef, pork belly, green shredded mango... It's all about getting the right balance of flavours. INGREDIENTS
80g dried rice vermicelli noodle 1 packet of 22cm diameter rice paper 1 bunch mint 1 bunch coriander 1 small mango, shredded For the prawns: 300ml water 2 tbsp fish sauce 1 tsp sugar knob of ginger, sliced 1 clove of garlic, sliced (optional) 10 king prawns For the pickled carrots: 2 tbsp caster sugar 8 tbsp rice vinegar 4 carrots, sliced For the dipping sauce: juice of 1 large lime 1 clove of garlic, crushed 2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce 3 tbsp rice vinegar ½ birdseye chilli, sliced 70ml water (optional) METHOD
– Soak the vermicelli noodles in a bowl of boiling water for 3 mins, strain, cover with a tea towel and leave in the sieve for 15 minutes. This will help the noodles to dry off before use. For this recipe, it is best to prepare the vermicelli noodles at least 1 hour before rolling, allowing them to dry and stick together. – Now start the prawns. Into a saucepan, add the water, fish sauce, sugar, ginger and garlic and bring to a boil. Add the prawns and cook until they turn pink: around 1 minute. – Drain and reserve the stock for soup. Allow the prawns to cool down before slicing them in half lengthways. Set aside. – Make the pickled carrots: dissolve the sugar with rice vinegar in a bowl. Add
the carrot, making sure it’s all covered. Marinate for at least 10-15 minutes. Leave to drain in the sieve for 5 minutes. – Make the dipping sauce: combine the ingredients in a jar, stir, and leave for 15 mins before use. You can making the dipping sauce a day ahead. It will keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator. – To assemble the rolls, fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip in one whole sheet of rice paper, shake off excess water and place on a plate. – About 2 inches from the top of the rice paper, place 3 prawns in a horizontal line, cut side up. Below, add a row of carrot slices, 3 mint leaves, a sprig of coriander, shredded mango and vermicelli noodles, lining them up neatly and making sure you leave 2 inches of rice paper around the fillings to be able to make the rolls. – Fold the top side of the rice paper over the fillings, then fold the 2 sides into the centre. Roll the rice paper up, pinching and rolling tightly to the end. – Serve with the dipping sauce.
✱ NOYA’S KITCHEN, 07739 748806; noyaskitchen.co.uk; supper clubs at The Bear Pad, 7 Hayes Place, Bath BA2 4QW
TH E WA NT LI S T 2
We’ve got your next shindig covered with this cool partyware…
1 PAPER PLATES £3.75 These bold-patterned paper plates will save on washing up, and come in packs of eight. Head over to Bath’s Found shop or visit the website. ✱ foundbath.co.uk 2 TOOT SWEET NAPKINS £4.50 This 20-pack of serviettes, embellished with statement green scalloped edges, will help you clean up in style. From South Westbased party supplier, Meri Meri. ✱ merimeri.com
3 HAPPY JACKSON PARTY CUPS £2.95 From the Wild & Wolf collection, Bloomsbury brings us these fun paper cups, equipped with quirky party slogan. Find them in the Bath store or online. ✱ bloomsburystore.com
4 KILNER 8L VINTAGE DRINKS DISPENSER £29.99 Kilner products help make summer parties Instagram-worthy, and this vintage-style drinks dispenser is no exception. Pop over to Lakeland in Bath or at The Mall to get yours. ✱ lakeland.co.uk 5 BEAST’S FEAST PLATTER £78.00 Serve your party grub up in style on this gorge stoneware platter, and let your guests help themselves. Available from Anthropologie in Bath. ✱ anthropologie.com
Bar • Kitchen Dining Recently refurbished, The George in the beautiful town of Bradford on Avon, is the perfect place to visit for local ales, top quality wines and fantastic food created by our Award-winning chef, Alexander Venables. OPEN MONDAY TO SUNDAY
LUNCH 12noon to 2pm DINNER 6pm to 9pm
The perfect party idea Served Friday, Saturday and Sunday 3pm - 5pm • Bookings only
SUNDAY LUNCH Served from 12noon to 4pm We have a special whole roast chicken with all the trimmings, roast potatoes, cauliflower gratin, Yorkshire puddings, jugs of gravy, stuffing and bread sauce for four – £40 or choose our roast sirloin of Church Farm beef.
BED AND BREAKFAST SUITES Now open. Rooms from £100 per night.
GOURMET DINNERS A CLASSIC VENETIAN DINNER
Breakfast, morning coffee & cake Every day from 9.30am-11.30am
“A Night On The Rialto” Friday 30th September. 4 courses for £40 per person. Dessert will be accompanied by a glass of Prosecco.
PRIX FIXE LUNCH MENU
NEW YEAR’S EVE
£12.95 for two courses Monday to Saturday.
TO BOOK CALL
“A French Affair” A gourmand dinner followed by a disco.
Christmas menus now available
67 Woolley St, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 1AQ • firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrate Christmas at the
Holiday Inn Bristol City Centre Private or join in party nights from ÂŁ21.95 per person To make a booking or to find out more information please contact our events team on 0117 924 5000 or email@example.com Holiday Inn Bristol City Centre Bond Street Bristol BS1 3LE
St. James’s Café ~ Deli
Recently refurbished NOW OPEN Open daily from 8am • Closed Sundays
5/6 St James's St, Bath BA1 2TW Phone: 01225 336106
HOT INDUSTRY TOPICS, FAB FOOD DESTINATIONS, AMAZING INNOVATIONS, AND PEOPLE THAT MATTER
Don’t get caught short; book your Xmas do at one of these joints before everyone else beats you to it ... Page 77
THE BIG SMOKE
Russell Norman admits to being all nervy an’ that about Polpo’s Bristol opening...
Crimbo might seem pretty far off in the distance, but you need to get your act together and book your shindig with haste if you want your feed to be a decent one
FESTIVE FEASTS to choose from for that annual bash
G n i p p o R D Mains
b m o b c
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( feature )
Hotels, restaurants and even underground cocktail bars; there are a ton of different venues to have your Crimbo do in Bath and Bristol...
This place isn’t short of festive venues; the Apres-Ski pop-up Bar is back as of 24 November; the ArtBar will be mixing more outlandish cocktails than ever; the Igloo is a perfectly chilled space for a party; and Allium is cooking up set menus (from £27.50). It’s throwing in a cabaret night, Tenors Un Limited performance, fondue lunch parties and a Bavarian party, too. ✱ abbeyhotelbath.co.uk
The Science Centre has over 200 interactive exhibits to try out. Release your inner scientist and explore the bar laboratory, satisfy your senses with a three-course meal and feel the vibrations of the dance floor. ✱ at-bristol.org.uk
AVON GORGE HOTEL
Overlooking the Clifton Suspension Bridge, there are few more iconic Bristol settings than this hotel’s restaurant, which is offering everything from festive lunches (£19.95 for three courses) to casino-themed party nights (£45), which include a cocktail, three-course meal, roulette, blackjack, and a disco. ✱ theavongorgehotel.com
Bambalan looks set to make a big impression with its first Christmas; the festive menu (£20) takes its inspiration from North Africa and the Middle East,
with punchy, vibrant flavours in dishes like venison and prune tagine. ✱ bambalan.co.uk
BATH FUNCTION ROOMS This venue at Green Park Station offers a range of Xmas packages, with each including a ‘DIY disco’ and festive photo booth. Three-course dinners start at £29.50, or there’s the option of pizza cooked in the outdoor wood-fired oven with a glass of Prosecco for £15. ✱ bathfunctionrooms.co.uk
As well as Christmas menus running from 1 December (the three-course lunch is £17.95 and the dinner £26.95), Bistrot Pierre is also offering a complimentary glass of fizz when you dine from the festive dinner menu 1-8 December (excluding Saturdays). And the Gallic generosity doesn’t stop there – organisers who book a large group meal get a £20 voucher. ✱ bistrotpierre.co.uk
This Paintworks restaurant has nailed it when it comes to providing one of the coolest backdrops to a Christmas do, and its two-year-old Glastonbury sibling is doing great things too. Both sites are serving Xmas lunches (£21 for three courses, £17 for two) and dinners (£26 for three courses, £23 for two), as well as buffets (£18 per head) for larger parties. ✱ bocabar.co.uk
BRISTOL HARBOUR HOTEL
Bristol’s newest hotel is a rather swanky Corn St affair. It’s going to be offering three-course Christmas lunches and dinners (£25 and £40), as well as party lunches and party nights (from £32.95), with bubbles, a three-course meal, wine and dancing. A great excuse to check out these new digs, we think. ✱ harbourhotels.co.uk
Whether you choose the splendour of the ex-Bristol University refectory or the magnificent former magistrates’ court in Bath, both branches offer a festive lunch menu (£24.95 for three courses) until 6pm, as well as a festive brunch at £14.95, which includes a glass of Champagne. ✱ browns-restaurants.co.uk
THE CASTLE INN
Dating from the 12th century and located in the heart of the pretty Castle Combe, The Castle Inn has a delicious Christmas menu (£26.50 for three courses or £20.95 for two) with dishes like deep-fried duck egg, and spicy braised pork belly with purple potatoes – that’s if the roast turkey doesn’t tempt you, of course. ✱ castle-inn.info
Argentinean steak restaurant CAU likes to do Xmas a bit differently, and its festive menu in Bristol and Bath is a
( feature )
an emphasis on fresh, local and simple produce, packed with flavour. It’s served in a wonderful courtyard setting beside 32 acres of parkland. Organisers Ed and Katie even work with guests to devise a bespoke menu that suits them. ✱ thefieldkitchen.com
It may only be the second Christmas for the new-look George at Woolley, but you can expect a top-notch menu this year. Lunch starts at £19.95 and dinner at £23.50, and choices include crab and lobster twice-baked soufflé, and roast pheasant with creamed veg and ragout of Brussels and chestnuts. ✱ thegeorgebradfordonavon.co.uk
GLASSBOAT Discover how funny Gary from accounts actually is over a top-notch feast
turkey-free zone. At £24 for two courses or £29 for three, options include steaks, quince-glazed brick-grilled spatchcock chicken, and winter pumpkin risotto.
comes to its Xmas buffet menus, created by the chefs at Clayton’s Kitchen. Enjoy cocktails, Prosecco or take advantage of the ‘buckets of beer’ (six bottles for £20).
On the edge of the Mendip Hills, this hotel will be hosting Christmas party nights throughout December, featuring three-course meals and a DJ spinning festive floor-fillers. Priced from £22.50, the menu includes Coln Valley smoked salmon with fennel, and confit duck leg. ✱ centurionhotel.co.uk
Open since 1776, this is one of Bath’s oldest pubs and has hosted countless festive bashes. A short walk from The Circus, it’s ideal for locals looking for a more central Bath venue, and the Xmas meal costs £30 for five courses. ✱ thechequersbath.com
THE CHRISTMAS STEPS
This place could easily lay claim to being the most Christmassy pub in Bristol. Housed in a 400-year-old sugar refinery, it’s Dickensian-looking neighbourhood buzzes with festive cheer. The menu (from £23 for two courses) features local suppliers and also has a vegan option.
Choose from the Cocktails and Canapé or Sparkling and Canape packages, which allow you to nibble on delicious mouthfuls of charcuterie, cheese and smoked brisket while enjoying table service at this cool underground bar. ✱ confessionalbar.co.uk
The quirky menu at this much-praised St Werburghs joint promises the likes of potted smoked sea trout with wood-fired flat bread, and cauldron-braised turkey wing, glazed in a mulled wine barbecue sauce – for a mega-reasonable £21.50. ✱ thecauldron.restaurant
DOUBLE TREE BY HILTON CADBURY HOUSE
This is a hugely popular place to celebrate the festive season; it serves around 11,000 meals over the Christmas period! This year, it offers several options for parties, including family disco lunches and festive afternoon teas.
THE FIELD KITCHEN
As one of Bath’s go-to cocktail bars, Circo is pulling out all the stops when it
Part of the lakeside Glove Factory Studios at Holt, The Field Kitchen has
A Bristol dining institution since 1986, this floating restaurant’s Christmas menu is a seasonal a mix of ‘sophisticated bistro classics inspired by the very best of French dishes’. At lunchtime, two courses are £16.50 or you can have three for £21. In the evening, it’s £35 for three courses. ✱ glassboat.co.uk
THE GLOUCESTER OLD SPOT
The lucky locals living near this pub are spoilt for choice when it comes to a festive feast. Start, perhaps, with spiced beetroot and coconut soup with goat’s cheese croquette, and follow it with herb-crusted cod fillet with mustard and tarragon sauce. At £21.95 for two courses or £26.95 for three, it’s great value too. ✱ theoldspotbristol.co.uk
The GPT Smokehouse is the fairly new restaurant and bar from brothers Robbie and Jamie Tack, who transformed the Green Park Tavern. This Christmas, it has a licence until 3am and has a large function room available for exclusive hire. The set menu costs £30 for three courses or £25 for two, and features low and slow ribs alongside roast turkey and other seasonal dishes. ✱ gptbath.com
Owned by the same team behind Zazu’s Kitchen, The Grace on Gloucester Road will be producing a selection of sharing plates with a few twists,
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Set at an open-air Victorian pool, Lido provides a unique setting for a meal anytime, but especially at Christmas. Chef Freddy Bird’s festive menu combines ingredients from Spain, North Africa and the Middle East with local produce. Lunch costs £16 for two courses or £20 for three, with dinner £35 for three courses. The Terrace room beside the pool is available for private hire for groups of up to 42, as well. ✱ lidobristol.com
THE LOCKSBROOK INN Bristol has a couple of floating venues, set right on the river for top views...
from £10 a head. Dishes include venison haunch, beetroot, pomegranate and cocoa; brown butter sprouts, chestnuts, red cabbage and parsnip crisps; and clementine posset. Guests will get a 20-percent discount to use in January, and organisers receive a bottle of fizz. ✱ thegracebristol.uk
In the Wiltshire village of Wadswick, the new Greenhouse restaurant on the former Royal Arthur Park site is a stylish spot for festivities. Surrounded by lovely countryside, it’s offering a three-course festive menu for lunch and dinner from 28 November. ✱ wadswickgreen.co.uk
GREEN PARK BRASSERIE
HOLIDAY INN BRISTOL CITY CENTRE
A modern 4-star city centre hotel like Holiday Inn covers all bases when it comes to Christmas, whether it’s a family meal or a party with work colleagues. It’s serving festive lunches throughout November and December, as well as Sunday lunches for families. ✱ hibristolcity.co.uk
With its roaring fires, delicious food and extensive wine list, this hotel and spa offers a sumptuous setting for Christmas. Award-winning head chef Simon Addison is serving his seasonal menus (£25 for lunch, £35 for dinner) from 1 December – think Norfolk bronze turkey and warm Christmas pud. ✱ homewoodpark.co.uk
The first Christmas for the latest Bath Pub Company opening promises to be a memorable one. There are plenty of Christmas cocktails and drinks to accompany your meal (£26 for four courses), including winter berry Bellini and mulled cider. And if you are the party organiser for groups of 10 or more, you get a £25 voucher. ✱ thelocksbrookinn.com
THE LONGS ARMS
Located in the pretty Wiltshire village of South Wraxall, The Longs Arms is serving its festive menu throughout December by pre-order only. There’s a private dining room for larger groups, and the menu costs £22 for two courses or £27 for three. Highlights include Cotswold bronze turkey with ‘fairy’ cabbages and chestnuts. ✱ thelongsarms.com
HOPE & ANCHOR
MACDONALD BATH SPA HOTEL
Perched at the top of Lansdown Road with beautiful views, this pub’s festive meals cost £27.50 for four courses, which can be accompanied by a seasonal tipple such as Chase Fizz (vodka, elderflower liqueur, lime and soda). Organisers for groups of 10 or more get a £25 voucher, and if you’ve pulled the short straw as the designated driver you’ll get to enjoy complimentary soft drinks for the night.
HOTEL DU VIN
Whether it’s the reduced rate (£25), special rate (£29.50) or regular rate (£38), the three-course Christmas menu at the Green Park Brasserie includes coffee, chocolate mints and that all-important disco. The menu features roast Castlemead turkey crown and slow-roast Tunley Farm pork loin. ✱ greenparkbrasserie.com
HARE & HOUNDS
Hotwells’ Hope & Anchor might be best known for its fantastic range of real ales and ciders, but it also has a growing reputation for its food. This year’s festive buffet costs just £15 for five items from a choice that includes pigs in blankets; cranberry and pistachio roast bites; and vodka and beetroot home-cured salmon.
The Hotel du Vin Bristol Christmas party menu (£29.95 for lunch, £39.95 for dinner) is served in its private dining rooms, which can accommodate up to 72. The bistro is also open on Christmas Day for lunch (£99 including a glass of Champers) that includes lobster thermidor tart and Scottish fillet steak with truffled creamed cabbage.
There’s a packed festive events calendar here, from Gold Party Night at the end of November to the New Year’s Eve ball. On C-Day, there’s a relaxed carvery in the Avon Ballroom (£85 per adult, £45 per child aged 5-12) and a lavish five-course lunch in the grand Vellore restaurant (£135 per adult, £70 per child).
Something of a veteran of the Bath scene these days, the Marlborough Tavern has been the venue for countless Christmas parties over the past decade – and now has it down to a tee. The four-course Christmas meal costs £28, which can be enjoyed with a signature Xmas cocktail or warming mulled wine. ✱ marlborough-tavern.com
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You’ve got to make your office shingdig a good ʼun – itʼs the source of a whole yearʼs worth of gossip!
Stokes Croft favourite MEATliquor has already taken several Christmas bookings. The menu will feature such festive treats as the Christmas burger and Christmas dog, and a sinful deepfried mac ’n’ cheese, virtually guaranteed to make the buttons of your favourite festive shirt pop open. ✱ meatliquor.com/bristol
MERCURE BRISTOL NORTH
Close to the M4 and M5, Mercure Bristol kicks off the festive season on 1 December with a Swinging ’60s party night and the first of its Christmas Carnival Party nights. It will also serve festive lunches daily in the restaurant throughout December, starting at £17.50 for two courses or £22.50 for three, with kids under 12 eating for half price. ✱ mercurebristol.co.uk
THE MILK THISTLE
This four-floor clandestine cocktail bar is the ideal spot for a soiree in Bristol. The Attic holds up to 40 people for drinks or 16 for dinner (food is supplied by sister restaurant The Ox); if it’s a larger drinks gathering, The Lounge holds up to 60 and has its own sound system; or, for smaller groups, The Parlour holds 18 people. Exclusive hire is available too. ✱ themilkthistlebristol.com
The award-winning Mint Room has carved something of a niche when it comes to contemporary Indian dining with a twist, and its Christmas menus at both the Bath and Bristol sites certainly promise more than your average curry house. At £30 for two courses or £35 for three, the menus showcases dishes like Somerset turkey tikka served three ways, with fresh mango and avocado salad.
In the heart of Bristol’s Old City, this bustling tapas bar is spread across three floors including a restaurant and ‘secret’ tapas bar and live music venue with a 3am licence. When it comes to the food, expect bite-sized pintxos, classic Spanish-style tapas and sharing boards, with sherry, Cava and wines. ✱ patanegrabristol.com
PEAR TREE INN
Who says traditional has to mean traditionally British? Go all out with authentic Spanish Xmas dishes at this cosy little tapas bar, and enjoy the Spanish decorations, drinks and atmosphere while you’re at it.
There may not be partridge on the menu at the Pear Tree, but there’s plenty of other dishes to get you into the festive mood. At £29 for three courses or £22 for two, the Xmas menu includes potted game with spiced plum pickle and walnut bread, which might be followed with roast organic turkey with sage and pumpkin stuffing.
The three-AA-rosette Olive Tree is one of Bath’s more luxurious settings for a festive lunch. Three courses cost £30 and it’s £24 for two, with seasonal dishes on Chris Cleghorn’s menu including spiced parsnip soup with celery and quince sorbet, and confit turkey leg with chestnut stuffing and turkey jus. ✱ olivetreebath.co.uk
Part of a stylish, four-storey Georgian townhouse in central Bath, The Porter is an ideal venue for a post-work Christmas party. The three-course menu by Clayton’s Kitchen restaurant here costs £38 and choices include chestnut, thyme and onion soup, followed by roast turkey parcels with fondant potato. ✱ theporter.co.uk
THE ROMAN BATHS
As you might expect from this stylish steakhouse chain, a 30-day-aged 8oz rump steak is one way to go when ordering from its festive menu (two courses for £19.95, £23.95 for three), but other options include hand-carved turkey, sea bass thermidor or veggiefriendly mushroom and nut Wellington.
Steak and cocktail specialist The Ox is offering different menus at its Corn St and Whiteladies Road sites, and both can be hired for exclusive parties. Although prices are the same (£39.50 for dinner, £29.50 for lunch), the Christmas menus differ, but you can expect signature charcoal-roasted steaks at both, alongside fish and veggie options.
Christmas at The Roman Baths means festive lunches and dinners throughout December. Get three courses for £27 and two for £21, with choices including smoked salmon with horseradish cream, and braised beef brisket with truffle mash. Caterers Searcys also look after sister venue The Pump Room, where the Christmas lunch menus are £24.75 for two courses and £30 for three.
✱ theoxbristol.com; theoxclifton.com
MILLER & CARTER
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Do you want a cosy, festive atmosphere, or fun party vibes?
Get into the festive spirit, Italian-style, here by enjoying an aperitivo before tucking into the Christmas feast (£25 for three courses, £22 for two). Try the Christmas spritz (Prosecco, cinnamon and plum purée, dark rum and soda), then move onto dishes like slow braised ox cheek with sprout and pancetta croquettes. Finish with Italian treats including chocolate salami, nougat, and cinnamon and cardamom cantucci. ✱ rosemarino.co.uk
SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT
The award-winning tapas at Bath’s Same Same But Different is sure to prove popular this Christmas, especially with a special menu for £24.95, which includes a selection of seasonal tapas, mulled wine on arrival and a tea or coffee and a mince pie after the meal. The more traditional festive meal is £25.95 for three courses or £22.95 for two, and options include pan-fried stone bass filet with chorizo, wild rice and curly kale. ✱ same-same.co.uk
Still one of Bristol’s most spectacular party venues – think luxurious travelling ballroom decked out with dappled mirrors and stained glass windows beneath a stunning draped ceiling – Spiegeltent is back in Bristol for Christmas. Tickets are £63.50, which includes fizz on arrival, a three-course dinner, cabaret performance, a great live band, and a DJ, with dancing till late. ✱ christmasspiegeltent.co.uk
THE SPOTTED COW
This place makes for a great Christmas setting with its large log-fired wood burner and candles. The kitchen has
gone from strength to strength in 2016 thanks to head chef Iain Webb, whose imaginative menus use fantastic local suppliers. The Christmas menu is £22.50 for two courses or £27 for three, and comes with a Gin Fizz. As well as chestnut and sage-stuffed turkey breast, the main courses also includes the likes of duck with confit goose leg croquette. ✱ thespottedcowbristol.com
This year’s Christmas menu at the five Thali Cafe sites has been devised with the help of Meera Sodha, the bestselling author of Made in India. Meera’s street food-inspired set menus include such spicy festive delights as pig cheek vindaloo or pumpkin black bean subji. The Christmas menu runs until January 15 and there is 15 percent off your bill for bookings taken before October 15. ✱ thethalicafe.uk
THREE BROTHERS BURGERS
If you’re after something a little more informal this Christmas, this semifloating venue is serving its normal menu with the added bonus of a festive burger and a huge range of craft ales and ciders. At the end of King Street on Welsh Back, and on the fringes of what is known locally as The Beermuda Triangle, because of the number of bars there, it’s an ideal spot for an office do. ✱ threebrothersburgers.co.uk
With seating for up to 25 people, the Volly offers an intimate setting inside, but pop your head out into the heated garden over Christmas and you’ll see it’s been transformed into a Winter Wonderland for parties of between 25 and 100 people. There will be log fires,
fairy lights, a private bar and a Christmas buffet, priced from £15 per person. ✱ volunteertavern.co.uk
THE WHITE HART
Not only does this pub have its own patisserie and pizza kitchen, but it’s also got a unique garden complete with tipi (which even has a real fire) which can be booked exclusively, for a fee. The pub will be serving a five-course Christmas Day lunch at £85 per head to include all the classics, along with upmarket choices like lobster, and desserts created by a pastry chef who trained at the world-famous French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley. ✱ whitehartwig.com
With sites in Bristol and Bath, it’s hard to miss this expanding brand. All sites are serving Christmas lunch (£20 for three courses or £16 for two) and dinner (£29.75 for three courses, £24.75 for two), and dishes include Cornish hake with saffron potatoes, and braised feather blade of beef with crispy shallots, as well as the more traditional roast turkey with cranberry ketchup. ✱ zazuskitchen.co.uk
Close to Christmas Steps, craft ale bar and brewery Zerodegrees has always been a popular meeting place for festive drinks. The Christmas menu costs £19.95 for lunch and £22.95 for dinner (Sun-Wed) or £25.95 (Thur-Sat). As well as turkey roulade, there is beef Wellington, blackened hake with lobster bisque and a vegetarian option. Wash it all down with one of the excellent beers brewed on site. ✱ zerodegrees.co.uk
Christmas Parties at the Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel Celebrate your Christmas Party with friends or work collegues at the Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel and enjoy an evening of sumptuous food and dancing. SILVER PARTY NIGHTS Sunday to Wednesday @ £29.95 3 course dinner & dancing
GOLD PARTY NIGHTS Thursday to Saturday @ £40.00 Champagne Reception, 3 course dinner & dancing Prices are per person
For details please email firstname.lastname@example.org M A C D O N A L D B AT H S PA H O T E L
Sydney Road, Bath BA2 6JF 01225 444 424 www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk
ALL THE JOY OF CHRISTMAS AT MERCURE BRISTOL NORTH, THE GRANGE HOTEL
CHRISTMAS CARNIVAL PARTIES • SWINGING 60S PARTY • MURDER MYSTERY MASQUERADE BALL MICHAEL BUBLÉ TRIBUTE • PRIVATE PARTY NIGHTS • FESTIVE LUNCHES
For more information on the festive events and oﬀers call: 0844 815 9063 email: email@example.com or visit: mercurebristol.co.uk
Mercure Bristol North the Grange Hotel, Old Gloucester Road, Northwoods, Winterbourne, Bristol. BS36 1RP
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In Pursuit of (Liquid) Gold There are many reasons for our local cider’s national popularity – but did you know inventive packaging is one of the most imporant?
ong gone are the days of finding warm and vinegary cider behind the bar; now, there’s a cider revolution going on. There are plenty of quality ciders being kept in excellent condition in bars right across Bristol and Bath. One way to keep craft ciders to these high standards is by storing them the bag-in-a-box way. This ensures that there’s no deterioration of the cider inside, meaning it stays right on top form. “Often, this type of cider isn’t filtered or pasteurised, and is as near as you can get to the original thing,” explains Jason Mitchell from Ashridge. Like lager, cider can also be filtered and carbonated, then kegged and dispensed at the bar as a clear, chilled, fizzy thirstquencher. Smaller cider companies are doing this now, and pose strong competition to the big cider names. Check them out and support these craft cider makers – you’re in for some treats. As well as bag in a box, bottled ciders are also in their element in bars, as well as farm shops and off-licenses. And Ashridge Vintage, Devon Blush and Artisan Elderflower ciders hold their own in these kinds of outlets all over the West Country. If you’re a cider fan, you should visit one of The Stable pizza restaurants Bristol and Bath (every Stable has a different menu, depending on the ingredients and cider available locally), where Ashridge cider can be found kegged, in bag-in-box form and bottled. Want a tip? The beautifully kept Ashridge Devon Gold kegged cider slips down a treat with their top-notch pizzas...
ashridgecider.co.uk; @AshridgeCider; 01364 654749
G RILLE D THE CRUMBS INTERVIEW
R U S S E L L
How will established restaurant brand Polpo be received by its new Bristolian, indie-loving neighbours? Mark Taylor talks business with the food writer, TV regular and restaurateur behind itâ€Ś
I O R M A N
n an unprecedented year for new restaurant openings in Bristol, the arrival of cool London operation Polpo is one of the biggest and most talkedabout launches in the city. But, despite huge success in the capital, co-founder Russell Norman says he’s not taking anything for granted. “I am nervous about everything,” laughs Norman, who is also known as The Restaurant Man through his hit BBC2 TV show as an industry troubleshooter. “I am the archetypal worrier, and my business partner ribs me for it all the time. It’s important to be cautious and not to take anything for granted. I’ve gone into Bristol assuming that nobody knows what Polpo is or what we do.” With its wall of reclaimed subway tiles from the Metropolitan line, old chemistry lab tables, array of bentwood chairs and antique maps of Venice, the new Whiteladies Road branch of this hugely successful brand has a pretty confident swagger about it, despite Norman’s nervousness. There are high stools at the bar where you can sip Aperol or Campari spritz, and trademark deep-red leather banquettes where you can hunker down and enjoy dishes like stuffed deep-fried olives; marinated baby octopus; lamb and pistachio meatballs; braised scallops, baby gem, pancetta and peas; crab and chilli linguine; and flank steak with Portobello mushrooms and truffle cream. Since the first Polpo opened in Soho’s Beak Street in September 2009, five more Polpos have opened in London and one in Brighton. Norman and his business partner, Richard Beatty, also own Polpetto and Spuntino, both in Soho. Modelled on the scruffy neighbourhood wine bars (bacaro) of Venice, Polpo feels urban, rustic and stripped back, and after seven years of concentrating their efforts mostly in London, it was inevitable that a fooddriven city like Bristol would be their next target. Their first Bristol restaurant opened quietly in August without fanfare, and it was busy as soon as the doors were unlocked. Bristol clearly gets Polpo already, which shouldn’t surprise Norman, who first visited the city more than 30 years ago as a student.
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“Bristol is one of those cities, and there are only a few of them in the UK, that I’d like to live. It has always had a place in my heart, ever since I went there as a snotty teenager for an interview for the university. “I was 17, in the middle of my A-levels, and Bristol was literally top of my list. I’d only read about places like the Old Vic and seen photos of Clifton, but it had always held a fascination. In recent years, Bristol is the place outside London that has attracted the most comment when it comes to the food scene. Our carpenter – Ian Thomas, who makes all of our bars – is actually based in Bristol, so Polpo has had a relationship with the city since the first restaurant opened seven years ago. “My managing director, Luke Bishop, and I visited Bristol a few times over the past four or five years, and we’ve eaten in the city and watched the scene grow. We saw Bristol as an evolving place where we wanted to be, and what makes it stand out is that there is a large number of talented independents who have got an idea and they want to do their own thing. “In Bristol, because rents are much lower than London, I think it’s easier to take a chance and find a niche. The restaurants seem to come from a place of passion here, rather than from a place of commerce.” Part of Polpo’s appeal and success is the fact it has retained its credibility, despite continued growth as more sites open around the country. It might be an established national brand now, but it’s still run on a day-to-day basis by the original founders and a small team, without the financial leverage of venture capitalists. So how difficult has it been to get across the message that Polpo isn’t ‘just another chain’, and also the fact that the food is cooked to order from fresh ingredients, unlike at many large restaurant groups? Norman says: “When I’ve spoken to other operators, they have been astonished that we have head chefs in each of our restaurants. People ask me why we don’t have a central kitchen, but I wouldn’t have a clue how to do that. The idea of having another building on a ring road industrial estate where we would have to produce food and then transport it to different restaurants is alien to me. Surely it would be more
expensive than hiring good chefs who order real ingredients every day and make food from those ingredients? “There are some businesses that write on their menus ‘all our food is made fresh every day’, and I think that’s horrible – it almost sounds like the lady’s protesting too much. We change the menu five times a year, and we are constantly trying and tasting new dishes. We have a roster of around 200 recipes, 40 of which are on the menu at any time. The other 160 are in a holding area waiting to land, so it’s quite an exciting process.” Polpo occupies a unique position in the saturated market of Italian restaurant chains, but Norman puts its success down to simply doing things slightly differently. “When you go to an Italian restaurant, you expect certain dishes served certain ways, but in the seven years we’ve been open, we’ve never really had a signature pasta dish. You can’t walk into a Polpo and ask for spag Bol or choose from 17 types of pizza, but you might find a linguine vongole on the specials board. “It’s not an Italian restaurant in terms of most people’s understanding; it focuses on a very small region of North East Italy – Venice and the Veneto – and is inspired by the signature dishes of those backstreet restaurants I’ve been visiting for years. “It also borrows from other regions in an appropriate way, but the menu has always been about having so many dishes that sound exciting and interesting and flavoursome that you want to order all of them. That’s why we’ve always done small plates – it encourages sharing and encourages stealing from other plates, with people putting dishes in the middle of the table and creating their own feast, rather than conforming to the usual ‘starter, main, dessert’ environment. “It breaks down those awkward social boundaries, it encourages people to interact and chat, it increases the noise levels, and it makes the Polpo experience more like a party – and I like that. I’ve always enjoyed those restaurants that are as much about the atmosphere as they are about the food. I want people to enjoy it and to smile.” As Polpo has grown, Norman has found his time spread ever thinner with writing books (there are cookbooks
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for Polpo and Spuntino, and a third on the way), magazine columns and his TV show. Although he is still hands-on with every aspect of the fast-growing Polpo empire, he admits that he has had to delegate more as the business has expanded, which wasn’t easy at first. “It was difficult to let go, but it was impacting on my health the amount of hours I was spending in each restaurant. Because I’m obsessive over detail, there was a time when I thought the only person who could do it right was me – and then I realised that was the way to an early grave. If you refuse to let go and refuse to delegate and trust those people you’ve hired to do things the way you want them done, then there will never be any progress and they’ll be nervous and looking over their shoulder saying, ‘Oh god, he’s still here’. “When I first started to let go and let others run the restaurants it was difficult, but after a time I realised things were going fine. It was like taking the stabilisers off your bike. I am less handson than I was, but for the right reasons. “I do occasionally jump behind the bar and make a drink, and it freaks the staff out. I’m 50 years old and suddenly there’s this old man behind the bar. It just looks wrong. I realised a couple of years ago I can no longer pull off the vaguely 30/40-something look. There are too many lines and creases. Until a couple of years ago I would still pull on an apron and help to clear plates, but it just looks a bit weird now!” With plans to open more restaurants around the country, the Polpo ball is rolling now, but Norman says there was never any plan to expand so quickly. “We only set out to open one restaurant, but it’s my business partner, Richard, who has been at the front of the charge to develop and grow our business, and I’m completely happy to go along with that. “We will continue to open them until it becomes evident that something needs to change and, at the moment, it doesn’t. I’m happy to throw myself back and forward to Bristol with a huge bag of light fittings and brass door handles. I’m still physically connected to the restaurants, because they are so much a part of me.”
CHRISTMAS PARTY NIGHTS
8PM UNTIL MIDNIGHT THREE COURSE MEAL & DJ Friday 02 December 2016 £32.50 Saturday 03 December 2016 £32.50 Thursday 08 December 2016 £22.50 Saturday 10 December 2016 £34.00 Thursday 15 December 2016 £25.00 Saturday 17 December 2016 £34.00 Thursday 22 December 2016 £29.50 Friday 23 December 2016 £32.50 Want a private party night on a date not listed? Please give us a call. (Min 60 people)
CHRISTMAS PARTY NIGHTS MENU ROAST MUSHROOM SOUP WITH CHIVE CRÈME FRAÎCHE COLN VALLEY SMOKED SALMON WITH FENNEL PORK & GREEN PEPPERCORN PÂTÉ, SOUR DOUGH ROAST TURKEY WITH ALL THE FESTIVE TRIMMINGS CONFIT DUCK LEG WITH DAUPHINOISE POTATOES CORNISH HAKE WITH SALSA VERDE POLENTA CAKE WITH TOMATO FONDUE CHOCOLATE COOKIE CHEESECAKE TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS PUDDING WITH CLOTTED CREAM SELECTION OF 3 WEST COUNTRY CHEESES WITH CRACKERS Best Western Centurion Hotel Charlton Lane, Midsomer Norton, Nr Bath BA3 4BD | 01761 417711
V I S I T T H E N E W LY R E F U R B I S H E D & R E V I TA L I S E D MASONS ARMS
Country bistro cuisine prepared by our team of top chefs Second to none service Quality real ales and fantastic wines ...and a fun and welcoming atmosphere 01373461400 EAT@THEMASONSFROME.CO.UK MARSTON GATE | FROME | BA114DJ
THE LONGS ARMS South Wraxall
Charming country pub * Smoked foods lovingly produced in our very own Smokehouse * Warm & friendly atmosphere * Lovely walled garden * Function room available
FESTIVE MENU NOW AVAILABLE, & BOOKINGS BEING TAKEN
BEST CHEF AND BEST FOOD PUB FINALISTS IN THE FOOD READER AWARDS 2016
PLEASE CONTACT US FOR MORE DETAILS
MICHELIN BIB GOURMAND
FINALIST IN THE
TRENCHERMAN’S GUIDE AWARDS 2015
LISTED IN THE
UK TOP 50 GASTRO PUBS 2014 & 2015
South Wraxall | Bradford on Avon | Wiltshire | BA15 2SB TheLongsArms @thelongsarms Tel: 01225 864450 | www.thelongsarms.com
THE THREE GABLES
At The Three Gables, we offer accomplished cooking at affordable prices: a modern menu with Mediterranean influences, using fine local produce with classic techniques.
N O W O P E N F O R S U N D AY L U N C H SPECIAL EVENTS THURSDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER Italian evening Giacomo will create a modern Italian menu using some great Mediterranean ingredients. Vito will select four perfect wines to match. £65 per person Aperitif and canapés from 7.30pm | Dinner at 8.00pm | Four courses including wines WEDNESDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER Lunch with author Douglas Westcott First-time author, Douglas Westcott, writer of Go Swift and Far has lived in Bath for over 30 years. Luncheon Club, 12.00pm with lunch at 12.30pm:
£29.50 per person including a three-course lunch and a glass of wine St Margaret’s Street, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 1DA 01225 781666 | thethreegables.com | firstname.lastname@example.org TheThreeGables
RICHMOND ARMS A country pub in the city
Fine coffee • Homemade cakes • Sharing platters Small plates • Fresh & locally sourced menu Hand picked wines • Local cask ales
01225 316725 7 RICHMOND TERRACE, BATH BA1 5PZ
Our weekly changing lunch, dinner and tapas menu is superbly put together using the finest local ingredients.
WEDNESDAY NIGHTS – A tasty trip to the jewel of the Empire with “Curry and a Drink” offer
THURSDAYS – Our famous Burger Night
A tasty homemade burger and a pint for £10!
SUNDAYS – Award-winning roasts from 12-6pm
and after 6pm marinated ribs and a pint for £10.
6 DOWRY PLACE | HOTWELLS | BRISTOL | BS8 4QL PHONE: 01173 290 352 WWW.ROSEOFDENMARK.CO.UK
Vale House Kitchen is a bespoke country skills and cookery school situated in the village of Timsbury 8 miles southwest of Bath. We will be oﬀering all the traditional courses you would expect from a cookery school but will have the added dimension of teaching skills such as ﬁshing, shooting, foraging and butchery. 25th September – Autumn Jams
9th October – Beginners Cookery
16th October – Game Butchery and Cookery 25th October – Pig Butchery
01761 470401 | email@example.com
LUNCH TASTING MENU ÂŁ22 5 courses of creatively cooked seasonal dishes 01454 411137 | firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW RESTAURANTS DEVOURED, NEW CAFÉS FREQUENTED, NEW BARS CRAWLED, AND THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT WE THOUGHT OF THEM
MAT T INWOOD
Afters Highlights WHO ATE ALL THE PI?
Er, that would be us, when we checked out the new Pi Shop
We ate all the evidence – bar perhaps the odd crumb or two – of our meal at The Three Gables...
Resdiscovering The Three Gables, a Bradford-on-Avon institution Page 102
Feasting at The Locksbrook, Bath Pub Co’s latest gaff Page 104
JOLLY HOLIDAY We won’t let the weather rain on our parade at Watergate Bay Page 111
mouthfuls of seawater accidently swallowed...
( PEACHY PIZZERIAS )
Pizza to the power of Pi has landed in Bristol, and Jessica Carter wasted no time in going to check it outâ€¦
( feature )
oticed how it’s kicking off on the local pizza scene of late? New restaurants dedicated to the stone-baked snack are popping up at a rate of knots – Bertha’s Pizza in the old Mud Dock Deli; the second Pizzarova at Cargo; an additional Flour and Ash at the former Casamia... And that’s just in Bristol; Bath has its newbies too, and all on top of our already-generous helping. There’s one in particular, though, that’s proved especially intriguing. The Casamia team announced plans for Pi Shop a few months ago (although it’s been in the making for years), and have been busily developing it in the background since moving the flagship restaurant in January. (Yep, we imagine they’ve been bloomin’ busy as well – and they’re not even finished yet, with Paco Tapas set to launch imminently too.) The new pizza parlour is a fond nod to Casamia’s original guise as an Italian trattoria dishing up traditional pizzas. It is, however, a very different beast (well, obvs). Pi Shop is uber-casual, for starters. It’s walk-in-friendly (in fact, it doesn’t take bookings at all); the cheery staff are dressed casually; napkins and cutlery are stashed in wire pots on the tables for you to help yourself; and seating comes in the form of wooden benches and tables. So, yeah, don’t rock up expecting a Michelin-style feast here. That said, there are several parallels to the original Sanchez venue – look in the right places and you’ll see it smacks of the same team. There’s the cool, clean and classic décor (think white walls, sleek, faded wood and plenty of copper); the on-point service that manages to be entirely casual while still setting an imposing bar for the most formal of restaurants; the calm and intriguing open kitchen; and the bold menu, with both intelligence and a sense of humor. Bold how? Well, it doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to the offering – it’s pizza or nothing. There’s no token alternative. There are three optional extras, though, in case you’re as greedy as us: a Severn Project side salad (£3), olives (£3), and a really great-quality charcuterie board (£12), with gorgeous cured meats, moreish cheeses, tiny pickled onions, and soft and sweet sundried tommies.
The pizzas – which are made intentionally and comfortingly sloppy, with thick sauce and thin bases – are split into two categories: classic and speciality. The former is where you’ll find the Margheritas, meat feasts and Hawaiians, while the latter is all about inventive toppings like carbonara (a tomatoless version topped with coppa, Parmesan and Cacklebean egg yolk), and beetroot with ewe’s curd and mustard frills. There’s even a number topped simply but decadently with 36-month-aged Parmesan and real truffle shavings. At £30, there’s a confident take-it-or-leave it air about it. The JR (£10.50 – with £1 per sale donated to the Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity, in honor of Jonray) was a muddle of black olives, anchovies and fresh basil, amongst which was dolloped creamy mozzarella. The anchovy fillets – punchy in flavour and super-delicate in texture – were almost dissolved into the topping, while the suitably puffy crust tasted pleasingly smoky. Dark, crisp bubbles had surfaced around the puffy edges during its time in the sexy copper pizza oven, which is on full show. The 18-hour-cooked lamb, pickled cucumber and mint yoghurt number (£12) was a proper class act. The tender lamb chunks pulled apart in soft strips, and were balanced by the cool, pokey freshness of the cucumber, and dribbles of tangy yoghurt. It was like a Greek taverna and an Italian pizzeria had
fallen in love, moved to Bristol, and created a beautiful child together. Dessert options total at one. Silky smooth soft-serve ice cream (£3.50) came swired in a glass with plenty of fruity, natural-tasting strawberry sauce, and a considered scattering of tiny fresh tarragon leaves. The same brown-paper menus also list the drinks: there are really reasonably priced cocktails (try the uber-handsome Negroni), local beers (from the likes of Wiper and True and Left Handed Giant), and a very concise selection of wines, available by the glass. You can tell by Pi Shop’s food that it’s fully aware that it’s in Bristol, as opposed to Naples – and it wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. The chefs seem to focus purely on the best in ingredients, flavour and texture, and simply serve whatever the resulting pizza is – no messing. We like their attitude.
✱ PI SHOP, The General, Lower Guinea Street, Bristol BS1 6SY; 0117 925 6872; thepishop.co.uk
( G R E AT R E S TA U R A N T S )
THE THREE GABLES Balancing a comforting pub-like vibe with the feel and quality of a high-end eatery, this local gem hits the sweet spot, reckons Jessica Carter P h o t o s b y M AT T I N W O O D
lthough 1 St Margaret’s Street in the beautiful little town of Bradford-on-Avon dates right back to the 1600s, it has been known specifically as the Three Gables since the early 1930s. Even more recently – around four years ago – it evolved into the restaurant that we know today. An olde-worlde, quintessentially British building with bare stone walls, a handful of chimneys and little leaded windows, it sure looks the part from the outside. The interior is a little more modern. Downstairs there’s a bar and lounge, where we had a pre-dinner vino before making our way up to the restaurant, which itself was all white linen table cloths, polished glassware and candlelight. Sicilian manager Vito – formerly of The Bath Priory and The Royal Crescent – runs a calm, friendly and professional front of house outfit. He’s also well clued up on his wines, which The Three Gables has a novel and interesting collection of. There are a good few natural, organic and biodynamic varieties, with interesting characteristics and flavours. Gathering that he knew more about our favourite grape product than we do, we asked
him to make our liquid choices for us, and he introduced each with down-toearth, understandable language. We started with a Sicilian Regaleali Bianco, from the region’s oldest winery, Tasca d’Almerita. This is one of Vito’s faves – he’s been working with their wine for 25 years now. With glasses full, it was time for some grub. The menus (as well as the a la carte, there’s a £48 tasting menu, which is what we were recommended) are skewed towards modern European in style, but still feel classic and have a whisper of British tradition about them. Hare and chicken rillettes (£9.75) and asparagus and hen’s egg with veal sweetbreads (£10.50) were among the starters, while mains took the shape of pork belly with camomile infused fillet and gnocchi (£20.50) and Cornish turbot with cucumber capers (£24.50), to name just a couple. For us, an appetizer of tomato gazpacho was served at the ideal temperature – cool but not fridgecold – and topped with a super-light but creamy mozzarella mousse and a scattering of tiny black onion seeds. It was followed by claret-coloured slices of sashimi tuna, pan seared with a sesame seed crust and served with a delicate horseradish pannacotta. The freshness of the fish was echoed in the tiny cubes of crisp watermelon it was served with.
The Three Gables is known for its on-point risottos; we got to try a pea version, drenched in a shellfish bisque and topped with raw Sicilian red prawns. The flesh of the prawns was almost melt-in-the-mouth in texture, while its raw, naturally salty flavour acted to season the velvety rice it sat on. Next, pink slices of Gressingham duck breast joined a spelt raviolo stuffed with soft and tender confit leg. Chunks of romanesco and wonderfully sweet braised red cabbage hid among the meat, and swirls of jus brought moisture and well-balanced richness. With this we quaffed a ruddy good red (Valpolicella Superiore) from a Northern Italian estate which uses bio-dynamic practices. While its lightness ensured it didn’t overpower any of the dish’s subtleties, it was still full enough to hold its own. Dessert was a Moscato-soaked baba, the airy, saturated sponge having an almost bready, doughnut-like texture and sweet, browned crust. A scoop of mild peachy sorbet was employed to cut through that sweetness. The Three Gables makes thoughtful, good-quality food accessible and pretty affordable (at £18 for three courses, and £14 for two, the set lunch menu is especially good value). And, with a unique, well-considered wine list that combines contemporary trends with the traditional attitudes of small producers, there’s extra reason to go check it out. ✱ THE THREE GABLES, 1 St Margaret’s Street, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 1DA; 01225 781666; thethreegables.com
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( NEW PUBS )
THE LOCKSBROOK INN
Jessica Carter finds out if The Bath Pub Company is to continue its winning streak with this new venture...
t this stage in the game, with a family of three already-successful pubs dotted about the city, The Bath Pub Company knows what it’s doing. But even so, taking over the former Dolphin on Locksbrook Road must have been a little daunting... For starters, this is a big ol’ place: various bar areas, spacious dining rooms and a generous outdoor space (complete with outside bar) make the newly renamed Locksbrook Inn the biggest bite the local indie group has set about chewing so far. Then there’s the location: safe to say that it’s not exactly in the most obvious of neighbourhoods – that is, unless an industrial estate over in Lower Weston screams ‘gastropub’ to you, of course.
The décor is neural and understated, and creates a light space with lots of cosy nooks and booths. Outside, as well as that additional bar, there are plenty of benches and tables, along with extra space to perch and admire the pretty canal and watch cyclists whizzing up and down the path that lines it. (If there’s any danger of the sun making an appearance, this has to be one of the top beer gardens in Bath to hotfoot it to.) Grey clouds looming, however, we slid into a booth and admired the view from inside (one whole wall is windowed, and opens up to let the outside in). There are plenty of local heroes on the drinks list: Electric Bear Brewing Co, Bobby Beer, Honey’s Midford Cider and Lovely Drinks are all in attendance. As for food, the selection is pretty eclectic:
if you can’t find anything you fancy among the huge choice of small-platescum-starters, sharing boards, salads, pizzettas, mains and grills then, dare we say it, you’re beyond hope. Dutch head chef Charles has come from Amsterdam to take the kitchen’s top spot at this new outfit, which happens to be his ninth opening to date. Still pretty young (unless he’s aged extremely well), he’s got ideas a-plenty and buckets of enthusiasm, hence the large and pretty unique menu. The gourmet hot dog (£6) is a bit of a signature for this chef, and was a good couple of months in the making. Our grilled Frankie cosied up in a warm potato and brioche bun. On top was crunchy sauerkraut, with a graceful suggestion of truffle rolling through,
( feature )
while tiny pickled onions, dyed yellow with turmeric, were mellow enough not to overpower it. Dollops of Tommy-K and green herb mustard (which had a gentle heat and herby freshness) topped all that off, along with a small jumble of rock chive. The pan-fried scallops (£9.50) were soft and creamy, and shared the plate with the [sniffle] last of this year’s bright, sweet Wye Valley asparagus spears, shavings of bitter radish and crisp potato crumbs. A vibrant romesco sauce added a touch of zing and colour. The crab linguine (£14) was a tangle of ribboned pasta, crabmeat, tomato and fresh slices of chilli. The acidic juice of the fresh lime served on the side was the ideal seasoning. Punchy gremolata hid beneath a crown of rocket leaves, which brought a gentle pepperiness. The jerk chicken burger (£13), we were told, is still a work-in-progress, so we obviously had to try it out to see how the graft was going. The thick fillet of spiced chicken may have been a touch
dry on its own, but the green tomato chutney and mango condiment took the edge off. A shiny brioche bun, French fries and a pleasingly non-cloggy ’slaw completed the plate. There was also a side of al dente green beans with lime, olive oil and toasted almonds (£3), which were as moreish as veg can get; I shovelled them into my gob with the immediacy of someone who was certainly not three-quarters of the way through her second course. Banoffee pie (£6), as we’ve not seen it before, came deconstructed into layers inside a Kilner jar. A base of soft salted caramel was topped with a ginger crumb, mascarpone and banana ice cream. Sound good? Well, my mate truly stuck her neck out by saying it was her favourite dessert ever. A contemporary take of one of my most-loved guilty pleasures, black forest gateau, took the form of a slab of soft and moist brownie, studded with nuts and topped with fruity Morello cherry ice cream and coulis (£6).
Working with a menu big enough to match the size of this vast gastropub, The Locksbrook’s kitchen team have a tall order on their hands, but are getting stuck right in. Don’t visit expecting another Chequers – this is a very different beast, and it seems proud to be so. There are some proper gems among the offering, though, and we were impressed with what the new team is already achieving, so early in the day. ✱ THE LOCKSBROOK INN, 103 Locksbrook Road, Bath BA1 3EN; 01225 427119; thelocksbrookinn.com
( O L D - F A I T H F U L R E S TA U R A N T S )
SAN CARLO Opened 20 years ago, this long-standing Italian restaurant is still bringing in the Bristol masses with its proudly traditional dishes, finds Charlie Lyon
an Carlo has had a tough fight on its hands. It opened in ’96 (was it really that long ago?) on a rather more stately Corn Street than it is today – think fine financial institutions rather than rowdy bars. People flocked for the flourish of spumante, fresh fish dishes and hearty Florentine-grilled meats. The ritzy interiors of mirrored walls, marbled tables and white stone pillars were where clients were wined and dined, business deals cemented and milestone birthdays celebrated. It was the second in the group of swanky Italian eateries, founded by Sicilian businessman Carlo Distefano. The group, since then, has notched up 15 sites in total, which are now under the directorship of Carlo’s son, Marcello. But since ’96 there’s been a flurry of competition from other modern Italian brands in Bristol – think Aquila, Aqua, Carluccio’s – so are people still heading to Corn Street for their fill? At 8pm on a Tuesday night, it seems so. We walk through the oversized doorway into the lofty, listed building to find most of the tables filled. Behind an army of neatly turned out, all-Italian front of house staff, the restaurant is a buzz of activity. For vibe and welcome, this place gets a big thumbs up. The white tablecloths are pristine, and you don’t have to bother placing your own napkin on your lap, which actually gives you the precious extra seconds of time that you’ll need in order to properly peruse the extensive menus. The a la carte offering is huge – with antipasti, pastas, pizzas, meat and fish all covered. The specials – consisting of 15 starters and 17 mains – are pretty intimidating too. But then, given the size of the restaurant and the wide diner demographic, I guess they need to cater to more than the average number of covers and tastes. New dishes on the specials menu are starred, which helps to narrow things down, so I plump for the black ravioli filled with crab (£7.95), while T (an unashamed Yorkshireman, whose pale skin winces at the sight of the Med sun, yet who does have a hearty appetite), orders the sardine gratinate (sardines in breadcrumbs, £6.95). I’ve, as yet, failed to find an attractivelooking plate of black ravioli and,
although this isn’t going to be the first, it’s actually a nice bit of pasta – firm and filling with a kick of spicy tomato sauce and tasty bites of salty brown shrimp. T’s starter is huge, so I’m allowed to mop up my seafood sauce with a sardine that’s going spare – it’s fresh and meaty, seasoned moreishly with garlic, parsley, Parmesan and a hint of pepper. When it comes to the price of the mains, there’s a whole spectrum – from sea bass gnocchi, a steal at £13.50, to classic lobster thermidor for £31.95. We jump from sea to land for our mains, though, and I go for pappardelle cipriani alla piemontese (£12.95). It’s a huge, steaming pile of thick pasta ribbons, dripping with a tasty sauce of porcini mushrooms, garlic and parsley with a generous handful of duck breast slices that are smoky and tender. T’s petto di pollo lucullo (£15.60) is far more authentic than his ordering accent – chicken with spicy sausage, chopped peppers and sun-blushed tomatoes, all in a tomatoey sauce with lashings of white wine. It’s good, hearty fodder, but was almost trumped by its scrumptious sides – mashed potato with garlic and truffle (£4.70), petit pois with bacon and onions (£3.50) and, lastly, deep-fried courgette (£3.60). A torroncino affogato and a torta sette veli (both £5.65) round off the meal in a saccharine-loaded showdown. As an entire package, San Carlo delivers well: this is an all-Italian experience, with a good dollop of pomp, that a lot in this city still crave. ✱ SAN CARLO, 44 Corn Street, Bristol BS1 1HQ; 0117 922 6586; sancarlo.co.uk
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fab foodie breaks
WATERGATE BAY, CORNWALL Jessica Carter got some time away, and discovered a hotel making far more effort than it has to…
ure, seaside staycations are risky, even at the height of summer, so an out-ofseason coastal getaway was always going to be a shot in the dark. Especially as, for me, partaking in outdoor activities in anything other than the most affable of climes doesn’t exactly induce buckets of excitement – I’m a cold-blooded, temperature-dependent moaner, okay? Naturally then, when we arrived outside this impressive hotel – which is literally right on the side of a cliff, overlooking the pale turquoise sea and two-mile stretch of beach below – it was hammering it down. (Course it ruddy was.) As it turned out, though, this was not – shock horror – actually the end of the world as we know it…
( feature ) Loads of thought has gone into the design of this original Victorian hotel, which has received some pretty huge cash injections since the turn of the 21st century. It’s now somewhere between deluxe and carefree: the light and airy spaces, with their gently themed décor – which brings together hues of white and blue with faded wood in classic seaside fashion – are nigh-on constantly dusted with fresh sand. First things first, we followed the grainy golden footprints up the main staircase, which spills out handsomely onto the reception area, to our room, there to relieve ourselves of our luggage. There’s hardly a shortage of places to eat at this gaff – lucky, really, as it’s quite secluded, so you’d probably need to drive to get to anywhere else. In the hotel itself is a large bar and casual dining area – The Living Space, it’s called – and the slightly more formal (but still relaxed) Zacry’s, which is the main restaurant and the setting for our first meal. Although sizeable, the space is made to feel cosy and private, divided by zig zags of leather bench-style seats. The menu (£29.95 for two courses, and £36.50 for three) is classic British, but with some contemporary Cornishstyle swag. There was the likes of hot smoked salmon with pickled carrots and maple pomegranate dressing to start; salads along the lines of grilled local mackerel with quinoa, green beans and preserved lemon; and a special of barbecue spatchcock chicken to share, with harissa potatoes. The Cornish crab starter was fresh and mild in flavour, kept cool by ribbons of cucumber and smooth, creamy avocado. A slight bitterness and crunch gave this delicate dish an edge. To follow were plenty of meaty options, such as Cornish venison with violet artichoke, and lamb rump with aubergine purée and pine nut. Being so close to the coast as we were, though, we had a taste for seafood. The whole, on-the-bone plaice was moist and buttery, the fleshy fillet peeling completely away from the structure of bones with zero effort. The cockles bought a fresh saltiness, while the preserved lemon helped cut through a bit of excess greasiness from the rich brown butter, and green beans provided crunch, freshness and colour. Meanwhile, the roasted monkfish was pleasingly meaty, and came with a methi sauce, spinach and precisely cooked golden saffron rice.
@DAVID GRIFFEN, © KIRSTIN PRISK, SIMON -BURT, © JOSH COOMBES
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A dessert of orange and almond cake with poached pears was given freshness and tang by a smooth yoghurt sorbet, and the burnt custard with rhubarb and maple fudge was just at the right spot on the sweet spectrum. Needless to say, we slept well after that lot. Good job, too, as we needed our energy for a morning surf lesson the next day. That wasn’t before we’d fuelled back up with brekkie, though: refreshingly bitter grapefruit halves and proper homemade porridge. There was a waffle machine, too (which adults were loving as much as the kids), as well as cereals, hot options and smoothies. Post-surf, we lounged in the alfresco area of The Beach Hut. This is Watergate’s more casual eatery. Sat right on the sand, it has a menu of fresh, light and laid back food, conceived with its beachside location in mind. There are small plates you can mix and match or have as starters (think herby feta with flatbead; sweet potato hummus; and prawn fritters with Asian ’slaw). In front of us, though, sat well-cooked rings of fresh squid, pimped with delicately spicy Creole seasoning and served with a tasty Cajun mayo (£8). We’d been recommended the pakora burger with pickled cucumber (£9) by our surfing instructor but, going
rogue, I ordered Persian lamb koftas (£15). The gently spiced, well-seasoned meatballs sat on lemony couscous with a light scattering of sweet peas and sour pomegranate seeds. It could have benefitted from a bit of seasoned yoghurt or the like, just for a bit of moisture, but it was a satisfying and tasty lunch. There was also Cornish crab spaghetti, with warming chilli (£17), which came in a similarly generous portion (and was similarly completely seen off). If you’re staying for a while, then ask reception to book you a table at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen (which, although a seperate biz, sits adjacent to the hotel) and bag yourself a window-side seat, so you can watch the surfers do their thing as the sun goes down and you fill up. Watergate Bay is cool and inclusive, with a good handful of options when it comes to chowing down. Rather than simply relying on people eating there due to the lack of nearby choice, it’s put a lot of thought into its venues. They all show off the region’s top seafood well, and balance Cornwall’s laid-back attitude with professionalism and quality – come rain or shine. ✱ WATERGATE BAY, Newquay TR8 4AA; 01637 860543; watergatebay.co.uk
Little black book
The man who keeps Bath’s Milsom Place buzzing, operations manager Alex McLaren, gives us the low down on his favourite local hotspots… BREAKFAST? That would have to be
Same Same But Different; they do an awesome full English. I love the laidback feel with the ceiling-high windows where you can watch the world go by.
BEST BREW? Hunter & Sons does the
Now add this little lot to your contacts book Same Same But Different, Bath BA1 2ED; same-same.co.uk Hunter & Sons, Bath BA1 1BZ; hunter-sons.co.uk Tasting Room, Bath BA1 2JY; tastingroom.co.uk The Marlborough Tavern, Bath BA1 2LY; marlborough-tavern.com The Pig and Fiddle, Bath BA1 5BR; pigandfiddle.butcombe.com Confessional, Bath BA1 1BZ; confessionalbar.co.uk Hudson Steakhouse, Bath BA1 5BU; hudsonsteakhouse.co.uk La Croissanterie, Bath BA1 5AR; 01225 469641 The Boathouse, Bath BA1 3NB; sabrain.com/boathouse Beese’s Bar and Tea Gardens, Bristol BS4 4SX; beeses.co.uk The Juice Collective; thejuicecollective.co.uk The Bath Brew House, Bath BA1 2BX; thebathbrewhouse.com The Stable, Bath BA1 2AE; stablepizza.com The Fat Fowl, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 1JX; fatfowl.com Wagamama, Bath BA1 2EB; wagamama.com Bombay Balti, Bath BA2 1LN; bombaybalti.uk Rajpoot, Bath BA2 4BA; rajpoot.com Green Park Station, Bath BA1 1JB; greenparkstation.co.uk Beth’s Bakes; bethsbakes.com Taka Taka, Bath BA1 5LP; taka-taka.co.uk
best flat white in town, in my opinion. The coffee changes regularly, so there is always something new to try.
FAVOURITE GROCERY SHOP? You can buy almost anything from the great range of independent stores on Moorland Road. BEST WINE MERCHANT? Tasting Room on Green Street has brilliant wine, great spirits and fantastic service. SUNDAY LUNCH? I have long been
a fan of the Marlborough Tavern; its Sunday roast is superb.
QUICK PINT? The Pig and Fiddle is what I would call a ‘proper pub.’ It’s perfect for a quick pint… or two. CHEEKY COCKTAIL? Callum and his team at Confessional produce topquality cocktails in the sublime setting of The Octagon’s vaults. POSH NOSH? I love a good steak, and
the guys at Hudson Steakhouse are the best at what they do.
FOOD TO GO? La Croissanterie in
Northumberland Place is my go-to joint for a quick bite on the run.
ALFRESCO FEASTING? Aside
from Milsom Place, I really like The Boathouse at Newbridge. It’s in a beautiful location, right next to the river.
HIDDEN GEM? Beese’s Bar and Tea
Gardens – located in a secluded riverfront spot, just outside Brislington
– is a beautiful place with some great walks around the woodland area. It can also be reached by riverboat. ONE TO WATCH? The Juice Collective
is a new independent biz on the scene. They produce premium-grade juices that are just starting to hit the city.
WITH FRIENDS? The Bath Brew House has a great food menu, a huge selection of craft beers and an outside terrace space. COMFORT FOOD? It has to be pizza. There are a number of new pizza places in town I have yet to try, but I have always been a fan of The Stable. WITH THE FAMILY? The Fat Fowl has a great lunch and evening menu, and an upstairs space called The Roost, with a children’s play area. CHILD FRIENDLY? Wagamama is totally geared up for kids with fast, fresh and fun food. Also, the staff interact really well with children. CRACKING CURRY? Can I choose two? For takeaway, Bombay Balti in Southdown, and restaurant-wise it has to be Rajpoot. BEST ATMOSPHERE? I enjoy the buzz of the Green Park Station weekend markets. There’s always something unique and unusual to be found, whether it be food or otherwise. SOMETHING SWEET? The
Beth’s Bakes stall at the Bath Artisan Market at Green Park Station. It sells delicious cakes and treats.
TOP STREET FOOD? Taka Taka – it serves excellent Gyros. ✱ milsomplace.co.uk
Published on Sep 2, 2016