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£3 where sold
CRUMBS BATH & BRISTOL NO.58 JANUARY 2017
E RED HOT, A little slice of foodie heaven OUR CHILLIES AR ODLY SQUAT
NO.58 JANUARY 2017
2016 SUCKED – BUT
S HAVE GOT U DANCINGN, G, SCREAMI G, ITCHIN , SQUEALING
NOT COMPLETE TEL ELYY!!
T ! X HOOX T!
DIAL UP THE HEAT!
WE SCOFF LOTS OF SPICY SCRAN
LOOKIN' FOR SOME HOT STUFF
TRAVELING THEE TR oFF TH PANS:S: A
SUPPEEERR CLUB EELD BY HELD KICKASS E Es EMAL FEMAL
CHEC E K OUT THE FOODIE OPEN E INGS IT GAVEE US!
… G N I L E E F R FEVE
FIRE IN THE BELLY!
SPICESPIKED RECIPEs FROM THE REEEGGION’’ss BEST COOKS
YO SPICE U KAL R U P L PIC PNA W I F E K !
! T X O
S TH OO E BE LF ST MEERA RA SSODHA’S THALI TREEAT! CHRIS STAINEES’
E DISH E ER ITE EV ITE FAVOURIT
NUTMEG NUTME MEG
AND , BRISTOL'S HOT NEEW INDIAN!
CANNED HEAT LET ME JUST get something out of the way early doors here: you’ll find no New Year diet talk or ‘Dry January’ chat among the following 113 pages of this rag. As opposed to focusing on cutting foods out this month, we’re way more interested in what we can add to our store cupboards to help us feel warm, healthy, and eager to return to the kitchen in what’s often the coldest and most uninspiring month of the year. (I sure know how to bring the mood down, hey?) So, right now, it’s all about happy foods. And, by that, we don’t just mean comfort food (else we would have gone with cake for our Hero – cake of all and any kinds), but stuff that actually has a physical effect on our brains, giving us a merry little boost. Which is exactly why chilli is our deserving cover star. Not only do these peppers apparently have a positive impact on our minds, though, but – as is the case with many spices – they’re chock-a-block with nutrients to make our insides perkier as well. And, I don’t know about you, but I could definitely do with some good stuff at the moment. (Fruit and veg weren’t exactly my snack of choice over the party season...) With that in mind, we’ve got all kinds of spice-pimped recipes – from a versatile sweet harissa to frugal, flavour-packed stir-fried sprouts, and a beef curry good enough to stop you reaching for that takeaway menu. (It’s not only our nutrient levels that are depleted, but also our funds too, amirite?) So hunker down with hearty, home-cooked nosh this month, why don’t you? APPLE
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Table of Contents B ATH & B RIS TOL
NO.58 January 2017
STARTERS 08 HERO INGREDIENT Fat chillies 14 OPENINGS ETC The word on the foodie street 20 LOCAVORE The scoop on La Chasse 25 TRIO Top local tasting menus
Amazing recipes from the region’s top kitchens 36 Sprouts two ways, by Romy Gill 38 Pumpkin and black-eyed beans, by Meera Sodha 42 Eggs masala, by Rich Osborn 44 Hake with chorizo, by Rupert Pitt 46 Beef rendang, by UK Shallots 49 SWEET CHILD OF WINE Chris Staines shares the recipe for his fave-ever dish
67 Steamed pork dumplings, by Olia Hercules 81 Hanoi hot pot, by Kalpna Woolf
New & notable restaurants, cafés, bars
59 SUPPER CLUB A yurt massive dinner 70 THE WANT LIST Go, go gadget!
104 Nutmeg 106 Chez Dominique 110 Paco Tapas 112 The Jetty
12 Oysters with harissa, by Freddy Bird 30 Roast cod cassoulet, by Hare and Hounds
76 SUPER SPICES Nutritious and delicious 87 2016 YEARBOOK The foodie year in review
114 LITTLE BLACK BOOK Find out where local entrepreneur Emma Smith goes for her foodie fixes
INNOVATIONS, REVELATIONS AND TASTY AMUSE-BOUCHES
PAO LO FE R LA
CuRIOuSER+ CuRIOuSER BATH’S NEWEST, MOST intriguing hotel has finally opened – as has its swanky cocktail bar. No.15 Great Pulteney is formed of three adjoining Georgian townhouses. Behind its handsome, classic Bathonian façade is a thoughtfully and eclectically decorated hotel, containing Bar 15. Here, vintage jewellery is buried inside the glass tables, around which are arranged plush chairs upholstered in light teal velvet. These, along with huge framed mirrors and the original fireplaces, give an elegant look that’s offset by a modern Perspex bar. But enough of what we’ll be able to see there; it’s all about what we can taste, right? A novel cocktail selection, the menu presented on playing cards, lists the likes of Eastern Promises (Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky, umeshu, lime juice and soy sauce), Ellen’s Elixir (Gin Mare, rosemary, sage, pomegranate and basil tonic water) and Lavender Sour (Cachaca, umeshu, lime juice, honey, lavender bitters and egg white). Meanwhile, there’s a huge list of wines and spirits too (gins rack up to over 20 varieties – yes, we’ve counted). Bar snacks are also available in the evening, and range from olives to sharing boards and ravioli with salsa verde. ✱ no15greatpulteney.co.uk
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chi chiLLI Fiery little devils with a virtuous streak – like Beelzebub doing his bit for Comic Relief – chillies are more than capable of bringing the pain, but they can ease it too. And life’s certainly never boring when they’re around…
eppers – a type of flowering plant of the nightshade family, also known as capsicum – come in all shapes and sizes, but we call the small, fiery ones chilli peppers. They’re one of the most fascinating, thrilling, passion-inducing – and controversial – ingredients in the kitchen. There are over 200 varieties, in all shapes (long and thin, short and squat) and sizes, and in various colours too, from green to yellow, orange to red. How hot they are (and they range from sweet and mellow to blistering) also varies hugely – not just between types, but between individual chillies from the same plant, even. As a general guide though, the smaller it is, the more wary you should be. There is, of course, a certain bravado and masochistic pleasure to the chilli – it’s no surprise dude food events feature so many chilli eating contests – but there’s genuine versatility to them, too. And health benefits, it turns out – though those aren’t without their naysayers. You see, eating plenty of chillies might be something of a risky business – and not just because you’ll be chugging a whole cowful of milk to cool your mouth down afterwards. Let us explain… Mankind first came across the chilli some 20,000 years ago, as people entered the
Americas through the land bridge from what’s now Russia, and in time happened across a South American plant that hurt them to eat it, yet seemed worth persevering with anyway. Partly, its joy was that it livened up a dull diet. But partly, too, it was medicinal, for this seemingly evil little thing actually made a brilliant painkiller (toothache was often eased this way, in particular). Seems like chilli’s active ingredient binds to the pain receptor that detects changes in temperature – it’s why they taste so hot – but, after a while, our neutrons stop responding, thus ‘killing’ the pain. Meanwhile, endorphins are released, making us happier. (No wonder hot food is so addictive...) And there’s more. Chilli repels, inhibits or kills microbes too, meaning cooking with it – especially in the days before medication and refrigeration – was the safest way to stay healthy, especially in hot climates. (It’s part of why much Eastern cuisine is such a friend to the spice, and the nearer you live to the equator, the more chilli tends to be used in everyday cooking.) So, what’s causing all these effects? Well, we don’t fully understand it, but the chief active ingredient is clear: cut into a chilli pepper and you’ll see all the seeds attached inside by yellow, pithy, placenta-like fronds. This is where the capsaicin resides, an oil which makes
a chilli hot – but which has also been shown to increase metabolic activity in mammals, causing them to burn more energy and loose weight. Capsaicin also tells the stomach it’s full quite rapidly, meaning we tend to physically eat less of a spicy food than we do a milder one. Though the burning sensation is painful – sometimes very painful – it’s not actually damaging us as such. Instead, chilli fools the brain into thinking we’re being harmed when we’re actually not – it’s why birds, useful to the chilli in dispensing its seeds and without the molars to crush them, can gobble ’em down like Pringles with no ill effect. Science backs this up, too. Chillies are certainly a good source of antioxidants – iron, potassium, vitamins A and C – and one Chinese study found mortality rates were 10 percent lower amongst those who ate plenty of spicy food (and seemed to get better the more of it you ate). And it was the big issues these foods seemed to tackle, too: cancer, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. What’s going on here? Well, some studies have it that capsaicin helps break down the ‘bad’ cholesterol, leaving the ‘good’ stuff alone – hence, fewer cloggedup arteries – and it also seems to block a gene that makes arteries contract. And further studies suggest anti-cancer properties, too – prostate and colon cancer are most quoted – though
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Hero Ingredients these are by no means conclusive, and, indeed, other evidence seems to suggest that genuine damage can actually be done, with the human stomach especially vulnerable. (Spice has rarely been a friend to those with digestive problems and stomach ulcers, certainly, and if you’ve ever rubbed your eyes with capsaicincovered hands, you know how evil this stuff can be to sensitive skin.) Could the apparent hotness of chillies actually be nature’s way of telling us to avoid eating too much of it? Some say so, meaning chilli’s ‘friend or foe?’ nature remains much debated. In the west, we thank Columbus for bringing the seeds back from the New World in 1493; in the east, however, it’s kudos to nameless Portuguese merchants, who then spread Chris’ find to Asia. Wherever you are, though, you judge a chilli’s hotness in Scoville heat units – developed by Wilber Scoville, a New England pharmacist, in 1912 – which are the number of times a sample of dissolved dried chilli must be diluted by its own weight in sugar before it loses its heat. For a regular sweet green bell pepper – not hot at all – this number is zero; but a jalapeño or a chipotle chilli might score anything between 2,500 to 10,000; a habañero or a Scotch bonnet between 80,000 and 350,0000; and the very hottest, like the so-called ghost chilli and its cultivars, over a million SHUs. (That’s maybe 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. Pure capsaicin, by the way, is about 16 million.) Though hot chilli is often a Satanic red, the capsaicin itself is colourless, odourless stuff, available in pure form over the internet – don’t do it; no good will come of it – and used in non-lethal weapons like pepper sprays. Indeed, the use of chilli as a weapon exists in parallel with its food applications, the ancient Mayans burning rows of chillies to create a stinging protective smoke screen, while there are ancient Aztec illustrations of children being punished by being held over a bonfire of burning chilli. Whether you find the stuff punishing or not, one thing’s certain: we’re eating
far more chillies than we used to. Consumption of the dried power has been going up a few percent each year for the past couple of decades, and a far wider variety of the fresh version has become available in that time, too. The ways we can buy chillies are myriad. You can go fresh or dried (whole, flaked, or as chilli powder, mostly mixed in with other spices); for chillies preserved in an oil, which is infused with their flavour and heat; or for sauces made from chillies, most famously Tabasco. If you’re going for fresh, then treat them as you would any pepper – so ignore those that are shrivelled (unless they’re a variety that’s meant to be), marked, or with watery bruises – but take more care during the prep. Each type has its uses – mildly hot New Mexican ortegas are great in salsa; tiny, punchy Bird’s-eye chillies crop up a lot in Thai cuisine – but though you can loosely tell how hot a chilli will be by its type, they get no less hot through cooking. (Only by removing the seeds and veins can you reduce the heat. This is easy, though: just slice them lengthways and scrape out as much as you want.) We use chillies in curries, stir-fries, and the classic chilli con carne, of course, but in a much wider range of dishes too. Marinades and sauces love a chilli injection – but so, perhaps surprisingly, do salads and kedgeree. Spicy Mexican eggs – huevos rancheros – are a classic, and everything from spaghetti to omelettes and cheese on toast love the extra punch they bring. Oddly enough, though, chillies also work in sweet dishes, a little helping cut intriguingly through the richness of chocolate, for instance, or teaming well with ginger, cinnamon or poached fruit. Oh, and if you’ve just eaten too much hot chilli, and your mouth is aflame, what to do? Well, cold water – though tempting – isn’t the thing, and can actually maintain your pain. Reach, instead, for bread: the starch will help. But best of all is anything dairy, as capsaicin is fat-soluble. Basically, for these unfortunate moments in life, milk or yoghurt are your very best friends.
R E C I P E
That there Freddy Bird is putting our Hero chilli to use in a versatile harissa…
CRISPY FRIED OYSTERS WITH SWEET HARISSA AND CORIANDER (MAKES 12)
HARISSA IS A North African red chilli paste. The secret to a great harissa is to make sure you balance the heat of the chillies perfectly with red peppers – if you don’t, you won’t be able to taste the delicate spices. The idea is to get a gentle kick and be left wanting more; you don’t want it purely to be an assault on your senses. Traditionally you wouldn’t sweeten a harissa, but here I think it works fantastically – especially with these deep-fried oysters, which make great canapés or light starters. Even if you don’t like oysters, give this recipe a go; it might well change your mind! Failing that, though, it works really well with queen scallops, too. This recipe will make plenty of harissa, and it keeps for weeks in the fridge. I love it with eggs on toast, as a sauce in wraps with chicken, yoghurt and chopped salads, or for marinating meats. The quantity of chillies you use will vary depending on their strength, so be sure to taste each of them before adding, to get an idea of how hot they are. I also like to keep the spices fairly coarse; I love the lingering flavour you get from bits of spice that get stuck in your teeth.
2 tsp cumin seeds 2 tsp caraway seeds 2 tsp coriander seeds 5 red chillies, roughly chopped, some or all of the seeds left in 2 garlic cloves 1 tbsp cabernet sauvignon vinegar good glug of olive oil 5 red peppers, roasted, peeled and deseeded (or 1 tin of piquillo peppers) 4 tsp dark muscovado sugar ½ lime, juice only 12 oysters 300g plain flour 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda soda water vegetable oil, for deep frying handful baby leaf coriander
– In a dry pan, lightly toast the cumin, caraway and coriander, then partially grind in a pestle and mortar. – Mix the spices with the chilli, garlic, vinegar and a pinch of sea salt in a food processor until you have a coarse paste. Then add the peppers and blitz again. Stir in the olive oil and taste for seasoning. – Put the sugar in a small pan over a low heat and squeeze in the lime. Allow to melt, and stir in to the harissa mix. – Shuck the oysters and scrub and dry the shells. Mix the flour, bicarb of soda and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Whisk in soda water until you get a loose milkshake consistency. – In a deep pan, over a medium-high heat, pour in enough oil to cover the oysters. Once it’s hot, dip the oysters in the batter, shake off the excess, and gently drop in. Fry for approx. 1 minute or until golden, then transfer onto kitchen towel and keep them warm. – Put them back in their shells, top with a small dollop of harissa and baby leaf coriander, and eat straight away! ✱ LIDO, Oakfield Place, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2BJ; 0117 332 3970; lidobristol.com
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That Monmouth Place seafood joint in Bath has got everyone talking yet again, having recently revealed plans for expansion. Having got their mitts on the upper level of the restaurant’s building, Garry Rosser and the Scallop Shell team are planning to unveil an extra dining room with 60 more seats and an outside terrace in the coming weeks. Not only will this allow for more diners (no more rocking up only to find the uber-popular joint full, hopefully), but also for more of the kitchen to be put on show, letting diners catch a glimpse of their chips being made in the potato room. ✱ thescallopshell.co.uk
Following the much-talkedabout departure of Sam Moody, the Michelin-starred Bath Priory has announced who will take over one of the hottest chef jobs in town. Michael Nizzero comes to Bath from the actual Ritz, where, as premier sous chef, he helped gain the kitchen’s first ever Michelin star. Originally from Belgium, Michael has worked in kitchens all over the UK and Europe, and is now harnessing all that skill and experience to develop both the tasting and a la carte menus for The Priory. ✱ thebathpriory.co.uk
Pizza joint Flour & Ash has just launched brand new bakery and café offerings during the daytime at its Westbury-on-Trym site. As well as now selling loaves of freshly baked, handmade sourdough, it’s also serving breakfast, brunch and lunch: think steak and eggs with beefdripping toast, and wild mushroom ragu with polenta, as well as sarnies, tartines and daily-changing salads, pastries and cakes. The café and bakery is open seven days a week from 8am, with pizzas taking over from 4pm. ✱ flourandash.co.uk
IT’S A WRAP
NO PLACE LIKE FROME
Sam’s Kitchen Deli has just opened a brand new café and restaurant in Frome. Located on Stony Street, the venue has been transformed from a woodchip-adorned Poundstretcher (yep, really) into a gorgeously understated rustic-feeling space, which, with its huge windows and open-plan design, feels all light, airy and homely. The menu of small plates makes for an exciting read – we tried the flatbread with burnt aubergine and pomegranate, ham croquettes, woodroasted mackerel, and (potentially our fave) Westcombe ricotta with roasted grapes and walnuts. Open from breakfast time to well past dinner, it’s another welcome addition to this lovely Somerset town. ✱ samskitchendeli.co.uk
Biblos is joining the culinary party down at Wapping Warf, with its latest branch set to open soon, serving a special menu exclusive to this venue. While the wraps that it has become so well known for across Bristol and at festivals will still be available, the special Calypso menu will have more of a focus on classic Caribbean-style dishes, like jerk chicken and belly pork, as well as gumbo and stew. This is to be the first site south of the river for the six-year-old Biblos brand, and is located right on Gaol Ferry Steps. ✱ biblos.co.uk
Don’t you forget to be tagging #CrumbsSnaps in your Insta pics for a chance to appear here next issue!
@joannahclifford tucks into a feast at The Old Market Assembly
Quakers Friars in Bristol has got a new pizza and pasta gaff in the form of L’Osteria. The brand, which was formed by two friends in Germany back in 1999, is well established across its native country as well as Austria and Switzerland, and has chosen this Cabot Circus location for its first UK branch. Set across four units and aiming to serve as a pit-stop for hungry shoppers, the new restaurant has room for 200 guests inside, and has a menu of 18-inch pizzas and fresh pasta dishes made using Italian ingredients supplemented by local produce. ✱ losteria.co.uk
@thetraditionalfreerangeeggco is all about the sticky toffee traybake
In the diary...
Calling all student and professional chefs: the Chef v Chef competition is back for 2017, and you don’t have long left to enter. The contest was developed to help showcase and develop modern, local cookery, using seasonal produce from the nearby area. Aimed at both pro chefs and those studying hospitality, the competition has three different categories and will be judged by an experienced panel, including chef Martin Blunos. So, if you work within a 50-mile radius of the city and fancy seeing how you fare against your culinary peers, then check out the website. Entries close on 27 January. ✱ chefvchef.co.uk
(26 January) GIN CLUB AT THE MILK THISTLE Gin Club is back for 2017, and this time guests get to learn about and taste two Dutch gins. Tickets are £17.50 and include cocktails and nibbles. ✱ milkthistlebristol.com (1 Feb) AN EVENING WITH TOM KERRIDGE This uber-entertaining Michelin-starred chef (above) visits St Mary’s Church in Bathwick to talk about new recipes. Tickets start at £8. ✱ toppingbooks.co.uk
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In the Larder
hOT IN hERrE We’ve been warming up with this fiery fare...
1 MEATBALLS OF FIRE Coconut Chilli Lamb & Black Pepper Keema Meatballs, £4.25/200g These pokey little pots are the brainchild of local Navina Bartlett, who got the idea for Coconut Chilli from her summers spent in India. Now, her South West biz makes a whole range of boxed lunches using fresh ingredients, and delivers them to offices throughout Bristol and London. Hampers can be ordered online from the website, and single boxes from fresh-range.com. ✱ coconutchilli.com 2 DROP IT LIKE IT’S HOT Holy Lama Spice Drops, from £4/5ml These innovative little bottles contain spice extracts, made from fresh
festive cheese; it’s got a really notable heat which is well-balanced by a zesty fruitiness, so is an ideal partner to creamy-tasting cheeses, cutting through that richness. We also can’t wait to get it involved the next time we cook a Ruby Murray… Available from Frome Valley Fruit and Clifton Village Butchers. ✱ otter-vale.co.uk
ingredients sourced from local farms. The drops can be used just like regular spices (measurement conversions are provided) in everything from curries to drinks, but unlike regular fresh or ground spices, these extracts will last for three years without losing their kick. Get them individually or as part of a bundle; for instance, the Barbecue Collection includes cumin seed, paprika, red chilli and tikka masala. Available online from Ocado. ✱ holylamaspicedrops.com
4 SAUCY Bad Boy Chilli Habanero Chilli Sauce, from £3/50ml Made in the South West using habanero chillies, this tongue-tingling sauce is both fiery and flavoursome. That depth is brought about by the aging process it goes though, being matured in oak whisky barrels. The newest addition to Bad Boy Chilli’s
3 OTTERLY DELISH Otter Vale Devon Fire Chutney, £2/200g We’ve been using this bestselling condiment, made here in the West Country, for our leftover
range, it’s been employed to give our burritos a boost of late – and we can’t wait to try it with oysters. Available at Farrington’s Farm Shop. ✱ badboychilli.co.uk 5 SHOT, SHOT, SHOT! James White Zingers, £1.49/7cl These little guys give a short, sharp zap of flavour and nutrition; seven little centiliters contains all the goodness and tang of the natural spices they’re made with. There are four juice shots available: apple and ginger, lime and chilli, apple and turmeric, and an extra fiery chilli and ginger number. Available at Queenswood Natural Foods in Brigwater, as well as online. ✱ jameswhite.co.uk
S STTA A RRT E T RS E R S
New Kid kid on on the the Block block New
four months ago! This is my first job in the industry. When we decided to take on the pub, I wouldn’t let anybody else do the cooking, as I knew it was the part I would enjoy the most. How would you describe your style of food, then? That’s a tough one. I think the best way to put it would be to quote our menu: ‘simple, but far from plain’. And how have you gone about putting said menu together? We’ve concentrated on tried and tested favourites that we know and love (and know that other people love, too!). From these starting points, we’ll build new and exciting dishes. What makes the local foodie scene so great? The variety that Bath has to offer, as well as the generally high quality.
Who are your favourite suppliers? We source our ingredients locally wherever we can. We use Terry & Son butchers on the London Road, who are great, for instance.
This here is Dan Brew, new owner and chef at Bath’s The Curfew So, chef and owner, eh? How is it juggling those two roles? It certainly keeps me busy, but it’s fun! And who’s working with you in the kitchen? It’s a pretty small kitchen (more than two people is a squeeze!), so it’s limited to me, my wife Emily, and Tom, who we recruited shortly after opening. What got you interested in taking over this particular pub, then? The opportunity to live and work in Bath was a big draw. Also, the pub is great
inside; the refurb has really helped to showcase its original features, while giving it a modern twist. If I didn’t run the place, I would be a regular visitor! What changes have you made, then? Literally everything! The entire venue has has a full refurb, there’s been a complete menu overhaul, plus new ownership and – apparently – we’ve now got the best toilets in Bath… When did you first begin cooking? I’ve cooked for friends and family for years but, commercially, I began about
Do you grow anything yourself? A beard, from time to time! What kind of meals do you cook at home? We like to try new things when we get the opportunity. You can’t beat a good paella, though. Which other local restaurants do you like to eat in? Yammo! is definitely one of our favourites at the moment... ✱ thecurfewbath.co.uk
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Locavore LOCAVORE â€“ Someone interested in locally produced food, not moved long distances to market
chUck wagONs 20
Ever wondered how chefs get their ingredients? La Chasse explains all…
b To make a knock-out dish, you need knockout ingredients – end of. This means that a chef’s book of contacts and suppliers is one of their most valuable tools. But how do they find such great ingredients, and who gathers it all for them? We’ve spoken to local food distribution biz La Chasse to find out how it’s done… crumbsmag.com
ack in 1989, Catherine and Charlie Cotton set up West Country Game, which went on to become the hugely successful West Country Fine Foods. More recently, using their knowledge and experience from 30 years at the coal face, they founded Wiltshire-based La Chasse, which was born out of a desire to combine fantastic service and fair prices with an intriguing range of products. This relatively small, owner-run outfit is always hunting for something unique. Lesser-seen foods, produce made by a local artisans, and ingredients that go beyond the norm is what they get excited about. And our local chefs are lapping it all up; you’ll find La Chasse’s food in kitchens such as Acorn in Bath, Josh Eggleton’s Pony and Trap and Kensington Arms in Bristol, and River Cottage Canteens. Working across Gloucestershire, Avon, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Devon, Hampshire, Somerset and Dorset – oh, and now London – these guys are kept well and truly on their toes, and handily pass the doorsteps of some of the country’s best producers on their never-ending travels.
“There are loads of producers within these counties who we can collect from on a daily basis,” says Charlie. Which is handy, when each area has something different to offer. “While local products certainly dominate our thinking, cocao doesn’t yet grow in Wiltshire – and there ain’t no grouse in Dorset!” Hunting down new producers, then, is a big part of the job for these guys. “Producers sometimes find us, and use our wheels to get their goods to new outlets; chefs sometimes suggest a new product, and ask if we can get it for them; and sometimes we get off our backsides and discover something new or quirky, and that might just be fantastic in a kitchen, ourselves!” This isn’t the kind of company to set up if you want an easy life, though, says Charlie. (And no, not just because of the issues involved in dealing with professional culinary perfectionists, otherwise known as chefs.) “We only have nine vans – or eight and a half, as Catherine always says – and even that number is a logistical headache to manage, with breakdowns, bumps. and the inevitable scrapes you get driving 300 miles a day down scenic country lanes.” And even after you work out how to get the right van to the right
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Charlie and Catherine are seeing the effects of Brexit first hand...
place at the right time, there’s the small matter of what’s inside it… “Very little business is done to order,” Charlie says, “so we hold a myriad products in stock, hoping to sell them. This isn’t too painful with dry stores, but the guessing game gets a bit more interesting with short-dated produce, such as baby leaf! “I guess the skill is to have just enough, but not too much. As with our customers, we can only predict what level of business we will do each day, and no one wants to be sitting on too much stock which can go to waste, or have too many shortages either.” It’s not all bad, though; in the three decades that Catherine and Charlie have been in the biz, they’ve seen some really positive developments in the British food scene… “One of the principal changes over the last 30 years has been the very welcome growth in the number and quality of British artisan producers and growers,” he says. “In 1989, only the Chinese and French seemed capable of rearing ducks; the Italians, French and Spanish had charcuterie sorted; and, of course, all cheese boards boasted Camembert, Epoisse and Pont L’Eveque, from those Frenchies again. Most chefs were classically French trained, too. crumbsmag.com
“Then came Goosenargh duck, Gressingham duck, and now Creedy Carver duck – as well as a wealth of fantastic British charcuterie. And British cheeses now boss the cheeseboards of most of our best restaurants, too. “Chefs are also now far more homegrown, and lean towards these fantastic producers, which is great for the customers – and great for Britain. “A cheese on the menu in Bath is very likely to have been made within five miles of the city; duck on the menu at River Cottage will have travelled from Crediton in Devon; and charcuterie at Bocobar in Bristol has been made in the city itself. Leaf salad is also grown in Bristol by the Severn Project. How good does that all sound for our industry? “We are really proud to be able to supply the wheels to help make this all happen, and cut down the food miles within our sphere of influence.” A food distributer’s network is farreaching, then, each element being of huge importance for the whole operation to succeed. The bigger the network, though, the more variables there are. Faced with so many everchanging challenges each day, La Chasse has worked out how best to control them. But what about when
they get struck with a curveball that’s larger than a late harvest? How has Brexit affected them? “For two happy weeks, it seemed to have had little or no effect on us,” says Charlie. “But now it’s hit home with a vengeance, resulting in some thumping price hikes – which is challenging, to say the least. “Some price increases have followed the pound’s fall, but some products – such as sugar and dairy – seem to exist on some parallel universe in terms of cost. The only increase I fully understand, thanks to my illustrious tutors at Centaur Foods in Bristol, is that of vanilla. Basically there isn’t any. (Random fact for you – did you know vanilla pods have to be pollenated by human hands?) “Back to Brexit, though: maybe it means the days of cheap imported foods from Europe are on their way out. If so, it’s a big opportunity for Britain and its many localised growers and producers to further fill that gap with better products. “And, to stay on the bright side, one more plus from Brexit should be the increase in tourism, and therefore eating out in Britain – hopefully in the South West, in particular.” ✱ lachasselimited.co.uk
S T A R T E R S
PAR FOR THE COURSE
Sure, tasting menus have gotten themselves a bad rep, but rest assured there are some ace multi-course culinary experiences on our patch, and here are three of ’em… THE CHEQUERS
A brand new winter tasting menu is launching this January at one of Bath’s most popular gastropubs. Well known for its top-notch food, The Chequers completely overhauls the dishes four times a year to echo the changing seasons. To follow the inital snacks, expect seven courses along the lines of beetroot three ways with goat’s cheese and gingerbread; ox cheek with Parmesan and sherry; cod with miso and clams; and venison loin and hazelnut gnocchi. To end the meal, perhaps expect apple with sheep’s curd mousse, followed by caramelised banana with brown bread ice cream. The menu, which is available by booking only, is £49, and you can add a wine flight with carefully matched drinks for each course for an extra £25. ✱ thechequersbath.com
Owner and chef Ron Faulkner has a handful of reasons why he chooses to serve tasting menus alongside his a la
carte: “It allows guests to sample a wider range of dishes and, more importantly, extend the meal and share the dining experience, as they all have the same dishes,” he explains. Typically, his tasting menus (of which there are two: a fivecourse lunch at £22, and a six-course dinner for £55) start with canapés, which are followed by an amuse-bouche and bread, before the menu proper kicks off, with dishes such as Cornish scallops with pancetta, sage and garlic, and beef fillet with calcot onion, shallots and girolles. It’s all about classic dishes executed with skill and precision at Ronnie’s, and there’s always an optional wine flight too, to take the experience to the next level. ✱ ronnies-restaurant.co.uk
This long-established Bristol joint is housed in a charming grade II listed building, whose cellars make an atmospheric setting for dinner. The tasting menus here are the results of the kitchen team’s ‘dining projects’ – so, as
opposed to continuously evolving the dishes, the chefs work on a whole new theme for every quarter. Their culinary investigations lead them to come up with imaginative and unexpected tasting menus – the last being The Pickle and Liquor Project, which saw diners enjoy food preserved in all kinds of ways, from fermenting to smoking, with the most popular dish turning out to be the confit squirrel. The kitchen brigade works with the front of house team to develop a complementary line up of drinks too (available for an additional £20), which includes some novel cocktails. This January sees the launch of The Gin Project, with the chefs cooking with both the spirit itself as well the botanicals it’s made with. There’s a five-course (£30) and a seven-course (£40) option, as well as vegetarian and meat-free versions. ✱ therummer.net
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!
BOARDMASTERS Co-founder Steve Cownie has a Christmas Steps board game café, Chance & Counters
When did you open the café, Steve? It was mid-May last year, so we’ve been around for about nine months now.
the whole library and our ‘game gurus’, who can recommend games, set them up and teach you how to play.
And what were you doing before? I did a few years in PR after graduating, then a Master’s in computer science. A natural precursor to a career in board games, of course…
How do you approach the food and drink offering at a venue like this? We always go for local suppliers first – if we can find it within a 10-mile radius and the quality is right, then we’re very happy. We do make some exceptions, though; you just can’t beat the French when it comes to Brie! Everything is designed to be eaten with one hand – sandwiches, small plates, sharing platters and such – so it’s all pretty straightforward, really. That said, though, we are really proud of our ingredients.
Of course! What kind of experience do you have in hospitality? I worked in hotels, cocktail bars, then nightclubs from my teens to my early twenties, mainly in the UK but with a spell in Australia, too. Making cocktails for Ice Cube in Sydney was a particular highlight! So, where did the idea for a board game café come from? Luke, my business partner, was bitten by the board game bug at university, back when there wasn’t a way to play games you didn’t own – not in the UK, at least. We often talked about setting something up, though it probably wasn’t until late 2015 that we talked about it while sober! Then Richard came on board, kicked us up the arse and got things moving.
And what kind of drinks are on offer? We’ve tipples for every taste! Whether that’s craft ales from Bristol’s best breweries, carefully-selected wines from abroad, or a steamy cup of Joe made with Clifton Coffee beans.
How does it all work, then? We operate much like a restaurant – it’s all table service, and everything goes on a tab. There’s a cover charge for playing games, which gives you access to both
What’s your favourite? Ouch, that’s tough. Personally, I love a good bluffing game – Sheriff of Nottingham, Coup and Mafia are three particular favourites of mine.
Okay, so we’d best talk games, then. How many d’ya have? About 500 at the moment, with more arriving every week.
And which are the most popular with guests? Quick games that involve lots of interaction are always winners here: things like Dixit and Codenames. You can learn either of them in minutes, and easily rattle through a few rounds in an hour. What sort of customers do you tend to get? All sorts: one day we might have university freshers playing Cards Against Humanity, the next it’s a senior couple playing chess. How long do they tend to stay and play for? Usually people stay for a few hours, though we did once have a group who stayed for almost 12. They pretty much drank a keg between them, and tried nearly everything on our menu! Speaking of which, what are the most popular orders? Our cheese platter always goes down a storm: generous helpings of Cornish Yarg, Rosary goats’, Bath Blue, Westcombe Cheddar and French Brie, served with crackers, chutney and olives. If you were a customer today, what would you order – and play? I’m easily pleased, so probably just have a pint of Lost & Grounded’s Keller Pils and a bowl of smoked nuts while playing Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective – a beautifully-designed sleuthing game. Where have you visited locally that you really enjoyed? After a year of walking past it I finally went into Flour & Ash the other night, and it was unbelievable. ✱ chanceandcounters.com
This could be you! Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org crumbsmag.com
S T A R T E R S
Kitchen Library The freshest, most inspirational cookbooks of the month
VEGETABLES Antonio Carluccio Quadrille, £25
Antonio Carluccio is widely regarded as the Godfather of Italian food, and he has written more than 20 best-selling books as well as starred in successful TV shows like Two Greedy Italians. In his latest volume, he turns his attention to his favourite vegetables, with 120 recipes reflecting both traditional and modern styles. Be it raw, cooked or preserved, the humble veg can be elevated to another level when it comes to Italian cuisine, and Carluccio describes how to buy and prepare 100 different varieties, from leaves, pods, seeds and shoots to squashes, pulses, grains and herbs. The recipes cover salads, tarts, pasta, soups, stews, risottos, dips, jams, pickles and even cakes, biscuits and ice cream. Seasonal highlights include wild mushroom strudel, pumpkin squash risotto, and Brussels sprouts gratin.
CLASSIC KOFFMANN Pierre Koffmann Jacqui Small, £30
It has taken quarter of a century for legendary French chef Pierre Koffmann to write the follow-up to his classic book Memories of Gascony – but it has been worth the wait. This is the 50th year in the kitchen for Koffmann, whose influence on British restaurants is immeasurable, with Michelin-starred protégés including Marco Pierre White, Tom Kitchin and Tom Aikens. Classic Koffmann features over 100 of Koffmann’s best-loved recipes, from signature dishes such as stuffed pig’s trotter and pistachio soufflé to more recent creations like octopus salad with Japanese dressing, and lime and basil tart. With photos of each dish taken by David Loftus and detailed recipe introductions and anecdotes from Koffmann, this is an instant classic from one of the most respected chefs of them all.
TASTE OF PERSIA Naomi Duguid Artisan, £25
Part cookbook and part travelogue, Taste of Persia shares the food and homecooked meals of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran and Kurdistan, with reminders of the cultural and religious context of each country. Naomi Duguid is an intrepid traveller and culinary anthropologist, and she writes eloquently about the people she meets and the places she visits. The 125 recipes in this beautifully photographed book include an Iranian pomegranate walnut chicken stew; Georgian beef stew with onion and tomato; and Persian rice pudding flavoured with rosewater and cardamom. There is also a comprehensive glossary of Persian ingredients, with detailed histories and tips on how to use them. This book takes you on an enchanting journey around a fascinating and diverse region.
THE BATH COOK BOOK Meze Publishing, £14.95
Hot on the heels of the Bristol version published a few months ago, The Bath Cook Book is the 18th in the series of regional guides by Sheffield-based Meze Publishing. The book features contributions from top restaurants, cafés, gastropubs and shops across Bath and Wiltshire. From fillet of beef with beetroot purée, Dauphinoise potatoes and red wine and port reduction (from The Seven Stars at Winsley) to soy cured salmon in a cucumber cup with mango salsa and wasabi crème fraîche (The Bunch of Grapes in Bradfordon-Avon), the book is a tantalising taste of the region’s flourishing food scene. The Bath Cook Book is available online from the publishers, but also from the businesses featured in the book, as well as selected local gift shops and book shops.
S T A R T E R S TAKEN FROM THE BATH COOK BOOK, MEZE PUBLISHING, £14.95
THE RATION BOOK DIET
Carol Harris, Mike Brown and CJ Jackson The History Press, £14.99
With food prices rising and many household budgets stretched, this book about cheap and healthy recipes from the Second World War is still relevant and timely. Although it wasn’t much fun at the time, food rationing is now seen as a contributing factor to changing tastes and better health in Britain (before the war, we consumed more sugar than most of our European neighbours). Written by food writer and cook CJ Jackson, with Second World War experts Mike Brown and Carol Harris, The Ration Book Diet features 60 recipes organised seasonally. What is most striking about these simple and thrifty recipes is how many of them have become staples of the modern kitchen, including slow-cooked beef in stout, venison hot-pot, and creamed rice with blackberry sauce.
HARE AND HOUNDS’ ROAST COD FILLET with CHORIZO and BUTTER BEAN CASSOULET (SERVES 4)
50ml vegetable or pomace oil 6 chorizo sausages, chopped into 1cm chunks 2 white onions, diced 3 garlic cloves, chopped 2 celery sticks, diced into 1cm chunks ½ tsp smoked paprika 50g tomato paste 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes 2 tins butter beans glug of olive oil 4 cod fillets
– For the cassoulet, warm the oil in a heavy-based pan to a moderate heat. Then add the chorizo pieces and cook out for 5 minutes until lightly coloured. – Add the onions, garlic, celery and a pinch of salt, and cook until soft. – Add the smoked paprika and tomato paste and cook for a further 5 minutes. Then pour in the tinned tomatoes and simmer on a low heat for 45-60 minutes, until the mixture has reduced by ⅓ and thickened. – Drain the butter beans and add to the sauce. Heat through for 5 minutes and then leave to rest. – For the lemon, garlic and parsley dressing, add the oil to a small saucepan with the lemon zest, garlic and a
For the lemon, garlic and parsley dressing: 50ml extra virgin olive oil 1 lemon, zest only 2 garlic cloves, diced 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
pinch of salt. Gently bring to a simmer. Take off the heat and allow to cool, then add the chopped parsley. – Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. – For the roast cod, heat a non-stick pan and add 1 tbsp of oil. Season the cod fillet and place skin-side down in the pan. Sear on a high heat until the fish colours slightly, then place in the oven and cook until the fish has gone firm and opaque. Remove from the pan and allow to rest. – To serve, add a portion of the cassoulet to each bowl and place the cod on top. Drizzle the dressing over the cod and in and around the cassoulet. Serve with a green salad.
A Warm Welcome AT THE PELLY
The picturesque village of Chew Magna is set in the beautiful Somerset countryside and is designated as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, while being situated only a few miles from the Cities of Bristol and Bath. In the centre of this delightful village stands The Pelican Inn, or the â€™Pellyâ€™ as it is affectionately known to its locals. We offer stylish but relaxed dining in our restaurant/bar area where we serve only home cooked dishes using mainly locally sourced ingredients. Along with our great food, we offer an extensive bar menu including a fine array of wines, real ales and a number of lagers and ciders. We may even whip up a cocktail or two if you ask! Here at the Pelican, we believe that the combination of food, drinks, and the warm inviting welcome, serves as a great place to visit no matter your mood.
THE PELICAN The Pelican, 10 South Parade, Chew Magna, Bristol BS40 8SL Tel: 01275 331777 Email: email@example.com www.pelicanchewmagna.com
Lunch & Supper FEAS T MENU
In our upstairs dining space, we serve feasts for everyone to tuck in and enjoy. Whole joints of meat can be carried in; copious amounts of wine can be drunk and is perfect for family and friendâ€™s gatherings and celebrations! The pre-order only feast menu is served on large plates and in huge pots for sharing and feasting. Lobster, Oyster, Pie, Whole Roast Bird and Rib of Beef are just a few of the feasting options. All of our food is cooked with love and attention and using beautiful ingredients from the west country.
The Mill at Rode, Rode Hill, Rode, Nr Frome BA11 6AG Tel: 01373 831100 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.mill.butcombe.com
WHAT TO MAKE, AND HOW TO MAKE IT – DIRECT FROM THE KITCHENS OF OUR FAVOURITE FOODIES
Two ways to make the most of those abundant Brussels sprouts Page 36
FULL OF BEANS
This pumpkin, coconut and blackeyed bean number will keep you warm this January Page 38
How do you like your eggs in the mornin’? With lot of spice, please Page 42
The subtle smokiness and gentle spice of chorizo peps up a fillet of hake on p44 Plus
49 SOUP KITCHEN Chris Staines recreates his best meal ever
P H OTO S B Y K I R S T I E YO U N G
TwO’s uP Warming winter dishes that are quick, simple and great for leftovers? Show us the way, Romy Gill…
We couldn’t let this super-spicy issue pass us all by without getting the ace Romy Gill involved. Her Indian restaurant in Thornbury is a right little gem; here she cooks novel, downto-earth dishes from across India and Pakistan, but using top West Country ingredients. Originally from the Subcontinent’s West Bengal region, Romy moved to the UK in the ’90s, and set up her restaurant in 2013 in a bid to enable people to enjoy really authentic Indian home cooking. There’s a real focus on provenance and ethics in her dishes, which is why you’ll notice they often follow the seasons. Like with the recipes here, in fact: Christmas might be over for another year, but there are still plenty of Brussels sprouts kicking around after all, just begging to be used up. Both these dishes are super-simple to prepare as well as cheap to make, and you won’t need any obscure ingredients. Chuck in the fact that they’re dead tasty, and surely that’s every box ticked. Are we right…? ✱ ROMY’S KITCHEN, 2 Castle Street, Thornbury, Bristol BS35 1HB; 01454 416728; romyskitchen.co.uk
SPICY BRUSSELS SPROUTS INGREDIENTS
3 tsp olive oil 6 garlic cloves, chopped 200g Brussels sprouts 2 tsp pomegranate molasses ½ tsp chilli flakes 1 tsp garam masala ½ tsp salt 75g walnuts, chopped 2 tsp pomegranate seeds METHOD
– Heat the oil in a pan. Once hot, add the garlic and cook gently on a medium heat until it’s light brown. – Add the sprouts and cook for 2 minutes. – Add the pomegranate molasses, chilli flakes, garam masala and the salt. Mix well and cook for another minute. – Mix in the walnuts and pomegranate seeds, cook for a further minute, and serve.
STIR-FRIED RICE with BRUSSELS SPROUTS INGREDIENTS
300g basmati rice, cooked 3 tsp olive oil 4 garlic cloves, chopped 1 tsp cumin seeds 250g Brussels sprouts 2 tsp cider vinegar 1 tsp chilli flakes ½ tsp salt 1 tsp garam maslaa 2 tsp pomegranate seeds METHOD
– If starting with raw rice, cook to the packet instructions. (This recipe is great for using up leftover cooked rice, though.) – Heat the oil in a pan. Once hot, add the garlic and cumin seeds, and cook on a medium heat until light brown. – Add the sprouts and cook for 2 minutes, then add the cider vinegar, chilli and salt. Mix well and cook for 1 minute. – Add the cooked rice and pomegranate seeds and cook for another 2-3 minutes before serving.
M AT T I N W O O D
H U G H D E W I N TO N
aLRIGHT, PUmPkIN? Meera Sodha shares a dish that’s gone down a right storm on her special menu at Thali Café…
Originally one of the winter specials at Thali Café restaurants in Bristol (one of which we’ve recently reviewed over on the website, oddly enough), this bad boy has gone down so well that the kitchen team have added it to the main menu as a staple dairy-free option. This place is hot on catering for free-from diets, so is a good one to hit up if you’re kicking off 2017 with a resolution to eat less meat and fewer animal products. The team are plotting some great things for this year (join the Thali Club to receive information and invites), and are carrying on their work with Indian food writer Meera Sodha, who came up with this warming pumpkin creation. It’s a really well-balanced dish: the sweetness of the silky smooth chunks of roasted pumpkin is countered by the earthiness of the beans, while the creamy coconut milk just takes the edge off the green chilli kick.
PUMPKIN, BLACK-EYED BEAN and COCONUT CURRY (SERVES 4) INGREDIENTS
1.2kg pumpkin or squash rapeseed oil 1 tbsp garam masala 2 tbsp coconut oil 1 tsp mustard seeds 2 green finger chillies, slit lengthways 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced 3 garlic cloves, crushed 1 x 400g tin black-eyed beans, drained 150g ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges ⅓ tsp ground turmeric 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk 10 fresh curry leaves, to serve (optional) METHOD
– Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/ gas mark 6. – Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out and discard the seeds, then cut it into crescents around 2cm big. – Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with the rapeseed oil and sprinkle over the garam masala. Season with 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper. Toss to coat evenly, then arrange on an oven tray in a single layer. Roast for 30 minutes, or until soft. – Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a large lidded frying pan over a medium heat and add the mustard seeds.
– When they pop, add the slit green chillies and the onion. Cook for 12 minutes, or until the onion is soft and golden, then add the garlic. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the drained beans and stir to mix together. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes until soft and jammy around the edges. – Next, add the turmeric, ⅓ tsp of black pepper, ½ tsp salt and the coconut milk. Tip the roasted pumpkin into the pan and stir to mix. Cover with the lid and leave to heat through for 5 minutes. Taste to check the salt and chilli levels, adjusting if you wish, then transfer to a serving dish. – If you like, you can finish off the dish with a quick curry leaf tarka: put 2 tbsp oil into a small frying pan over a medium-high heat. When hot, throw in the curry leaves and let them crackle and turn translucent in the oil. Pour this over the pumpkin mix and serve with your favourite sides. ✱ THALI CAFÉ, Bristol; thethalicafe.co.uk; recipe from Meera’s new book Fresh India (£20), published by Figtree, Penguin and available now
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William Hebditch from New Cross Fruit Farm
Elliott Lidstone from Box E
TOTAL PACKAGE The team at Total Produce reveal what it’s like working with proud food producers and demanding chefs, making sure that kitchens across Bristol are stocked full of ace ingredients
otal Produce is a one stop shop for professional kitchens. Not only is it well known for having the finest fruit and vegetables, but also for carrying a huge range of dairy and dry goods, all of which are delivered six days per week on their temperature-controlled vehicles. Dropoffs include everywhere from restaurants to schools and pubs to retailers. Whilst Total Produce has been wholesaling for over 50 years in the region, their foodservice business is a new addition, and as a new supplier in the area, has grown very quickly. The local management have over 70 years of experience in the fresh produce trade. That knowledge enables them to supply produce from all over the world as well as the local area that is fresh, in season and at great value for their customers. Dealing locally like this can benefit the local economy as well as the environment, while working directly with farmers and producers does great things for local communities. Total produce also regularly give their support to charitable causes across the region and over the past year have been proud sponsors of St Peters Hospice Tour De Bristol as well as supporting Fareshare South West and The Redcliffe Children Centre where chef Jo Ingleby teaches young children how exciting fresh fruit and vegetables can be by getting them involved in the preparation of their meals.
THE SUPPLIERS The team works closely with the best growers in the South West and, through the national Total Produce outfit, across the world, so can offer the widest possible range of fresh produce. New Cross Fruit Farm is a family-run growing business in the beautiful south Somerset countryside. Grower William Hebditch says: “We pride ourselves on our reputation for freshness and flavour, which we attribute to our well organised picking team and the terroir of Somerset! “As well as producing asparagus, rhubarb, gooseberries, raspberries, plums, cherries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, apples and pears, we hope to harvest blanched sea kale this year, which will be a real first! “We’ve worked with Total for a number of years and for the last three they have been our sole wholesale outlet. Our friends at Total have been great with tweeting our message to the world, and also pay us regularly – and on time! Total have helped raise our profile in the West Country and we have repaid their trust with some great produce.”
shortly after our restaurant opening,” says head chef and co-owner, Elliott Lidstone. “When selecting suppliers we visited the market and were made extremely welcome. The produce is stunning and we like that small and local farmers get a look in, and that they receive the recognition they deserve. “Sales rep Jay pops in at least once a week to check we’re happy. He’s eaten my food and seems genuinely interested in the menu. When discussing produce I know he’s thought it through and tailored it to me and the restaurant. I trust him to tell me when to wait for produce to be at its best, or suggest good alternatives. “Being able to ask about freshness, origin and price as I order is great. I change the menu frequently and build my dishes around seasonal produce that’s currently bang-on, rather than write the menu and get produce that’s not its best.“ So, whatever your catering needs happen to be, give Total Produce a shout, why don’t you, and see if they can hook you up.
THE CUSTOMERS The team do their absolute best to adhere to individual needs and tailor their service accordingly. One of the newer customers on their books is the much-raved-about restaurant, Box E, which is at Cargo in Bristol. “We built a great relationship with Total
www.totalproducelocal.co.uk/depot/bristolfoodservice; TPbristolJay; Total_DanB total_produce; Tel: 0117 300 7530; Email: Tpbristolsales@totalproduce.com
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Rupert Pitt of The White Hart in Widcombe adds a smoky, spicy edge to delicate hake
HAVE YOUR FILL-ET! 44
As co-owner and head chef at The White Hart in Widcombe, Rupert has a great rep in Bath for his food. During a 40-year career, he’s cooked at the likes of the popular Café du Marché in London, as well as Bath favourites like The Olive Tree and Beaujolais, before taking over The White Hart just over 12 years ago. Here, Rupert’s love of unpretentious food and down to earth approach have kept locals coming back year after year. And now you can learn to rustle up one of his current favourite dishes at home…
HAKE FILLET with BRAISED CHICKPEAS, CHORIZO, MUSSELS and SPINACH (SERVES 2) INGREDIENTS
100g dried chickpeas olive oil, for frying 25g onion, finely diced 25g fennel, finely diced 25g carrot, finely diced 25g celery, finely diced 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped spring of thyme, leaves picked and chopped 1 tsp smoked paprika small pinch chilli flakes 125ml white wine 150g tinned chopped tomatoes 250ml fish stock 1 cooking chorizo sausage 180g mussels 2 x 150g hake fillets ½ lemon, juice only 80g spinach leaves, washed handful chopped chervil and parsley extra virgin olive oil, to serve
flakes. Pour in the white wine (keeping a little bit back for the mussels), tinned tomatoes and fish stock, and reduce by ½. Add the drained chickpeas and simmer for 1 ½ hours. (This part can be prepared in advance and reheated.) – Peel the skin from the cooking chorizo and cook under the grill, then cut into cubes or slices. – Pour the remaining white wine into a lidded pot, add the mussels, and place the lid on top to let them steam. They’re done when the shells have opened. – Add the chorizo and mussels (and any remaining liquid in the pot) to the chickpea mixture. Warm over a low heat. – Pan-fry the hake fillets skin side down until crispy golden, then turn over and finish cooking for about 4 minutes. Add a good squeeze of lemon. – Add the spinach and chopped herbs to the chickpeas. Season to taste. – Serve in bowls with the hake on top, and drizzle with good olive oil. ✱ THE WHITE HART INN, Widcombe, Bath BA2 6AA; 01225 338053; whitehartbath.co.uk
A Grape Match!
With wine writer Angela Mount
– Soak the chickpeas overnight, then boil them in unsalted water until soft. Drain and leave them to one side. – Heat a glug of olive oil in a heavybottomed pan and fry the onion, fennel, carrot and celery until it all turns a light golden colour. – Add the finely chopped garlic and thyme, smoked paprika and chilli
El Mago Garnacha 2015 £10.95, Great Western Wine “This Spanish-style dish is rich enough to cope with a fruity red; light, soft, juicy red wines work really well with meaty fish dishes. This number is soft, silky, unoaked and organic to boot. Jam-packed with ripe cherry, strawberry and red-berry sweetness, with a dollop of spice, it’s lively, fresh and light enough to match the fish.”
A comforting one-pot winter warmer, packed with plenty of the good stuff…
This Malaysian-inspired curry is an ideal winter dinner. With warming spices and tender cubes of beef, it’ll heat you up on the coldest of nights! Covering the curry while it cooks for an hour really lets the flavours of all those lovely spices get into the meat, meaning the end result packs one heck of a tasty punch. Cooking the rendang slowly over a longer period of time also allows the flavours to develop and mingle with each other properly, not to mention makes that beef lovely and tender. Try serving with steamed Thali rice for an authentic Asian feel.
MALAYSIAN BEEF, SHALLOT and SWEET POTATO RENDANG (SERVES 4- 6)
3 tbsp vegetable oil 800g rump beef, cut into cubes 3 tbsp sesame oil 16 shallots, peeled and left whole 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed 4 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated 1 red chilli, seeded and finely diced 2 tsp turmeric 2 tsp ground cinnamon ½ cinnamon stick 1 tbsp Malaysian curry powder ½ tsp black pepper 4 strips lemon rind 250ml thick coconut milk 125ml beef stock 1 tsp sugar METHOD
– Heat the vegetable oil in a heavybased saucepan and sear the meat in batches. Remove the meat from the pan and keep warm. – Add the sesame oil and the shallots to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add the sweet potato, crushed garlic, ginger, chilli, turmeric, cinnamon (both the stick and the ground stuff), curry powder and black pepper, and cook for 2 minutes, making sure the spices are cooked and sizzling. – Add the beef, lemon rind, coconut milk and stock. Season well with the sea salt and the sugar. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. – If, after this time, the gravy is not thick enough, raise the heat and cook rapidly until it reaches the desired consistency. – Serve with steamed Thai rice. ✱ ukshallot.com
C H R I S
S T A I N E S
Sweet Child of Wine
Ever wondered what chefs’ favourite dishes are? Well, Chris Staines is about to share the recipe for his – inspired by an equally enjoyable wine…
t’s hard to say when my fascination with the mysterious world of spice began, but I’m pretty sure it was when I moved to London as a fresh-faced youth, seeking to further my career by working with the biggest names in the industry. Having grown up in rural Suffolk and the stunning Brecon Beacons National Park, the move to the Big Smoke was somewhat eye opening; the noise, the traffic, the fast pace, and – above all – the amazing diversity of the restaurants, cafés and markets. I suddenly had access to hundreds of new flavours and ingredients that were completely foreign to my markettown upbringing. I quickly started to realise that there was a whole culinary world out there, and that the French ‘fine dining’ style of food, which I was cooking every day at work, was just the tip of a vast and hugely exciting iceberg. In these hallowed temples of gastronomy even the use of ginger was considered a bit risqué, but just a few streets away there were restaurants using all sorts of ingredients, many of which I had never even heard of, let alone tasted. I became obsessed, and any money I managed to save was spent on eating out or on new cookbooks – a life-long habit which continues to this day. I would scour the London press and various guidebooks looking for places to eat, and I started to notice that while French was once my go-to choice, I was increasingly choosing restaurants that had an Asian influence. One day a friend and fellow chef told me about a restaurant in Belgravia called Nahm. He had eaten there recently, and assured me that this was the place to go for exciting Asian food. So I went. And – despite my less-thanaverage memory span, which I told you all about in my last column – I can clearly recall every mouthful of what was a mind-blowing and arguably lifechanging
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meal. I felt that my taste buds were working properly for, seemingly, the first time. Having not known what to order, I went a bit overboard. Course after course of food came from the kitchen, each one more intriguing and delicious than the last. Green papaya salad, tangy and vibrant with lime juice and chilli; red curry of scallops, rich, creamy and warm with a hug of Thai sweet basil; and grilled fish with tamarind and chilli relish. This was food. This was flavour. This was amazing! There were many stand-out dishes that evening, but one in particular impressed me so much that it is, to this day, one of my favourites of all time... About halfway through the meal, the kitchen sent out a small bowl of soup. Now, I’m not a huge soup fan if I’m honest, so I wasn’t expecting much, but as soon as I tasted that first mouthful I was hooked. This wasn’t soup, it couldn’t be. No soup had ever tasted like this before. It was creamy yet light, tangy with lime, hot with chilli and fragrant with lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime. I asked the waiter what it was and he informed me it was tom kha gai: a chicken and galangal soup. The reason I’m telling you all of this is because the wine I have chosen this month is the perfect foil for this wonderful soup, and, indeed, would complement most styles of Asian food. The wonderful Yealands Estate Pinot Gewurztraminer Riesling is an exquisitely made grown-up wine, and sells at a very reasonable £13.95. Gewurztraminer on its own can be a bit overwhelming, but here it adds a floral hint which works really well with the freshness that Riesling and Pinot bring to the party. The blend of the three grapes melting seamlessly into one another is wonderful. The soup itself is relatively easy to make too, and doesn’t take hours. Try both; you won’t be disappointed.
✱ Chris Staines is head chef at Allium at The Abbey Hotel in Bath, where he also hosts regular supper clubs. For more information and tickets, visit abbeyhotelbath.co.uk
TOM KHA GAI (SERVES 4)
200g coconut cream 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk 500ml chicken stock 1 tbsp palm sugar 4 stalks lemongrass, trimmed to the bottom 3-4 inches, and bruised 3 Thai shallots, peeled and sliced 2-3 bird’s eye chillies 10 slices galangal 3 kaffir lime leaves, centre stem removed, finely sliced 1 tin straw mushrooms (or you can use oyster, or even button mushrooms) 150g skinless chicken thigh or breast, sliced 2-3 tbsp fish sauce 2 limes, juice only extra chillies (optional) 1 tbsp coriander or Thai basil leaves, chopped
– In a large saucepan, combine the coconut cream, milk and chicken stock. Bring to a slow simmer and season with a pinch of salt and the palm sugar. – Then add the lemongrass, shallots, bird’s eye chillies, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. Simmer for a few minutes and then add the mushrooms and chicken. – Turn the heat down and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Season the soup with the fish sauce, lime juice, extra chillies, and coriander leaves. Start with lesser amounts and add to taste.
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WORK IT OUT We’ve spoken to local experts to get some ace pre- and post-work out recipes, so you can slay at the gym this January…
ROAST CHICKEN SPELTOTTO
“Porridge is a great breakfast option,” says Claire Watson of Bath Yummy Mummies, a female-focused training studio. “It's high in good fat and slowreleasing carbohydrate properties, which are so much more beneficial than commercial cereals. However, porridge’s lack of protein means that it's not always the best option when trying to build up a lean muscle mass – so this is how I make mine…”
“Muscles use available protein to re-build within a few hours of working out,” explain Amelia and Anna from Bath’s female-only gym, Moo-Vit. “If your main goal is to build muscle, then you will need to eat at least 30g of protein and up to 35g of carbs within 45 minutes of working out.”
“Wholegrain spelt is a fantastic source of slow-release energy, which means it will sustain you very well,” says founder of Sharpham Park, Roger Saul.
25ml almond milk 50ml water 100g porridge oats 1 scoop of rice or pea protein powder (available from all good health food shops) cocoa, grated or powdered – Put the oats and water in a pan. Heat on a moderate temperature until softened, then slowly add the protein. – When everything has come together and is warming nicely, pour the almond milk in so that the texture is a bit looser. – Lastly, grate over some cacoa chocolate for an extra treat. Then serve immediately, with berries of your choice. bathyummymummies.co.uk
2 onions 3 cloves garlic 2 carrots 2 celery sticks 2 red peppers 1 red chilli, de-seeded 1 tbsp coconut oil 1 tsp chilli powder (or to taste) 1 heaped tsp ground cumin 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp paprika 2 tins chopped tomatoes 1 tbsp tomato purée 1 organic beef stock cube 1 tin black beans 1 tin kidney beans 500g organic lean minced beef ½ bunch fresh coriander 1 square of dark chocolate ½ tsp dried marjoram – Blitz or finely chop the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, pepper and chilli. – Fry this in the oil with the spices until soft. Add the meat and fry until brown. – Pour in the tomatoes, purée, and stock cube. Let it reduce. Add beans. – Simmer for up to 2 hours. When ready, stir in the chocolate. moo-vit.fitness
3 shallots, finely chopped 200g pearled spelt 200ml dry white or red wine 1ltr chicken or vegetable stock 70g unsalted butter a few thyme sprigs 1 garlic clove, bruised 200g wild mushrooms, thinly sliced cooked chicken, shredded 115g crème fraîche 60g grated Parmesan – Fry shallots in olive oil for 3 mins until soft and translucent. Add spelt and sauté for 2 mins, stirring constantly. Add wine and continue to stir. Reduce to a low simmer and add stock a little at a time, waiting for it to be absorbed before adding more. Simmer until tender. – Melt 50g of the butter with olive oil and the thyme and garlic. Once foaming, remove the thyme sprigs and the garlic so that it doesn’t burn, then add the mushrooms, season, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and heat through, then add the crème fraîche and stir until the mixture thickens. – Combine everything together, including the Parmesan and remaining butter. sharphampark.com
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Armoury CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS
BOX CLEVER Little Boy Blue meets Lily the Pink in these clever squishable lunch boxes. And, says Matt Bielby, they come in grown-up sizes too…
Blimey, they’re bright! I’m assuming that’s pink for a girl, blue for a boy, yes? Could be. Up to you, really. After all, pink was the colour for little boys, and blue for little girls, right up until World War II or thereabouts. Think of all the famous female characters who wear blue, for instance – Alice, Cinderella, Snow White, the Virgin Mary, her out of Avatar… Oh, come on. There’s no real evidence for this, is there…? Well, perhaps not as much as I might hope for. Yes, there’s a famous 1918 quote from Earnshaw’s, the American fashion trade mag: “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger colour, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl”. But beyond that, real evidence is thin on the ground.
THIS MONTH crumbsmag.com
Why the change, then? No-one’s really sure, but everyone seems to have an opinion. The popularity of sailor suits for boys, maybe? Elegant ’50s women’s fashions in pink, like in the musical Funny Face? Simply companies trying to flog more kit? Goodness knows – but one thing’s certain. These days you’d be taking your life in your hands offering the top box here to a girl, and the bottom to a boy. I wondered when you were going to get around to mentioning those boxes. Yep! They’re called Flat Stacks, they’re from Wowzr, and they’re good for school meals, while the larger versions will keep an entire family meal fresh. This lunch pair even come with cutlery. Then, when you’ve eaten up, they fold pretty much flat, giving you less bulk to lug home – or store. In collapsed form they’ll still hold a small amount, though – fine for leftovers in the fridge, say.
What are they, then? Some sort of clever plastic? Silicon, actually – which is tougher, and less prone to stains and smells. They’re 100-percent airtight, BPA free, microwave safe, and come in four differently sized (but identically priced) sets, from this pair of lunch boxes to four medium-sized round ones, or two massive rectangular ones. Each set is twenty quid a pop. But what if I have two boys? Once again, it’s your call. But finding a friend with two girls and doing a swap might be the safest way…
✱ Whatever set you buy, it’s £20; check ’em out at wowzr.co.uk
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The Supper Club
The HUNGeR GameS Top female cooks descend on Bristol for a pretty special supper club, in support of Action Against Hungerâ€¦ Words by JESSICA CARTER Photos by EMLI BENDIXEN
Among the many guests at this epic feast, we spotted wine writer Fiona Beckett, foodie art director Matt Inwood, and head honcho of Bristol Food Connections Aine Morris â€“ they werenâ€™t going to miss this
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y ou know how much of a struggle it is to organise a get-together with a decent number of mates? Getting your ideal guest list all in the same room at the same time is something you can only really achieve if you’re willing to get married for the cause. However difficult us normals find it, imagine if all your mates are chefs and cooks – the kind that run restaurants, write books, swan around TV sets, and travel all over the country (heck, the world) on foodie projects. That’s got to be a bummer, right? Even a wedding might not cut it in this instance... So, it was a pretty impressive feat for Romy Gill (y’know, from Romy’s Kitchen in Thornbury) and mate Kim Somauroo (home economist to the culinary stars) to get a host of food heroes from Bristol and way beyond in the same kitchen, on the same day. Like, before any food is even cooked that deserves a ‘well done’ and pat on the back, right? But as tall an order as it was, Romy and Kim bloomin’ well managed it. And, in fact, those logistical challenges were literally just the beginning… This, the Severn Sisters Feast, was all dreamt up to raise funds for Action Against Hunger, a global charity that has workers on the ground in almost 50 countries, tackling hunger and malnourishment by helping bring food security, access to clean water, and education to communities. This compelling cause saw people from across the food industry gather in a yurt in Bristol to support the event, be that by providing ingredients,
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( the supper club )
Top Lane, Whitley, Wiltshire SN12 8QX 01225 704966 T f @peartreewhitley
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 supper club ) Rosie Birkett hot footed it over to Bristol from the Big Smoke for the event, while Chetna came from Kent
offering up the venue, coming to cook, or buying tickets to chow down. And those tickets were hot property too, with the promise of a culinary lineup including local well-knowns such as Xanthe Clay, Elly Curshen (Pear, Curshen, whichever she goes by to you), and (obvs) Romy Gill. And that’s not forgetting the cooks who’d come from further afield: Olia Hercules, Natasha Corrett, Alissa Timoshkina, Chetna Makan, Eleonora Galasso, Laura Field and Rosie Birkett. I mean, that’s like Glastonbury in chef form, right? Pretty rock ’n’ roll. With Yurt Lush’s fires roaring, guests arrived to a toasty dining room, the warm yellow glow an inviting contrast
to the dark, cold winter evening outside. After a bit of a mingle with a glass of something wet and bubbly, diners shuffled down the benches that lined the long, communal tables, ready for Xanthe’s wild rabbit rilettes, which came with Hobbs House sourdough to smear it on, as well as pickled veg. Next, Eleonora (Italian cook and author of As the Romans Do) served her own take on an Italian classic, ribollita soup, which was thick, chunky and warming – and saw her visit each table to add extra crushed chestnuts on top. Great British Bake Off star Chetna served up lentil-stuffed kachori with a moreish tamarind chutney for dipping, while Olia Hercules sent out
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Eleonora presents Elly’s potato dish (bottom left), while the Olia Hercules dumplings (far right) you can make yourself
matay (that’s steamed dumplings to you and me). She’d rolled out the dough by hand, and spent what we can only imagine to be the entire day shaping them all individually. (Seriously, we saw video evidence.) Filled with tender, flavoursome pork, they were served with uber-crisp onion and a drizzle of golden melted butter. Ms Honestly Healthy herself, Natasha, had come up with a dish of halloumi with a claret-coloured smoked garlic and beetroot purée, while cook, food writer and café owner Elly cooked us roast potatoes with sprouts and her famous Golden Amazing Sauce. Next arrived the offering of Rosie (food journalist, cook and author of East London Food). She’d created her own version of Egyptian street food
OLIA HERCULES’ MANTY (TARTAR STEAMED DUMPLINGS) (MAKES 20)
For the water dough: 1 large egg, lightly beaten 150ml water 300–350g ‘00’ or plain flour, plus extra for dusting For the filling: 250g boneless pork belly or shoulder 150g onion, finely diced 50g butter, plus extra to serve sunflower or other flavourless oil METHOD
dish koshari, a zesty, carby muddle of macaroni, rice, celeriac, dried cranberry and pine nuts, served with rose harissa yoghurt. Romy and Alissa, meanwhile, were all about the slow-cooked goat curry, which had an uber-comforting, almost ragu-like flavour. Food stylist, photographer and cook Laura took care of dessert, by way of a lovely soft pear cake. That’s a lot of grub from a lot of chefs, right? And we bet they left a lot closer pals that they arrived – that kitchen at Yurt Lush is cosy, to say the least. But, after popping our head around the door for a cheeky nose at the action, we can’t tell you how ace it was to see a kitchen full of badass women cooks – a site so rare that we’re not even sure David Attenborough has caught a similar one on film as yet. But why only female cooks? Well, why the heck not?
✱ Missed out on tickets? Check out Action Against Hunger’s website for other ways you can help this ace cause; actionagainsthunger.org.uk
– First make the dough. Mix the egg and water together in a bowl, then gradually add the flour and mix it in well; if you feel that there isn’t enough flour, add slightly more. – Knead the dough on a well-floured work surface until it stops sticking to your hands. What you are looking for is a firm (or as we call it in Ukraine, tight), elastic dough. – Wrap the dough in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to help the gluten relax. – Slice the pork into thin strips and then cut it across as finely as you can. You are basically making hand-chopped mince here. – Add the onion to the meat in a bowl, season really well with salt, and mix thoroughly with your hands. – Divide the water dough into 2 equal pieces and roll each piece into a sausage shape. Cut each sausage into 10 x 25g pieces. – Roll each piece into a rough 12cm square. Place 1 tbsp of the meat mixture in the centre of each square and a tiny knob of the butter on top of the filling. Pull up 2 edges of the square and press them firmly together above the meat. Do the same with the 2 others, creating an X-shape with the edges. Now join the ‘ears’ by joining the corners, turning the X shape into a figure 8 shape. – Lightly oil a steamer and pop the manty in. Steam them for 45-50 minutes, or until the filling inside is cooked. Serve with melted butter drizzled on top.
HAVING A PARTY? This section of Crumbs is all about foodie celebrations with style. Could you do it better than these guys, or any of our other recent Supper Club hosts? If so, send venue pics and 50 words on why you’re the host with the most to: email@example.com
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The Greenhouse Restaurant is a stylish all day dining destination located in the Pavilion at the heart of Wadswick Green. Relax in an elegant and modern setting, with beautiful views across the Wiltshire countryside.
SEASONAL SLURPS Drinks for the kids, grown-up softies and warmer tipples with more of a kick: Ashridge has you covered
Wellness Month at Wadswick Green Come in from the cold and join us for Wellness Month at Wadswick Green throughout January. Dine from our healthy and delicious menu in the Greenhouse, including vitamin boosting smoothies, wellbeing mocktails and cocktails too, and detoxify and restore your sparkle after the busy festive season in the spa. Check out our website for menus, offers and promotions www.wadswickgreen.co.uk and www.thegreenhousewg.co.uk The Greenhouse Restaurant is open Mon-Sat from 9am-11pm and Sun 10am-8pm (last orders at 6pm).
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 PAVILION | WADSWICK GREEN | CORSHAM SN13 9RD
ou needn’t wait until summer to slurp on a good apple-based brew – cider is a drink to be enjoyed all year round. During the winter months try our Mulled and Spicy Ashridge Artisan Cider. This warming, spicy, mulled cider will hit the spot on a cold winter’s night. To make it, we’ve added secret festive spices to our Devon Gold cider, with the result being a fruity, comforting and very drinkable tipple. Heat gently and serve straight away by a log fire with the back door closed and your feet up. If you’re done with parties and festivities, why not ease yourself into the New Year with your favourite from our delicious range of organic sparkling soft drinks? Although better known for our delicious ciders, we at Ashridge have created a top-quality range of organic sparkling soft drinks with a touch of fizz. All sparkling, all organic and all very delicious. We don’t compromise on quality and use only the best ingredients in these drinks, which we blend, process and pack ourselves. For instance, last June we were all out in the hedgerows picking armfuls of elderflowers and making tanks full of cordial with squeezed lemons and some sugar. We add water and a bit of fizz to make it into our Elderflower Pressé – it’s like summer in a bottle. Our apple juice drinks are simplicity itself, Cloudy Lemonade pleasingy old fashioned, and Ginger Beer zesty and spicy. Available on our website and in Bristol shops and bars: • Mulled cider in a box of 6 x 75cl – perfect for gifts • Mulled cider in a 20ltr bag in a box – just right for pubs and parties • Sparkling soft drinks (24 x 33ml) – a treat for children and adults
ashridgecider.co.uk; @AshridgeCider; 01364 654749
1 SIGNATURE HAND-HELD SHARPENER, £22 KNIFE SHARPENER We know that a steel has always been the most trusted way to sharpen those precious knives, but we’ve even seen pros use this – and it came highly recommended! Way more simple than getting the hang of a steel, this lets you keep your blades on top form with no effort. Available from Robert Welch in Bath. ✱ robertwelch.com
THE WA N T LI S T
2 VACU VIN SWIRLING CARAFE £44.99 This is definitely something to whip out at a dinner party: with its specially designed cork base, it just requires a little nudge and will willingly set about swirling your wine and getting it nice and aerated. And it’s a pretty great conversation starter, we bet. Get yours from Kitchens in Bath or Bristol. ✱ kitchenscookshop.co.uk
We’ve been on a gadget hunt this month…
3 MORPHY RICHARDS SPIRALIZER EXPRESS £49.99 This bad boy will surely help give your five-a-day (or seven, whichever you’re aiming for) intake a bit of a boost, easily turning veggies into highly nutritious, quick-tocook ribbons. Available from Leekes in Melksham. ✱ leekes.co.uk 4 CRUMB PET DOGSHAPED MINI VACUUM CLEANER £4.95 Why has this not been in our lives sooner, we ask you? This mini table-top vacuum will take care of all the crumbs spilled at dinner, and will probably see you actually enjoying the hoovering for once. From Rossiters in Bath. ✱ rossitersofbath.com
5 SWEET SPOT ICE CREAM MAKER £38.79 This gadget promises hours of fun. Store it in the freezer then, when you need (okay, quite fancy) some ice cream, just pour whatever ingredients you like onto the plate and mix until frozen. You can make slushies and froyos too, y’know. From Lakeland in Bath and Bristol. ✱ lakeland.co.uk
7 M 1 O 20 O R RY W A O RU SH EB F EW N ING N PE O
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elly-Marie Hicks, head kitchen designer at Homemaker Bath, has inspired so many clients over the last 10 years. One of her latest projects is this open-plan kitchen in the Cornish holiday home (Trewhella) of a Bath customer: the brief was to come up with a modern design that ties in with the seaside environment. Like many beautiful properties, Trewhellaâ€™s kitchen is the centrepiece of the house. The open-plan kitchen, dining and living areas flow effortlessly into one another. A spacious kitchen island provides the idyllic social set-up, lined with bar stools and overlooking
an airy seating area next to the wood fire. This is all surrounded by views of the wraparound gardens and meadow. Numerous Velfac doors slide open to welcome the outside in, and a Sonos wireless music system sets the soundtrack. Appliances include double Neff ovens, Neff induction hob, American-style fridge-freezer, dishwasher, and instant-boil Quooker tap for no-fuss, no-wait tea rounds! This was particularly important to the client, who wanted a coffee bar area almost like a kitchen with in a kitchen... In terms of the colour scheme, the client asked for ice white quartz work tops offset by grey and bursts of purple. Plush furnishings, luxurious fabrics and vibrant artwork are set against cool grey slate flooring and a flood of natural light from the many floor-to-ceiling windows and patio doors, which allow summer breezes to drif through on balmy days. Meanwhile, while the log fire warms the cosy space during the winter. To see more of this kitchen, visit perfectstays.co.uk/property/trewhella
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Mains TOP CULINARY CAUSES, FAB FOOD DESTINATIONS, AND PEOPLE THAT MATTER
It’s not just Bath and Bristol that saw great new openings; Bradfordon-Avon has done rather well for itself with this place, too
Highlights SPICE CITY
Are you making the most of these so-called superfoods? Page 76
THE YEAR IN REVIEW
How the local dining scene changed in 2016 Page 87
SPICES to get you warmed up and feeling healthy...
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BaBY Th I N k spice
The original spice girl Kalpna Woolf is shunning doomed, yawn-inducing New Year diets and fads; she’s all about warmth, comfort and nutrition – all year round
t the start of every year, writes Kalpna, a lot of us resolve to be healthier. So we renew that gym membership, splash out on a ludicrously overpriced smoothie-maker, or hunt down the latest ‘healthy’ cookery book. By February, though (if not before), the daily rush to the gym has slowed along with our achy muscles, and all the resolve to eat better has been binned – as have the oh-so worthy foods we stocked our kitchen cupboards with. We’re human after all. And the truth is that it’s pretty much impossible – and certainly downright inconvenient – to sustain over-zealous new fitness routines and stick to dull, uninspiring diets. So what’s the solution, given we want to treat our body right and get excited about mealtimes? Well, find foods that are both great tasting and nutritious – obviously. And the best news is that said foods are probably already sitting in the darker recesses of our kitchen cupboards... Spices are like a foodie elixir – they add a wallop of flavour to almost any dish, are packed full of medicinal and nutritional benefits, and come with the historical endorsement of some of our oldest civilisations. These endorsements are still significant in modern times too, as we search for the best, tastiest, most nutritional foods, to help keep us on top form. It’s a fact: super spices can seriously help to supercharge your health. And they’re all natural – no additives, colours or flavours, just one ingredient. Simple. So, if we can understand how
to use and combine spices in our food, and realise their health benefits, we can eat in a way that can keep us nourished and enjoying our food, all year round. In modern times, chefs have acknowledged that spices can reduce the need for added salt, flavourings, colours and sweetness, as they naturally embody all these properties. Historically, spices were traded for their healing powers and their exotic flavours; some were even used to ward off evil. (Honestly – my family still burn chillies to keep bad forces at bay!) So, what exactly is a super spice? Well, all spices contain health benefits, but super spices are the big health hitters. Recent research is showing that these ingredients can have a powerful effect on your health, helping to protect you from illnesses and aiding the healing process when you’re poorly. From the positive influence they can have on serious conditions such as dementia, low brain function, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer, to keeping everyday bugs at bay and even supporting weight loss, spices are getting great press. A key scientific breakthrough in the last few years has led to a real understanding of the role oxidants play in damaging cells in our bodies. Spices, as it so happens, are at the top of the leader board of foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. And there’s even evidence to suggest that eating spices can make you happier – it causes your body to release endorphins, which lift your mood and make you feel more upbeat.
THE SUPER SPICES
TURMERIC Turmeric is the king of spices. It is a knobbly root and is usually used dried and ground into a powder, but is becoming easier to buy fresh. Turmeric contains a powerful active compound called curcumin, which is thought to relieve inflammation. This means that turmeric may well be capable of both aiding joint problems and combating bacterial infections, and recent scientific studies are even investigating its positive effects on cancer, heart disease and Alzheimers. Anecdotally, its antiseptic properties meant that as a child growing up in a Hindu family, I went to school many times with a bright yellow knee or arm, where turmeric had been rubbed onto a graze or a surface cut by my mother. In Indian weddings turmeric is mixed in with flour and made into dough, which is thought to be cleansing. It is then rubbed over the bride and bridegroom’s skin to beautify the happy couple in a ceremony the day before the wedding. Turmeric is a main ingredient in many curries – it’s what gives the sauce its deep yellow colour and vibrancy. If you think eating curry every day might be pushing it a bit, though, get on-trend and make yourself an immune-boosting cup of ‘golden tea’; a warming drink of turmeric, ginger and milk. Or you can add the spice to soups, vegetables and meat dishes, and mix into biscuits and chutneys for a health-boost.
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GINGER If turmeric is king in the spice jungle, then ginger is its rightful queen. Ginger may be a humble-looking root, but it is a highly potent spice. Itâ€™s perfect for our modern lives, too; the effects of busyness and stress, lack of sleep and not eating well can begin to be counteracted by adding ginger to dishes, while a warm drink of fresh ginger, lemon and honey is also thought to help keep bugs away by supporting our immune systems. It calms our bodies, feels good and, most importantly perhaps, it tastes great. Ginger more than earns its place in our store cupboards through the chilly winter months, by doing its bit to fight colds and flu. Try adding it to stir-fries for a gentle heat and delicious flavour boost.
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BURNS NIGHT SUPPER Friday 27th January An evening celebrating Robbie Burns, homemade haggis and a wee dram.
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SLOW-COOKED HANOI HOT POT (SERVES 4)
Vietnam’s climate produces many spices, and the Vietnamese have a long tradition of using them in their food for taste but also for their healing powers. This hotpot includes signature spices of star anise and cinnamon, with garlic and ginger all producing an intense flavour. You can swap the beef for lean lamb or chicken. INGREDIENTS
500g lean braising beef 2 tbsp dark soy sauce 5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled 2 garlic cloves, peeled 2 hot green chillies, slit down the middle 1 tbsp runny honey 2 tbsp olive oil 3 large eschalion shallots, chopped 1 cinnamon stick 2 star anise 2 bay leaves 750ml hot low-salt beef stock 120g shiitake mushrooms (fresh or dried) 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced METHOD
– Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/ gas mark 3. – Put the beef in a large bowl and add the soy sauce. Place the ginger, garlic and chilli in a food processor and process until it’s finely chopped, then add to the beef. Drizzle in the honey and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave for 10-15 minutes. – Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof, heavybased saucepan over a medium heat. Shake the marinade off the beef (keep the marinade aside) and quickly brown the beef in batches in the oil. Return the meat to the pan and add the shallots, cinnamon stick, star anise and bay leaf. Pour in the marinade and beef stock, then bring to the boil. Place the pan in the hot oven and cook for 1 hour. – After 1 hour, add the shiitake mushrooms and carrots to the beef, and cook for a further 45-60 minutes, or until the meat is tender. The sauce should be rich and thick. Add salt, if needed. – Remove the star anise and cinnamon stick before serving with steamed broccoli and kale.
CHILLI As a nation, we have enthusiastically embraced chillies since they came over to our shores, and now get through a lot of them. Chillies aren’t just used in Indian cookery either; they are at the heart of Mexican, South Asian, African, Chinese, South American and Mediterranean cuisines, too. There are hundreds of varieties of chilli and the heat levels range from scorching hot to mild and sweet. Often the name of a chilli variety is a giveaway in terms of its intensity – naga (meaning snake) and scorpion chillies are, you guessed it, not for the faint-hearted! Chillies are positively packed with vitamin C – a well-known immune booster and great supporter of overall health – and contain seven
times as much of it as an orange. They also have particularly high levels of antioxidants, vitamin A, many B vitamins and a range of minerals including iron and potassium. Along with this, chillies impressively come with added benefits – they contain an active component called capsaicin which gives chillies their familiar sense of burning on our tongues, and it’s this heat that triggers chemical endorphins in our body to makes us feel more happy. Not bad, eh? [For more on this, see p8.] Like most spices, chillies elevate both savoury and sweet dishes. They will add zing and pizzazz to breakfast, lunch and dinner, and also twin nicely with chocolate.
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The world’s love of Cinnamon goes back to ancient history; it’s been heralded as a spice with health properties for many centuries, dating back to the ancient Egyptians who used it for medicinal purposes. They’d preserve foods with it, as well as cook with it. Chinese medicine, meanwhile, believed it warmed the body and helped fight infections, colds and flu. Cinnamon is a powerhouse of antioxidants; its preventative and curative properties are fuelling academic research. It packs one of the highest punches in terms of antioxidants, which help fight the free radicals in our bodies which can mutate to cause diseases. Cinnamon can sort you out with a natural sweet fix, without having the yo-yo effect of sugar. It also helps to regulate insulin levels as it reduces blood sugar, and, if you suffer from muscle-soreness after exercise, it can even help to ease this, too.
Recipe and images from Spice yourself Slim by Kalpna Woolf, published by Pavilion Books
CL A RE W I N F I E L D
CINNAMON It isn’t just the big spice beasts that we hear about every day which have health properties, though; most spices contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Humble and aromatic fennel seeds are a good source of potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamins B and C. Similarly, pungent fenugreek seeds contain vitamins and minerals, and are rich in antioxidants. Meanwhile, carom seeds (or bishop weed) contain essential oil Thymol, which is an antiseptic and has antiinflammatory properties. Even star anise is a good source of vitamins. Learning how to use and combine spices in our everyday foods can really help transform bland, mundane dishes into food we relish eating. And making spices part of our daily lives can give us tangible long-term health benefits, too. Hurrah!
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Sure, last year was a bit of a weird one, but as well as all those curveballs it threw, it chucked a stonkin’ number of exciting new foodie launches our way, too. Here, Mark Taylor tells the story of 2016’s dining scene in Bath and Bristol…
y any standards, 2016 was an exceptional year for new openings in Bristol, with an unprecedented number of launches confirming the city’s status as having the most impressive food scene outside London. The year kicked off with the opening of one of the most exciting new restaurants Bristol has seen for a long time. Adelina Yard on Welsh Back is the first venture for Jamie Randall and Olivia Barry, who had previously worked in such notable London establishments as Galvin, Murano and Odette’s. Signature dishes like fermented kale, hand-rolled cavatelli, slow-cooked egg, goat’s cheese and chives demonstrated a highly skilled kitchen serving vibrant, modern cooking at its best. Also overlooking the water, Michelinstarred Casamia relocated to the old General Hospital in January, and then launched its own pizzeria, Pi Shop, next door in the summer. Most recently, the brilliant Paco Tapas opened to complete the team’s hat trick (see our review on page 110). With a bit of forward planning, you could probably visit all three in a single day – and what a day it would be... Pi Shop is one of several new highquality pizzerias to open in Bristol over the past few months, including Bertha’s, whose first permanent site appeared in Wapping Wharf in August. Run by former McLaren Formula 1 team engineer Graham Faragher and his wife Kate, Bertha’s is named after the restaurant’s three-ton, mosaic-covered pizza oven, which runs at a temperature of around 500C and can cook pizzas in under 90 seconds. Seasonal toppings on the sublime sourdough bases include mozzarella, peaches, red onion and goat’s curd. Bertha’s wasn’t the only reason Wapping Wharf became Bristol’s new foodie hub in 2016, mind. Alongside openings from Better Food, Mokoko, Wild Beer and Small Street Espresso sibling Little Victories, this regenerated
spot behind M-Shed also saw the longawaited launch of Cargo. A two-storey-high collection of shipping containers, Cargo is now home to Michelin-starred chef Josh Eggleton’s Chicken Shed, MasterChef finalist Larkin Cen’s contemporary Chinese restaurant Woky Ko, pork-inspired Pigsty, and the first permanent eatery from upmarket pie and mash merchants, Lovett Pies. But it was the opening of Box-E – a 14-cover fine dining restaurant run by Elliott Lidstone and his wife Tess – that truly stood out at Cargo this year. There’s already talk that it just might get its mitts on Bristol’s next Michelin star, thanks to precisely cooked dishes like smoked bacon and snails with parsnip soup and onglet, celeriac purée and caper dressing. Watch this space. Bristol’s reputation as a serious food city continues to attract major London restaurant chains, too. In May, popular Vietnamese street food chain Pho moved into Clare Street in the city’s old banking district, whilst The Ivy Clifton Brasserie brought a genuine dash of London glamour to an old bank in Clifton Village. The arrival of Russell Norman’s cool Soho-born operation Polpo caused plenty of excitement when it opened on Whiteladies Road in the autumn too, bringing with it delicious Venetian small plates twinned with a buzzy Soho vibe.
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The Italian theme continued with the launch of Pasta Loco on Cotham Hill. The first business from local cousins Ben Harvey and Dominic Borel, this small family-run restaurant has made regional Italian pasta dishes exciting again, and has quickly become one of Bristol’s most popular restaurants, bagging awards along the way. Even smaller but just as buzzy (and as quirky as it gets) is Zitto & Bevi. It’s a tiny osteria just off Stokes Croft, based on the small, cramped wine bars in Italian backstreets where locals congregate over home-cooked food and good wine. The lasagne and baked polenta dishes are well worth a detour. Just down the road from there, on Stokes Croft itself, Elliot Doney opened Kale & Kettle, a vegetarian café serving such delights as vermicelli rice noodles in a hot coconut broth, and West African akkras (black-eyed pea fritters) with sesame kale slaw and citrus aioli. Bristol’s appetite for local produce and sustainability showed no sign of waning with the launch of Old Market Assembly in West Street. Owned by the team behind The Canteen and No.1 Harbourside, this café/bar/bakery/theatre/music venue (that’s a lot of slashes) makes noise about using as much locally sourced produce as possible, and exec chef Scott Hislop creates big-flavoured dishes for pocketpleasing prices. Also, sleek new Indian restaurant Nutmeg may have a menu inspired by the 29 states of the Subcontinent (as you can learn in our review on page 104), but it’s very much local produce that you’ll find in the kitchen, much of which is sourced within three miles of the city. The team behind The Ox, Pata Negra and Milk Thistle have yet to back a loser – and their latest project, Bambalan on Colston Street, is no exception. A sprawling, 300-cover, all-day affair, its vibrant Mediterranean food proved a big hit over the summer, when the terrace overlooking the city centre became the place to be seen. And it wasn’t just the city centre and north Bristol that saw a raft of new openings last year. East Bristol is now one of the city’s most soughtafter locations for first-time house buyers, having gained exciting
Clockwise from top left: Adelina Yard set the standard for 2016 early with its January opening; Box-E was perhaps the most exciting launch of all at Cargo; Bambalan’s roof terrace was the place to be when it opened in the summer; Pasta Loco still has has the whole city talking; Polpo has become a favourite spot for great drinks and quality food.
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Retreat here in the Clifton café for a delicious fusion of Native Sicily and the West Country The café offers; great homemade food which include Daily Specials, Main meals, Panini, Rosarios real own blend Italian Coffee, loose leaf teas, homemade cakes and all day breakfasts. Here you will also find some of Sicily’s traditional foods such as the Ricotta filled cannoli, Almond pastries and Arancini. We have a great choice for vegetarians and those needing gluten free options. BRISTOL 0117 3179806 • firstname.lastname@example.org 99 Queens Road Bristol BS8 1LW
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Clockwise from left: the seasonal, foraged food at Wilsons has gone down a storm; The Cauldron has received national press; and The Jetty is making waves on Corn St
new neighbourhood eateries in Este Kitchen, a Latin American-inspired café in Greenbank, and The Lock Up, a café, bar and restaurant in St George. Elsewhere around the city, new joints popped up at an unprecedented rate. Tincan on North Street fast became one of the best new coffee shops in Southville, whilst 25A Old Market – sibling of No.12 Easton – brought excellent coffee and food (at last) to Old Market Street. Other new openings included The Nook, a smart bar serving an interesting menu in a rejuvenated Redcliffe pub, and Rosario’s, which is continuing its success in Bath by opening a second café in an old print shop in Clifton. That’s a lot of new openings, right? Well it’s not even the half of it. Amy Devenish of The Gloucester Old Spot in Horfield also opened a second familyfriendly gastropub, The Duck & Willow, in Downend, whilst the Westbury-onTrym branch of Flour & Ash expanded its menu beyond the award-winning pizzas with an all-day café offering, including breakfasts, brunches and lunches, made in the pizza oven. Bristol has always majored on the quirky, and Chance & Counters on Christmas Steps certainly fits into that category nicely. The city’s first dedicated board gaming café, it’s the only place you can enjoy a grilled Wookey Hole aged Cheddar and tomato panini whilst playing Connect 4. One of the most interesting openings of the year was The Cauldron in St Werburghs, run by Henry Eldon and his
partner, Lauren. It’s a unique restaurant for Bristol in that it has no gas in the kitchen, just pits of charcoal, a 60-litre cast iron cauldron, and a Victorian iron stove. Much of the produce on the menu is sourced within a short distance from the kitchen, including ingredients delivered on foot by local growers, and the food is so good that it has already gained a glowing review from The Guardian’s Marina O’Loughlin. The same respected London critic has also waxed lyrical about new Redland bistro Wilsons, run by Jan Ostle and his wife, Mary. Ostle previously cooked at some noteworthy restaurants in London, and his assured cooking and use of game and foraged ingredients ensured Wilsons was one of the hottest new Bristol
openings in a year that was positively packed with them. It might not have sea views, but The Jetty restaurant in the new Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa opened in October and made an immediate splash with its fish and seafood offering. Occupying the ground floor of the former Midland Bank, it’s part of a fast-expanding collection of Harbour hotels, and standout dishes include South Coast lobster and quail pie with truffle mash and Madeira sauce (review on page 112). Somewhere that definitely does have a sea view, though, is the new Bistrot Pierre on Weston-super-Mare’s front. We’re hoping it’s the first of more new good-quality eateries in the Victorian seaside town just outside of Bristol.
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Clockwise from right: The Locksbrook Inn is the lastest venture from The Bath Pub Co.; Dough is bringing something a little different to the local pizza scene; and The Curfew is enjoying a new lease of life
ath is not exactly short of pizza places, but few have taken the concept as far as Dough, which opened in The Corridor in March. Run by Emiliano Tunno and Massimo Nucaro, the USP is that people can choose alternative bases, as well as traditional sourdough. These include gluten-free, hemp, turmeric, seaweed, multi-grain and even chocolate. They also have an amazing fried pizza, and a vegan pizza with vegan cheese. The Curfew on Cleveland Place West has been a watering hole since Victorian times, but new owners Emily and Dan Brew completely refurbished it in 2016 and it now boasts a modern and chic interior with regular live music and DJs, locally sourced food, and popular deals. Toby Brett continued to expand his Banwell House group by opening The New Inn in Monmouth Place, which is his fifth pub in the region. A free house serving a range of cask ales and burgers, it is also gaining a good reputation for its well-priced Sunday roasts. Meanwhile, Joe Cussens and Justin Sleath continued to add to the Bath Pub
Company portfolio with the launch of The Locksbrook, a family-friendly, allday gastropub by the canal, delivering the same high level of quality and style as sister pubs The Marlborough Tavern, The Chequers and Hare & Hounds. With so many quality new pubs opening, Bath’s craft ale fans were spoiled for choice in 2016, and no more so than at Hunter & Sons in Milsom Place. As well as range of excellent beers on tap, James Hunter’s cool venue also serves expertly made speciality coffee and irresistible dishes like buttermilkfried chicken waffles. In other news, Circo relocated to the space underneath The Porter, a move that which has seen the introduction of light bites by Clayton’s Kitchen, such as crispy pork bon bons with cider apple chutney, and Pembrokeshire crab focaccia, to complement the cocktails.
Speaking of cocktails, swish new hotel No.15 Great Pulteney has now launched after months (and months) of building work – meaning its upmarket, kooky cocktail bar is now finally open to the public. It’s been out with the old and in with the new elsewhere too, with Bath stalwart Mangia Bene closing its doors after 17 years and being transformed by new owners into St James Street Café Deli, serving fresh salads and homemade ready meals to go, as well as a full range of deli staples. There was also a change of hands at veteran French restaurant Casanis, which closed after many years. The Saville Row site is now fine dining restaurant Henry’s, run by Henry Scott, who previously worked at The Bath Priory. His modern European food – think confit chicken ravioli with
A melting pot of superbly delicious local booze & gastro British food trimmed with decadence, wrapped in a cosy steampunk bar!
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CHEZ DOMINIQUE Modern French Dining in Bath
À la carte • Prix ﬁxe • Sunday roast chezdominique.co.uk 15 Argyle Street, Bath, BA2 4BQ 01225 463482
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coriander and tamarind sauce, and roast pheasant with wild mushroom orzo risotto and fresh chestnut – is already much talked about. The modern-French theme continues at new opening Chez Dominique on Argyle Street, where former Bibendum chef Chris Tabbitt is currently cooking some of the most enjoyable food in the city (which we’ve only gone and reviewed on page 106). There’s more of a traditional British theme going on at Clifton Sausage though, which opened its first Bath restaurant on The Paragon – where Cowshed used to be. A sibling to the Bristol original, this sausage-themed restaurant serves six types of bangers alongside other British classics. Fans of Argentinean steak restaurant CAU in Milsom Place must have been stoked to discover that the restaurant launched its first ever CAU food truck at the Rec. Now rugby fans can enjoy burgers, steak sandwiches and chips at every home game. Another opening to catch the eye in Bath this year has been bar and kitchen Juno in Philip Street, with its mix of beer, cider and cocktails combined with stone-baked pizzas, barbecue wings and cycling-themed street art. Also new to the scene is Eveleigh’s community café in Weston Village, and
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The Oven, a wood-fired pizza restaurant in Saw Close. The residents of Oldfield Park have more reasons to be cheerful too, with the launch of Fire & Brew, a new pizzeria and craft ale and cider bar, and The Grumpy Baker café, which are both on Moorland Road. And exciting new openings weren’t confined to Bath itself, with The Bunch of Grapes bringing a genuine flavour of France to Bradford-on-Avon, and The Masons Arms in Frome reopening after a major refurbishment and serving ‘modern country bistro’ food using local produce. Another exciting new opening for Frome was Sam’s Kitchen Deli, which, having only just opened its doors, has quickly replicated the success of its Bath original. Not a town blessed with a huge number of ‘worth a detour’ places to eat, Chippenham foodies also had reason to rejoice in 2016 with the reopening of The Garden, which closed in February after a major fire. John Paine’s popular café, bar and grill allows diners to build their own meals and the gourmet burgers have a dedicated following of their own. Good luck, 2017! 2016 has been so good that it’s going to be one heck of an act to follow...
Top, modern French joint The Bunch of Grapes adds to Bradford-on-Avon’s growing restaurant scene; above, Chez Dominique is repping a similar concept in Bath
St. James’s Café ~ Deli
THE CURFEW PRIVATE HIRE Our upstairs lounge, available for private hire, has its own bar, big screen TV and fantastic staff to help make your event a success. Be it a business meeting or birthday party, the Curfew has everything you need.
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The freshness of the Mediterranean and the earthiness of the Middle East, authentic Lebanese cuisine is rising in popularity in the UK It's fresh, healthy, super versatile and flavoursome but not hot – with pulses, wheat, rice, vegetables and nuts at the heart of most dishes. There's endless tasty ways to prepare meat (except pork) and vegetables. LEARN TO COOK WITH WAFAA
Wafaa caters for all events, it's ideal for most occasions, but mostly loves sharing her love of cooking with other people. You'll get an introduction into the Lebanese and Arabic food culture, and learn to make tasty dishes in her fun and affordable cookery classes.
Wafaa’s book of authentic Lebanese vegetarian recipes IF
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MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW; 01225 475800; 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 wellmanaged source. Inks are vegetablebased; printer is certified to ISO 14001 environmental management. This month we went to Warsaw and ate all the pierogis and drunk all the mulled wine (literally, we left nothing unconsumed). Plus, we created Freddy’s gloriously kitsch sherry trifle from last issue for a right good festive knees-up.
Crumbs is back with... GET OUTTA TOWN
Foodie breaks to book for spring
TURN UP THE HEAT
V-day menus with proper A-game
We try Rick Stein’s new gaff in Marlborough
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Afters NEW RESTAURANTS DEVOURED, NEW CAFÉS FREQUENTED, NEW BARS CRAWLED, AND THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT WE THOUGHT OF THEM
Highlights IN A STATE
Working our way through all the states of India with Nutmeg’s menu Page 104
TIP TOP TAPAS
We reckon we’ve found the best ham in Bristol, and it’s at Paco Tapas
Chez Dominique c’est chique, reckons our Mark Taylor on p106
Seafood restaurant The Jetty serves up a fishy feast in a former bank Page 112
glasses of sherry, quaffed
( N E W I N D I A N R E S TA U R A N T S )
NUTMEG Jessica Carter foregoes her usual takeaway joint to try Bristol’s newest Indian…
n Indian restaurant that aims to rep food from across the entire Subcontinent, Nutmeg is doing something a little different to anywhere else in the city. Its individuality comes, in part, from the way it embodies a range of concepts from its comparable neighbours: there are elements of Thali Café in the menu’s light, veg-packed Southern-style dishes; whispers of a neighbourhood curry house in the presence of a couple of carefully chosen classics; and parallels with more fine dining-style joints in the quality and treatment of ingredients. While this may all be the case (there’s nothing new under the sun, apparently), it certainly sits in its own bracket of Indian restaurant, filling the gap between your usual takeaway and somewhere fancy that you’d feel obliged to get all dressed up to visit. In fact, when you put it that way, this place is Bristolian through and through: good-quality, imaginative dishes at reasonable prices, served in a laid back, casual restaurant – just what the city has become known for. This particular eatery just happens to be serving Indian food, is all. The kitchen’s larder follows Bristolian suit, with head chef Arvind Pawar’s supplier list including the likes of Ruby and White, and Bristol Sweet Mart. And the décor takes inspiraton from the city as well, with a big, bold mural across the largest wall, painted by street artists.
The menu, dubbed Menu 29, is designed to reflect each of the Indian states (no prizes for guessing how many there are). So, alongside each dish is printed the region it originates from. The friendly, chatty front of house team happily talk you through this concept, keen to make sure you get the most out of your meal. Poppadoms come as standard here but, instead of the usual large, almost translucent variety, you get small discs, prawn cracker-sized, which are wellseasoned and come with three chutneys. All of said dips (we had fresh and fruity apple; tangy onion and mango; and vibrant mint and coriander) are made fresh in the kitchen – and you can honestly tell. King prawn ajwaini jhingha, Goan style (£7.50), came first. Fat king prawns had been peeled, butterflied, and marinated in carom seeds and fenugreek, meaning there was plenty of flavour in their exposed meaty flesh. Starter number two looked like paneer khass tikka (£5.50). The soft paneer was so fresh it melted in the mouth and, with its delicate, milky flavour, acted as a perfect vehicle for the marinating spices, letting them shine without fighting them. As is so easily done with Indian food, we went a bit over the top with our mains and sides. From the ‘signatures’ section was the slow-cooked lamb shank (£14.95), inspired by southern state, Telangana. Succulent, tender
meat peeled willingly from the bone, flaking into the delicious pool of sauce underneath it. Served with a small naan, it really hit the spot. Sitting across the table was my pal who’s recently come home from a month in Goa (no, I’m not at all jealous either), so I kept a beady eye on her as she tucked into her Punjabi chana masala (£6.50). The chickpeas had been cooked in Darjeeling for a refreshing, herby flavour, which was added to by the carom seed and kasoori methi. On the side was bhindi amchur (stir fried okra with onion, tomato and chat masala, £3.50), which said traveller had acquired something of a taste for while she was away. She eagerly shovelled spoonfuls of this version down her neck. The tarka dahl (£3.50) was my choice – the mixture of yellow lentils, tomato, onion and chilli being as comforting as I’d hoped for. For dessert, don’t expect the oftenseen ice cream cop outs. There were two authentic Indian desserts on offer when we went (£4.95 each), so we had both. The gulab jamun consisted of two spongy, syrup-soaked balls made with milk solids, and the chai crème brûlée had a shiny, brittle top, which concealed the smooth, well-spiced custard interior. This is some of the best Indian food being served in our patch, and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be eating at Nutmeg again. Preferably sooner rather than later.
✱ NUTMEG, 10 The Mall, Bristol BS8 4DR; 0117 360 0288; nutmegbristol.com
( R E S TA U R A N T S T O S H O U T A B O U T )
CHEZ DOMINIQUE It’s always the quiet ones, reckons Mark Taylor…
ith so many new places opening with a PR-driven bang, it’s refreshing to find a great new restaurant that’s almost slipped in under the radar. Chez Dominique opened without fanfare in late autumn, and its launch was so low-key that my sister, who joined me for lunch, hadn’t heard about it despite working a few doors down and passing the place most days. Occupying the Argyle Street site that was formerly Le Flamma, Chez Dominique is the first Bath venture for chef Chris Tabbitt and his partner, Sarah Olivier. The couple met whilst working at The Old Bridge hotel in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, and prior to opening Chez Dominique – which is named after their young son, Dominic – Chris was executive chef at Bowood House. More significantly, though, Chris used to work as sous at Sir Terence Conran’s iconic Bibendum restaurant in London, and his French-inspired menu has all the hallmarks of a chef who once cooked dishes created by former Bibendum chef and co-founder Simon Hopkinson. A cosy little restaurant with dark wooden boards, duck egg blue walls and clusters of bare filament bulbs dangling like spiders from the ceiling, Chez Dominique is a contemporary French bistro with original alcoves and fireplaces, acting as a reminder of the building’s Georgian heritage. A small private dining room at the back provides
views of Pulteney Weir below, and lunch was all the more relaxed thanks to impeccably friendly service from our charming Italian waitress. Available from midday until 3pm, and 5.30pm ’til 7pm Monday to Saturday, the prix fixe menu is stonkingly good value at £16 for three courses, or £13 for two – and how generous not to have supplements on any of the dishes. Said dishes change frequently, but highlights of last month’s set menu included a light and perfectly executed starter of pickled anchovy, soft boiled egg and fine bean salad with horseradish crème fraîche, followed by a precisely cooked onglet steak – cooked rare and properly seasoned – teamed with tarragon-flecked mustard, green peppercorn butter and crisp and salty pommes frites. Like most chefs who follow in the footsteps of Simon Hopkinson, Chris shows great restraint in his cooking: he knows when to stop. There are no unnecessary ingredients or garnishes – everything is on the plate for a reason. From the a la carte menu, a starter of smoked eel, chicory, apple and bacon (£9) was classic Bibendum. The warm, rich, smoky eel was perfectly complemented by the crisp, salty bacon, the clean and crunchy chicory, and the sweet, tangy apple. It was simplicity at its most delicious. Roast Wiltshire lamb rump with borlotti beans and salsa verde (£16.50) was one of those rare dishes that makes
you stop between mouthfuls, look down at the plate, and nod approvingly. The tender slices of pink lamb were buttersoft, the salsa verde properly punchy, and the creamy borlotti beans languishing in a rich, full-flavoured sauce. It was a perfect plate of food, with each flavour coming through clear and proud. Jumping from the set menu to the a la carte, my sister made light work of her zesty and luxuriant lemon posset with its layer of spiced blackberry and pear compote (£6), and a well-made baked pumpkin cheesecake with ginger ice cream (£6.50) was perfectly balanced, and not overly sweet as cheesecakes so often can be. Other dishes we earmarked for follow-up visits included the Roquefort pannacotta with red wine poached pear and caramelised walnuts; roast venison haunch with salsify, butternut squash, sprout tops and redcurrants; and dark chocolate mousse with dulce de leche, hazelnuts and salted caramel ice cream. Now, that would be a three-course feast to remember. It might have opened with a whimper more than a bang, but Chez Dominique is a very good restaurant, serving the type of timeless French bistro food rarely seen in this country any more. The prices are notably good value too, considering the quality of the cooking and service, and I’m genuinely counting down the days until my next visit.
✱ CHEZ DOMINIQUE, 15 Argyle Street, Bath BA2 4BQ; 01225 463482; chezdominique.co.uk
Independent Contemporary Restaurant Bath 4 Saville Row | Bath | BA1 2QP 01225 780055 | email@example.com
Quality food • Great location • Free delivery
Order your sushi takeaway online and get it delivered* www.bathsushi.co.uk 01225 330508 3 Victoria Buildings, Bath BA2 3EH *minimum order £25
( T E R R I F I C TA PA S J O I N T S )
PACO TAPAS The Sanchez family recently launched their third new site of the year, and to avoid any favouritism-related accusations, Jessica Carter just had to go check it out
many family holidays he spent eating and cooking on Spanish shores. From the menu and drinks list to the raw ingredients and jolly Spanish music, everything, it seems, has been carefully thought out to rep the tapas experience as best Bristol is able. And, in the name of all that is good and right and true, tapas shares the spotlight here with sherry – really great sherry at that. A refreshingly dry and light fino was the ideal lubricant for a bowl of picos, nibbled while reading and rereading the concise but eclectic list of dishes. Snacks, cold and hot meats, seafood, stews and veg are all appear on the printed brown paper menus, and daily specials are penned around them. Boquerones (£6) were first out, the fresh white anchovy fillets punchy with vinegar and coated in the most delicious olive oil. Strips of delicately marinated red pepper (pimientos marinados, £3) soon followed, as did the Spanish tortilla (£7.50), which brought new truth to the phrase ‘less is more’. It hadn’t been pimped up with any extras, just prepared with knowledge and great ingredients (including sunshine-yellow eggs from Cacklebean Arlington White hens), and had a gooey, yolky centre. The jamón croquetas (£3.25) were cheesy and carby in equal measure, while delicate slivers of the jamón cinco jotas itself almost melted on the tongue, readily exuding the meat’s intense sweet-salty taste, and coating the mouth with flavour. Clams (£5) were inked on the menu as a special, and had been cooked directly over the coal fire which diners can see in the open kitchen. This imparted a
super-subtle smokiness to them, delicate enough that that the fresh, salty taste of the sea was still rightfully prominent. Grilled Cornish squid (£10) was another special, and a further example of a one-ingredient dish, done right. Firm but not rubbery, the curls of flesh had just the right amount of bite and, where the edges had caught, a softly charred flavour. The aioli it came with was buttery and understated, allowing the squid to remain the star. The fat on the pork ribs (two for £6) barely stayed solid in the mouth; it slipped off the bone along with the tender meat and turned creamy on the tongue, while the succulent carved quali (£16.95) was stuffed with soft sobrassada and dates, the sweet fruit offsetting the paprika in the sausage. From the veg section were crispedged patatas bravas (£3.50) and purplesprouting broccoli with a standout romesco (£4.50), which was nutty, chunky and punchy in the best way. Our choices of sherry progressed with slight increments in sweetness to echo the dishes we were being served. That was on the recommendation of the front of house staff, whose service, by the way, was on fire. Relaxed and friendly but super efficient, the small team were accommodating, knowledgeable and skilled, and seemed genuinely chuffed to see punters enjoying themselves. This extraordinary, down-to-earth tapas bar – where you’ll often spot Paco and chef-white-clad Peter chatting to guests – is everything you’d expect from this dedicated, talented and really likeable team. Lucky Bristol, eh?
✱ PACO TAPAS, 3a The General, Lower Guinea Street, Bristol BS1 6SY; 0117 925 7021; pacotapas.co.uk
NI C K H OOK
aco Tapas was the final installment of what’s surely 2016’s biggest culinary trilogy. It’s been a very busy year for the Sanchez family, who relocated their flagship Michelin-starred restaurant Casamia in January and opened pizzeria Pi Shop in July. The setting is the beautifully restored former general hospital on the riverside in Bristol, where you can now see all three restaurants lined up next to each other. Inside, windows in the separating walls allow you to see into all the dining rooms, a reminder of the connection between the very different venues. And it’s a connection that’s made proudly. You see, this place comes with a celebrated pedigree. The guys behind it, after all, have played a major part in Bristol’s food landscape since 1999. This authentic, cosy nook of a Spanish restaurant is named after Paco Sanchez – a popular local character, and father of the crazy-talented chef brothers (Peter, and the celebrated, much-missed Jonray) who, together, planned out this three-part venture, and shaped the family business into the outfit as we know it today. Inside, the atmospheric space is all dark painted stone, grey metro tiles, wall lamps and wood. There’s even a still life hanging on the wall, which – I have on good authority from Mr Mark Taylor himself – hung in the original Casamia back in the early days. This bar’s roots are evident in more than just one retro painting, though. Everything in this restaurant has been been influenced greatly by Paco’s Andalusian origins, as well as the
( N E W S E A F O O D R E S TA U R A N T S )
THE JETTY With siblings already dotted over the south, The Jetty has come to Bristol – but, asks Jessica Carter, will it fare as well in this pretty much sea-free city?
hat remains of Bristol’s Old City is pretty special. It’s a warren of skinny alleys, centuries-old churches, and charming buildings ranging from the adorably wonky to the strikingly handsome – a quarter made even more special by it having avoided the brunt of all those Second World War air raids that saw off so many of the city’s best and oldest constructions. Lined with Georgian and Victorian architecture, Corn Street was, historically, the financial epicentre of Bristol. The 16th-century ‘nails’ – or brass tables – where deals were made and money exchanged still stand on the street outside the famous St Nick’s Market. And almost opposite – where the grand Midland Bank, built in the mid 1800s, used to be found – now stands the Bristol Harbour Hotel. The hotel has actually taken over two adjoining banks, to be precise, a massive former banking hall now used for private events and dining, while the underground vaults are being turned into a spa (jazzy, eh?). And, as should be expected of this luxury brand, it’s all very classy inside. Following the lead taken by Caprice Holdings (The Ivy et al), which similarly transformed a bank into an uber-elegant brasserie in Clifton, Bristol Harbour Hotel’s restaurant The Jetty is all varnished wooden floors, Bristol Blue Glass, arched sash windows, and high
ceilings. It’s been furnished in suitable style too, with a long, vintage-looking marble bar, velvet seating, and dark, polished-wood tables. As you might guess from its name, this restaurant is hot on its seafood – sustainable, seasonal seafood – and there are quite a few ways to enjoy it. A mini gastro menu promises five courses of platters and small plates for the whole table to share, while there’s also a set daytime and early evening menu, and a catch of the day list, featuring whole grilled fish. There’s a vegan and a vegetarian menu, too. Having gone for the straight up a la carte, though, our meal began with crab croquettes (£7.95) and a plate of sashimi (£9.95). The chunky croquettes came in a pair, balanced atop a pile of greens and dressed with warm tartare sauce. Both were jacketed in a crisp layer of darkgolden breadcrumbs, and were filled with a soft and light mixture of mashed potato and crabmeat, with crab butter hidden inside. The sashimi saw slices of super-fresh, uncooked salmon, sea bass, scallop and tuna framed by dots of fiery wasabi (boy, did that have a good ol’ kick), while slivers of miso-pickled ginger, a rich, dark soy sauce and a small, well-dressed crunchy Asian salad completed the dish. The freshness of the fish and light but aromatic flavours pushed a great combination of buttons on the tongue. Next came a handsome quail pie (£19.50). The soft hero meat was layered
up with chicken and mushroom and encased in a buttery, flaky pastry with a shiny, golden crust. The pie was cut in half to show off the precise layers of filling, and served with mash (smooth, silky, and with a relevant suggestion of truffle) and Madeira sauce. There was also a hunk of a cod fillet (£19.50), which sported a well-seasoned crust made of crabmeat and herbs. This gave the soft fish a really pleasing crunch, and upped the flavour interest without overpowering the delicate white flesh. A layer of fresh-tasting crushed peas was hidden underneath it; a dollop of that feathery mash (sans truffle) sat next to it; and a light beurre blanc sauce surrounded it in swirls. To round that lot off we employed a hunk of warm, soft ginger bread, accompanied by slices of ‘boozy plums’ and crème fraîché (£6.50). The plums could have been boozier, but, if I’m honest, that might not really mean much, coming from me. The passion fruit soufflé (£7.50) went down a treat, with its impressive rise, light texture and refreshing, zingy flavour. Big thumbs up. Hotel restaurants often struggle to fill themselves up and create the buzzy atmosphere of a standalone joint. But hopefully – with its separate entrance on the prominent corner of Small Street, friendly service, skillfully prepared dishes and gorgeous interior – this eatery can buck the trend, and build up just as much popularity as its Jetty siblings have done.
✱ THE JETTY, Bristol Harbour Hotel, 49-55 Corn Street, Bristol BS1 1HT; 0117 203 4445; bristol-harbour-hotel.co.uk
Little black book This is Emma Smith, the local creator of loyalty app Memberoo – and this is where you might spot her…
BREAKFAST? Boston Tea Party.
Both the sausage bap and the staff who work there (particularly at the Kingsmead Square branch) are just wonderful. Great for afternoon tea, too.
BEST BREW? Mokoko in Bath. I always
loved Jacob’s Coffee House, and when Jake opened Mokoko I was excited to try it. It’s the perfect place for a coffee on the way to and from the station.
Now add this little lot to your contacts book Boston Tea Party, Bath BA1 2AE; bostonteaparty.co.uk Mokoko, Bath BA1 1SS; mokokocoffee.com Walter Rose & Son, Devizes SN10 1LD; walterroseandson.co.uk Independent Spirit, Bath BA1 1LN; independentspiritofbath.co.uk Green Park Tavern, Bath BA2 3BD; gptbath.com Bath Brew House, Bath BA1 2BX; thebathbrewhouse.com Circo Bar and Lounge, Bath BA1 2EN; circobar.co.uk Menu Gordon Jones, Bath BA2 3AQ; menugordonjones.co.uk Mission Burrito, Bath BA1 2AF; missionburrito.co.uk Cascara, Bath BA1 1RG; facebook.com/cascarabath The Oven, Bath BA1 1EP; theovenpizzeria.co.uk Chai Walla, Bath BA1 2AN Olé Tapas, Bath BA1 2JL; oletapas.co.uk The Chequers, Bath BA1 2QA; thechequersbath.com Rowdey Cow Café, Devizes SN10 2BQ; rowdeycow.co.uk The Dark Horse, Bath BA1 2AB; darkhorsebar.co.uk
FAVOURITE GROCERY SHOP? The guys at Walter Rose & Son are such experts. It doesn’t matter if you want steak, chicken wings, or a fantastic beef joint, their knowledge is such that you will always get the right joint – and the beginnings of a great homecooked meal. BEST WINE MERCHANT? Independent
Spirit – the name says it all. These guys know what they're talking about, and clearly enjoy what they do. They make shopping for spirits a joy.
SUNDAY LUNCH? Green Park Tavern.
Great food, great service and great ambience (which is key for me). QUICK PINT? Bath Brew House.
POSH NOSH? Menu Gordon Jones is
the ultimate dining experience. Truly memorable food from local suppliers, prepared by a master of his craft.
FOOD ON THE GO? Mission Burrito.
The perfect place for a quick and tasty buritto, done exactly the way you like it. There’s a great loyalty scheme – twostamp Tuesday is a top excuse for a takeaway lunch.
ONE TO WATCH FOR 2017?
Since visiting The Oven in it’s first week, I’ve watched it win Pizza Chef of the Year. And, having tasted a few of their pizzas, I’m confident that this is only the beginning. FAVOURITE OPENING OF 2016?
Serving authentic Indian street food at the perfect price for a takeaway lunch, Chai Walla also has great service with a chat and a smile. There’s a reason there is always a queue! WITH FRIENDS? Olé Tapas. Great tapas, with a friendly atmosphere. What more could you want? WITH THE FAMILY? The Chequers: the
Perfect for an after work pint, they have their own microbrewery on site so you know you’re in for a treat – whatever you order.
food and service are obviously brilliant, but the fact that it’s close to Royal Victoria Park pushes it over the top. A wonderful place to go for a day out with the family.
CHEEKY COCKTAIL? Circo Bar and
CHILD FRIENDLY? Rowdey Cow
Lounge. These guys make such a mean mojito. The staff are friendly, and with its cool ambience it’s a great place for a sophisticated evening out.
HIDDEN GEM? Cascara manages
to simultaneously be exotic and comfortable, offering a great range of coffees, juices and cakes.
Café. Great locally-sourced food and homemade ice cream, combined with a fab play area.
BEST ATMOSPHERE? The Dark Horse is definitely one of Bath's best-kept secrets. When you visit, definitely go off the beaten track and let the staff get creative with your cocktail order.