CRUMBS BATH & BRISTO L
N O PA RAD E s TE PRIVA
A little slice of foodie heaven
ING E DIN RIVATVEALED! P T S E BE OMS R RO
NO.63 JUNE 2017
NO.63 JU N
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RESPECT YOUR ELDERS
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FROM THE ’S N REGIO BESTS COOK
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OK AY, EVEN I’LL admit that, as a country, we’re more talented in some areas than others. Said areas aren’t written in stone, though; I’m sure I recall a time when we were really quite good at international football, for example. Hmm. Not so much these days, hey? Similarly, there was once a time when English wine was all but the laughing stock of the oenophile’s playground. Things have changed pretty drastically there, too. Our winemakers now produce some awesome quality, awardwinning drinks, which stand up to some of the world’s most fiercely respected creations. The reason I’m going on about wine is not because I’m writing this on a Friday afternoon and looking forward to a cracking open a bottle in a couple of hours (honest), but because English Wine Week kicks off this month on 27 May. This annual, week-long celebration aims to get people talking about and filling their glasses with wine made right here in England, raising awareness of the great quality that’s out there and subtly hinting that it’s not all about France and Italy, thank you very much. As such, you’ll find plenty of wine chat in this month’s issue: bottles to buy in, a look at the rosé renaissance, and a recipe and wine match from a neighbouring restaurant and wine merchant. Before I let you crack on, there’s something else you need to know, too; nominations for the first ever Crumbs Awards are (drum roll, please) open! Visit crumbsmagawards.co.uk for more information, nomination forms, and my tips on how to ace your entry. Go on, show us what you’re made of.
Jessica Carter, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
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B ATH & B RIS TOL
Table of Contents
NO.63 JUNE 2017
STARTERS 08 HERO INGREDIENT Respect your elders 12 OPENINGS ETC The need to know info 20 SIX PACK Six South West softies to slurp
Amazing recipes from the region’s top kitchens 28 Stuffed barbecue chicken thighs, by Jon Finch and Ben Merrington 31 Crispy pork belly, by Philip Carey 32 Cornish hake with samphire, by Tom Blake 36 Gin-cured salmon, by Elliott Lidstone ADDITIONAL RECIPES
10 Yoghurt ice cream, by Freddy Bird 23 Aubergine fetteh, by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi 48 Vodka-cured mackerel, by Todd Francis
KITCHEN ARMOURY 42 SUPPER CLUB Chase Distillery’s spiritthemed dinner party 50 WANT LIST Bangin’ barware
MAINS 56 PICK OF THE BUNCH What to forage in Bath and Bristol right now 62 PRETTY IN PINK Rosé makes its comeback 65 PRIVATE LIVES We check out some of the best private dining rooms on our patch
AFTERS New & notable restaurants, cafés, bars 76 Muiño 78 Café 15 80 Piattino PLUS 82 LITTLE BLACK BOOK Rich Maxwell lets us in on his favourite local hangouts
START E RS INNOVATIONS, REVELATIONS AND TASTY AMUSE-BOUCHES
16 MAY MOOR MEATS HEAT AT MEATLIQUOR What do you get when you cross a burger joint, brewery and chilli producer? Find out at this evening do at MEATliquor on Stokes Croft (spoiler: it involves food challenges, beer, and wings). No tickets needed; meatliquor.com 20 MAY MARY BERRY AT THE BATH FESTIVAL Everyone’s favourite TV baker is coming back to Bath for its new festival, to talk about her life in food, show off her new book, and dish out the baking tips; tickets £26 (includes a copy of Mary Berry Everyday) from bathfestivals.org.uk 20 & 21 MAY VEGFEST This annual vegetarian and vegan event is coming back to Bristol’s Harbourside, and bringing with it all the street food, drinks, produce and entertainment that has made it such a popular event for the last 15 years. Tickets from £6; bristol.vegfest.co.uk 27 & 28 MAY BATH RUM FESTIVAL Captain Jack Sparrow would be in his element at Bath Pavilion this weekend, with plenty of rum stalls, tasting samples, talks and cocktail demos going on, alongside live music; tickets £10 from rumfestivals.com
summer LOvin’ FESTIVAL SEASON IS KICKING OFF THIS MONTH IN PROPER STYLE – BEST DIG OUT THOSE SUNNIES…
S T A R T E R S
ew things say ‘English summertime’ like the pretty elderflower – that early summer flower of the roadside-found elder tree (okay, it’s more like a big bush, if we’re honest), with its lacy blossoms and floral, creamy scent. If summer ends in late August, as the berries ripen, then it starts with the arrival of elderflower. Pick them whenever you see them, but they’re at their best on a dry, warm, early summer day, far away from the busier roads and their traffic fumes (the pollen smell can vary from tree to tree, so make sure you pick from a good one). Late May through early July is when to look – you’ll usually be able to track them by their rich, sweet scent. As well as roadsides, hedgerows and woodland are good places to start, but keep your eyes open everywhere, as the opportunistic elder will happily grow in far less romantic
locations – even wasteland. This unfussy plant has the power (and low-maintenance attitude) to transform any scruffy little corner of the country into something glorious.
We tend to think of elderflower as a very Victorian ingredient – and, indeed, the Victorians loved it – but our history with this stuff goes back way further than that, with (guess who?) the Romans spreading it across their empire. The peoples of central and northern Europe (Germany, Austria, Hungary and so on, as well as the Brits) became especially enamoured of it. The spectacular hermaphrodite flowerheads are what you want, as the leaves and so on are quite bitter, even toxic. You get lots of tiny individual blooms, each one creamy white or a very pale yellow with five petals; these
eLdeRfLOwer OH, TO BE IN ENGLAND, NOW THAT ELDERFLOWER’S THERE…
things grow in clusters, and a large, decidedly non-compact spray of them can be up to 25cm across. Ideally, collect your elderflower early in the season, when the many tiny buds are just starting to open (and some are still closed). Be a good sport, though, and make sure to leave some to develop into elderberries for picking later in the season. Prep is easy – shake your sprays free of any insects and rinse briefly in cold water – but then what? The obvious thing to make, of course, is elderflower cordial: all you need is a bunch of freshly gathered elderflowers, plenty of water, lemon, sugar, and tartaric or citric acid. The result? The perfect non-alcoholic summer drink – refreshing and unmistakable – and a great addition to sauces, jellies and cream desserts. Alternatively, you could make a more pokey, alcoholic version – Mrs Beaton was a big fan of the liqueur we call elderflower wine, which is great drizzled over fruit salads, or added to Prosecco or another sparkler for a none-moresummery cocktail. Or, try making the wine’s close cousin, elderflower Champagne (be careful about exploding bottles, mind!), or simply adding the cordial (plus, perhaps, some cucumber) to more traditional ingredients for a summery take on the classic G&T. Introducing elderflower to the kinds of sharp fruit you might use in tarts – things like gooseberry (handily in season at the same time), raspberry and rhubarb – gives everything a boost, lending the result a heavy, grape-like fragrance. The thing to do is add the elderflower while you’re cooking the fruit, then remove it before you combine fruit with pastry. Alternatively, elderflower makes for many a tempting slips-down-easy dessert – think yoghurt ice, sorbet, jelly or fool. Other great elderflower combos see it chumming up with blossom honey, strawberries, vanilla, mint, and – perhaps most commonly – lemon and lime. Elderflower even has savoury applications too, though they’re few and far between: still, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see it making a great addition to the dressing for a classic English summer salad – think lettuce, sugar snap peas, asparagus, radishes and other good stuff – and we’ve even seen people combine it with chicken and duck, too.
Elderflower’s not only delicious, but also quite good for you: it’s long been used in traditional medicine all over the world, chiefly for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory abilities – helping with colds and flu, or sinus infections – but also for its laxative properties. It’s thought that it may help alleviate some allergies and boost the immune system too, and even be beneficial for arthritis. There’s no single killer app here, but elderflower seems to be a happy, healthy all-rounder: some use it as a mouthwash, for instance, while others reckon it reduces blood sugar levels, in a similar way to insulin. Whatever you do with it, elderflower is one of the glories of the English summertime. Make sure you’re collecting the genuine stuff (the flowers of rowan trees or cow parsley look quite similar), but if in doubt, follow your nose.
R E C I P E
FREDDY BIRD IS GETTING RIGHT IN THE MOOD FOR THE (HOPEFULLY IMMINENT) WARM WEATHER, USING OUR SUMMERY HERO INGREDIENT TO FLAVOUR HIS YOGHURT ICE CREAM…
BATH & B R I S TO L
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I have to be honest: every year I pick elderflower with the greatest intentions of turning it into cordial or ‘Champagne’, but invariably it ends ups being left in a carrier bag or mauled by the dog in the back of the car… On the rare occasions I do get round to making cordial, I use it in slightly tart gooseberry compote, which makes a great flavour to ripple through yoghurt ice cream. The acidity of the yoghurt is a particularly great vehicle for the elderflower.
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GREG INGHAM email@example.com large version
ELderfLOwer & gOOseBerry RIPPLE YOGhUrT ICe CREAM
MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW; 01225 475800 www.mediaclash.co.uk
INGREDIENTS For the compote: 400g gooseberries 200g sugar elderflower cordial (preferably homemade) For the ice cream: 110g egg whites 200g caster sugar 750ml plain yoghurt METHOD 1 First, put a metal bowl in the freezer to chill. 2 Make the compote by slowly cooking the
gooseberries and sugar over a low heat, crushing the gooseberries as you stir. Simmer for 15 minutes then add elderflower cordial to taste. Set aside to cool. 3 For the ice cream, stir the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl over boiling water (don’t let it actually touch the water, though). Stir until it reaches 80C and the sugar is dissolved. 4 Remove from the heat
and whisk (best to use an electric whisk) for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture is thick and cool. 5 Stir in the yoghurt before churning in an ice cream machine. 6 When the ice cream is churned, transfer it to the chilled bowl from the freezer, and fold in as much of the compote as you like. Don’t over mix, though – you want a nice ripple of flavour through it.
7 Allow it to set in the freezer for a couple of hours. If you make it too far ahead and it gets too hard, pull it out half an hour before scooping. Try to make it as last minute as possible, though; the whole point of making your own ice cream is to enjoy it freshly churned! LIDO, Oakfield Place, Bristol BS8 2BJ; 0117 933 9530; lidobristol.com
© All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. MediaClash reserves the right to reject any material and to edit such prior to publication. Opinions are those of individual authors. Printed on paper from a well-managed source. Inks are vegetable-based; printer is certified to ISO 14001 environmental management. This month we gallivanted around north India, drinking lassi and eating whatever we could get our hands on, and attended our sister mag’s Bristol Life Awards to check out the foodie talent . (Turns out, there’s plenty!)
S T A R T E R S
GONE TO THE WINDMILL
BAR 135 ON Bristol’s Whiteladies Road has launched a new menu called Cocktails For Conservation: £1 from the sale of each drink goes towards local and international wildlife conservation projects. There are nine cocktails, each at £8.50 – with names like Tusker and African Delight – plus a £4 shot; many of the ingredients used (like Pink Pigeon Rum, Ceylon Arrack and Elephant Gin) also contribute percentages of their profits to wildlife charities. “I was due to work on a conservation project after leaving uni,” says boss Tom Pickles, “but ended up setting up a business instead, and later opened Bar 135. Last year we identified a few spirit brands who donate profits to conservation charities, and decided to set up our own initiative. Where possible, we’re only using brands which also donate to conservation charities.” So the booze makers contribute, the bar contributes on top of that, and you get an amazing drink as part of your night out – it’s win-win-win. bar135.co.uk
SMASH IT UP!
IT’S BEEN A good few months in the making, but Windmill Hill City Farm’s new improved café is relaunching at the end of May. The café, which closed back in the New Year for the renovation work, will reopen with twice as much indoor seating and an extended counter displaying an even bigger range of sweet and savory treats. That’s not all, though; this extra space will also be used to house pop-ups, private events, and a brand new farm shop, where visitors can pick up great quality local food, as well as homemade goodies. The team is hoping that this will enable them to make even more use out of their homegrown produce, and generate more profit to feed back into the farm itself. The café will maintain its environmental focus by using carefully sourced ingredients and recycling as much waste as possible; keep your eye on the farm’s Facebook page for updates. windmillhillcityfarm.co.uk
What’s a ‘smash’? Apparently, it’s the secret ingredient behind Smashburger, the hit American restaurant chain opening its fourth British gaff on Bath’s Southgate Street this May. The guys here take their beef meatballs then ‘smash’ them onto a hot buttered grill, searing in flavour and giving a nice crisp crust. A unique twist to the burger concept, then, but they also do options for the less carnivorous – like a tempting avocado and garlic grilled Portobello cup vegetarian burger – as well as chicken breast sandwiches and soda fountains serving up over 100 fizzy drink combinations. There are craft beers, wines, intriguing sides like ‘Veggie Frites’, and Häagen-Dazs ice cream shakes, too. The place has had an industrial-style fit-out, and aims to be keenly priced – an everyday option, rather than a specific treat, but one good enough to give the international burger giants a bit of a scare.
S T A R T E R S
new Kid On the blOCK
BREAD & BARD
THE GUYS BEHIND the well-liked Rose of Denmark under Bristol’s Brunel Way flyover have taken over another pub – The Shakespeare in Totterdown – and are ramping up its comfort food offering, which now revolves around crusty bread bowls filled with an array of daily-changing treats: think everything from soups and stews to curries and chillis. The bread comes from Baked, just around the corner, and will change weekly, though gluten-free options will be a staple. (And if you don’t fancy a bread bowl, there’s a killer ploughman’s option too, featuring continental and locally sourced meats, cheeses, vegetarian mezzes, cured fish and homemade chutneys.) shakespearetotterdown.com
THE POWER OF THREE
Three Ways School is a rather excellent special needs school in Bath’s Odd Down, and has just opened its long-inthe-gestation purpose-built café and training centre. It’s designed to give pupils the opportunity to gain meaningful work experience both front and back of house, as an accredited qualification in things like food hygiene and hospitality. The vision of head teacher Julie Dyer, it also helps the school and its pupils build closer links with the local community – and gives us a cool place to pop in for lunch. The result is open to the public Mondays to Saturdays; expect breakfasts, light lunches, and a range of homemade cakes. Thanks to an internal folding partition, it can also serve as a meeting room and there’s a secure garden with an alfresco area on its way, too. threeways.co.uk
MEET RUPERT TAYLOR, HEAD CHEF AT ABBEY HOTEL AND ALLIUM RESTAURANT You’re from these parts originally, aren’t you, Rupert? Yep; Limpley Stoke in Bath.
– as does the Abbey Hotel as a whole – for always being one step ahead.
Who was it that inspired you to cook professionally, then? Rick Stein. I always wanted to be a chef, and Rick was the new big thing. I used to go to Padstow a lot as a child and look in the window of his restaurant hoping to see him – and one day I did! My mum got him to sign his book for me. I still have it today.
Tell us about your new menus. They are designed to invite the diner to want more than just one thing; I want everything to sound really enticing to encourage guests to come back for more. We take produce the customers can relate to and elevate it. Plaice, for example, is usually served on the bone or pan-fried. We take it off the bone and almost glue it together so that it becomes one big fillet, and then serve it with grelot onions and brown bread sauce.
How did you get into the industry? Well, I started at Bath College, then underwent an apprenticeship at Homewood Park under head chef Gary Jones. And what was your very first job in a kitchen? I started like most chefs – at the bottom. I worked nights after college and weekends as a KP. What part of your work gives you the most job satisfaction? Creating new dishes. When you have an idea, it’s weeks and months of thought and practice until it comes onto the menu. Things don’t just happen overnight. Proudest career achievement? Being part of The Fat Duck team when it was awarded three Michelin stars and was named number one in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. What attracted you to this new position? Allium is one of Bath’s best restaurants, and it has a great reputation
What other changes can we expect now you’re at the helm? We have a new monthly supper club, terrace takeovers, and lots of other food and drinks events in the pipeline… What makes the local food scene so great, then? There are many talented chefs in the city: I think Chris Cleghorn is doing a fantastic job over at the Olive Tree; I love Sunday lunch at The Beaufort; and The Scallop Shell is always a winner. The producers here, too, are without doubt some of the best. Finally, what’s your current favourite flavour combination? Matcha green tea and rhubarb. It just seems to work. abbeyhotelbath.co.uk
S T A R T E R S
OKAY, SO IT’S not strictly on our patch – but it is just an hour away by car, and so well worth the hike, considering Abergavenny Food Festival is only one of the year’s top culinary celebrations. Events kick off the Friday before, but it basically runs across the weekend of 16-17 September, and stars a ton of top chefs, from such national names as Tom Kerridge and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to local heroes like Romy Gill (pictured) and our very own columnists Freddy Bird (also pictured) and Andy Clarke. Expect an expanded Producers’ Market, plus both a big party and the return of the Night Market on the Saturday night, and a new edible education space allowing little ones to explore the joys of cooking. “We have a focus on real food, real farmers, and real chefs,” says festival boss Aine Morris. “We’re keen to get people trying new things, tasting new produce and strengthening their engagement with where food comes from.” abergavennyfoodfestival.com
here cOmes The JudGe
CRUMBS AWARDS: THE BUILD UP
This is Mark Taylor; he’s somewhat special to us here at Crumbs, and he’s one of the rather ace judges at our inaugural Crumbs Awards... How the devil are you, Mark? I’m in fine fettle, thanks. Just back from a week eating and drinking my way around West Cornwall, so my belt is straining even more than usual. Tell us a bit about your credentials as a Crumbs Awards judge, then. Apart from pure greed, I’ve been reviewing restaurants for newspapers and magazines for 20 years, as well as working undercover as a restaurant inspector for various guidebooks. How many of our restaurants and cafés do you eat at each year, d’ya think? Let’s hope my doctor isn’t reading this, but I’m eating out most days. It’s all work, of course – although my family refuses to believe that! What are you especially going to be looking for when judging these awards? Apart from technically sound cooking and respect for ingredients, consistency is one of the key factors when judging chefs and restaurants. Got any tips for people entering? Don’t try and do anything you wouldn’t normally do for paying customers. Awards and accolades are great, of course, but they don’t pay the bills! What do you reckon are going to be some of the toughest categories to judge? The big categories like Restaurant and Food Hero are always hard to call until the wire, but that’s what makes it so exciting. Which of our categories have you got the strongest personal interest in, and why? They all interest me, but I think Barista and Food Supplier will be especially tough, as the competition is so fierce. The Bristol/Bath area is amazing for food, but what are we missing that a smart entrepreneur could maybe bring to the party for next year? Bristol needs more mid-market, family-friendly places – independent restaurants where you can take your kids on a regular basis without having to remortgage your house. Places like Pasta Loco in Bristol have nailed it, but we need more. I would also like to see a high quality Middle Eastern shawarma bar open in the Bristol/Bath area.
CHEESE PLEASE ME
THE ROYAL BATH & West Show at Shepton Mallet, Somerset hosts the British Cheese Awards 2017 on its opening day – that’s Wednesday, 31 May this year – wherein some 900 cheeses will be fighting it out for the top slots. Visitors can lurk in a corner of the judging room, and watch in delighted confusion as coagulated milk protein fans score them on flavour, aroma, texture, balance and presentation. This thing’s in its 24th year, and the best bit is that you’ll be able to buy some of the top rated cheeses to take home with you too. bathandwest.com
Nominations for the Crumbs Awards are now open! Go to crumbsmagawards.co.uk for more information, nomination tips, and to enter
S T A R T E R S
@alexnewbslovesfoods grabs pork gyoza from @eachu_uk for lunch
INDEPENDENT SPIRIT INDEPENDENT SPIRIT WAS born in February 2013, thanks to the meeting of Chris Scullion and Christian Morrish. Both had carved out careers in the drinks and premium spirits industry, and between them had 25 years of experience to bring to the table. Or, y’know, the bar. Although now probably more popular for its beer – which is what most regular customers come in search of – this place still has a definite specialism in spirits: most particularly, whisk(e)y, which is what Chris was primarily working with previously. At the back of the shop (which is, as it goes, housed in a charming old Bath building on Terrace Walk), there’s even a whisky tasting room. Is there really that big an appetite for this kind of hard liquor among contemporary Bath residents, though? “We’ve definitely seen the appetite grow over the last few years, since we started doing whisky tastings,” Chris tells us. “I think the market’s always been there,” says Callum Rixon, manager of sister whiskey bar Hideout, who we collar as he pops into the shop. “But no one’s really taken the plunge before. People are far more interested in and open to whisky now.” Helping this growing market develop, Chris still does regular whisky tastings in the gorgeous stone cellar at the shop (in fact, he does tastings of all his spirits, not to mention beer), getting hold of the most innovative, novel, and down right crazy varieties from places like America, Japan and India – that’s
as well as, obviously, Scotland and Ireland. And he’s seeing a new audience grow because of them. “Teeling is making some really great Irish whiskey,” he says, pointing out a bottle. “Those guys are using all kinds of barrels to age in, like rum and calvados. I think Irish whiskey is going to be really big soon.” There are several single-cask varieties here (this means that there’s no blending done to achieve a standardised result), so once they’re gone – they’re gone. Chris points out a few on the shelves that only have a small number of bottles in existence. So, whisky aside, what’s hot right now? “Gin is still very popular,” Chris says, “but it’s seasonal. Going into the summer, things like the Espensen (fruit-infused) spirits are definitely picking up.” Regardless of their preferred poison, customers are increasingly interested in the people who make it, we’re told. “They want the story behind these drinks; they want authenticity. Like with food, people are caring more and more about where their produce is coming from.” independentspiritofbath.co.uk What? Booze, in its many forms Where? 7 Terrace Walk, Bath BA1 1LN; 01225 340 636 When? Mon 10.30am-6pm; Tues-Thurs 10.30am-7pm; Fri-Sat 10.30am-8pm; Sun 11am-6pm
@agne_ziuraite is owning her five-a-day quota with all this veg
@dinneratnatalies is impressed with her sweet potato soup @wisebeans
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S T A R T E R S
In the Larder 1
We’LL drinK tO that
WHAT BETTER WAY TO CELEBRATE ENGLISH WINE WEEK THIS MONTH THAN BY TOASTING IT WITH ONE OF THESE NATIVE BEAUTS? 1 Aldwick Court Farm & Vineyard Mary’s Rose 2014, £10.50/70cl A top summertime sip, this award-winning rosé is light and pale with a refreshing seasonal fruitiness. It went down a right treat for us with summer veg pasta and mild, creamy cheese. That said, it would be equally great for quaffing sans food. Made from grapes grown in Bristol, wine doesn’t get much more local for Crumbs than this. Available direct from Aldwick Court Farm. aldwickcourtfarm.co.uk 2 Nyetimber Classic Curvée NV, from £34.99/70cl This grownup wine is delicate in both its lightly golden colour and its fine, soft fizz. The southern England
producer (which only makes sparking wine) grows the three classic Champagne grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. The result is a real world-class sparkler that gives a proper sense of occasion. Available from Waitrose. nyetimber.com 3 Lyme Bay Brut Reserve 2014, £21.50/70cl With a crisp, fruity taste and celebratory bubbles, this fizz is a proper winner with seafood (can’t beat a fizz ’n’ chips dinner, right?), especially thanks to its whisper of zesty lemon. Its match with fish is no coincidence, though, as it comes from the East Devon coast. Lyme Bay has been involved in the English wine scene since 2007, and has
just released four more varieties, so keep your eye out for the newbies! Available from Great Western Wine in Bath. greatwesternwine.co.uk 4 Smith and Evans Sparkling Wine 2013, £29/70cl This producer is the only one that works with traditional Champagne grapes grown in Somerset. Said vines are planted in soil akin to that you’d find at some of the best vineyards in the world – couple that with the top climate of their carefully chosen South West locality, and you know you’re onto a good vino. Each year’s harvest is unique, and this winemaker likes to showcase this in wines that vary naturally each vintage. Available
from More Wine, Chandos Deli, and online. smithandevans.co.uk 5 Three Choirs Vineyards Siegerrebe 2014, £13.15/70cl Based just up the M5 in Gloucestershire, Three Choirs Vineyards has to be one of the West Country’s best-known English wine producers. This particular sip is made from Siegerrebe – a German-born grape created only in the last century. It makes for a refreshing wine (see if you can pick up on grapefruit or lychee when you take a glug) that comes over all aromatic when you give it a sniff. (It’s totally vegan too, just FYI.) Available from the vineyard. three-choirs-vineyards.co.uk
WHAT A SOFTIE IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE BREWERIES AND DISTILLERIES; WE HAVE SOME CRACKING SOFT DRINK PRODUCERS IN THE WEST COUNTRY, TOO – AND HERE ARE SIX OF OUR FAVES…
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S T A R T E R S
3 Juice Collective
5 Mission Juice
West Country biz Frobishers makes juices, smoothies and cordials from fruits that they’ve hunted down personally for their quality and flavour. You’ll find these sips in all kinds of joints, from Michelin-starred restaurants and top hotels to casual eateries and bars. The cordials, which were launched just last year, are in local retail outlets, too – made with natural fruit and botanicals, they come in rather exotic flavours, such as lemon and mint, peach and lychee, and pomegranate and rose. Ooh, fancy. (So fancy, in fact, that there’s not reason why you have to mix them with water alone – try soda for a sparkling drink, or add them to cocktails, why don’t cha?) Although tradish flavours like apple and orange are most popular (they’re classics for a reason, after all), more unusual blends such as these ones definitely seem to be getting a lot more glass time of late… frobishers.com
Inspired by the super-fresh, raw juices available in London, The Juice Collective founders set about working on cold pressed drinks in their home city of Bath. Focusing on great taste and top nutritional value, the juices contain both fruit and vegetable, balancing their flavours without the high sugar content fruit-only varieties can contain. The core range of four drinks includes the popular Green 02 (apple, cucumber, spinach, kale and lemon) and Red 01 (pineapple, beetroot, carrot, lemon and ginger). Every juice is cold pressed (several tonnes of pressure are involved here, to squeeze out every last drop of that precious juice), meaning they’re all raw, and don’t lose their goodness in any kind of heat treatment. Currently stocked across Bath in Society Café, Widcombe Deli and Harvest on Walcot Street, these guys have their sights set on Bristol next… thejuicecollective.co.uk
The newest soft drink company in the area, these guys are still in their first year, having launched their sips at Combe Grove, and totally selling out in the first week. The concept stemmed from founder Tom’s time in Florida playing soccer – he drank juices to complement his diet. He soon realised, though, how much sugar was in these so-called healthy drinks, and decided to solve the problem. Mission Juice’s three coldpressed blends each feature around 80% veg/20% fruit, to balance nutrition and flavour. For instance, the ‘orange’ is made from carrot, apple, red pepper, lemon and ginger. That’s going to give you a proper vitamin boost, and the pinch of turmeric added at the end ups the nutritional ante even further. Now also stocked at Prior Park Café and Forum Coffee House, these drinks aren’t just good for our bodies; the company donates some of its profits to charity, too. missionjuice.co.uk
2 Lovely Drinks
4 Bradley’s Juice
This company has a proper hobby-turnedcareer back story. Co-founder Rick Freeman originally started out making elderflower pressé in his garden (still the most popular drink these guys produce), but now he and Victoria Earle create a whole range of bottled drinks, all inspired by British ingredients and with thoughtful little twists. For instance, the lemonade is pimped up with a whisper of Cotswold lavender, the ginger beer gets a citrusy boost of lime, and the colas contain essential oils and real caramel, instead of colouring. All the varieties that Lovely Drinks makes on its Barrow Gurney site, just outside of Bristol, are totally natural, made in small batches using whole fruits. You’ll find these thirst-quenchers in top restaurants like The Pony and Trap and Box-E; casual cafés, such as Boston Tea Party and Tin Can Coffee; and assorted shops and delis. lovelydrinks.co.uk
It all started in 2012 in Somerset for Bradley’s owners; Miles and Liz would make juice in their kitchen to sell at farmers’ markets. Focusing on apple, this was the first juice they made – using single origin apples – and now the producers make all kinds of apple-based drinks (apple and rhubarb thirst-quencher, anyone?). Having nailed the apple side of things, the pair branched (sorry) out, to make other sorts of drinks, such as ginger beer and elderflower pressé. They’re also one of the limited number of makers of freshly squeezed orange juice in the South West. Absolutely none of the production here is outsourced; the guys at Bradley’s manage to make all their drinks themselves, including that classic apple juice, created in a big ol’ press from 100% apples and a bit of Vitamin C. So fear not; there are zero preservatives or chemicals in these homemade refreshments. bradleysjuice.co.uk
6 Think Drinks This Somerset-based trade supplier, which started on the family farm in ’87, works to reinvent draught softies, as well as juices and cordials. Sure, it makes its own versions of those cola and lemonade staples for the bar taps, but it’s also the creator of some more novel offerings, like orange and passion fruit (when was the last time you saw that on draught, eh?). These guys want to “make the soft drinks menu matter”, for both their direct customer – i.e. venue owners – and the end punter, with an attention-grabbing range of quality drinks that will make visitors think again before ordering their usual. These drinks are available all over the UK in bars and restaurants, and you can even spot them in the likes of the Loungers bars. Stay tuned for the seasonal summer range, too – we’ve got our eye on the French Garden Fizz cordial... thinkdrinks.co.uk
Vegetarian | Vegan | Gluten Free
Tel: 01225 464631 Tel: 01225 466626 TAKEAWAY WE TAKE ORDERS FOR OUTDOOR CATERING AND PARTIES, PLEASE CONTACT US FOR MORE DETAILS INDIAN TEMPTATION 9-10 High Street (Cheap Street) Bath BA1 5AQ
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MARK TAYLOR’S TURNED OVER A NEW LEAF THIS MONTH – IN FACT, HE’S TURNED OVER QUITE A FEW, TO GET THROUGH ALL THESE BOOKS...
SYRIA: RECIPES FROM HOME Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi Trapeze, £25
Syria has always been a marketplace for the most delicious ingredients from East and West, a fragrant meeting point for travellers and traders, where spices and sweetness collide. Now based in the UK, British-Iraqi actress Dina Mousawi and Syrian-born filmmaker and theatre producer Itab Azzam met Syrian women in the Middle East and Europe to collect the very best recipes, spending months cooking with them, learning their recipes and listening to their stories. The result is a fascinating and delicious insight into one of the world’s greatest food cultures. From courgettes in tahini sauce, and broad beans with coriander and garlic, to meatballs in tomato and pepper stew, and turmeric cake, this is a wonderful celebration of the taste and culture of Syria.
AUBERGINE FETTEH SERVES 4 AS PART OF A MEZZE
Layering food on toasted bread with a yoghurt sauce is a distinctly Syrian speciality. As far as Syrians are concerned, no flavour has yet been found that can’t be enhanced by the addition of garlicky yoghurt and a bit of crunch. Fetteh – literally ‘breadcrumbs’ – is such a popular dish, and can be made with chickpeas, aubergines, chicken or lamb. Whenever we make Aubergine Fetteh for friends it is always everyone’s favourite dish on the table. INGREDIENTS
3 aubergines olive oil, for roasting and drizzling 2 flatbreads or pittas 500g plain yoghurt 2 small garlic cloves, crushed 2 tbsp lemon juice handful of parsley, roughly chopped handful of pomegranate seeds 50g pine nuts, toasted
1 Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. 2 Cut the aubergines into quarters, lengthways, and then slice them into 1cm chunks and place in a baking tray. Pour over a generous helping of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, then roast in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until the aubergines are soft. 3 Brush the bread with olive oil and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes until nice and crispy. Then break it up into pieces. 4 In a bowl, combine the yoghurt, garlic and lemon juice. 5 When the aubergines are ready, take them out of the oven and allow to cool. Place them in a shallow bowl then pour the yoghurt mix on top. 6 When ready to serve, sprinkle with the crispy bread, parsley, pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts.
S T A R T E R S
THE SAVVY SHOPPER’S COOKBOOK Amy Sheppard Ebury, £14.99
JUNK FOOD JAPAN Scott Hallsworth Absolute Press, £26
LOLA’S: A CAKE JOURNEY AROUND THE WORLD
LEMONS AND LIMES
Ursula Ferrigno Ryland Peters & Small, £14.99
Lola’s bakers with Julia Head Ryland Peters & Small, £18.99
Since starting her blog last year, Cornwall-based mum of two Amy Sheppard has had over 100,000 page views. Dubbed the ‘budget cooking queen’ because she shops only at discount supermarkets, her blog showcases creative and healthy meals aimed at cooks trying to tighten their belts. This, the follow-up to her best-selling Aldi Lover’s Cookbook, features more than 80 delicious, money-saving recipes including cheese, potato and onion rostis; curried mackerel rice with toasted almonds; Moroccan chickpea curry; and chilli and lime chicken. Featuring simple dishes created from basic ingredients and leftovers, and making good use of frozen and tinned food as well as fresh, this is a smart recipe collection that will save time as well as money.
Having made his name as head chef at legendary London restaurant Nobu before opening another Nobu in Melbourne in his native Australia, Scott Hallsworth has been at the cutting edge of Japanese cuisine for the past 20 years. He now runs Kurobuta in London, and this book brings together 100 recipes from the restaurant, which has become a firm favourite with critics and foodies alike. Hallsworth’s wild and inventive take on Japanese food includes signature dishes like barbecued porky belly, tea-smoked lamb and komburoasted Chilean sea bass. With superb photography from David Loftus (who takes the pictures in the Jamie Oliver books), innovative new dishes include tuna sashimi pizza, Wagyu beef sliders, and iced passion fruit and sake parfait.
Boutique London bakery Lola’s is famous for selling an international range of cakes in all shapes and sizes, and this beautifully designed book brings together 70 examples from all over the world. The mouthwatering selection of recipes has been created by Julia Head alongside the talented team at Lola’s. Detailed, precise and well tested, the recipes are aimed at the more experienced home baker, and range from classics like English Victoria sponge and Welsh bara brith to more exotic offerings such as Cuban coconut rum cake and Indian sesame seed cake. We particularly like the sticky orange and almond cake from Spain; the dairy-free Greek lemon olive oil cake; and the summery Italian Genoise sponge with raspberries.
Ursula Ferrigno might be one of the leading authorities on Italian food, but she looks beyond the Mediterranean in this global collection of citrus recipes. Celebrating the unique sharp and aromatic burst of lemons and limes, the 75 recipes here are interspersed with essays on the history and culture of citrus fruits, their health benefits, and tips on how to grow, preserve and pickle your own. A squeeze of lemon or lime can lift and transform a dish, and this is certainly the case with recipes such as grilled lemon sea bass with roasted red pepper and basil butter, and spiced roasted chicken with chickpeas, carrots and preserved lemon. Peruvian key lime pie and lemon cardamom and raspberry torte bring things to a sweet conclusion.
Eat, Drink & Relax THE COTTAGE INN 01179 215256 Baltic Wharf, Cumberland Road, Bristol BS1 6XG
THE LAMB HOTEL 01934 732253 The Square, Axbridge BS26 2AP
THE OLD RESTORATION 01242 522792 55-57 High Street, Cheltenham GL50 1DX
THE MILL AT RODE 01373 831100 Rode, Frome BA11 6AG
THE SWAN INN 01934 852371 Rowberrow, Winscombe BS25 1QL
THE PELICAN INN 01275 331777 10 South Parade, Chew Magna, Bristol BS40 8SL
THE WOOLPACK INN 01934 521670 Shepherds Way, St Georges, Westonsuper-Mare BS22 7XE
Garden sorrel, as it’s known, can be forgaged all year – see if you can find some for that hake fillet
CH E F ! WHAT TO MAKE AND HOW TO MAKE IT – DIRECT FROM THE KITCHENS OF OUR FAVOURITE FOODIES
H I G H L I G H T S
Fire up that barbie, folks, for this meat-tastic treat from the Grillstock guys Page 28
THE DUKE OF PORK
Nail that crackling and this dish will be a real dinner party pleaser Page 31
REST ON YOUR SORRELS
P L U S
Find out how to dress up a good bit of Cornish hake to the nines Page 32
Andy Clarke invades the Wharf
C H E F !
IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR FOR THE GRILLSTOCK FOUNDERS…
a Grape match! Artesana Tannat 2012 £18.95, Novel Wines “Artesana’s full bodied Uruguayan red wine is made from 100 per cent Tannat, and is bursting with chocolate, black cherry and spice. Paired with this meaty barbecue dish, the wine is pure indulgence. Treat yourself…”
Did you spot team Crumbs at Grillstock Festival last year? We were the ones busy chomping our way through 13 burgers while people gawped at us in horror-slash-admiration (our ed was judging them for the competition – she’s not that greedy on the regular). Bristol’s most bangin’ barbecue festival is back again this summer on 1 and 2 July, and tickets aren’t exactly hanging around, if y’know what we mean. Readying ourselves for this year’s fiery fest has got us raring to whip that tarp off the barbecue; come rain (most probably) or shine, we’re determined to get some decent use out of it this year. And this will be one of the first recipes we cook. From Grillstock founders Jon Finch and Ben Merrington, it promises to get the barbecue party started. Here’s what they have to say about it... “Whenever faced with the question, ‘how can I make this better?’ the answer is usually ‘add bacon’. It certainly never makes things worse. Here is a great recipe that you can prepare in advance of the crew coming round, bung on the barbecue for an hour or so, then sit back and accept the glory. It uses boneless chicken thighs so they’re great to eat whole, too – good finger food. Kids love them.”
BACON-WRAPPED STUFFED CHICKEN THIGHS SERVES 6 INGREDIENTS 12 skinless, boneless chicken thighs barbecue rub 6 of your favourite sausages, the meat squeezed out of the skins 24 rashers of streaky bacon
PHOTO BY KATE BERRY
METHOD 1 Set up your barbecue to cook indirectly – i.e., so the meat will not sit directly over the heat source – at 140C/275F. To achieve this with a charcoal grill just pile your coals to one side, and with a gas grill keep the burners medium-high on one side and low-off on the other. (This is a great technique to use for cooking whole joints of meat too.) 2 Open out the chicken thighs and lay them flat on a chopping board, with the side that used to have the bone in facing upwards. Season lightly with the rub – don’t use too much as the bacon is quite salty. 3 Place a strip of sausage meat, about finger thickness, across the width of each thigh where the bone used to be. Roll the chicken thighs around the sausage meat – it should resemble a fat sausage roll. 4 Wrap rashers of streaky bacon around the chicken thigh parcel. You can either wrap them entirely in bacon or leave the ends showing. 5 Dust the tops with more of the rub. 6 Cook for 1 hour until the internal temperature of each parcel hits 75C. TIPS! • Dunk them in barbecue sauce 15 minutes before you eat them, then pop back on the grill for a further 10 minutes for the sauce to go sticky. • Jazz them up by mixing other ingredients into the sausage meat, including freshly chopped chillies or cheese. Or more bacon... Grillstock Festival will be at Bristol Harbourside on 1 and 2 July; for more information, visit grillstock.co.uk
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Give iT sOme beLLy! PHILIP CAREY SHARES A DISH FROM HIS NEW SPRING MENU...
The Garden is an independent restaurant in Chippenham, which also now has a branch in Trowbridge. This place specialises in using fresh local produce to create hearty, homemade food at an affordable price. It’s all served in a relaxed and quirky setting, themed around a classic English country garden. Head chef Phil has been with The Garden since it all began just over two years ago. He has brought 15 years of culinary experience with him and is truly passionate about cooking with great-quality ingredients to offer something different from the norm. His commitment to these values has hugely influenced the restaurant, owner John Paine tells us, and is one of the reasons The Garden’s rep has grown so fast.
METHOD 1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. 2 Score the belly with a sharp knife. Lay it skin side up and give it a rub with oil and salt so that the fat runs and the skin crisps up. Place in a roasting tray in the oven, and cook for 2 ½ hours. Then turn up the heat to 200C/400F/gas mark 6, and crisp up the skin for about 30 minutes. The belly should be crisp on the outside, but tender on the inside. 3 While the pork is in the oven, make the Dauphinoise potatoes. Finely chop the garlic and onion, and sauté in the butter until soft. Add the cream and allow to simmer until it reduces by half. 4 Slice the potatoes with a mandolin and arrange a single layer over the bottom of an oven-proof dish. Then pour over some cream sauce. Repeat these layers until you run out of potato. 5 Place the completed dish into the oven for 60-80 mins with the pork (still at 180C/350F/gas mark 4) until brown on top and soft in the centre. 6 Peel and chop your parsnips then place into a pan with the cream, milk, garlic and butter. Bring to the boil, then simmer with the lid on until soft. Uncover and reduce liquid by half. Season well and blend into a smooth purée. 7 For the cider sauce, start by melting the butter in a pan. Slowly add the flour and stir until a smooth paste is formed. Add the stock gradually, and stir. Add the cider and simmer until you have a nice velvety consistency. Pour in the juices from the pork for extra flavour. 8 Parboil the carrots in salted water until they begin to soften, then let them steam. Finely chop the sage and thyme and add to a pan with the butter and sugar. Season. Toss the carrots in the pan to glaze them. 9 Spread the parsnip purée on each plate. Top with the Dauphinoise, carrots and pork, with the crispy crackling on show. The sauce can be poured over or served in a warmed jug. We serve this with black pudding and deep fried salted sage leaves. THE GARDEN, 5-17 The Bridge, Chippenham SN15 1HA; 01249 465672; thegardenuk.co.uk
CRISPY WILTSHIRE BELLY PORK WITH DAUPHINOISE, GLAZED BABY CARROTS, PARSNIP PURÉE AND SCRUMPY CIDER SAUCE SERVES 8 INGREDIENTS 2 kg belly pork For the Dauphinoise: 2 garlic cloves 1 large white onion knob of butter 800ml cream 4kg local potatoes For the parsnip pureé: 4 large parsnips 150ml cream 150ml milk knob of butter For the cider sauce: 500ml local scrumpy cider 500ml chicken stock 50g butter 50g flour For the carrots: 600g baby carrots large knob of butter 2 sprigs fresh thyme
small handful sage leaves pinch of sugar
C H E F !
IS IT TOO LATe NOw TO SAY SOrrEL?
TOM BLAKE LOVES A BIT O’ HAKE… Tom is executive chef for boutique hotel and pub brand, Stay Original. This means that Tom, formerly head chef at River Cottage, is responsible for the delicious local and seasonal menus at The Swan in Wedmore, The White Hart in Somerton, The Grosvenor Arms in Shaftesbury, and Timbrell’s Yard in Bradford-on-Avon. This chef has an extensive network of West Country growers and producers in his contact book, and this fresh, spring dish – created for Timbrell’s Yard – features Cornish hake from one such family firm, Samways in Bridport.
CORNISH HAKE WITH SAMPHIRE, SORREL AND HARISSA SERVES 4
INGREDIENTS 160g wild rice 4 Cornish hake fillets 50ml rapeseed oil handful of sorrel, chopped 80-100g samphire 2 knobs of salted butter For the harissa: 1 red chilli 1 red pepper 1 red onion 3 garlic cloves ½ tsp ground caraway ½ tsp ground coriander ½ tsp ground cumin 1 tbsp tomato purée ½ lemon, juice only 50ml olive oil
METHOD 1 Start by making the harissa. Under a hot grill (or directly over a flame), blacken the pepper and chilli. 2 Thinly slice the red onion then sweat it down in a little oil, over a medium heat, until it’s soft. 3 Once they’re cool enough to touch, rub the skins off the blackened chilli and pepper and pull the stalks off. Deseed the pepper. Add to a blender along with the onion and all the other harissa ingredients, then blend. Season to taste. 4 Boil the wild rice in salted water for 25 minutes, or until cooked. 5 Heat two pans over the hob. Once hot, lightly season the hake portions on the skin side and place skin side down in one of the pans with a glug of rapeseed oil. Cook for about 8 minutes on the skin side. 6 In your other pan, add rapeseed oil and the cooked wild rice, and stir fry, throwing in the chopped sorrel. 7 When the hake is cooked almost to the top of the flesh (you will be able to see this by the colour) flip it over so it is flesh side down, and throw in two good knobs of salted butter, followed by the samphire. Take the pan off the heat so the butter doesn’t burn. 8 To serve, first put the harissa in the centre of the plate (you can use as much as you like, but remember that it’s hot!). Add the sorrel and rice on top, then stack a hake fillet on that. Finally, pour over the melted butter and samphire from the hake pan. TIMBRELL’S YARD, 49 St. Margaret’s Street, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1DE; 01225 869492; timbrellsyard.com
“Wonderfully fresh flavours... inherently satisfying dishes; staff are cool and calm and the atmosphere terrific.” MICHELIN GUIDE 2016
COMPLIMENTARY SPRITZ for you and your guests when dining To redeem, simply quote ‘crumbs’ on arrival Polpo Bristol 50 Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2NH 0117 973 3100 www.polpo.co.uk
The King Street Brew House is an urban style city centre pub with its very own micro-brewery. We create our own range of cask and keg beers which complement our selection of ever changing guest craft brews. We serve a delicious array of modern classic pub food all day from lunchtime until late, all prepared using fresh ingredients.
13 Welsh Back, Bristol BS1 4RR 0117 405 8948
Reserve a table for getting together with friends, family or colleagues, or hire our Tank Room on our lower ground floor for private dining, parties or watching live sports. Brewery tours and Brewery experience days can be booked in advance if youâ€™d like to learn more about the beers we make and the general brewing process. Gift vouchers are available, so whether youâ€™d like to have a look around our brewery, or go the whole hog and brew a batch of beer with Simon, our head brewer, then get in touch!
www.k i n g st r eet b r ew h o u s e.c o.u k
C H E F !
ard to believe, isn’t it, that until last year that patch of land between Cumberland Road and M Shed acted only as a car park and a less-than-scenic cut through for pedestrians to the Harbourside? Now, that very area is a buzzing addition to Bristol’s ever-growing food and drink scene, with restaurants, bars and shops housed in a pile of shipping containers, collectively known as Cargo 1. Its atmosphere is quite unique and – thanks to the great and the good that have set up shop there, coupled with hoards of hungrily inquisitive Bristolians – it’s become an instant hit. It’s people like Elliott and Tess Lidstone who we have to thank for helping to breathe life into this fab new Bristol enclave. The Lidstones are responsible for Box-E, a tiny restaurant with huge character, housed
The Wine Guy within two of those shipping containers. Here, in this unassuming little space where the kitchen spills into the dining room (guests can pretty much watch Elliott work behind the pass from any table), you’ll find some of the West’s best grub. Within this cosy space lives Sandra – a stove unit who had to be winched into her first-floor home by a crane (the poor love). She shares it with just a handful of tables, and four bar stools (best seats in the house) at the side of the kitchen. Elliott was once head chef of the Michelinstarred L’ortolan, before a four-year stint at the Empress in East London, where he helped earn two AA rosettes and a Michelin Bib Gourmand, no less. But like so many of us, the lure of the West Country captured this couple’s hearts and catapulted them back along the M4, straight into the beating heart of Bristol’s thriving food scene.
SaLmON LIKe yOu
IF YOU SPOTTED ANDY CLARKE WANDERING AROUND WAPPING WHARF WITH A PLATE OF FOOD RECENTLY, DON’T PANIC: HE’S NOT GONE (TOTALLY) MAD. HE WAS JUST ON THE HUNT FOR THE PERFECT SIP TO MATCH A SALMON DISH…
Elliott’s innovative take on modern seasonal dining is exquisite; he set me a challenge by presenting me with a spritely dish of cured salmon, radish, cucumber and dill. The salmon had been given a local twist as it’s cured using botanicals from Psychopomp gin, and a splash of the good stuff itself – made just across the water. But what to drink with it? Luckily, I don’t have to go far to find something; part of Cargo 1’s appeal is its top watering holes. The Bristol Cider Shop relocated here from Christmas Steps and is now serving ciders and snacks on the premises, as well as its usual array of delicious drinks to take away. The latest Corks off licence has opened here too. Corks at Cargo is filled with all manor of alcoholic sips, but it’s also a bar – so when I wandered in with a plate of Elliott’s cured salmon from just upstairs, I could pull up a pew and sip some fine drops of wine.
C H E F !
If you choose to make Elliott’s summery snack at home (and I absolutely recommend you do), I found a few beauties for you to try with it. When in Corks, I was tempted by a white Pinot Noir from Argentina, and also toyed with a spritzy Austrian white blend, but in the end I went for the charming Turckheim Edelzwicker – an Alsatian blend of Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner and Riesling. There’s a freshness to the nose, which is a good hint as to how it tastes. On the palate, it’s got striking mineralogy from the Pinot Blanc which works beautifully with the gently pickled cucumber and dill. There’s underlying weight too, thanks to the Riesling, which is the perfect partner with the texture of the salmon. The wine is bone-dry and acts like a squeeze of lemon over the dish, which enhances the recipe’s zingy flavours. But at this time of year, I’m often found reaching for a cider, so I couldn’t ignore the array of interesting bottles on the shelves next door at Bristol Cider Shop. One that caught my attention was the Pilton Somerset Keeved Cider. (If you want to look clever in front of your mates, ‘keeving’ is a method using late-season apples to produce naturally sweet ciders with a lovely sparkle.) This cider’s award-winning, medium-dry flavour is full of rounded apple charm – great with the herbaceous hints in the salmon botanicals and the fresh dill. There’s also a caramelised sugar quality to this golden drink that complements the grapefruit and radish perfectly. But if you want to go all out and try something really different with this recipe, why not try a Naked Lady Found in a Field? Yes, you heard me right, Charles
Martell has produced this warming perry spirit from crazily named Gloucestershire pears. The Naked Lady – or Meadow Saffron, as it’s otherwise known – gives this spirit its distinct yellow colour. (Who knew?) The drink is also infused with saffron stamens, which give it a richness that is just divine with the fish. It also has a pleasing tang, which marries beautifully with all the bright accompaniments. A little shot of this oakaged perry spirit works wonders with Elliott’s delectable salmon. So if you go down to the Wharf today, you don’t have to carry a plate of food around with you (I did give Elliott his crokery back, by the way), but I do suggest you have an empty stomach and bit of a thirst on. And pick up one of those bottles while you’re there – ’cause I’ve got Box-E’s salmon recipe for you to make at home… A bottle of Turckheim Edelzwicker is priced at £9.99 from Corks at Cargo. You can also find Pyschopomp gin there for your salmon cure; £35.99 for 70cl. Pilton Somerset Keeved Cider is £8.50 for 75cl and, finally, Naked Lady costs £32.50 for 50cl at The Bristol Cider Shop.
Andy Clarke is a freelance TV producer and writer. Follow him on Twitter @TVsAndyClarke; one4thetable.com
GIN-CURED SALMON WITH PICKLED CUCUMBER
S E R V E S 8 A S A S TA R T E R
INGREDIENTS For the cure: 250g caster sugar 125g course sea salt 125g gin botanicals of your choice (you could use juniper berries, lemon zest, orange zest, bay leaves and coriander seeds) splash of gin For the cucumber: 100ml cider vinegar 50ml water handful dill stalks 50g sugar ½ cucumber, halved lengthways, seeded and thinly sliced To garnish: 1 pink grapefruit, segmented and diced (no skin or pith) small handful of dill 2 radishes, thinly sliced METHOD 1 Mix the cure ingredients together and pack it around the salmon, ensuring the fish is completely coated. Leave for around 36 hours, until firm. Then, brush off the majority of the cure and rinse under cold water. Pat dry and dice. 2 For the cucumber, combine the cider vinegar and water in a pan and bring to the boil. Add the dill stalks. Add the sugar and allow to dissolve, then take off the heat. Once the pickling liquor is totally cool, add the cucumber and leave for at least a day. 3 Arrange the salmon on the plate, dot with grapefruit, cucumber and radish, and finish off with some fronds of dill. boxebristol.com
There are many reasons to dine at...
What's yours? “… all cooked with fresh, zingy ingredients and presented beautifully” – The Sunday Times
Michelin Guide 2015
The Mint Room, Longmead Gospel Hall, Lower Bristol Road, Bath BA2 3EB | Tel: 01225 446656 The Mint Room, 12-16 Clifton Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1AF | Tel: 01173 291300 | www.themintroom.co.uk
Piattino means “small plate” in Italian. where we truly believe in the perfect combination between food, wine and music. All run by our independent family and a great team.
Piattino! Sounds good! Available for private events. • 7 Edgar Buildings • George Street • • Bath • BA1 2EE • • 01225 443900 •
now open in clifton village 29 Regent Street, Bristol BS8 4HR 01179 092 770 â€˘ firstname.lastname@example.org www.boscopizzeria.co.uk
Choose your weapons What on earth is that? It looks like a weird spare part for some gigantic gizmo I wouldn’t understand. Just the thing if your oil rig has stopped working, but useless on its own. As always, how wrong you are! You know how barbecue season’s in full swing? Well, this is the piece of kit you want in order to make the most of it: the new version of the Uuni wood-fired oven that’s been getting outdoor cooking enthusiasts excited since 2012. No slouches, the Uuni guys soon introduced an improved model, and now it’s time for the Uuni 3, another upgrade with exciting new features.
have never been glamour-pusses so much as laymanfriendly, go-anywhere workhorses: fast, portable, easy to use and pretty damn cheap. (Even the wood pellets it runs on cost next to nowt, and soon there’ll be a bolt-on option to run it on gas too, if you prefer.) And anyway, wouldn’t you rather have something that worked than something that looks good? I’d rather have both. Then let’s concentrate on the beauty of what this thing does. The old Uuni 2S would cook a proper wood-fired pizza in a couple of minutes; this one will do it in just 60 seconds, and only takes 10 minutes to get up to 500C. It has a simpler way of loading the wood pellets; a new insulated body for better temperature regulation; and now stands on three legs, rather than four, with each having extrawide feet. Why, you may ask?
They couldn’t have made ‘sexy styling’ one of those features, I take it…? Come on, be fair. I like the way this thing looks: sort of sturdy and utilitarian, and made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel. The Uuni ovens
I do! Why? Because this way it’s easier to set up in the great outdoors. (Three legs actually give better stability on uneven surfaces.) You know what, I’m kind of over pizza these days. (Such a liar.) But okay, the Uuni 3’s super-short cooking times can be applied to loads of other dishes, too: steaks, salmon, veggies, flatbreads, whatever. You said it’s cheap, but I don’t believe you. Nothing you show me ever is… Not true! And this thing’s under £200, would you believe? The whole idea has always been to reduce the weight, size, cost and hassle of owning a real wood-fired oven, and the Uuni 3 does that better than ever. Job done, I reckon.
OUTDOOR WOOD-FIRED PIZZA OVENS ARE COOL BUT A FAFF – AND EXPENSIVE TOO, RIGHT? NOT SO FAST, SAYS MATT BIELBY
The Uuni 3 costs £199; find it at cuckooland.com, or check it out at uk.uuni.net
THIS MONTH •FIRE STARTER •HIDING IN THE ATTIC •SIPPING POINT
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thrILL Of the Chase THE GUYS FROM CHASE DISTILLERY CAME TO TOWN, AND PUT ON A DINNER TO REMEMBER...
WORDS BY JESSICA CARTER PHOTOS BY TORY MCTERNAN
t: 0117 952 1391 w: www.innonthegreenbristol.com e: email@example.com Inn On The Green, 2 Filton Road, Horfield, Bristol BS7 0PA
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ne of Bristol’s jazziest cocktail bars, The Milk Thistle gives little away from the outside as to what goes on behind that unassuming black door. It is a Prohibitionstyle joint, after all – one of Bristol’s first – meaning discretion is, obvs, key. Knock on the door and, bypassing the gorgeous ’20s style bar (which is, let’s be honest, a challenge) and climbing the stairs all the way to the top of the building, you’ll find The Attic. Rustic wooden floors, antique furniture, quirky wallpaper, and dim candlelight set a pretty stylish picture up here, and acted as the setting for Chase Distillery’s first supper club in Bristol. Chase is a family-run distillery set on a Herefordshire farm. William Chase, who grew potatoes on the land, realised he needed to diversify in the early 2000s. Before he arrived at the idea of potato vodka, though, he founded and sold the Tyrrells crisp brand. Chase Vodka came about in 2008, and the company has since created Williams Gin and Chase Liqueurs.
Chase hosts these supper clubs regularly in Landan Taahn (that was my best cockney accent), but this was its first down our way. Industry folk came from all over Bristol and the South West; our neighbours at the table were the guys from Harbour Hotels in Bristol and Salcombe. Having kicked off with a Williams Gin and tonic, we took our seats at the dapperlooking table. Each place was set with a menu rolled up and secured with a Union Jack bow tie – the very same as those gin bottles sport – and sat alongside well polished cutlery, gleaming glasses and vintage-looking candelabras. Did you know Chase also makes wine? Right good wine an’ all. The company owns some vineyards in France – the vines’ low yield means that these bottles are scant in number, but ample in quality. We were poured the 2016 Maison Williams Chase Rosé to start with – a delicately pale rosé, dry, fruity, and grown-up, and a great example of how rosé has managed to get its feet back under the table in recent years. This was matched with a starter of mackerel, cured with the floral Chase Elderflower Liqueur. The strip of soft flesh sported that gorgeously metallic,
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ELderfLOwer vodka-CUred maCKereL WITh PeaS aNd WILd GArLIC PeStO SERVES 4
INGREDIENTS 4 mackerel fillets For the cure: 90g caster sugar 100g Maldon salt 1 tsp ground black pepper 1 tsp ground coriander seed 25g fresh ginger, grated 40ml Chase Elderflower Vodka For the wild garlic pesto: 100g wild garlic 1 tbsp pine nuts, roasted 25g Parmesan squeeze of lemon extra virgin olive oil For the pea purée: 40g butter 50ml vegetable stock or water 200g frozen peas, half of them defrosted and half still frozen
shimmering skin that always makes fresh mackerel look so very impressive. The plate was scattered with peas and shoots, as well as punchy wild garlic pesto, and a pea pureé. (Fancy it yourself? Then see the page opposite for a take on this very recipe.) You may be thinking, ‘’ey up, isn’t Milk Thistle just a watering hole?’, and yeah, food isn’t served here on the regular. But when it is (for parties, private events et al) it’s courtesy of the kitchen team from The Ox, who move into the on-site kitchen for the evening to work their magic.
The main course was tender pressed lamb shoulder with Jerusalem artichoke, turnip, and Chase Smoked Vodka turnip tops – served with a (dangerously) easy-drinking red. Spiced ginger parkin with Chase Rhubarb Vodka caviar was the final act of the evening, although we were treated to glasses of the new Brandy Cask Aged Vodka and limited edition Espresso Vodka before the night was done. Despite ending on a caffeine hit, we still slept rather well that night – perhaps unsurprisingly... chasedistillery.co.uk
METHOD 1 Carefully remove the outer membrane on the skin of the mackerel with a pair of tweezers. 2 Blitz all the cure ingredients together and cover the fillets with it. Leave it in the fridge to cure for 1 hour. 3 For the wild garlic pesto, pulse the leaves, nuts, Parmesan and lemon juice in a food processor or bash up in a mortar and pestle, adding the olive oil until you achieve your desired consistency. 4 To make the pea purée, heat up the butter, stock, and defrosted peas, and blitz in a blender. Blitz in the frozen peas at the end to reduce the heat in the blender and retain a deep green colour. 5 To serve, sweep some pea purée on each plate with a blob or two of the pesto. Lay a mackerel fillet on top and garnish with a scattering of pea shoots. milkthistlebristol.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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A R M O U R Y
The Want List 1
WE’RE GETTING OUR BARWARE READY FOR SUMMER – BOTTOMS UP!
1 RAG RUG PRINT GLASSES, SET OF TWO £7.95 Designed by Finnish interior pro Teuvo Loman, these glasses have proper Scandinavian swag. Find them in fig1 in Bristol. fig1.co.uk 2 DRINKS MEASURE £14 Finished in gold, this doubleended measure will come in uber-handy when making those summer cocktails and mocktails. Get it from Rossiters of Bath. rossitersofbath.com 3 HAND-FORGED BRASS BOTTLE OPENER £10 This solid iron bottle opener definitely trumps the fridge magnet that’s usually passed around at parties. Get yours from Mon Pote in Bristol. monpote.co.uk 4 TERRACOTTA WINE COOLER £35 Terracotta has a natural gift when it comes to maintaining temperatures, so this wine cooler, with its earthy look and contemporary design, will do just the trick for that bottle of slurp. From Howkapow in Bristol. howkapow.com 5 TAP WATER BOTTLE £4 A great way to glam-up tap water on the table, this bottle is designed by Garden Trading, and has its signature rustic yet chic look. Pick it up from Leekes in Melksham. leekes.co.uk
Try our New Delhi menu throughout May and June.
10 The Mall | Clifton | BS8 4DR | 0117 360 0288 | email@example.com | www.nutmegbristol.com
‘SERATA SPECIALE’ Don’t fancy cooking midweek? Need a little treat to tide you over till the weekend? Each week we choose some of our favorite regional Italian dishes, give them a little twist and offer them to you at the special price of £12.50 for 2 courses or £15 for 3 courses. Available 6pm -7.45pm Tuesday-Thursday. Full a la carte menu also available. For more details visit www.rosemarino.co.uk
Behind its grandly imposing Victorian frontage at the top of Blackboy Hill, The Kings Arms offers a wonderfully diverse experience. With its café bar, dining rooms and lounges spread over several levels, there is room for everyone – even a Party Hall for those special occasions. The emphasis on the menu is home-made. Using genuinely sourced ingredients from local producers – including the family farm – it ranges from great pub classics to tasty tapas. Weekly specials use the best of what is seasonal and the burgers are legendary, with the chutneys and smoked cheeses all prepared in the Kings Arms kitchen.
The 2.4.1 weekday burger deal and a mouthwatering range of deli sandwiches makes this as much a lunch destination as an evening. Or just pop in for coffee and cake. The Sunday roasts are extremely popular, so booking is advisable, and the affordable wine list has something to suit every palette. Carefully made cocktails are available for the more adventurous – try the ‘Giddy Henry’, the House cocktail served in a tea-cup! Sit out on our sun-trap terrace – perfect for sunnier days.
The Kings Arms, 168 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2XZ Telephone: 0117 973 5922 Email: info:kingsarmsbristol.com
Bar • Kitchen Dining AFTERNOON TEA
SUNDAY ROAST IN THE GARDEN
Friday, Saturday 12 noon to 4pm and Sunday Whole roast chicken for a family 3pm to 5pm • £15 per head of 4 with all the trimmings £40 Homemade cakes and Come and join us for an amazing Sunday roast in pastries, Selection of our country pub on the edge of Bradford-on-Avon. hand cut sandwiches Get your friends and family together and and unlimited tea and relax out in our beautiful garden. coffee. Booking essential. Children and dogs welcome.
TO BOOK CALL
PRIX FIXE LUNCH MENU Monday – Saturday Two courses £15.95 Three courses £17.95 (also available Monday and Tuesday evenings)
67 Woolley St, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 1AQ • firstname.lastname@example.org • thegeorgebradfordonavon.co.uk
SPRING INTO SUMMER AT
Fish & Fizz Fridays Join us at Stanton Manor for a Four-Course Fish and Fresh Seafood Menu with a glass of celebration Fizz all for a Fabulous £ 27.50! This offer is available every Friday evening from 6pm until 9pm Reservations essential 01666 837 552
2 for 1 Afternoon Tea £14.95
throughout the summer! Make it Sparkle! Mention this ad and we’ll add a glass of Prosecco for only £3 each! Book now! 01666 837 552
Let’s do Lunch! 12 – 3pm Monday-Friday 2 courses only £15 or 3 courses for £19 …in the fabulous surroundings of this Hidden Cotswold Gem. If the weathers nice… Dine Al Fresco! Book now. 01666 837 552
Stanton Manor Hotel Stanton St Quintin, Near Chippenham, Wiltshire SN14 6DQ 01666 837552 Reception@stantonmanor.co.uk
Brunch • Lunch • Cakes • Great Brews 45 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2LS
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TOP CULINARY KNOW-HOW, FAB FOOD DESTINATIONS & PEOPLE THAT MATTER
Rosé is back – and it’s more delicious than ever before...
H I G H L I G H T S
A beginner’s guide to foraging around Bath and Bristol this summer Page 56
Everything is well in the world of resurgent rosé – here’s why you should be drinking it Page 62
A directory of some the best local private dining rooms to book your party at Page 65
plants to forage for locally this season!
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PiCKY eaTING THE TIME IS NOW TO GET A-PICKING, WRITES CHRISTOPHER ROBBINS; BUT BEFORE YOU SET OFF ON YOUR FORAGING ADVENTURE, HEâ€™S PUT TOGETHER A HANDY TOOLKIT FOR YOU...
Christopher Robbins is a forager and medical herbalist. He runs foraging and cookery classes with Demuths Cookery School in Bath (demuths.co.uk; 01225 727 938) and can be contacted on Twitter @phytoforage, or on email@example.com
t might be trending right now, but foraging, of course, is not new. It used to be done by every household, to expand people’s range of greens and fruits, and create herbal home remedies. From around the 1950s it rapidly fell away though, to the point where blackberrying on Sunday afternoons was about the extent of most people’s foraging experience. As foraging was forgotten, so was the knowledge of wild plants: what to pick, what to avoid, and what is in season, when. So, it’s time we played catch up...
KNOW YOU KNOW YOUR PLANTS
Confidence is the key to contented foragers. This means feeling safe in knowing you can identify what to eat and what to avoid. Very few plants are harmful – but you need to know you know. This is easy; there is no need to brush up on wild plant identification (ID) to the level of a degree in Botany. Do a bit of research and start by making a list of plants you can forage; this will be only about 15-20 plants (even experienced foragers may not harvest more than this in a year). Choose maybe three to five, and just learn how to ID those few, learning more and adding to the list slowly. No, that won’t get you a Tenderfoot Botany Badge (never mind) right away, but it will make you a safe forager.
LEARN HOW TO IDENTIFY THEM
For herbs, look at the leaf size, shape, and colour. Look at the flowers (shape and number of petals, not only colour) and any specifics like stings or soft fuzz on stems or leaves. Also note the aroma (e.g. mints or wild garlic). For trees and shrubs, note the leaf shape and size, the flowers, and the fruits – but don’t forget the bark appearance. Most good foraging plants are quite distinctive and not easy to confuse with anything. For example, stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), comfrey (Symphytum officinale), and chickweed (Stellaria media) are hard to confuse if you study their ID features. Note the Latin names, too. You don’t have to learn them but they are very useful in the ID process, as many given names vary over short distances. For instance, bilberry and whortelberry are two common names around Bath and Bristol but their single Latin name is constant (Vaccinium myrtillus). Also, the same common name is often used for many different plants with different Latin names (look up the different plants called woundwort.) The same plant will have different common names in different languages, but the Latin name will be the same, handily.
ONLY BOTHER WITH THE TASTIEST PLANTS
Many foragers teach or write about umpteen plants they call ‘edible plants’. That means only that they won’t cause harm. (Mow your lawn and the clippings are usually edible, but they will taste awful.) You should forage only those plants that are worth eating – the ones that’ll make you want to repeat foraging them. See the three examples of plants you can forage around Bath and Bristol this summer over the page. These are well worth hunting down.
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WHERE AND WHEN TO FORAGE
Good wildflower books and websites, or foraging sites, will usually give details of what soil or landscape to find specific plants in, and the season they grow or flower/fruit in, so you can plan your outings. Roger Phillips’ books are great; they are full of plant photographs, and are arranged by season with a date on each page the photos were taken. So you can look up the June or July pages, for example, and they will show all the plants that will be available. Clever foragers will notice plants growing when they are driving, on their bike, or walking – even when they’re strolling around towns and cities. If you do, make a note of where and when you see interesting and accessible plants, so you can come back at the right time of year to harvest.
GET YOUR FORAGING KIT READY
You wouldn’t go to war without your Swiss Army knife, right? Ditto with foraging. Having a small kit handy makes your outdoor pursuit much easier. Start with a Swiss Army knife, but keep it from view (and the blade must be less than three inches). Pack a small rucksack with waterproofs, plastic bags, gardening gloves (nettles sting, damsons stain, blackberries prick), and a spoon for digging. A mini first-aid kit is a good idea too, containing plasters, calendula lotion, and bicarbonate of soda to treat nettle stings (rubbing with dock leaf doesn’t work – sorry!).
A BIT OF LEGAL STUFF
There is a right to roam, but no simple right to pick plants. There are several laws that effect foraging, and they can be rather complicated. If you’re just picking for your own use, though, it is simpler. The basic rule is always ask permission if you are picking from private land – even National Parks like the Mendips or the Brecons are covered. There may even be special bylaws that forbid foraging at all. Places like the National Trust and some special Nature Reserves may have passed these bylaws, but there should be notices displayed to this effect. You can still ask permission – it’s likely to be granted. Don’t pick anything on protected sites though, like Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Most roadside verges are owned or controlled by local authorities or the State – if you do forage there, take special care near the roads. And wherever you forage, never dig up or damage a whole plant.
• Always check the ID of plants before you attempt to eat them. • Never put anything in your mouth, even just to taste, unless you are completely sure of the ID. • Pick only what you need. • Always try to get permission before you trespass on private land and pick. • Take care of the environment.
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THREE TO GET YOU STARTED
These treats are very common all around Bath, Bristol and in between…
STINGING NETTLE grows in meadows, edges of woods, and around houses, loving rich soil. It reaches 50-100cm, but this is highly variable. Leaves are heart-spearhead shaped, paired opposite, with the next pair at 90 degrees. Both leaves and stems are coarsely toothed with stinging hairs. There may be tiny, single sexed flowers in upper leaf axils, usually on separate plants. Neither have obvious petals. Flowers June to August. Best foraged before flowering when leaves and stems toughen. Harvest only upper 3-4 pairs of leaves. Avoid getting stung by gripping leaf tip firmly in thumb and index finger then cut with scissors. Spread out to wilt (sting will then disappear) and then handle like spinach. Quick! Get my nettle pesto recipe on crumbsmag.com BITTER CRESS (HAIRY) is common all year on sunny/shaded, fertile bare or cultivated soil. It has small leaves that eat like watercress; they’re so common in gardens that they’re often not noticed. Rosettes measure up to 10cm in diameter, while leaves pinnate with up to seven opposite pairs of angular, almost diamond-shaped leaves. The flower stalk will be around 5-15cms with small petalled white flowers, about 2mm diameter all year. Its fruit (2-3cm) are very thin pods that rupture easily when ripe. Take the leaves for sandwiches or salads, or to sex up scrambled egg. ELDER FLOWER/BERRY has many
myths and legends surrounding it. This beautiful deciduous tree grows up to 10 meters high and has rough, warty bark, and soft pith in young branches. It grows in fertile hedgerows, woodland and near streams. The leaves pinnate with five oval to elliptical, toothed leaflets and smells of marzipan before flowering. It flowers (May-June) with large, flat umbels of small cream/white flowers. The plant fruits (July to Aug) as juicy berries, anything from dark crimson to black. Forage flowers for light fritters or cordial, and fruits for rich jellies, syrups (to replace Cassis), and to go with apple-based desserts.
Useful reference material: • ispotnature.org • opalexplorenature.org • The Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe, by Fitter, Fitter and Blamey • Wild Flowers of Britain, by Roger Phillips
Foraged fine foods and liqueurs.
Here at Heavenly Hedgerows we believe in responsible and sustainable foraging. That’s why we’ve won ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainability’ in both the Bristol & Bath Good Food Awards.
5 DAYS COOKING LESSON TOUR AT THE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE CINQUE TERRE
Have an amazing culinary adventure whilst enjoying a stunning and unforgettable part of Italy
We make foraged foods into ﬁne food for retail sale and also preserves for restaurants and hotels.
We’re wild about good food. www.heavenlyhedgerows.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org BEST LOCAL PRESERVE
Join us on our cookery courses which are guided by award-winning professional chefs. You’ll be buying your ingredients from the local market, and enjoying your dishes accompanied by the quality local wines.
For more information, please visit our website
The Curfew 11 Cleveland Place West, Bath BA1 5DG 01225 313747
Our weekly changing lunch, dinner and tapas menu is superbly put together using the finest local ingredients.
WEDNESDAY NIGHTS – A tasty trip to the jewel of the Empire with “Curry and a Drink” offer
THURSDAYS – Our famous Burger Night A tasty homemade burger and a pint for £10! SUNDAYS – Award-winning roasts from 12-6pm and after 6pm marinated ribs and a pint for £10.
6 DOWRY PLACE | HOTWELLS | BRISTOL | BS8 4QL PHONE: 01173 290 352 WWW.ROSEOFDENMARK.CO.UK
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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IN THE PINK
IT’S OFFICIAL: ROSÉ IS BACK, AND WE’RE GOING TO BE MAKING IT THE SIP OF CHOICE THIS SUMMER. HERE, ROSALIND COOPER TELLS THE STORY OF ROSÉ, FROM FALLING FROM GRACE TO RETURNING TO OUR WINE RACKS…
Rosalind Cooper began her wine career in California and since then has been a wine importer, broker, journalist and editor, as well as the author of several books on wine, including The Wine Year (Merrell). She’s a great enthusiast for pink wines, and is currently setting up a new and authoritative website on the topic: Rosé Report.
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PINK WINE LIST
Get these top-class pink wines at the ready for some summertime slurping…
ell, it’s been a long time coming, and much touted everywhere in the media for a few years, but, at last, the moment has arrived. No, not the election, something far more joyous: the return of rosé wines to people’s good books. It’s not just the glitterati of West Hollywood or the Riviera who are getting to sip the best of the pink stuff, though; thanks to modern winemaking methods and some inspired use of varietals, we can all enjoy quality pink wines from all over the wine world – including the UK. (There are native rosés aplenty to tuck into over English Wine Week!) So how did rosé succeed in breaking out of its rather fusty closet and moving from a preferred drink of maiden aunts to the epitome of cool? Well, for once, the media has had a positive influence. Wine writers spotted the trend some time ago and have spent many column inches talking up the versatility of pink wines and sparklers. Also, wine lovers have been discovering some great, modern wines on their travels in Greece, Spain, Italy and Australia, which has led to a desire to experiment with rosé at home and in restaurants. The subsequent new demand has meant that more pink wines have been appearing on wine lists, and so the cycle continues. Now the statistics are incontrovertible: pink wine is seriously popular. As such, there is now a wealth of delectable pink wine available to enjoy. For less than £8 a bottle, there are stunning examples from Chile, Gascony, Navarra, Anjou, La Mancha, Languedoc-Roussillon and even Moldova and Hungary. If you fancy fizz, there is excellent pink Cava from Spain, glorious pink Champagne and English sparkling wine, even Lambrusco from Italy (honestly – it’s not the sickly cliché it once was!). Not just a standalone sip, pink wines are great for accompanying food of all kinds. They’re forgiving with spicy food, accommodating to barbecues, and adaptable for buffets. This remarkable versatility is a great USP for rosé, and a huge help for people looking for something to match a range of dishes.
HOW ROSÉ IS MADE Many wine drinkers might be at a loss as to how pink wine is produced. Quite justifiably, some would venture that it’s the result of blending red and white wine – a practice not unknown to winemakers of old. Today, while that does still occur, the best rosé is always the result of a process known as saigneé. This ‘bleeding’ of the red grapes is a way of extracting just enough colour and maximum flavour to create a well-tempered rosé. Too much extract, and the wine will be too dark, and too tannic in the mouth; too little, and you have a wishy-washy pink that lacks colour and substance. For a truly pale rosé, some winemakers simply crush and lightly press grapes (as they would for white wine) and put the juice into a fermenting vat. Contact with the skins is very brief indeed, making this wine a lighter shade of pink. It’s a skilled practice. In certain regions, making rosé is the logical choice. In cooler climates such as parts of Germany, French Alsace or Champagne, gaining depth of colour in red wine poses a challenge; English winemakers have found the same thing. A rosé or fizz is the ideal way to maximize the appeal of grapes that have seen just enough sun to ripen, but not enough to yield a hearty red. Winemakers in hotter climes, though, have to keep a close watch on their pink, to ensure it doesn’t suddenly turn too red. The paler red wines of Bordeaux, called clairet, were highly prized by our ancestors (this is the origin of our modern day term, claret). Pallor added sophistication, it seems. So, no longer flooded with the dark, sickly varieties that many of us will have experienced, the rosé market is ramping up and getting serious.
1 Langham Rose 2013 This English version of Champagne is produced from 12 hectares of vines in lovely Dorset, using the traditional Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes. As in Champagne, a red wine made with Pinot Noir is added in small quantity to create the pink version (in France, the red wines are made in the village of Bouzy!). This sophisticated fizz has a pale cranberry tint in the glass and there is a full ‘summer pudding’ of berry fruit on the nose, with an excellent finish: very highly rated in a recent Decanter Magazine tasting. Buy direct from the vineyard or at M&S, £25 per bottle. 2 Freixenet ICE rosé, Spain This is a sparkling number for those with a sweeter tooth. If you love to sit out with your friends in the garden with ice and Champagne flutes, then this is your wine; it’s been designed especially to withstand a little icy addition. Why not freeze berries into those ice cubes, too? Find it in Waitrose, £12 per bottle. 3 Mas de Longchamp rosé, Provence This part of France is synonymous with pink wine – for good reason. Years of experience yield up the most delicate, subtle versions of rosé you’ll find anywhere. This example is 100 per cent organic, and is a real explosion of fruit, including (surprisingly) grapefruit notes as well as a hint of pineapple, alongside cherries and berries. Buy from South West supplier Riverford for £8.85 per bottle. 4 Domaine Begude Pinot rosé, Provence I make no apologies for featuring two wines from Provence! They are both stunning examples and quite different in style. This one would pair ideally with poached salmon; it’s a perfect match in terms of both colour and the delicacy of the cranberry and strawberry fruit, which would complement the rich oiliness of the fish. £9.95 at Riverford. Again, totally organic. 5 Domaine des Tourelles 2016, Lebanon Grown high in the hills above the Bekaa Valley, the grapes for this complex and unusual pale ruby rosé include Cinsault, Syrah and Tempranillo. There’s a mix of lychee and berry fruit on the palate, and an excellent, long finish. Around £12 per bottle, from Talking Wines in Cirencester, kwoff.co.uk. 6 Belvoir Rosé Without the Hangover This brand of non-alcoholic beverage is already familiar to many of us, for good reason, as their lemonades and ginger beers are fab. Now they’ve spotted a gap in the market for an elegant alternative to pink wine at events, so this juice is labelled in wine style, with the rather provocative ‘without the hangover’ tag. Cheeky! But does it taste good? Yes: it has a touch of orange and jasmine to zap up the grape juice and, served well chilled, this sparkler would make a fantastic treat. £2.99 per bottle at Ocado.
SERVING LUNCH, AFTERNOON TEA AND DINNER, WEDNESDAY TO SUNDAY. Backwell House, Farleigh Road, Backwell BS48 3QA 0117 325 1110 email@example.com www.backwellhouse.co.uk
CHEZ DOMINIQUE Modern French Dining in Bath
Best Western Plus Centurion Hotel Charlton Lane, Midsomer Norton, Nr Bath BA3 4BD | 01761 417711
À la carte • Prix fixe • Sunday roast chezdominique.co.uk 15 Argyle Street, Bath, BA2 4BQ 01225 463482
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GeT a rOOm!
WANT TO HOST A PARTY? GET A ROOM! TURNS OUT BRISTOL AND BATH’S BEST RESTAURANTS WITH PRIVATE ROOMS ARE NEARLY AS VARIED AS THE REGION ITSELF… Surely one of the most civilised ways to indulge yourself and your friends is wining and dining in an exclusive space? Okay, so the thought of corralling a big group of buddies to anything can seem a tad daunting – like herding cats, right? – but with a little bit of planning, group dining in Bristol, Bath and around can actually be a total cinch. And, since we’ve got everything from fine dining gaffs to gastro pubs on our patch, you’re bound to find the perfect venue for a birthday party, engagement dinner, family reunion, wedding anniversary, or simply a cosy evening with friends. All, though, have a few things in common: great food, a fun backdrop that justifies the celebration, and service good enough that all you need do is sit back and enjoy…
ABBEY HOTEL This city centre Bath hotel, right next to river, Rec and the Abbey itself, offers no fewer than four private dining spaces: there are two stylish, ultra-private ‘Boltholes’; the ice palace-themed Igloo (actually an old WWII air raid shelter, with a large vaulted room and private booths); and the hotel’s Allium resturant itself, with its vibrant art collection. Seating capacities ranges from six to 90 (or more standing), while the sensational food is by head chef Rupert Taylor. abbeyhotelbath.co.uk
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possibly one of the best views in the city,” they say – with double doors that lead to an outside patio. Think 30 people seated without the patio area, 50 people including the patio, or 80-100 standing. They also have a chef’s table downstairs that can seat up to 15, perfect for smaller groups. cliftonsausage.co.uk
BACKWELL HOUSE This Georgian country house outside Bristol is the perfect party venue, available for exclusive use, or by booking the three adjoining dining rooms (the Dining Room, Breakfast Room and Conservatory) without the rest of the house. Brilliantly, after everyone has finished eating, the tables can be cleared to make space for dancing. The guys offer bespoke menus – “they’ll be simple, but prepared and presented beautifully” – for everything from a buffet to a sit-down fivecourse meal, catering for up to 60 guests in the three rooms (or 32 in the Dining Room alone). Got more friends? Then they can put tipis on the lawn. backwellhouse.co.uk
THE CLIFTON SAUSAGE, BATH The most recent addition to The Clifton Sausage’s bijoux portfolio has a beautiful private room overlooking Bath’s stunning countryside – “it’s
THE CURFEW This well-known Bath pub, just off the London Road, has enjoyed a recent reinvention, adding a newly installed bar to upstairs function room The Lounge. “It’s contemporary, elegant and atmospheric,” they say, “and perfect for anything from intimate gatherings to larger celebrations for up to 70.” Food is buffet style, ranging from sarnies to hot meals from the pub’s menu; alternatively, customise your own menu.
very popular, but then so does our afternoon tea,” they say. thegeorgebradfordonavon.co.uk
THE HOLBURNE MUSEUM At this cool Bath art museum all the galleries are available for private hire, as is their Garden Café and Terrace. “The galleries lend an exclusive and luxurious feel to your event, whereas our café suits a more informal do,” they say. “The Brownsword Picture Gallery can seat 80, and you’ll be surrounded by portraits by Gainsborough and Turner; the Davidson Ballroom Gallery can hold 40 for a sit-down dinner and 80 for bowl food and canapés, and has a unique view of Great Pulteney Street; and at the Garden Café and Terrace think 50 for a sit-down dinner and up to 120 for anything else.” holburne.org
THE GEORGE At The George at Woolley, just outside Bradford-on-Avon, they have two different private dining room options: The Map Room is large with high ceilings, and is perfect for a networking breakfast or similar, while the smaller Brunswick Room works well for intimate family dinners. Think around 30 guests for the bigger room, and half that for the smaller. Menus are bespoke and can be either sitdown or buffet style; “our beef bourguignon tends to prove
KING STREET BREW HOUSE This pub near the Bristol Harbourside has a great function space in the Tank Room on the lower ground floor, right next to their on-site brewery. “It’s perfect for private parties or watching live sport,” they say, “and can take 22 seated or 30 standing.” You can order food from the a la carte menu – think pub grub “done well” – and there are sharing boards as buffet options. For a low key, low stress event, it sounds ideal. kingstreetbrewhouse.co.uk
KOMEDIA This cool Bath venue for live comedy and gigs occupies the beautifully restored Grade II listed former Beau Nash cinema, right in the heart of the city, and provides a relaxed environment for highly tailored events and large meetings, complete with bespoke buffet and set menus. This is a big place that can cater for 260. “This spring, the West Country marinated spring lamb rump served on a bed of tabbouleh salad, homemade tzatziki, blood orange vinaigrette, and a warm Somerset potato salad has been very popular,” they say. komedia.co.uk/bath
THE MILK THISTLE Tucked away on the top floor of The Milk Thistle, Bristol’s hidden Prohibition bar, The Attic is an intimate, gorgeously eccentric private dining room (check out Supper Club on p42 for more on this ace venue). It holds 16 guests at a sit-down meal, 30 for a buffet, and the food is by The Ox, so expect signature meat dishes, seasonal small plates and decadent desserts (bespoke menus are also available). “We’ve had everything from murder mysteries to cocktail master classes here,” they say. milkthistlebristol.com
NO.15 GREAT PULTENEY This recent, ultra-memorable addition to Bath’s
We are a friendly, family owned inn offering hearty home cooked food, in a small country village setting. Whether you are local or travelling from further afield, you are guaranteed a warm welcome. PUB • RESTAURANT • FUNCTION ROOM • ACCOMMODATION
Tunley Road, Tunley BA2 0EB • 01761 470408 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • f T @kingwilliam84 www.kingwilliaminn.co.uk
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luxury restaurant scene offers several private dining venues: the Pulteney Room, with its enviable view over Great Pulteney Street, is ideal for smaller gatherings of 10-18; Bar 15 can caters for drinks receptions for up to 60; and The Dispensary, with its antique chemist unit filled with apothecary bottles, can hold 70 for drinks or 16-38 on one table for lunch or dinner. no15greatpulteney.co.uk
THE OLIVE TREE The famous restaurant at Bath’s Queensbury Hotel, right in the heart of the city, offers a small, intimate private dining space suitable for small groups from six to 30 strong. “It’s ideal for business dinners, celebration events or weddings, while room hire charges apply depending on the day of the week and size of the party,” they say. Menus can be bespoke or variations on celebrated chef Chris Cleghorn’s signature tasting menu; whichever you go for, disappointment is not an option. olivetreebath.co.uk
THE OX, BRISTOL Though the menu at top-notch carnivore-friendly venue The Ox on Bristol’s Corn Street revolves around amazing steaks, they do great fish dishes and vegetarian options, too. The Ox offers semi-private dining in their elegant Green Room – a beautifully decorated space for up to 30 people – which you can have for no hire fee, just a minimum spend. They’ve held some amazing wedding breakfasts and private dinner parties here, as well as some crazy-good traditional Scottish Burns Night celebrations. “A typical menu will always feature our charcoal steaks cooked in the Josper,” they say. theoxbristol.com
THE PELICAN Commonly know as The Pelly, this pub in the pretty Somerset village of Chew Magna – within easy striking distance of both Bristol and Bath – has a function room called The Barn that’s big enough for 35 for a sit-down meal and 80 for a buffet (or 120 at this time of year, when they can throw open the French doors and use the seated garden area too). The guys are superflexible, and do an especially good wedding breakfast. pelicanchewmagna.com
PRINCE STREET SOCIAL This fairly recent addition to Bristol is sister to the nearby Brew House, and offers a very British twist on the brasserie
concept. “It’s a really adaptable space for private hire,” they say, “with lots of areas we can section off so it never feels too big. You can have three-course sit-down meals or hot or cold buffets, and we can cater for up to 130 people. Not long ago we did a Saturday night private hire event for Unum Bristol, as their office was closing down. They had a DJ, photo booth and magician, plus mini burgers and mini fish and chips. Nobody wanted to leave!”
can be opened up to create a bespoke dining room for up to 60 guests. You can have a sitdown meal or a buffet, as simple or as luxurious as you like. “We’ve catered for everything from Christenings to military dinners,” they say, “but we’ve got one coming up that we’re really looking forward to. A rescue guide dog is being named ‘Stanton’, and the ceremony is due to take place here. The catering hasn’t been finalised yet, but may have a canine feel!”
SIGN OF THE ANGEL This recently reborn 15th-century coaching inn at Lacock near Bath once starred in a Harry Potter film, and now features 2 AA rosette cooking and endless charm. You can hire The Banquet Room with its huge inglenook fireplace, which is perfect for groups of up to 16 – the atmosphere here is like eating at a brilliantly individual private home – and there’s a set party menu for larger gatherings featuring the pub’s usual inventive, seasonal fare.
WOOLLEY GRANGE Woolley Grange is a historic Jacobean manor house in Bradford-on-Avon with three beautiful private dining rooms. “Much of the produce used is fresh from the hotel’s Victorian walled garden,” they say, “so it’s more about wheelbarrow yards than food miles!” Their largest room can take up to 40 people, and their smallest is ideal for 16. The head chef loves a challenge, so is happy to create a bespoke menu – perhaps after consultation with head gardener Eliza, who can point out which of her more unusual heritage varieties are just coming into season. The guys recently hosted a birthday for a local lady who had just turned 100 – she’d already been to Woolley Grange for her 95th birthday (that’s what you call a loyal customer) and they hope to welcome her back again soon.
STANTON MANOR This cool country house hotel near Chippenham has two private dining options: The Lounge for more intimate affairs for up to 10 people, and The Woodlands Suite for up to 40. Both rooms have chandelier lighting and traditional manor house features, and the two
Hire the Holburne Museum for Your Party Whether you want to host a corporate event or a family celebration the unique setting of the Holburne Museum makes it the perfect venue. Our events team will work with you to style your party to ensure that it is unique and memorable. Make a booking for our Garden CafĂŠ and Terrace before 1st October 2017 to receive a ÂŁ200 discount. Quote GC200 when you book. For more information please contact Spencer Hancock Privatehire@holburne.org and 01225 388569
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NEW RESTAURANTS DEVOURED, NEW CAFÉS FREQUENTED, NEW BARS CRAWLED, AND THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT WE THOUGHT OF THEM
The display of apothecary bottles is just one of the curious features inside the quirky restaurant at No. 15 Great Pulteney H I G H L I G H T S
Spanish dining culture meets British produce at Muiño Page 76
THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP
It’s not just the food we’re taken with at Cafe 15 Page 78
Piattino does Italian, tapas style Page 80
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THIS FRIENDLY LITTLE JOINT IS MEDITERRANEAN IN CONCEPT AND WEST COUNTRY IN PRACTICE, DISCOVERS JESSICA CARTER 76
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otham Hill isn’t half doing alright for itself. Leading off Whiteladies, it’s got more than its fair share of food and drink joints lining the pavements, including some awesome Mediterranean-inspired indies – think Pasta Loco, Bellita and Bravas. In December last year, it gained yet another like-minded resident, too. Muiño is a family-run restaurant, based on the dining culture of in Galicia in Spain. As such, it’s all about the relaxed atmosphere, leisurely lunches, and long, wine-soaked dinners. Alex, one of the guys behind this new venture, has spent the best part of a decade managing Bristol gaffs such as The Mall pub in Clifton, The Lounge on North Street, and Manna in Westbury Park. When the time came to open his own place, he began with the concept of breakfast, burgers and British-style tapas – and the menu has evolved from there. The versatile collection of dishes – which promises swift, satisfying feeds as well as full-on three-course treats – is constantly under review by the kitchen, with new dishes appearing regularly. Muiño’s breakfasts (served 10am-2pm on the weekend) are all around the £7 or £8 mark (unless you’re after a smaller feed like granola with yoghurt, or porridge with berry compote, which are under a fiver). Expect the likes of Muiño rancheros – egg, chorizo and butterbeans with garlic and thyme – and fluffy pancakes with crisp, smoked bacon. Moving on to lunch, 11 quid will get you two courses, or £13.50 will up it to three. The lunchtime mains run along the lines of smashed avo and coriander on homemade focaccia with poached egg, and Mediterranean veg, halloumi and pesto stack with fries. And those burgers, obvs. It was the evening menu that we were choosing from, though, which comprises a varied selection of small plates (although we only spotted one totally veggie option), and a handful of mains, giving you the option of going down the tapas route, or sticking with a classic starter-main scenario. Among the small plates, we eyed up the Cornish mussels in cider with leek and bacon (£5.50), harissa-marinated prawns with aioli (£6.50) and the newly added smoked haddock aranchini (£5).
Listed below were full-sized dishes such as butternut squash gnocchi with pine nuts and Manchego cheese (£11.50), Riojabraised ox cheek (£13) and roast hake with lemon butter sauce (£15). Adhering to neither the tapas nor the main meal options, we had a handful of small plates to start, followed by a full-sized one to share. The walnut and chilli salad with pomegranate seeds and molasses (£4) was colourful in appearance and flavour. The sweet-sour taste of the pomegranate was complemented by the earthy walnut and warmth of the red chilli. The Somerset pork belly (£5.50) was lovely and crisp on the outside and stayed soft within, the fat having a lovely melting texture. It came with Stornaway black pudding and a sweet apple purée, to cut through that richness. The salt and pepper squid (£5) was well cooked – the flesh having good bite and the batter light and translucent. The homemade aioli was vivid gold in colour, thanks to the addition of saffron. There were also steak skewers (£5.50) with a soy, ginger and chilli dip, and ribbons of crunchy veg. The steak was charred and juicy, the dressing punchy. Our larger plate of choice was the lamb rump (£16), another newbie to the line up.
It came in tender pastel pink slices atop a bed of delicately spiced, herby couscous, all surrounded by a moat of minted yoghurt dressing. Fresh – and light, for a red meatfocused dish – it was a spot-on plate of springtime scran. Dessert was an orange and lemon crème brûlée (£5.75). A pud that can often be a little rich, it benefited from the lift of those refreshing citrus notes, and sported a pleasingly brittle top. We tried the poached pear, too (£5.50), although in hindsight it was maybe an odd choice after the freshness of the last two dishes (the spices were reminiscent of mulled wine at Christmas – not so spring-like). Muiño is a lovely, laid-back little joint, which has really decent-value deals on the go most days (as well as the lunch deal, there’s an early bird offer in the evening), and is super-flexible in terms of its dining experience, too. It may have been inspired by Spain, but this place is pleasingly Bristolian. MUIÑO, 32 Cotham Hill, Bristol BS6 6LA; 0117 907 7112; muinobristol.com
CAFE 15 AT NO.15 GREAT PULTENEY FEELING A LITTLE LACKLUSTRE? THIS KOOKY RESTAURANT AT BATH’S NEWEST BOUTIQUE HOTEL WILL PEP YOU UP, PROMISES CHARLIE LYON
e work hard, we pay our dues and, now and again, we need to be rewarded, no? And a new local boutique hotel opening up with a dynamic head chef who’s gunning to make an impression is the perfect excuse to pick up the diary and plan in said reward. Dan Miles has slid across from The Gainsborough and stepped into the role of head chef here, bringing oodles of creative experience from La Trompette in London and L’Ortolan in Reading, too. He was keen to put together a fun, relaxed menu full of punch and colour to
match the hotel’s uber-chic and quirky, yet low-maintenance vibe. So, there’s no need to get suited and booted to step inside Bath’s hippest new hotel, No.15 Great Pulteney. The playful space, created by the joining of three Georgian townhouses, is all about memorable experiences with relaxed, 21st-century style. Think about it: there’s no need to scrabble around to find the address of No. 15 Great Pulteney when you’re rushing there for dinner or a meeting – you can chill, it’s in the name. Walking into the hotel, located on the widest, grandest street in Bath, is like coming home. If your home was created
by Vogue’s interiors head honcho, that is, with a few suggestions from your best pal. It’s refined and elegant with plenty of fun features: a glittering chandelier made from estranged single pendant earrings, and murals from an eclectic range of artists. Staff are ready to deal with your mesmerisation – ah, jewel-covered tables, statement floral cushions, so shiny, so pretty – and there’s someone to lead you downstairs to the restaurant. It might be on the lower-ground floor, but this space is far from a dingy basement; it backs onto a courtyard garden, so is full of natural daylight.
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Here, the unassuming style continues, although in more of a masculine manner, with understated square wooden tables and brown leather-clad seats. Its strippedback form pushes your focus onto the food, although collections of copper culinary implements, hand whisks from throughout the ages and apothocary bottles add a sense of fun and kick off the dinner table conflab. Just like the vibe, the concise menu is relaxed – small plates to share, something bigger if you want a good feed (although these are still easily shareable) and a few tasty-sounding puds. It’s easy to order – everything sounds good. And the food doesn’t disappoint in the flesh, either. First up, a mound of meaty baba ganoush (£7.50) comes coarse, scented with a whiff of smoke and topped with a good dollop of homemade hummus. The emerald-green of the nocellara olives and almost-fuchsia pomegranate seeds echo the jewelled decor upstairs. Cod fritters (£7) are moist and deeper in flavour than your average fishcake, thanks to their brandade treatment (whipping with olive oil) and punchy tomato and cumin sauce accompaniment. So far, so fresh. Next, a fillet of Cornish gilt head bream (£15) is pan-fried with a deft hand and balanced atop a pile of verdant tenderstem with zingy slivers of orange. There’s bite from a smattering of toasted almonds, too.
Forget the French; this is an inspired dish that, without loads of butter, without cream, without lashings of oil, is insanely tasty and truly exciting. Lamb leg steak (£15) is sublimely tender and cut generously. It forms the pinnacle of a tower of Middle Eastern flavours – chargrilled red peppers, harissa couscous and spiced aubergine pickle. Having devoured it all, we’re full (these are pleasingly sized dishes, despite their elegance) but not sluggish; still ready to tackle the afternoon back in the office. But to leave on a high you really must try the puddings – arriving in vintage dessert glassware, delving into them with a fine silver teaspoon is almost as fun as tasting the flavours you find there. Almost. The layer of poached blueberries that gleam on top of my bay leaf pannacotta (£7) give a delicious zing to the creamy pudding that harbours a delegate fragrance. High from the colour fest of lunch, and not weighted down by richness, the rest of the day seems a breeze back at our desks. If you prefer to linger over your lunch, though, try the new Sunday brunch menu available 11am-4pm, which promises three courses for £25. CAFE 15 AT NO.15 GREAT PULTENEY, 15 Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4BR; no15greatpulteney.co.uk
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PIATTINO THIS NEW KID ON THE BATH BLOCK HAS JESSICA CARTER IN FOR A LEISURELY LUNCH – THE ONLY KIND OF LUNCH YOU CAN DO AT A PROPER ITALIAN
newbie on the Bath restaurant scene, this Italian has bagged a pretty ace location. It’s set in a classic Bath townhouse on George Street, formerly home to Sardinian joint, Aió. Out the front you’ll find bistro-style seating, looking down the buzzing shoplined Milsom Street. Inside, the front dining area is filled with natural light during the
day, thanks to a couple of large windows, while out the back there’s a second dining space, with vaulted ceilings and a pair of curtains at the far end, which, when drawn back, reveal a stage. Y’see, this place isn’t just about the food – a fact that the lit-up saxophones and guitars on the walls will give away to the more observant visitor. There’s often live jazz here, with a variety of artists providing
soundtracks to evening meals in this hidden candlelit dining room. We, however, visited for lunch, choosing a window-side table at the front. The food menu may, at first sight, appear a little overwhelming: ‘piattino’ translates to ‘small plates’, and boy, are there rather a lot to choose from. It starts with individual cheeses, and (eventually) ends in pizzette, with seafood, meat and pasta sandwiched between. Once you get your head around the offering, you realise how novel it is to be able to try so many different dishes at an Italian; usually it’s a bowl of pasta and you’re out, defeated – right? The guys that run this indie eatery are old hats at the Bath restaurant game, and make a point of supporting their fellow independents in their sourcing methods. They know where to go to get some top produce, too. Meat comes courtesy of an award-winning local butchery, and can be traced to the exact farm it came from, meaning the chefs know about everything from how it was reared to what it was fed. Wine also comes from local suppliers, and the collection includes bottles from all over the world. A selection of freshly baked breads (£4.25) and Italian olives (£3.95) were first to arrive from the kitchen – there was a particularly good focaccia, studded with tomato. Then came the arancini del bosco (£6.80), the golden-crumbed risotto balls filled with earthy mushroom and smothered in a gooey, stringy cheese sauce. The spiedino (£7.50) was described on the menu as an ‘Italian meat skewer’, but proved to be far more dramatic than sugguested. Hunks of pork, beef, chicken and veg hung on a metal skewer, which was suspended over a disc of fried courgette pieces. The juice from the meats dripped onto this bed below, which itself was surrounded by polka dots of lemon
mayonnaise. It was an impressive-looking dish, displayed just so, with the meat nicely charred on the edges. Although meat-heavy dishes like this aren’t strictly quite my thing, the whole lot went down an absolute beaut with my lunch pal, who named it as his favourite dish. The baccalà (£7) saw dried, salted cod served on chickpea purée, the bright white flesh carrying a unique flavour. Tonnarelli was next (£5.55): knots of thick noodle-like pasta were coated in a red pepper sauce and topped with crisp onion and Parmesan. Finally it was the turn of the calamari, octopus and cod (£5.50). Each piece of seafood was well-cooked and coated with a light, crisp batter. Dollops of garlic mayo, dyed black with ink, upped the intrigue.
Piattino has a friendly, chilled-out feel and, I imagine, come sundown and with the jazz on the go, a great bit of atmosphere. Lunch is definitely worth visiting for, though, if the offer of three small plates for £14 sounds like your kind of deal. It feels like a lot of work has gone into this restaurant, with the Bathonians in charge having considered the customer experience carefully. Come summer, the garden will be ready too, and it looks like it’ll be a gorgeous little space for making light work of a bottle of wine. PIATTINO, 7 Edgar Buildings, George Street, Bath BA1 2EE; 01225 443900; piattinobath.com
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RECOGNISE THIS FELLA FROM STEAM BRISTOL? WHEN HE’S NOT HANGING OUT THERE, THIS IS WHERE YOU’LL FIND HIM... Breakfast? A new discovery for me is Lockside over in Hotwells. Gary runs a great ship and I’ve never been disappointed with the food from his kitchen. They have a great deck to enjoy breakfast in the sun, too. Best brew? For a great coffee I always end up at Tradewind Espresso on Whiteladies. Lovely staff and a mean flat white, which usually bump starts my day nicely. Best wine merchant? I’ve always been quite particular with the wine and spirits I imbibe, so Corks of Cotham wins this, hands down. The team have a great selection and will always go out of their way to get wine from Puglia and Irish whiskey, especially for me. Sunday lunch? I’m spoilt for choice in Clifton as there are so many, but I’d have to say the Alma Tavern as it’s a lovely hidden pub that does a great roast. You can taste the passion on the plate from the small team! Cheeky cocktail? HMSS is the place to go! It has a great atmosphere, exceptional service, and flavoursome cocktails.
Quick pint? The Lansdown always has a great beer selection and some wonderful vinos. If you’re heading into the Village then this is a great watering hole to drop into, en route. Posh nosh? As a meat lover, The Ox is right up my street: wonderful food and even better Bloody Marys! Hidden gem? The Port of Call just off Blackboy Hill: they always have interesting and well-kept beers on tap. This is the true definition of a hidden gem, with a cosy garden and friendly staff. With friends? My friends are all foodies, so Bravas on Cotham Hill is my choice. Lovely wine and lovely nibbles to accompany. It’s sometimes hard to get a table, but is always worth the wait. Something sweet? Mockingbird Café on Alma Vale has probably the best homemade brownies in town. I tend to pop in for a coffee and always end up getting some sugary goodness.
Comfort food? The Clifton Sausage is great for me. Locally sourced meat, creamy mash and great gravy. What’s not to like? Best curry? The Mint Room is rapidly climbing up there, but Kohi Noor still wins with their great food and welcoming service. Top street food? We have street food markets at Steam on the last Friday of every month, so I’m spoilt for choice, really! Pickled Brisket is particularly delicious, as is Gopal’s Curry Shack. Best value? The Quadrant in Clifton Village has a great wine selection, and you can’t go wrong with their mid-week Prosecco deal. Belting burger? I’m slightly biased, but the Cornish Burger Co. have done a great job banging out patties for me at Steam over the last four months. If I had to say someone else, then I think The Burger Joint on Whiteladies is killing it. steambristol.co.uk
QUICK! Now add this little lot to your contacts book • Lockside, Bristol BS1 6XS; lockside.net • Tradewind Espresso, Bristol BS8 2RP; tradewindespresso.com • Corks of Cotham, Bristol BS6 6JX; corksofbristol.com • Alma Tavern, Bristol BS8 2HY; almatavernandtheatre.co.uk, • The Lansdown, Bristol BS8 1AF; thelansdown.com • Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bristol BS8 2PH; hmssbristol.com • The Ox, Bristol BS8 2QX; theoxclifton.com • The Port of Call, Bristol BS8 2YE; portofcallbristol.com • Bravas, Bristol BS6 6LD; bravas.co.uk • The Clifton Sausage, Bristol BS8 4JA; cliftonsausage.co.uk • The Mint Room, Bristol BS8 1AF; themintroom.co.uk • Kohi Noor, Bristol BS8 2XS; kohinoorofbristol.co.uk • Mockingbird Café, Bristol BS8 2HS; mockingbirdcafe.tumblr. com • Pickled Brisket, thepickledbrisket.co.uk • Gopal’s Curry Shack, gopalscurryshack.co.uk • The Quadrant, Bristol BS8 4BP; quadrantbar.co.uk • Cornish Burger Co at Steam Bristol, Bristol BS8 2PN; steambristol.co.uk • The Burger Joint, Bristol BS8 2NT; theburgerjoint.co.uk