Crumbs Bath & Bristol - Issue 73

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ISSUE 73 MARCH 2018 EDITOR

JESSICA CARTER jessica.carter@mediaclash.co.uk DEVELOPMENT EDITOR

MATT BIELBY matt.bielby@mediaclash.co.uk ONLINE EDITOR

DAN IZZARD dan.izzard@mediaclash.co.uk ART DIRECTOR

TREVOR GILHAM ADVERTISING MANAGER

KYLE PHILLIPS kyle.phillips@mediaclash.co.uk

GREEN LIGHT

DEPUTY ADVERTISING MANAGER

NEIL SNOW neil.snow@mediaclash.co.uk ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE

ALISTAIR TAYLOR alistair.taylor@mediaclash.co.uk PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION MANAGER

SARAH KINGSTON sarah.kingston@mediaclash.co.uk PRODUCTION DESIGNER

GEMMA SCRINE gemma.scrine@mediaclash.co.uk CHIEF EXECUTIVE

JANE INGHAM jane.ingham@mediaclash.co.uk CHIEF EXECUTIVE

GREG INGHAM greg.ingham@mediaclash.co.uk large version

MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW 01225 475800 mediaclash.co.uk © All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. MediaClash reserves the right to reject any material and to edit such prior to publication. Opinions are those of individual authors. Printed on paper from a well-managed source. Inks are vegetable-based; printer is certified to ISO 14001 environmental management. This month we got our burger on at Asado and Squeezed in Bristol, had an epic tasting menu (and plenty of vino to wash it down) at No Man’s Grace, bagged ourselves tickets to Box-E’s pop-up at Harvey Nichols, and tried out Nutmeg’s new tasting menu. Phew!

large version

ONCE AGAIN, THERE WAS much discussion among team Crumbs about the cover image this month. And by discussion, I (naturally) mean disagreement. There are so many styles of March’s Hero, spinach, you see, that everyone had a different favourite. Do we go for the delicate, smooth baby leaf, the bulkier versions, or the crinkly, rich Savoy kind? Sure, I’m all for getting some of those young little leaves involved in a colourful fresh salad, but really, when it comes to spinach I’m all about the beefy stuff. Rich green in colour, earthy in taste and substantial in texture, it’s also super versatile and packs a proper nutritional punch (just ask Popeye). And March is exactly the time when the first of these fully mature leaves are ready to harvest... This month, leafy greens aside, we’ve been thinking a lot about how we use our local food and drink establishments. As such, we’ve got a big feature all about the British boozer – did you know that we’ve lost 28,000 of them since the ’70s, according to a recent study by the Campaign for Real Ale? (I know, right?) Luckily, the rate of closures has finally started to ease, so we spoke to some local pros about the outlook for our beloved watering holes. We’ve also been exploring the triumphs and challenges of the fine dining scene, and finding out how our eating-out habits are shaping it. And, in his column, Andy Clarke considers his culinary faithfulness; with all the new openings across Bath and Bristol that he’s been curious to check out, he recently realised he’d not been back to some of his favourite local gaffs in ages – we’re talking years. He got there eventually, though – just like me, above, finally trying Squeezed for the first time, a mere 10 months after it opened. Most definitely better late than never...

Jessica Carter, Editor jessica.carter@mediaclash.co.uk

Did you know we have an app? You can read both editions of Crumbs – Bath and Bristol, and Devon – on iTunes or Android. Search ‘Crumbs’, or go to crumbsmag.com

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Table of Contents

NO.73 MARCH 2018

STARTERS 08 HERO INGREDIENT Greens’ day 12 OPENINGS ETC Hot gossip 21 SIX PACK Brew-tiful coffee roasters CHEF! Amazing recipes from the region’s top kitchens 31 Mackerel with pickles, by Alexander Venables 33 Pigeon with chocolate jus, by Takvor Terlemezian 34 Baked salmon with cauli, by Alex Parsons 37 Pork belly with rhubarb, by John Watson ADDITIONAL RECIPES

10 Spinach two ways, by Freddy Bird 50 Cacio e pepe, by Alex Dome

KITCHEN ARMOURY 45 THE SUPPER CLUB We crash a dinner party on Sion Hill Place 52 WANT LIST Golden treasure MAINS 58 SO FINE What fine dining looks like in the 21st century 65 PUB WAY The highs and lows of our great British boozer

AFTERS New and notable restaurants, cafés, bars 74 Grain Barge 77 Lucknam Park 80 Henry’s PLUS! 82 LITTLE BLACK BOOK Local butcher Pete Milton shares his favourite haunts

The Bath Priory’s beef tartare looks a bit jazzy, no?



START E RS INNOVATIONS, REVELATIONS AND TASTY AMUSE-BOUCHES

MunCh yer way thROuGh MarCh SOME PRETTY SPESH POP-UPS ARE HAPPENING THIS MONTH – GRAB YOUR TICKETS BEFORE THEY SELL OUT

11 MARCH A TAVOLA AT THE FORT

The A Tavola team are returning to The Fort in Bristol on Mother’s Day to serve their signature rustic, seasonal grub (think cured mackerel with rhubarb agrodolce, and wild garlic gnocchi with walnut, for instance) alongside carefully chosen natural wines. There are three sittings throughout the afternoon and evening, and tickets are £25.86. stephaniebootecatering.com

18 MARCH WYLIE SISTERS SUPPER CLUB

Founded by three local sisters, this popup at Zitto and Bevi on Nine Tree Hill will act as a celebration of female producers and suppliers. The four-course meal will be matched to wine, and there will be a separate bar running on the night, plus the evening after. Tickets for dinner are £30, with the bar running as a drop-in. facebook.com/wyliesisters

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22 MARCH PORK TASTING MENU AT THE PONY & TRAP

A pig-focused nose-to-tail feast will be served up at this Michelin-starred pub in Chew Magna. The six-course menu will be accompanied by an optional drinks flight of wine or cider, so guests can enjoy a sip that matches each course. Tickets £60; to book, call 01275 332627. theponyandtrap.co.uk

29 MARCH PLANTS TASTE BETTER WITH RICHARD BUCKLEY

This chef and founder of Bath’s Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen will be at Topping and Company Booksellers to cook from his new plant-based cookbook, Plants Taste Better, and discuss how we can all be making the most of vegetables in the kitchen at home. Tickets start at £8, and the price is redeemable against a copy of the book. toppingbooks.co.uk


spiNaCh IN THE 1943 FILM SPINACH FER BRITAIN BRITAIN, POPEYE DELIVERS A SHIPMENT OF SPINACH (AND A PESKY NAZI U-BOAT) TO THE DOOR OF NO. 10 DOWNING STREET, TO HEARTY APPLAUSE. AND WE’RE STILL CHEERING THIS HEALTHIEST, TASTIEST OF LEAFY GREENS TODAY…

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hat makes Popeye so strong? Initially, in the early newspaper comic strips – a little thing called Thimble Theatre, in which the one-eyed sailor started as a minor character, until his popularity saw him take over the whole story – he became indestructible (not superpowerful) by rubbing the head of Bernice the whiffle hen, a scruffylooking magic bird. Later on, in the incredibly popular 1930s animated Popeye cinema shorts, he switched to spinach. This wasn’t though, as is popularly assumed, because German chemist Erich von Wolf had misplaced the decimal point when researching the amount of iron in various greens in the 1870s, thus hugely over-estimating spinach’s qualities (though he had), but simply because of the veggie’s huge Vitamin A content. Regardless, spinach was a huge hit – in the States, especially – and sales soared, leading to statues of Popeye in various spinach-growing towns. He’s a strange hero, solving everything with his fists and blind to the fact that fickle flapper Olive Oyl treats him like dirt most of the time, but at least he eats up his greens... FAR FROM an all-American crop, however, spinach actually originated in the Middle East. It had spread to India and ancient China by around 650AD, arriving in the Mediterranean some 200 years later with the Muslim conquest of Sicily; it was later dubbed ‘the chieftain of leafy greens’ by Arab agronomists in 12th century Spain. Eventually it spread north, reaching England in the 14th century, where its unusual seasonality – regular spinach rocks up in early spring, when there’s not much else around, though modern varieties can be grown as late as October – brought green relief to the predominantly brown winter diet. The Forme of Cury – nothing to do with kormas and biryanis, and everything to do with the French word ‘cuire’, meaning ‘to cook’ – of 1390 is the first major English cookbook, and talks extensively about spinach, while the influence of Catherine de’ Medici (16th century wife of Henry II of France, who loved the stuff), gives us the idea that dishes served on a bed of spinach are ‘Florentine’, with her Italian birthplace being Florence. SO – OUTSIdE of the four-colour world of cartoons – what’s so good about spinach? Well, it’s low in calories and high in nutrients, especially

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when fresh, sautéed or steamed: think vitamins A, C, K, some B vitamins, and minerals like magnesium and iron, though, like we say, not as much as popular culture would have us believe. Plus, there are high levels of chlorophyll and heath-bringing carotenoids in here too, making spinach good for everything from cancer prevention to healthy eyesight. There are three basic types – curly, dark green Savoy; easier-to-clean smooth-leaf spinach; plus various semi-Savoy hybrids – and they’re almost all bittersweet, metallic and slightly salty, like their close relatives chard and beet greens, meaning they’re at their best when cooked, unless the leaves are young enough to be tender. Peak spinach season is between March and June, but it’s good all the way from spring until autumn – heck, these days you can get it all year round – and picking the best stuff is easy: just make sure the leaves aren’t yellow or bruised. Tiny ones are best in salads, larger leaves for cooking – remember, they’ve so much water in them that they shrink dramatically, so you always want more than you think – and they all keep okay in the fridge for a week or so. SPINACH WORKS brilliantly in curries, stews, pastas and soups, and with all kinds of fish, from cod to salmon. Eggs Florentine (or any poached egg and wilted spinach dish) are a brunch-time classic, and tempting spinach side dishes see it paired with everything from chickpeas to new potatoes, cauliflower to lentils. Nutmeg and garlic are special friends of the leaf, as is butter, cream and all things dairy, and any dish that combines spinach with cheese or chicken is a can’t-miss hit. It’s great in smoothies too, but the simplest way to cook spinach is probably just to cook it in a pan with a little butter, and perhaps a drop of lemon and a tiny bit of nutmeg; it only takes a few minutes, will go with just about anything, and is super good for you. Popeye’s strength-giver may come as an unappetising can of cold green gloop – though parents over the decades have used this to their advantage, finding fussy youngsters may actually eat their greens if they’re served in a can – but most modern ways with spinach are decidedly more tempting. In The Great Depression, American kids reportedly rated it their third fave food (after chicken and ice cream), and though we find it hard to believe spinach will ever reach quite such a high popularity pinnacle again, we can but hope…

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R E C I P E

WHEN IT COMES TO SPINACH, GO BIG, SAYS FREDDY BIRD VERY FEW DAYS go by where I don’t eat spinach; most commonly it’s blitzed into a smoothie with loads of ginger, lime, apple and cucumber, or simply eaten straight from the pan at the end of service, wilted down gently in a little olive oil. When I talk spinach I don’t mean the baby leaf stuff either, as it lacks any real flavour for me. It’s got to be large leaf; it’s sweeter and has a more robust, satisfying texture. Also, I rarely blanch it; instead I tend to wilt it gently in butter or olive oil and then strain it through a sieve before serving. These two side dishes are similar, but still distinctly different in flavour. They each have a regular place at my table at home. First up is a Catalan classic, and then a dish that I usually serve with blanched sea purslane in the restaurant. That’s not always the easiest ingredient to get hold of though, so I also make it with spinach. It makes a great side dish, but if you add a couple of poached eggs you’ve got yourself a top breakfast.

SPINACH WITH RAISINS AND PINE NUTS SERVES 4

2 large handfuls seedless raisins 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 2 bunches large leaf spinach 2 large handfuls pine nuts, toasted extra virgin olive oil 1 First, in a small pan, barely cover the raisins with water and simmer until plump and juicy.

Try and simmer away nearly all the liquid without letting the raisins catch. 2 Next, wilt the spinach down in a little olive oil. Set aside in a sieve to strain. 3 Wipe out the pan, add more oil and sauté the garlic until golden. Don’t let it burn, as the rich nuttiness of the browned garlic is what you are after – too dark and it will be bitter! 4 Return the spinach to the pan immediately, add the pine nuts and raisins, then season and serve. (This is also delicious served at room temperature.)

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SPINACH WITH GARLIC AND YOGHURT SERVES 4

1 garlic clove, crushed with a large pinch of Maldon salt 3 tbsp natural yoghurt 2 bunches large leaf spinach extra virgin olive 30g butter 1 handful pine nuts, toasted large pinch pul biber pepper flakes 1 Mix the garlic with the yoghurt and set aside. 2 Wilt the spinach in a pan with a little oil. Season and set aside in a sieve to strain before transferring to warm serving plate. Spoon over a good dollop of yoghurt. 3 Wipe out the spinach pan and add the butter. Heat it gently until it’s frothy and brown. Stir constantly so it caramelises evenly. 4 Spoon the browned butter over the yoghurt and then sprinkle over the pine nuts and pepper flakes. Serve immediately. Lido, Oakfield Place, Bristol BS8 2BJ; 0117 332 3970; lidobristol.com



Openings etc S T A R T E R S

MEATWISE

A new steakhouse and bar has landed in Bristol. Pasture is all about ethical, sustainable, high-welfare meat, which the team here butchers and dry ages themselves – all in full view of its punters. It’s the creation of Sam Elliott, who, having spent the last decade working with Jamie Oliver, returned to Bristol last year to set up a venture of his own. Located in the old Bangkok Joe’s site on Porwell Lane, the two-storey venue comprises a downstairs bar area where you’ll find Bristol-brewed beer and contemporary takes on classic cocktails (we’re keen for the Smoked Negroni), while upstairs is a 75-cover restaurant overlooking St Mary Redcliffe. The menu features big sharing cuts, steaks, a pie and a burger – and puts as much of each animal to use as possible, to ensure nothing’s wasted. There’s an express lunch menu, children’s menu and a Sunday roast offering too – the latter coming with bottomless gravy. Keen. Pasture opens at the end of February. pasturerestaurant.com

Despite its future in Bristol looking a little shaky last year, Vegfest is returning to the city this May – hurrah! Having relocated from the Amphitheatre to Ashton Gate Stadium, the annual festival is set to make its 16th event one of the most exciting ever. Spread over the outdoor and inside spaces will be street food, market traders, and entertainment in the form of comedy, magic and music. Ashton Gate’s on-site restaurant and bar will be serving 100-percent vegan food and drink, too. If you’re snappy about it, you can bag a great buy-oneget-one-half-price deal – but the offer is only around until the end of April, mind. To keep up to date with programme announcements, check out the website. bristol.vegfest.co.uk

S A M G IB SO N

THE VEG OF GLORY

FLOWER POWER

Bristol’s Park Street has a brand new cocktail bar, in the form of The Florist. Housed in the Grade II listed building that Goldbrick House used to occupy, it spans over three floors and promises to be a pretty unique venue, fully embodying the floral theme and highlighting the historic building’s character. But what of the refreshments? Well, the concept is continued in the cocktail menu, which features uber-Instagrammable concoctions with herbal twists. It’s not just about the mixology, though; there’s also a whopping collection of 60 beers on offer. Food-wise, guests can expect deli boards, meats from the grill and rotisserie, and mains ranging from beetroot and apple pearl barley risotto to tandoori battered cod. Sundays will bring full-on roast dinners. Open every day as of 26 February, this rustic, conceptual gaff will also host regular DJs and musicians. theflorist.uk.com

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TAP DANCE

Dawkins has launched a taproom at its Easton brewery to coincide with the Six Nations rugby tournament. It’s open to punters on weekend game day afternoons and, after that, every weekend from April until September. Expect plenty of Dawkins’ own beers – from the keg and in bottles – to be on offer, as well as cider. The selection will include the award-winning Ultra, which was named overall champion at the SIBA Tuckers Maltings festival last year, and is available in bottles to drink at the bar and to take home while stocks last. With space for 60 people, the taproom also has bar snacks and great viewing areas from which you can watch the matches. dawkinsales.com

PRESSURE COOKING Local food writers from across Bristol – including our very own ed, Jess! – have teamed up to put on a rather special dinner this March. Too Many Critics will see the writers put through their paces as they conceive, cook and serve paying customers a multi-course feast at Bambalan. Punters – which will just to happen to include a group of pro chefs – will be able to kick back with a cocktail as they watch the local press's food critics get busy in the open kitchen. (Talk about food theatre – that’s going to be one entertaining show, right?) The event, which Hyde & Co exec chef Todd Francis and South West Chef of the Year winner Steve Ashworth are helping to organise, is all in the name of charity, and will be raising vital finds for Action Against Hunger. The event is on 4 March and tickets – which you can buy online from Wriggle – are priced at £45 and include a welcome cocktail and four (expertly-cooked, obvs) courses, plus fun games and a chance to rate the cooks! getawriggleon.com

new kid On the bLOCk LOOK, IT’S NATHAN KELLY, HEAD CHEF AT ROSA How would you describe your style of cooking? Rather than stick to a style, I cook with whatever’s inspiring me at the time. I like to cook spontaneously and draw on pretty much everything I’ve ever learnt and eaten. Rosa’s world tapas concept suits you well, then? Yes; for me, being able to cook small plates inspired by every culinary culture in the world is a dream come true – the possibilities are endless! Where might we know you from? The Pony and Trap in Chew Magna, and The Star and Dove in Totterdown. How have you approached the menu here? I’ve done a lot of research and reading on food from around the world, and tried to create dishes that are true to their roots, but with a few twists. There are also a few dishes that I’ve just had a lot of fun with and turned on their heads – like the curried gnocchi. What are you particularly excited about, and why? The salt-marsh lamb breast; it’s marinated in paprika, olive oil and sea salt before being slow cooked and finished on the barbecue. It comes with smoked harissa, roasted cauliflower and lamb sauce, which is infused with lots of fruit and spice. It has an outrageous amount of flavour.

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When did you first become interested in cooking? I started cooking at about 12, when I realised making the dinner got me out of washing up duties! I’ve been cooking professionally since I was 18. And what was it that first inspired you to go pro? When I was working as a KP, an older cook told me I could never make it as a chef. That spurred me on more than anything! But really, it’s the thrill and intensity of the kitchen that attracted me. Fondest childhood food? My mum’s apple and almond cake – she never did much baking, but she made this one cake about once a year. It tastes of tart Bramley apple, fragrant almond and crunchy brown sugar and, if eaten warm, is one of nicest things imaginable. What makes the local foodie scene so great? It’s very supportive; I think everyone is genuinely very happy to see others succeed. The quality of the produce in Bristol is also great. Any hidden gems you can let us in on? I eat at Dev’s Kerala, just down the road from me, about once a week. Order from the Keralan specialities menu – incredibly delicious! rosabristol.co.uk



S T A R T E R S

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instA FEED

GREEN EYED

A brand new greengrocer has opened on North Street in Bristol. Hugo’s takes its name from owner Hugo Sapsed, whose very first job was at Reg the Veg in Clifton Village. After a stint living and working in London, he’s returned to home turf to set up a business of his own. As well as fruit and veg, this handy grocery shop has all kinds of ingredients lining its shelves – most of which come from within a 15-mile radius. Little Hollows Pasta – which is based a matter of metres away – supply artisan pasta; there’s cheese from Westcombe Dairy and Trethowan’s Dairy; coffee from Triple Co Roast; and breads, olive oils and other kitchen staples to fill your basket with. And keep your eye out for events and demos here in the future, too. hugosgreengrocer.co.uk

@bethfrombristol

makes gnocchi for the first time

@thecoffeetrails_

tucks in at @coffeeceres

BE STILL

A new distillery is launching in South Bristol. The Bristol Distilling Co, named after a local spirit company that was wiped out during World War II, has been founded by Jake Black – who’s also behind burger joint Chomp – along with his colleague from the restaurant, Emily AstleyCooper. The pair are now beginning to make vodka and gin, having just taken delivery of their kit from the US. The impressive still has glass panels, allowing you to see the action happen inside – something we’ll all be able to take advantage of, as The Bristol Distilling Co will be opening a tap room on-site. As well as a London Dry-style gin and a vodka, these guys hope to eventually make an American-style rye whiskey. Keep an eye on their social accounts for updates. bristoldistilling.com

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@wokyko

shows off its #Veganuary A-game

Want to see your pics in the mag? Tag #CrumbsSnaps and you ruddy well might do!


S T A R T E R S

asK your WAITRESS

LOOK, IT’S KIM MAGGS, GENERAL MANAGER AT THE CROWN How long have you worked here? I started in December 2016, the first day of the reopening of The Crown. Been in hospitality long? Roughly 10 years. I left the trade for a little while, but soon came back as I missed the buzz! What do you like most about working in the industry? I get a great feeling of satisfaction and reward when I see the pub doing well, and know this is due to the efforts that I’ve put in. What’s the best thing about your current job? Every day is different! I have a fantastic team of staff around me and I get to meet wonderful customers. What kind of relationship does front of house have with the kitchen team here? The kitchen staff have worked with the owner for 15 years; he has a built a family culture, so that it’s a very friendly and approachable team. What are the bestselling dishes at the moment? Our homemade pies – the pork and cider pie has been flying out! Followed by our hot jam roly-poly; at this time of year it’s a great dessert. What are the bestselling drinks? Customers love to try out lots of different gins from our menu. Our real ales and lagers are very popular, too. If you were a customer today, what would you order? Being a creature of habit I would probably have my usual goat’s cheese and sweet potato pizza; it’s delicious. What do you think makes great customer service? Being attentive to our customers’ needs. I always ensure we have enough friendly and efficient staff on at all times; getting to know our customers is very important. Where have you visited locally where the customer service was great? Aqua in Bath; they have excellent service. Where do you like to eat out on your days off? I love to go out for breakfast; I enjoyed a delicious one at The Ivy in Bath recently. thecrowninsaltford.com

H I P SHOPS

C

REG THE VEG

some of the best restaurants in the city). lifton greengrocers Reg the Despite it still being winter, the shop is Veg is a proper Bristol food bursting with colourful fruit, veg and herbs. institution. It was opened in the At the moment there’s lots from abroad ’60s by Reg Meek, having – Portugal, Spain et al – but there is native been a grocery shop of some produce, even now: forced rhubarb, roots, description before that, and apples (which have been specially stored was previously also a butchers – those since autumn’s harvest), and kale of distinctive tiles are still there to prove it. different varieties. The closer we get to Now owned by father and son Tom and summer, though, the more the British larder John Hagon, who took it on from Reg will be repped here; look out for the first of himself nine years ago, it’s a real the Wye Valley asparagus this month, and community hub, we’re told by Sylvie (a in the coming weeks there’ll be a bounty of longstanding staff member from the rural blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, south of France, who’s grandfather was cherries, and all the British actually a fruit and veg summer faves. merchant in Paris, as it goes). What: As well as the usual “It’s not just a shop,” she Fruit, veg and other greengrocer suspects, says. “We’re very close with groceries however, you’ll find some our customers; we’ll chat as Where: less familiar produce, yearthey pass by. And all the 6 Boyces Avenue, round – and not just fruit and businesses here have a Bristol BS8 4AA veg. The shop gets artisanal really good relationship.” When: ingredients direct from Spain This place is, of course, Mon-Sat 9am-5.30pm; through De Gusta (think raw super popular with local Sun 11am-4pm honey, vinegars, oils); dry residents – “I’ve been here store staples (like nuts, for 12 years in all, and have seeds, pulses and grains) sit behind the seen babies turn into teenagers,” says Tom counter in large clear jars next to an array – but, spilling out into the pedestrian thoroughfare between Boyces Avenue and of spices that can be bought by the Victoria Square, it also gets a steady stream spoonful; and preserved and tinned ingredients are on display, too. of passers by, keeping the clientele varied. These guys stay up to date with what “You get all walks of life in here, from babies to 90- and 100-year-olds, who come people are cooking with, keeping their noses to the ground and taking note of and tell us stories.” their punters’ requests. Indeed, you’ll find When we rock up on a fresh (read: freezing) Thursday morning, we corner Tom stuff here that you won’t get anywhere else locally. And what more of a reason than that just as he returns from the morning’s do you need to pop your head in the door deliveries (as well as dropping fresh veg for a gander? regtheveg.co.uk boxes to locals, these guys also supply

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In the Larder 2

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MuM’s the wORD

PSST! REMEMBER IT’S MOTHER’S DAY ON 11 MARCH; HERE’S HOW TO MAKE HER DAY USING THE POWER OF GOOD GRUB... 1. TEAPIGS MATCHA LATTE, £9.95/10 sachets – Mum loves matcha? Make her one of these new matcha lattes from Teapigs. The organic sachets contain totally natural ingredients and all the goodness of concentrated green tea. We’ve been supping the chai-flavoured number, whisking the dry ingredients into hot, frothy milk. Once you get over the colour of your latte (it’s green – obvs), you can concentrate on enjoying all the comforting spices and natural nutrients in your cup. Available in Waitrose in Bath and Bristol; teapigs.co.uk 2. LANGHAM ROSÉ 2014, £26/75cl – In the Dorset countryside, Langham Wine Estate’s grapes are grown on south-facing, sloped vineyards, in soil that’s similar to that you’d find in the Champagne region. Rich pink in colour, this English sparkling rosé is made from a blend of Pino Noir and Chardonnay grapes. The whiff of berry and hints of summer fruit flavours will have Ma reluctant to share. Find it at Farleigh Road and White Row farm shops, and online; langhamwine.co.uk. 3. LACOCK DAIRY SALTED CARAMEL ICE CREAM, £1.99/120ml – This Wiltshire ice cream business shares a farm with the cows that provide its milk. Although, if you want to be picky, it’s not technically ice cream at all, but gelato. Gelato contains less fat and air than ice cream, but feels silkier and creamier. The milk that these guys use is sweeter than your average too, meaning they don’t have to add as much sugar as you’d expect. The salted caramel creation is subtle in flavour and luxurious in texture – a sure fire hit. Available at The Deli in Corsham and Allington Farm Shop, as well as other independent businesses; lacockdairy.co.uk. 4. ARJ CHOCOLATE LUXURY SELECTION BOX, £8/12 chocolates – This local chocolatier biz has a double-layered box of treats available for M-Day. Inside are 12 carefully handmade chocolates and truffles in white, milk and dark choc. There’s a gift card with every box too, so you can add your own message to the big lady. Buy them online; arjchocolate.co.uk. 5. THE BAY TREE LEMON MARMALADE, £2.60/220g – Planning breakfast in bed for the special one on Mother’s Day? This new, locally made marmalade is fresh and zingy, with lemon, gin and lime, so will definitely get the day off to a bright start. Put its flavours to work on toast and croissants for brekkie; try using it on home-baked cakes; or perhaps dollop a spoonful into natural yoghurt for a burst of fruity citrus. Find it at Prior Park Garden Centre, Neston Farm Shop, and Larkhall Butchers; thebaytree.co.uk.

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e th n i d e t s a o R f o t r a he

l is r B

Come and visit our roastery and shop. Watch green beans being roasted and buy one of over 20 specialty coffees, ground for your brewing method. Prices from ÂŁ6.50 for 500g. 2-11 Clement Street, Bristol BS2 9EQ 0117 9553564 | www.wogancoffee.com Monday - Thursday: 8:30am to 4:30pm Friday: 8:30am to 4:00pm


Six Pack

ESPRESSO YOURSELF

#1

THIS MONTH WE’RE ALL ABOUT THE BEAN; WE’VE BEEN TALKING TO SIX OF THE BEST LOCAL COFFEE SUPPLIERS TO FIND OUT WHO’S GOT THE ROAST WITH THE MOST…

GIRLS WHO GRIND COFFEE 1

CEDAR FILM CO

In a workshop on a farm in Upton Scudamore in Wiltshire lives Aunt Edie. She’s a bright yellow Giesen W6 roaster, and is the third member of the newest roasting team out of this six. This allfemale biz – which also includes humans Casey Lalonde and Fi O’Brien – hunts down coffees that champion women and their economic empowerment. This might mean the beans have come from a female cooperative, been through washing stations managed by women, or grown on a farm owned by a woman. They seek out these coffees and bring them – and their stories – to South West England. They’re especially stoked about a current Congolese coffee they have. Why? Well, it makes a great-tasting, smooth and silky espresso, for starters, but there’s more to it than that. It’s produced by Rebuild Women’s Hope, a notfor-profit initiative established in 2013 by 29-year-old Marceline Budza, to help change the lives of Congolese women. Find these ace coffees at Palmer Street Bottle in Frome, Wolf Wine in Bath, and Milk Teeth in Bristol. girlswhogrindcoffee.com

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#2

Casey and Fi are all about the girl power when it comes to coffee

ROASTED RITUALS

Established in 2012 by Patrick and Tahimoana Grant-Sturgis, this micro-roastery is based in Hengrove, Bristol. Constantly rotating its offering in sync with the seasons, it has around 10 different varieties on the go at any one time (that’s plus its seasonal house blend espresso, Highground). Right now the team have a pretty special new Nicaraguan coffee in the roaster that they’re rather excited about; Maracaturra is the result of cross breeding Maragogype and Caturra varieties, and is a very big, dense coffee bean. Try a cup and see if you can taste notes of orange, red apple, and jasmine. Roasting around 200kg of coffee a week, this is a small but mighty outfit; it focuses on modest amounts of coffee, but goes big on quality. Working in batches of 12kg, they use a state of the art drum roaster along with specially designed software to get the ideal roast for each variety. roastedritualscoffee.com

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S T A R T E R S

#3

EASY JOSÉ

Not only is José Melim a former South West and Wales UK Barista Championship winner, but he’s also a Speciality Coffee Association-authorised trainer. And, as you may have guessed, he’s founder of Easy José – a Wiltshire-based coffee roaster. These guys are pretty green; they use a Loring Smart Roast, which is the most eco-friendly gear on the market, with reduced energy consumption rates and less smoke emission than your average machine. Among the team are fluent Spanish and Portuguese speakers, which comes in handy as they spend as much time as they can with growers, and like to deal direct with the farmers and communities that their beans come from. Lots of their coffees are organic and exclusive – their work with indigenous communities helps with that, allowing them to have a real involvement throughout the whole growing process. You can find said coffees in retail outlets all over Bath and the surrounding area, or buy direct from the team. easyjosecoffee.co.uk

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Eddie, founder of Round Hill Roastery, focuses on origin as opposed to variety

Laura and James Wogan are thirdgeneration roasters at Wogan Coffee

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#4

WOGAN COFFEE

And here’s the longest-established biz on this list, having been founded by Brian Wogan way back in 1970. Still located in Bristol, the team also still uses the original roaster that Brian bought that very same year – a 1968 90KG Probat – alongside a couple of newer, smaller roasters for speciality coffees and roast testing. Speaking of which, these guys are always playing with and sampling new coffees: right now, they’re especially into a variety that comes from a small co-operative, CENCOIC, in the Cauca Department of Colombia. La Laguna Reserva is a farm of 12 families within CENCOIC which produces a smooth, citric coffee. This number is a friend to all brewing methods, and has super-high ethical standards, too. As well as this there are a host of other bespoke blends that Wogan creates, using 30 (give or take) origins and farms. Most of those are staples, but some rotate regularly, reflecting what flavour profiles the team and their customers are loving at the time. Find Wogan’s entire range at the roastery and shop, just next to Cabot Circus. wogancoffee.co.uk

#5

TRIPLE CO ROAST

The name of this small indie company comes from founder Jo Thompson’s three missions: to roast high-quality coffee beans in small batches; to buy green coffee via direct trade with bean farmers; and to have great roaster-to-customer relations (they even have an open-access roastery to that end). Part of the Elemental Collective on Stokes Croft, this microroastery has just turned three years old, having been conceived by Bristolian Jo when he was out living and studying in California. Triple Co roasts all of its beans relatively lightly, to retain each variety’s characteristics and individuality, and they don’t roast differently for filter and espresso here, either: “I believe if a coffee has acidity, or a certain taste, then it is better to exhibit that well, rather than roast it out or manipulate the bean,” Jo tells us. Find Triple Co’s beans in Elemental or online – and you can drink their coffee in cafés across the area. triplecoroast.com

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#6

ROUND HILL ROASTERY

It’s an exciting time for the team at this Midsomer Norton roastery; they’re having a brand new roaster built for them in Germany. Bigger, more modern and more powerful, it’s going to let these guys up their production and get more great coffee out to their stockists and customers. Round Hill has between five and seven different coffees on the go at any one time, with a new release every 10 days or so. Head roaster Tim Gane is currently in Colombia sourcing 2018’s coffees, while founder Eddie Twitchett has been in El Salvador and Guatemala, and hopes to visit some more producing countries throughout the year. He really is all about the farm: “Variety is not super-important to me; some of my all-time favourite coffees I couldn’t name the variety – just the farm!” You might have noticed Round Hill’s coffee before – it comes in brightly coloured bags, pink for espresso and blue for filter. Find them at Green Park Station’s market every Saturday, as well as in cafés and outlets across the local area. roundhillroastery.com


World exclusive, organic coffee. With ‘boots on the ground’ we work with indigenous communities as one family. We believe there is a way to do things right and tread more lightly on this world. Join us on our journey…

Pictured: Village celebration, Mayni Community, Peru

S P E C I A L I T Y C O F F E E | B A R I S TA T R A I N I N G | M A C H I N E R Y

Based near Bath | 01373 865892 | team@easyjosecoffee.co.uk www.easyjosecoffee.co.uk |

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easyjosecoffee


S T A R T E R S

WE’VE TURNED OVER A NEW LEAF THIS MONTH, AND ANOTHER, AND ANOTHER – ALL TO BRING YOU ANOTHER BATCH OF OUR FAVOURITE NEW COOKBOOKS CHERISH

Anne Shooter (Headline, £28) Anne Shooter’s well-received debut Sesame & Spice was shortlisted for the Guild of Food Writers’ First Book Award, but this followup is, if anything, even more tempting: it’s packed with family recipes and is, she says, the cookbook her daughters asked her to write, full of their favourite dishes. References to Anne’s Jewish heritage can be found throughout (at one point she offers up a dairy-free cheesecake, as Jewish families eat a lot of chicken yet never serve milk and meat as part of the same meal), but she’s no purist, and her influences range from Eastern Europe to Jerusalem; from her mum’s recipes to modified dishes from her favourite books. Especially tempting are her marinated Hampstead Garden Suburb chicken, her slow-cooked brisket in Kiddush wine, and her peach, mozzarella and smoked salmon salad, as well as fresh takes on such Jewish classics as shakshuka and gefilte fish. If you enjoy the likes of Olia Hercules’ Mamushka and Sabrina Ghayour’s Persiana, this might just be your new favourite book. – Matt Bielby

WD~50 THE COOKBOOK

Wylie Dufresne with Peter Meehan (£50, HarperCollins) Wylie Dufresne may not be a household name here in the UK, but across the pond he’s a pretty big deal. Such a big deal, in fact, that he’s even been parodied on The Simpsons. He opened his restaurant wd~50 back in 2003 and it quickly gained a rep as New York’s most innovative and cutting edge restaurant. This was thanks to Wylie’s unique approach to cooking, influenced by science, art, and humble American classics like bagels and lox, or American cheese. It closed in 2014, so this book of the same name serves as a kind of time capsule, telling the story of the pioneering restaurant and the dishes that made it famous. Although it’s billed as a cookbook, the reality is that most of the dishes within the pages are beyond the scope of most chefs, let alone home cooks. I mean, you could try your hand at pickled beef tongue, fried mayonnaise and onion streusel, or you could simply enjoy reading Wylie’s anecdotes about each dish while drooling over the fabulous photography. – Emma Dance

EAT HAPPY

Melissa Hemsley (Edbury Press, £20) She’s been working in food for a decade, but it was probably around 2010 that Melissa Hemsley – along with her sister, Jasmine – began to gain momentum as a cook and food writer. Having published two books with Jasmine, in 2014 and 2016, Melissa is now flying solo, and has penned her first collection of recipes as lone author. Eat Happy contains nutritional breakfasts, lunches, dinners, sweets and snacks, and readers of her previous work will notice familiar ingredients such as miso, tamari, ghee and ‘bone broth’. Melissa includes practical tips on time saving, stocking your cupboards, and using up leftovers, and has designed these recipes to only take about half an hour to prepare from scratch, and require no more than two pots during cooking. Many recipes are chocca

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with veg, promising to get you on your way to your five-a-day; think lentil and bean chilli with guac, one-pan pesto chicken with summer vegetables, and harissa fish with herby cauliflower cous cous. – Jessica Carter

STIR CRAZY

Ching-He Huang (Kyle Books, £19.99) Stir-fries often make for speedy, frugal and nutritious meals, but perhaps don’t seem the most exciting of dinners when you come home ravenous and hankering for something a bit indulgent. Here, though, Ching showcases a variety of enticing creations that will have you dusting off that wok in excitement. The book dishes out advice on the wok itself, as well as the basic rules of a successful stir-fry, common ingredients, and how to be well prepped for cooking. These building blocks put you in good stead for having a go at any of the 100 recipes – more than half of which are vegetarian and all of which can be on the table in a matter of minutes. You’ll find lots of carefully balanced aromatics – such as in the Taiwanese ‘three cup chicken’, spicy soy mushroom tofu, and sweet and sour baby squid with chilli and kumquats – and there are sauces, toppings and pickles to pimp your meal up with, too. – Jessica Carter

THE SEAWEED COOKBOOK

Caroline Warwick-Evans and Tim van Berkel (Lorenz Books, £15) Surfers, boaties and nature conservationists Caro and Tim run The Cornish Seaweed Company, Britain’s first commercial seaweed outfit, which counts the likes of Nathan Outlaw and Rick Stein among its fans. They evangelise this healthy, sustainable and (yes) delicious food source in this handsome book. Full of tempting recipe photos and pictures of the pair clambering over bladder wrackstrewn rocks and diving for kelp, it talks a lot about seaweed cultivation and foraging, and gives detailed info on a dozen of the most important types. Recipes run through starters (deep-fried kelp-wrapped brie with raspberry and chilli jam) and mains (sea spaghetti ‘tagliatelle’ with crab) to, rather unexpectedly, puds (blackberry, apple and dulse crumble); there are even seaweed cocktails. (Kelp Martini, anyone?) This is an accessible book that will challenge your current eating habits. – Matt Bielby

Recipe from Eat Happy by Melissa Hemsley (Edbury Press, £20); photography by Issy Croker USING STORE CUPBOARD staples and spinach from the freezer, this Seville-inspired stew comes together in under 20 minutes, and is a hit with everyone. You could swap the spinach for other greens such as chopped chard, or add extra bits and bobs, such as a few tablespoons of capers, olives or chopped sun-dried tomatoes. I love this as a stewlike soup in a bowl, but you could make it thicker and serve with a side of quinoa.

SPANISH STEW WITH ALMONDS SERVES 4

3 tbsp chopped or flaked almonds 1½ tbsp butter (or ghee) 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 large red or orange pepper, deseeded and chopped 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 tsp ground cumin 2 tsp smoked paprika ¼ tsp cayenne pepper 1 large handful of fresh parsley, stalks finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped 1 tbsp tomato purée 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed 100ml stock or bone broth or water (optional) 250g spinach 1 tbsp lemon juice extra-virgin olive oil, to serve 1 In a large, deep frying pan, toast the almonds over a medium heat for just under a minute until golden, then set aside. Melt the butter in the hot pan, add the onion and pepper, and fry for 6 minutes until starting to soften. 2 Add the garlic, spices and parsley stalks and fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent them from burning, then add the tomato purée and cook for another 30 seconds. 3 Tip the tinned tomatoes into the pan, turn up the heat to a medium simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, uncovered, to thicken and reduce. Then add the chickpeas and cook for another 3 minutes with a lid on. If you want the stew to be more soup-like, add the stock. 4 Turn up the heat, drop in the spinach and cook for 1 minute, covered with the lid, then add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. 5 Serve each bowl with a good drizzle of olive oil and with the parsley leaves and toasted almonds scattered over.

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CHEF! 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

IN A PICKLE

Tangy kimchi and cucumber pickle buddies up with mackerel Page 31

PIGEON DETECTIVES Pigeon paired with chocolate, you say? We’re intrigued... Page 33

FLOWER POWER

A recipe that uses cauliflower in all its colourful forms... Page 34

Salmon has a host of nutritional benefits; it’s thought to help everything from your brain to your heart. And we’ve got a cracking recipe for it...

P L U S !

37 Columnist Andy Clarke says grace before tucking into his latest recipe...

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C H E F !

RETURN OF ThE MAC

THERE’S PLENTY OF PUNCH IN THIS TANGY FISH DISH BY ALEXANDER VENABLES

Head chef and owner of The George, Alexander has kitchen experience spanning over 33 years, with his CV listing the likes of The Savoy and Lucknam Park. Alex and partner Alison took over The George at Woolley in 2015, and have transformed it into a cosy, two-AA-rosette awarded restaurant with an open kitchen, new bar and lounges, and a dining area that spans over two floors. There are even two luxury en-suite apartments – with two more in the pipe line – so guests can make a night of it when they visit for dinner.

PAN-FRIED MACKEREL WITH PICKLE, CABBAGE AND PEPPER KIMCHI, AND SMOKED PAPRIKA OIL SERVES 4

4 mackerels, gutted and filleted 250ml olive oil 2 tsp smoked paprika For the kimchi: 1 white cabbage, finely shredded 3 red peppers, finely sliced 250g salt 250ml white wine vinegar 200g sugar 2 tsp mustard seeds 1 red chilli, finely chopped 6 garlic cloves, crushed For the pickle: 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced 200g coarse salt 250ml white wine vinegar 200g sugar ¾ tsp turmeric ½ tsp celery seeds ½ tsp mustard seeds

1 For the kimchi, toss the cabbage and peppers with the salt in a large bowl. Cover and leave to stand for 8 hours. In a saucepan, gently heat the vinegar and sugar until dissolved. Then add the mustard seeds, red chili and garlic, and turn off the heat. Set aside to cool. 2 When ready, rinse the white cabbage thoroughly in cold water, drain very well, and place in a bowl. Pour over the vinegar mixture and toss well. This can now be packed in Kilner jars and stored in the fridge. 3 For the pickle, combine the cucumbers and salt in a large bowl, mix well, and leave to stand for 3 hours, then rinse and drain thoroughly. In a pan, combine the vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed and mustard seed and add the drained cucumber. Place the pan on a medium heat. When it reaches a boil, remove from the heat and transfer into sterilized jars. This will keep in the fridge for two months. 4 Make the paprika oil by gently heating the olive oil in a saucepan with the paprika. Remove from the heat and set aside. 5 To cook the mackerel, heat a cast iron griddle pan to very hot and place the mackerel fillets on, skin side down. Leave for around 4-5 minutes, or until the skin is very crisp. Then turn the fillets over and cook for 1 more minute. 6 To serve, place the cucumber slices on the plate creating a nice circular frame. Add a good mound of the cabbage and pepper mix onto the centre, and place a mackerel fillet on top. Drizzle with the paprika oil and serve.

a Grape match! Santadi Cala Silente 2016, £13.95 Great Western Wine Edward Mercer of Great Western Wine says, “This vibrant Vermentino from a top Sardinian winery is lemon and lime scented, with richer exotic flavours on the palate. It will pair really well with the complex flavours of the smoky mackerel.”

The George at Woolley, 67 Woolley Street, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1AQ; 01225 865650; thegeorgebradfordonavon.co.uk

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C H E F !

FUNKY PIGEON

TAKVOR TERLEMEZIAN PUTS PIGEON TO WORK IN THIS SIMPLE BUT IMPRESSIVE RECIPE

As chef-proprietor of New Moon Tapas, Takvor is forever evolving his globally inspired menu. His restaurant, which is perched on The Mall in Clifton, serves an a la carte menu as well as a list of specials, which change every month and are inspired by the cuisine of a different country each time. This pigeon recipe is surprisingly straightforward, but the end result is sure to raise the eyebrows of your dinner guests.

PAN SEARED PIGEON WITH JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE PURÉE AND PIQUANT CHOCOLATE JUS SERVES 4

100g shallots 2 garlic cloves olive oil 500g Jerusalem artichokes 150ml cream 200ml veal stock 5g chilli, finely diced 5g good quality dark chocolate 6 pigeon breasts

1 Finely chop the shallots and garlic. Add to a pan with a little olive oil and cook, without colouring, until soft. 2 Peel the artichokes and grate into the onion and garlic. Cook for 30 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. When cooked, put the mixture in a blender and add the cream. Pass through a fine strainer, and add salt and pepper to taste. 3 For the jus, heat up the veal stock and reduce until thickened. Then add the chilli and leave to infuse for about 5 minutes. Grate in the dark chocolate and stir well, then pass through a strainer. 4 Heat some oil in a pan. When hot, add the pigeon breasts. Cook for about 2 minutes each side, then remove from the pan and allow to rest. 5 Spoon the artichoke purée onto each plate. Slice the pigeon breasts in half and arrange three halves neatly on top of the artichoke on each plate. Spoon over the jus. (We like to serve with asparagus.)

a Grape match! Trapiche Estacion 1883 Bonarda 2015 £11.95, Great Western Wine Edward Mercer says, “This delicious and moreish Bonarda from Argentina is fresher and lighter in style than richer Malbecs, which are more famous in the South American region. It will complement the pigeon beautifully, while being bold enough to stand up to the spicy jus.”

New Moon Tapas, 9 The Mall, Bristol BS8 4DP; 0117 239 3858; newmoontapas.co.uk

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C H E F !

TOTaLLY BaKEd ALEX PARSONS GOES CRAZY FOR CAULI IN THIS SALMON DISH

Alex cooks at Riverstation in Bristol, which sits (as you might guess) just on the river, and actually – fun fact – used to be the local police station, when the force used boats. It’s now a longestablished bar and restaurant, which was taken over by Youngs in the middle of last year and given a big spruce up. The food is modern European in style, and this recipe is typical of the kind of dishes you’ll find on the menu. “Heritage cauliflowers are available from independent greengrocers all across Bristol,” says Alex. “Not only do they look amazing, but they taste great too – especially fried like in this recipe, which adds a nuttiness.”

BAKED SALMON WITH CAULIFLOWER, POMEGRANATE AND CHILLI SERVES 4

40g salt 50g sugar 1 star anise 5 peppercorns 1 cardamom pod 5 coriander seeds 500g piece of salmon 400g assorted cauliflower 50g butter 150ml milk 1 red chilli, finely sliced 1 pomegranate, seeded 2 spring onions, finely sliced handful coriander, chopped

5 Rinse the salmon, remove the skin and cut into even portions. Place on a tray and bake for 7-12 minutes, depending on how well done you want it. 6 Heat a frying pan and sear the florets on the flat side for colour, adding a little oil. 7 Spread the purée onto each plate, place the salmon on top, scatter the florets around and garnish with the chilli, pomegranate seeds, spring onion and coriander.

a Grape match!

1 Mix together the salt, sugar and spices, and rub over the salmon. Refrigerate and leave to cure for 1-2 hours. 2 Trim the cauliflower into florets, cutting a flat side on each one. Reserve the trimmings. 3 Heat the butter in a pan, and add the trimmings. Sweat them down, then cover with the milk and cook until tender. When ready, drain and blitz, adding some of the milk if needed, to achieve a purée consistency. Pass through a sieve and set aside. 4 When the salmon is ready to be cooked, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

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D’Arenberg ‘Broken Fishplate’ Sauvignon Blanc 2016 £13.95, Great Western Wine Edward Mercer says, “Sauvignon and salmon make for a great pairing. This aromatic and fruity wine from d’Arenberg in South Australia will work especially well, matching the chilli but not overpowering the more delicate components.”

Riverstation, The Grove, Bristol BS1 4RB; 0117 914 4434; riverstation.co.uk

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THE WINE GUY

SINCe YOU’ve BeeN GONe WITH ALL THE NEW OPENINGS IN OUR LOCAL AREA TO KEEP UP WITH, HOW OFTEN DO YOU MANAGE TO FIND THE TIME TO RETURN TO OLD FAITHFULS? ANDY CLARKE FINALLY REVISITS ONE OF HIS FAVOURITE LOCAL GAFFS, TAIL BETWEEN HIS LEGS...

t

o say that the West Country’s food scene is vibrant is an understatement. The hub of culinary activity known as Bristol is without doubt one of the most exciting in the country. But this kaleidoscope of eateries and watering holes poses a bit of a problem for us greedy locals: how the hell do you find time to go back to the places you love, when you want to try out the newbies? Allow me to present to you a case study... It’s May 2015. I’ve just returned to Bristol after 20 years of living at

the other end of the M4. I’m two months back and, already, the list of restaurants to try has reached epic proportions. For my husband’s 40th birthday we decide to make our first visit to No Man’s Grace in Redland, a restaurant that’s fine dining in style, but with the atmosphere of a friendly pub (the perfect combo, right?). Our meal is epic, and we vow to come back, sharpish. Fast forward to early 2018, and we’ve still not been again. That’s two years and nine months that it’s been on our to-eat list.

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C H E F !

Having now finally made it back, I have to say John Watson (formerly of Casamia and The Gallimaufry) and his incredible team are still at the top of their game. And I’m not just speaking under the influence of the homemade rhubarb gin that they have perched behind the bar for lushes like me... John is a self-confessed rhubarb junkie, so when I asked him if he could give me a seasonal recipe to match some wine to, he fessed up about his obsession with this perky pink paragon, and demonstrated his inventiveness with a plate of pork belly with salt baked candied beetroot and soused rhubarb. Sure, it sounds great, but John’s posed a bit of a challenge here: the earthy beetroots holler for a robust red, and yet the sour and sweet rhubarb whistle for a fragrant white. What to do? Well, seeing as pork can go with either, naturally I’ve decided to do both. Averys, which is currently celebrating an impressive 225 years in the business, have a couple of belters ready to ride alongside John’s pork. If white’s your thing, Clefs du Pontif 2016 Marsanne Viognier from the Languedoc is ideal for bringing out the vibrancy of the rhubarb; it has a peachy nose which hints at its fragrant, unctuousness qualities in the mouth. The wine’s off-dry nature is ideal with the sweet and sour rhubarb, but it harbours a streak of acidity too, which is really lifting. But there’s more to this wine; the texture, thanks to the Marsanne grape, feels quite large in the mouth, and will pair nicely with the lardy pork belly and even with the beetroot too. But it is still wintry outside, so red wine cravings are rife. Señorio de Sarria Reserva Especial 2012 is a fantastic modern Spanish wine, made only in good vintages. It comprises Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes, and, while oak aged, it’s a far cry from the tradition of oaky Spanish reds we’re used to from the likes of Rioja. This wine has a muted spicy nose that makes you want to devour the beetroot, and an unforgiving dry feel in the mouth while providing plummy fruit character too. It has a rich, velvety texture which is just what the pork wants, as well as a violet charm to the finish which works with the soused rhubarb. So that you can test this match out for yourself, I’ve got the recipe for a simplified version of the dish from John. I’d definitely recommend trying his cooking firsthand, too – and if you do, promise me one thing? Don’t leave it as long as I did between visits. Life’s too short.

READER OFFER! CLEFS DU PONTIF 2016 MARSANNE VIOGNIER 2016 £8.99 for Crumbs readers (usually £9.99) SEÑORIO DE SARRIA RESERVA ESPECIAL 2012 £12.50 for Crumbs readers (usually £25)

See Andy in the flesh and hear all about his career in food TV on 27 April at Armstrong Hall, Thornbury; tickets £8-£10; thornburyartsfestival.com; one4thetable.com

PORK BELLY WITH BEETROOT AND RHUBARB SERVES 6 (WITH SOME LEFTOVER PORK BELLY) For the pork belly: 4ltrs water 600g salt 400g sugar 3 star anise 2 tbsp black peppercorns 1 tbsp fennel seeds 2 tbsp coriander seeds ½ pork belly For the rhubarb: 1 stick rhubarb 200g red wine vinegar 200g caster sugar 6 star anise 1 tbsp fennel seeds 1tbsp coriander seeds For the beetroot: 12 fresh baby candied beets 2 tbsp vegetable oil 50g good quality sea salt 1 Heat the water, salt, sugar and aromats until it reaches a boil, then pass through a sieve and chill. Put the belly into the brine, skin side up, and weigh it down with a couple of small plates. Leave for 2 days in the fridge. 2 Rinse the belly under cold water. Place into a vacuum pouch with 500ml water and cook in a 72C water bath for 12 hours. 3 Remove the pouch and allow to come up to to room temperature. Put the belly, still in the bag, in the fridge with a flat tray on top with a weight on. Allow at least 6 hours to press. 4 Take the belly out of the bag

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and scrape off any loose fat that’s collected on the meat. Cut into 8cm x 8cm squares, and cut off the skin. 5 Slice the rhubarb lengthways on a mandoline to a thickness of 2mm, and place in a heatproof container. Bring the rest of the rhubarb ingredients to the boil in a pan, then pour it over the rhubarb strips. Leave to cool. 6 Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3. 7 Clean and dry the baby beets, and coat in the oil and salt. Wrap in tin foil and cook the oven for 45 minutes, or until a sharp knife meets no resistance when stabbed into the centre. 8 To serve, vacuum seal the pork belly portions at full pressure and place in a 70C water bath to reheat for 15 minutes. Remove the belly from the bath and slice open the bag. Dry the fatty skin side with kitchen towel, then fry (on that side) in a non-stick pan until golden. 9 Whilst frying the belly, cut the bottoms off the baby beets and gently warm them (if needed) in a low oven, after tossing in a little oil to stop them from drying out. Slice each belly portion into two neat rectangles and serve with 3 baby beets and 4 slices of soused rhubarb. We finish the dish with a pork jus, roasted oats and rhubarb purée.

Check out our latest review of No Man’s Grace on crumbsmag.com; nomansgrace.com


THE CHEF Up-and-coming cooking talent, Gordon Jones, attributes his cooking success to his mother’s fresh approach to food and Scottish upbringing.

THE CONCEPT If you do not like surprises then this is not the place for you. It was not knowing what we were going to be served that made it more exciting.

We are open from Tuesday to Saturday.

Contact us to make a reservation:

01225 480871

Lunch service: 12:30 – 14:00 Dinner service: 19:00 – 21:00

Please advise us of any dietary requirements when booking 2 Wellsway, Bath, BA2 3AQ

info@menugordonjones.co.uk

menugordonjones.co.uk

a


Triple Co Roast is an roastery in the heart of

open-access microBristol, England.

Triple Co Roast is an open-access micro-roastery in the heart of Bristol, England.

The mission is triple: 1 To roast high quality coffee beans, small batch. 2 To buy green coffee via direct trade with bean farmers. 3 To focus on having open roaster-to-customer relations.

email: jo@triplecoroast.com www.triplecoroast.com

phone: 07944530027 f a triplecoroast


WELCOME TO THE PORT OF CALL Dating back to the 1700’s The Port of Call is tucked away at the top of Whiteladies Road and is well worth finding. With its inglenook fireplaces and exposed brickwork this cosy, traditional gem of a pub offers real ales, cider, continental lagers, fine wines, an eclectic spirits range and delicious home-made food.

Monday Closed Tuesday to Saturday 12 – 11pm

The hidden garden is an oasis away from the bustle of the main road and offers stunning views over Clifton, whilst the bar, has cosy log-burners for those long, Winter evenings. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Sunday 12 – 10.30pm 3 York Street, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2YE 0117 973 0926 portofcallbristol.com

GREAT FOOD AND WINE • REAL ALES RELAXING ATMOSPHERE • FAMOUS PUB DOGS

Monday 5pm – 11pm Tuesday to Saturday 12 – 11pm Sunday 12 – 8pm The White Horse, Bristol Road, Hambrook, Bristol, BS16 1RY 0117 957 0671 whitehorsehambrook.com



CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS

cROcK

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FROM THE ERA OF FLARES AND THE BAY CITY ROLLERS COMES THE SLOW COOKER REVIVAL, HEADED UP BY THOSE CLEVER FOLK AT CROCK-POT. IN FACT, MATT BIELBY QUITE FANCIES A SAVOURY MAPLE AND DIJON POT ROAST RIGHT ABOUT NOW… You know what? I really hate the ’70s. All this nostalgia for a decade that gave us horrid wallpaper, Space Hoppers and Austin Allegros the colour of saffron. But think of the good things! Think of David Bowie! Think of Star Wars! Think of Curly Wurlies, lava lamps, The Clangers and holidays in Spain! And think of the slow cooker too, the decade’s must-have kitchen gadget – perfect for cheap, tasty, easy meals – that’s now right back in fashion. But I already have a slow cooker! Not like this, you don’t. The latest from Crock-Pot – delighting in a mouthful of a name, being officially the ‘4.5L Crock-Pot DuraCeramic Sauté Slow Cooker’ – is something of a game-changer. It boasts a multipurpose aluminium pot that can be removed and used on all hob types, including induction – perfect for sautéing your meat before the slow-cooking begins, say. And it’s covered in a new coating (that’s the ‘DuraCeramic’ bit) that’s dishwasher safe and comes free of dodgy non-

stick chemicals. This gives it – they claim – four times the durability of most rivals. I’ve heard of Crock-Pots – they’re not the cheapest, but every stew I’ve eaten from one has been delicious. They’re kind of the slow cooker gold standard, I guess – Crock-Pot has been making them for over 50 years, and it was their comedy recipe names (‘Male Chauvinist Chili’, anyone?) that got everyone talking about slow cookers in the first place. And they tend to innovate – so this one has a hinged lid, rather than a separate cover, and is bigger than usual. Plus, it has tons of heat settings.

lean stuff, which tends to cook down to a leathery toughness. Since everything’s so gently heated, you’re best off frying meat to brown it first, while delicate veggies (like asparagus and courgette) only want dropping in at the last minute – they’ll go mushy otherwise. And you need to be careful with dried pulses (which need boiling beforehand) and dairy, which likes to separate out. Too much spice is another enemy – chilli becomes hotter the longer you cook it, after all.

So what can I make with it? Oh, the usual – stews, casseroles, curries and soups – plus the likes of pulled pork, and even puddings!

That’s a lot to worry about! Not really – and these are just the same guidelines you’d get with any slow cooker. Bottom line is that this clever Crock-Pot has enough strings to its bow that you’ll be turning to it at least once a week – and on a pound-per-use basis, it might just be the best kitchen buy you’ll ever make.

Slow cookers are foolproof, then? Not quite. They’re brilliant for tough, sinewy cuts, rendering them tender and delicious, but less ace for the

The 4.5L Crock-Pot DuraCeramic Sauté Slow Cooker is just £66.99 from branches of Argos, or buy online; crockpot.co.uk

THIS MONTH • TAKING IT SLOW • SION TAMER • GOLD RUSH

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We are a funky Japanese Ramen Bar doing handcrafted noodles and broth, using fresh local meats and produce as well as exotic Japanese ingredients. 0117 329 3460 48-52 Baldwin St, Bristol BS1 1QB 25-27 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3PY

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Supper Club

CASTLE ON ThE hILL

HIGH ABOVE BATH, LOOKING OUT OVER COUNTLESS ROWS OF ITS DISTINCTIVE HONEYCOLOURED HOUSES, SITS SION HILL PLACE, HOME TO A RATHER GRAND SUPPER CLUB... Words by DAN IZZARD Photos by PAOLO FERLA

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f I didn’t know better, I’d say this Grade I listed house was made specifically for dinner parties; in one of the most desirable areas of Bath, it has elevated views over the whole of the city and, as far as I’m concerned, it would be a disservice not to show them off. It was actually a 21st birthday that set the culinary wheels in motion here, and ultimately saw host Paula Foulser and partner Steve host a dinner almost every month in 2017. Then, with a daughter moving back from Italy coinciding with their first dinner of this year, grand ideas blossomed of a four-course Italian feast, and the decision was made to bring in a professional. Said pro comes in the form of unassuming but brilliant chef Alex Dome, who can usually be found in the kitchens at the fantastic Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, where Paula is marketing manager. By the time we arrive on this dark Saturday evening in January, Alex is all prepped and pottering around the kitchen, having tactically left himself a few elements of food theatre to perform once the guests arrive. We’re enthusiastically welcomed by family pet Pandora the Lagotto Romagnolo (why yes, she does have her own Instagram account, since you asked: @pandoralr). Once she’s satisfied she’s vetted her houseguests for the evening, she retires early. We venture into the open kitchen-diner, admiring the ornate plasterwork high above our heads. Steve rustles up some seasonal Bellinis – a signature of the Sion Hill Place Supper Club – with

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C L U B


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a rhubarb compote foundation, and bubbles up top. Looking around, it’s no wonder the kitchen has featured in interior magazines; it’s an impressive space, full of character. A tall cabinet runs down one side of the room and has its own ladder to reach the top shelves; brave Steve scales it without the assistance of an oxygen mask, before returning to ground level to pour more Bellinis. As the guests slowly arrive, many of whom know each other, we all relax into the evening and take our seats at the two large tables. Paula is clearly an experienced host; individual menus on each place setting, typed out complete with social media handles, are just one of the many touches that show real attention to detail. There’s a BYO policy here with wine, so we’d let Bristol’s Corks of Cargo decide on our bottle for the evening, which we crack into as we eagerly wait for the first course, watching the chef at work. All eyes are on Alex as he uses a rolling pin across the chittara to cut the fresh pasta. There really is nowhere to hide in this kitchen; a fact that he will later tell us, with a knowing smile, only caught him out a few times. As far as we can tell, though, he’s comfortable on his culinary stage. Skill level: expert. WE’RE FIRST TREATED to cavolo nero fritti with an anchovy dressing. If there was ever a vegetable destined to be deep-fried, it was cavolo nero; the batter finds its way into all the intricate crevices, and bubbles up to deliver a real conversation-disrupting crunch.

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The spaghetti alla chitarra with cacio e pepe (Parmesan and pepper) comes next, its creaminess punctuated with spicy bite from the pepper. The headline act is juniperencrusted venison, cooked on a pizza stone in the oven. A real head-turner (literally; everyone watches when Alex retrieves it from the oven for the big unveiling), it’s blushing pink and sits right in the sweet spot of my venison cook-ometer (that’s a thing). Three slabs of the precisely cooked meat accompany celeriac and roscoff onions on the plate in front of me. My sources inform me that a few squares of chocolate have made their way into the rich venison jus, too. Paula describes Alex as “a wonderful, young and talented chef” – and his attention to detail and energy certainly translates into beautiful, delicious plates of food. By the time the sliced Amalfi lemon tart makes its way around, guests are trying each other’s wine, have switched seats, and are thoroughly enjoying the evening. The satisfaction of seeing people appreciate food together whilst forming friendships is what these dinners are all about for Paula. Sion Hill Supper Club is something pretty special and unique in Bath: it feels both exclusive and welcoming and, more importantly, promises really excellent food. Sion Hill Pace Supper Club’s next event is on 10 March, tickets £40, email Paula on sionhillplacesupperclub@gmail.com to book; follow @sionhillplacesupperclub on Instagram

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CACIO E PEPE By Alex Dome

“The better quality spaghetti that you use for this recipe, the better the final result will be; if you like to make your own pasta then do,” Alex says. “For our supper club, we used freshly made pasta alla chitarra, typical of Abruzzo. Chitarra literally means the guitar, and refers to the pasta cutter that we use. My Italian co-chef at Petersham Nurseries, Ambra Papa, introduced me to this type of pasta. I love the way that the square edges hold the sauce, keeping it light and silky.” SERVES 2 200g spaghetti 20g butter 2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper 75g Parmesan, grated as finely as possible and at room temperature, plus extra for serving 1 Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta as per the cooking instructions on the packet. If using dried pasta this will normally take about 8 minutes. 2 Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan over a moderate heat. Then add the freshly cracked black pepper and toast until fragrant. 3 Add a ladle full of the pasta water and turn the heat down. 4 Strain the pasta, reserving some of the water as it may be needed later. Add the drained pasta and cheese to the butter and toss thoroughly until a silky smooth sauce is achieved. The temperature at this point is critical – if the sauce is too hot it will coagulate and separate from the fat, creating a lumpy sauce. If necessary, add a little more of the pasta water and toss again. 5 Serve immediately, sprinkled with a little more grated Parmesan, and enjoy!


Mollydooker Blue Eyed Boy, South Australia This 2015 Shiraz is as smooth as Sinatra boasting intense flavours of blackcurrant compot, crushed blueberries and chocolate raisins along with flavours of vanilla pod and intense black liquorice. Perfect in front of the fire with spicy homemade pasta dishes. £42.00

Eschenhof Holzer Invaders Orange, Austria Winemaker Arnold Holzer has a reputation for breaking the wine making rules producing this lightly textured orange wine with soft peach/orange colours with big flavours of ripe tropical fruits: guava, passionfruit and pineapple with a soft toasted nut finish. Delicious with bold curries or Korean kimchi dishes. £18.00

Gaznata Grenache, Spain Organically grown in El Barrico, Castille Y Leon winemaker Daniel Ramos adopts natural winemaking techniques making for an easy drinking complete wine. Perfect with pizza boasting flavours of baked cherry, raspberry juice and crushed strawberry. £12.50

WOLF WINE, GREEN PARK STATION, BATH, BA1 1JB

Mon-Fri 11am-7pm Saturday 9am-6pm Sunday 11am-5pm

07780922901 www.wolfwine.co.uk sjs@wolfwine.co.uk


K I T C H E N

A R M O U R Y

The Want List

WE’VE BEEN DIGGING FOR GOLD THIS MONTH – AND JUST LOOK AT THE TREASURE WE’VE FOUND…

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1 BRISTOL MUG £12 This china mug, made locally, combines vintage-style floral print with modern typography in gold. And it’s made from proper bone china, don’t cha know. Find it in Stokes Croft China. prscshop.co.uk 2 LARGE JAHI GOLD PLATE £19.95 By ethical South West trader Nkuku, this plate is handmade from solid brass and has a gorgeous brushed gold effect, giving it a properly unique look. Find it at Fig1 in Bristol. fig1.co.uk 3 SALAD SERVERS £38 Designed by the Copenhagenbased Ferm Living, these fancy salad servers are gilded for a chic brass finish, and will really look the part at the dinner table. Find them in Resident in Bath. residentstore.co.uk 4 ANTIQUE BRASS CIRCLE DRINKS TROLLEY £262.50 Could your drinks arrive with much more style than on this cool retro drinks trolley? (Even more tempting: it’s down from £350, y’know.) Find it at Graham and Green in Bath. grahamandgreen.co.uk 5 GOLD RIMMED TUMBLERS £14 These glasses, sold in pairs, come in lots of different coloured tints, but the honeycoloured ones have won gold with us. Find them at The Pod Company in Clifton. thepodcompany.co.uk

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Discover one of Bath’s best kept secrets, Afternoon Tea at the Villa … A delightfully delicious afternoon tea brimming with homemade treats. Warm scones, sandwiches made from home-baked bread and moreish indulgent cakes. Everything is made by our own fabulous baker, with a new selection of cakes every day of the week.

Cream tea £10.50 per person Full afternoon tea £21.00 per person Prosecco afternoon tea £27.00 per person Served every day from 1pm – 6pm in our sunny dining room or garden terrace. Pre-booking is required.

01225 466329 • reception.trvb@roseatehotels.com • www.roseatevillabath.com

2 ABBEY STREET BATH BA1 1NN

pickledgreens.com

* DELI * COFFEE * SEASONAL FOOD * NATURAL WINE *


CAFE KITCHEN Welcome to our special, awardwinning café - a great place to meet friends, hold events and to give back to your community. The cafe provides young people with special needs a unique opportunity to gain work experience and training. Open Monday to Friday 8am–4pm Saturday 8am–12pm Available for private hire: Please call Amelia on 01225 838070 or email amelia.hartley@threeways.co.uk Located @ 180 Frome Road, Odd Down, BA2 5RF


LOCAL . S EA S ONA L . S PE C IALIST.

Supplying artisan West country cheeses to the good folk of Bristol. Please pop into store or visit our website

Tuesday to Saturday 11 - 6 and Sunday 11 - 4 Unit 8 CARGO 2, Museum Street bristolcheesemonger@gmail.com a bristol_cheese www.bristol-cheese.co.uk bristol_cheese/

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CAKERY

Delicately handmade chocolates

Say it with chocolate this

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Gluten free, dairy free and vegan options available 21 Claverton buildings, Bath BA2 4LD tel 07891 211852 email thecakery-@hotmail.com b The Cakery  @TheCakeryBath  thecakerybath www.thecakerybath.co.uk

Order online or by phone

www.arjchocolate.co.uk 07850408296


Specialising in Pan Asian cuisines from the Far East. Using only the freshest locally sourced ingredients and cooked to order straight from our kitchen to your table guaranteeing perfection every time.

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Breakfast, lunch and supper

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M AI N S TOP CULINARY CAUSES, FAB FOOD DESTINATIONS, AND INSIDER KNOWLEDGE

H I G H L I G H T S

FINE ART

Why high-end dining is so exciting right now Page 58 We all love a good old traditional boozer – but their popularity goes beyond what’s on the pumps, our pros say

SUM OF ALL BEERS

How the great British pub is about so much more than booze Page 65

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dAMN FINE FINE DINING HAS HAD A REBRAND. NO LONGER FUSSY AND PAINFULLY FORMAL, IT PROMISES SOME OF THE MOST EXCITING CULINARY EXPERIENCES OUR REGION HAS TO OFFER...

Cornish crab with celery and lovage at The Bath Priory

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ot a fan of sitting in silence, in stuffy, atmospherically barren restaurants, while paying through the nose for thimble-sized dishes in which you can’t even identify the ingredients? Well, duh; that sounds awful. But no one is asking you to; in 2018, our local patch is packed with fine dining restaurants that are putting paid to this stereotype and mixing refinement with fun. Here’s why we reckon you should try fine this month...

SO CHILL

Sure, fine dining’s a bit fancy – it’s one of the reasons we love it – but restaurants have largely chilled out and dialed down the formalities over the past few years. We don’t mean to say you should rock up in your beachwear and bring the dog, but there’s no need to keep your elbows off the table and talk in whispers, either. Laurence Beere, owner of the 2017 Crumbs Awards fine dining champ The Olive Tree in Bath, says, “Generally, we all believe that the concept of fine dining is, in many ways, quite outdated. The term itself implies a formality and traditional approach to dining out that many have moved away from, whether that be in the luxury end of the market or, indeed, in the casual dining sector. “Fine dining has evolved from the original perception of starched tablecloths, hushed overtones, formal waiting staff who would have limited interaction with guests, and guests who would always be dressed according to dress codes. This has all given way to a much more relaxed approach to the meal experience.”

One thing fine dining is particularly great for is geeking out about food. There’s often real interaction between the kitchen and dining room these days, meaning guests can have far more of an insight into what they’re eating: think ingredients, preparation, and the concept of the dish – what inspired the chef. This really helps us to appreciate the dishes on an extra level, while making them more accessible and cementing that casual vibe. Laurence points out that, “The lines are becoming ever more blurred, with many restaurants starting to bring the service to the table by the kitchen brigade, rather than the restaurant staff.” Indeed, having a chef personally deliver and introduce your dish is something you might well experience at the Michelin-starred Casamia in Bristol. Owner and chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias says, “We never want it to be a daunting experience or too restrictive; the most important thing here is that we try to break that down straight away. We lead guests into a tour of the kitchen to let them see behind the scenes and meet the chefs. We find it helps to break down any formalities they were expecting when they meet the people behind the dishes that are about to arrive at their table.”

CORE VALUES

Okay, time to talk about the dollar. Obviously, fine dining ain’t cheap. Multi-course tasting menus, wine flights, top service and premium ingredients all come at a price. And it’s just not one that most of us can shell out for every month. “I think we’re living in an age where the majority of people will watch their budget first before making up their mind on where

The Olive Tree (top) is a mainstay of Bath’s fine dining scene; Michelinstarred Casamia (bottom) is continuously pushing the culinary boundaries

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NOSEY PARKER

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E V E N T C AT E R E R S S O M E R S E T

W E D D I N G S | B I R T H D AY S | C O R P O R AT E E V E N T S | C A N A P É S & D R I N K S

Caroline Gent offers delicious seasonal menus, our event team will help you plan from start to finish. Our service on the day will leave you and your guests feeling relaxed, happy and very well looked after.

T. 01749 880 352

INFO@CAROLINEGENTCATERING.COM

WWW.CAROLINEGENTCATERING.COM


M A I N S

THE WHOLE PACKAGE

Let’s just put the food to the side for the minute, shall we? While we want to come away from every meal with a satisfied appetite, eating out isn’t solely about sustenance, right? And when it comes to fine dining, it’s all the peripheral factors that really set it apart. Executive chef at The Bath Priory Michael Nizzero certainly thinks so: “The food is only one element of the experience; the service and surroundings all set the scene, and serve to allow the guest to retreat from day-to-day life and truly focus on the culinary journey prepared for them. The experience must be fully rounded, from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave our property; every detail should be flawless to allow the guest to completely relax and focus on the experience as a whole.”

BEAUTIFULLY UNCONVENTIONAL

The 250-year-old Royal Crescent in Bath might be historic, but it knows it must stay current to thrive and ensure fine dining remains popular

to dine,” says Humayun Hussain, spokesperson for Mint Room restaurants. “Hence the popularity of casual dining – as it’s usually cheaper, of course.” But the subject of price is, obviously, very different to that of value. With the elevated cost comes some real a-game; it has to, after all, else these restaurants just wouldn’t survive. “For chefs, [fine dining] gives them an ideal opportunity to use fabulous ingredients and deal with good suppliers, as well as experiment and be adventurous. It allows them a certain degree of freedom, and the opportunity to impress,” adds Humayun. It’s not just about the value of the hard-to-come-by ingredients and the time and effort that has gone into each element of each dish, though; what about the excitement, sense of occasion, and memorability of the whole thing? As lots of us see fine dining as a costly experience, it’s something we tend keep just for special occasions, notes Dan Moon, head chef at Bath’s Dan Moon at The Gainsborough Restaurant. “However,” he says, “fine dining should be seen as an experience that allows you to take time for yourself, to forget about any stresses and be fully emerged in flavours, colours, tastes and an experience that you can share and enjoy with friends and family.” As the saying – kind of – goes, fine dining is for life, not just for Christmas (or birthdays, or anniversaries).

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Restaurants like these ones are destinations; they pull in diners by being distinctive and having their own personalities and styles. This means that fine dining guests will often get to experience unique or experimental dishes, which really push the boundaries of convention and promise a culinary encounter unlike one they’d get elsewhere. “For me,” says Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, “it’s about quality, the execution and consistency, with the creativity behind the food being something unique. No other diner is having that dish that you’re eating right now – and that’s a special thing! Creativity [sets you apart]; using your imagination to come up with dishes to the highest standard possible, using the freshest and best ingredients.” Humayun Hussain agrees that this element of imagination has become a key component for successful fine dining establishments. Sure, you might still see that familiar French style, but it’s now just one characteristic out of the many you’re likely to be presented with. “The emphasis on chefs putting their own mark on the style of cooking they are offering is far more prevalent than ever before,” he says. “There is less of the classical style, and more of the modern, signature style of the respective chef in the cooking.”

AND IT’S ONLY GETTING BETTER…

Fine dining establishments know they’ve not got an easy ride; to get bums on seats, they have to keep evolving and pushing forward – not to mention keep up with what their punters want. But they seem up for the challenge. Anthony Rizzo, restaurant and bar manager at Bath’s well-known Royal Crescent Hotel, says, “As long as the industry can keep itself current and relevant, I believe fine dining will remain strong for years to come. Like any industry it must deliver, thrive and listen to its consumers, understanding what they would like to see, and delivering it – consistently.” Dan Moon is equally enthusiastic about the future of this genre of dining. “It looks exciting, especially for British chefs,” he says. “The bar is being raised continuously, and for this reason chefs – such as myself – are encouraged to be innovative and independent, meaning that our industry never stands still and certainly never takes its successes for granted.” Casamia’s Peter Sanchez-Iglesias has this same enthusiasm for the future, and looks forward to seeing not only what his own team but all fine dining kitchens will come up with next. “I’m excited about what trends are yet to come; where creativity in the industry takes us. Knowing that there will be fresher ideas that no one has even thought of yet is pretty damn exciting.”

CRUMBSMAG.COM


INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND RUN • SOUTH BRISTOL’S BEST STEAKHOUSE

The Ashville Steakhouse, 15 Leigh Street, Bristol BS3 1SN • Tel: 0117 939 6897 • Email: info@theashvillesteakhouse.co.uk

www.theashvillesteakhouse.co.uk


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

Independent Contemporary Restaurant Bath

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

4 Saville Row | Bath | BA1 2QP 01225 780055 | hello@henrysrestaurantbath.com

www.henrysrestaurantbath.com


The Catherine Wheel, Marshfield. A 17th century country pub with real ales, great food and accommodation. The southern gateway to the Cotswold hills, designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Marshfield, Bath SN14 8LR | 01225 892220 roo@thecatherinewheel.co.uk | www.thecatherinewheel.co.uk

MOTHER’S DAY LUNCH A luxurious lunch Two courses £22.50 | Three courses £28.00 Children very welcome £10 for the under 10’s. All our ladies will receive a floral gift with our love.

Bar • Kitchen Dining

THURSDAY SUPPER CLUB The last Thursday of every month | Four course supper £25

SPRING HAS SPRUNG 29th March | Four courses £25 Pea, mint and spring onion soup with Old Winchester Biscuits Spring vegetable risotto of Asparagus, peas and new seasons micro herbs Rump of lamb, fondant potato, spring greens and a mini shepherds pie. Rhubarb panna cotta and Champagne jelly.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE FISH 26th April | Four courses £25 Ceviche of Cod wih champagne, passion fruit and ruby grapefruit Pan fried mackerel, bread an butter pickle and cabbage and red pepper kimchi Salmon with sauce messine and Jersey royals Dark and stormy rum baba with chantilly cream and a ginger syrup

TO BOOK CALL

01225 865650

67 Woolley St, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 1AQ • info@thegeorgebradfordonavon.co.uk • thegeorgebradfordonavon.co.uk


M A I N S

PUB FOCUS

WITH PUB NUMBERS HAVING BEEN IN NOTABLE DECLINE FOR ALMOST 50 YEARS, WE’RE STOKED TO FIND OUT THAT THE RATE OF CLOSURES IS EASING OFF. THE GREAT BRITISH BOOZER ISN’T OUT OF THE WOODS JUST YET, THOUGH – SO WE’VE BEEN SPEAKING TO LOCAL PUB PROS ABOUT THE RISE AND FALL OF THE INDUSTRY, AND HOW WE CAN FUTURE-PROOF OUR BELOVED LOCALS... Wo r d s by J E S S I C A C A R TE R

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ish and Chips. Conversations about the weather. The Queen. There are certain things that will always be associated with Britain – and the public house is another. Although a long-enduring monument of the UK’s cultural landscape, it’s not had an easy ride over the last few centuries, having constantly yo-yoed in and out of favour. In the 1800s, a new Beer Act was brought in, permitting anyone who owned a home to brew and sell beer after paying a one-off fee. Having such freely available beer, it was hoped, would lure punters away from the gin houses and high ABV spirits – i.e. gin, which was blamed for society’s excessive drunkenness, ill-health and soaring crime rates – to slightly less alcoholic brews. Of course, this led to thousands of beer houses opening (and did little to curb drunken behaviour, surprise, surprise), many of which eventually converted to pubs as we now know them, licensed to sell all kinds of booze. Attempts to control the resulting numbers of pubs in the early 20th century, along with war, rising drink prices and changing attitudes towards alcohol, have all since played a part in their decline. The 21st century has seen a particularly alarming number of closures, though; an average of 29 a week were being lost in 2015, CAMRA reported. The phrase ‘you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone’ rings pretty true with this topic. Many of us have a sense of ownership of pubs – so embedded into our culture and community are they – meaning having a local almost feels like a right, right? For something that’s so instantly recognisable, keenly treasured and comfortingly familiar, the pub is tricky to actually define. No two people in the industry I asked gave similar definitions. And none could be really concise – instead, there was a lot of talk about what a pub is not. The one consistency I did notice in all the comments, though? It’s got little to do with the building – and not even much to do with the beer. It’s about the people, and about what you feel when you’re there. Toby Brett is managing director at the Banwell House Pub Company, which has a handful of venues around the Bath area, including the recently acquired Rose and Crown in Larkhall. He’s been working in pubs for more than 20 years, and put a lot of emphasis on the people when we asked him what makes a real pub. “You choose to go to a proper pub for the warmth, the people and the staff first,” he says. “The beer is second. Pubs live or die because of the people involved in them: this is the people who own them, the people who work in them and the people who frequent them.” What puts a bit of a spanner in the works is that ‘people’ – as a collective – change. They’ve certainly changed since Toby’s been in the biz and, in turn, have moulded the pub landscape into something that looks very different to how it did the late ’90s. “There used to be at least seven pubs in Larkhall; now there are only three,” he says. “There have been many changes in the industry – some good, some bad – but, overall, it’s because of a change in habits of the customers over the past two decades. When I first started in the trade, pubs could survive by just opening their doors. The average customer would come in more regularly and drink more.” With people not only drinking out less, but also having a huge variety of places they can go to when they do – bars, tap rooms, restaurants et al – today’s pubs have to give punters a reason to visit them instead of anyone else.

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The White Horse in Hambrook has been welcoming punters for centuries; here it is in the 1800s (left) and today (above)

Willow Reed of The Dark Horse in Redfield picks out a couple of things that she thinks can help set a pub apart. “In my opinion, having a landlady or landlord is a big part of running a traditional pub – people enjoy being hosted,” she says. “Also a benefit of being freehold is being able to source products from whoever we want, so we can provide everchanging beers and ciders – we pride ourselves on offering something a little different, and this is reflected in our selection of drinks.” Roo Allison of The Catherine Wheel in Marshfield also cites the quality of her pub’s offerings as a major reason it’s not succumbed to closure: “We survive because our food is good, and our real ales are well looked after. We listen to our customers.” The quality of atmosphere is just as important as that of the refreshments, though: “We encourage chatting, debating, laughing – involving and engaging anyone who wants to get onboard. Some people like to be left alone to quietly sit and take it all in, but you usually see them with a smile on their faces.” Food is an interesting topic when discussing pubs. A pub that does food and a gastropub are – it’s been casually agreed by everyone I’ve spoken to – very different beasts. The Bank Tavern in Bristol is a 350-year-old pub, which was named to commemorate the opening of Bristol’s first bank. It’s leased to Sam Gregory, who’s been there for 10

CRUMBSMAG.COM


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Village pubs The Catherine Wheel in Marshfield (left and middle left) and The Old Ham Tree in Holt (middle right and bottom) are keenly supported by a local residents

years and, despite its city centre location, it’s a real old-school watering hole, frequented by regulars and loved by everyone who knows it. While there is a kitchen here, Sam knows that if this were to be the focus of the venue, it would change everything. “A traditional pub is not a gastropub because it’s not about the food,” he says, but the people – staff and punters. And it’s not a bar; it’s not about vertical drinking, it’s not about pace. “It’s a social hub, a place where people can meet and interact. (We deliberately avoid the use of game machines and TV screens to encourage conversation.) It’s the original safe space; it’s the place where you go to meet and engage with people you wouldn’t necessarily engage with at work or at home. They say you shouldn’t talk about religion, politics or sport in pubs – that’s crap. You need to hear what other people are saying. It builds communities, it builds friendships.”

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A larger customer base not only means more varied crowds and conversation but, of course, additional revenue too. “It’s fair to say it used to all be pretty ‘stale, pale and male’. Things have really opened up though, and pubs are now much more inclusive spaces used by a wider community. Landlords or managers themselves have to move with the times and be more engaging with customers; you have to come around to the fact that the pub needs to be family friendly, and you have to put on some entertainment or a food offering.” Alison Weaver of The White Horse in Hambrook agrees that making the pub a family friendly venue is crucial. “The pub used to be a drink-led environment,” she says, “usually associated with the men heading off after tea to spend the evening propping up the bar until close. Licensing laws used to be very strict about children under 14 not being allowed in, and that exemplifies the atmosphere that would have been prevalent at the time. “With the licensing laws relaxing the under-14 rule, and the onus being put on the publican to ensure that children’s wellbeing and safety is paramount, families began attending the pub en-masse. And, seeing a viable consumer model, landlords began fitting family areas into their pubs.” Wickwar Wessex Pub Company is a West Country-born biz that – like many a pub co – began as a brewery, and has been busy adding to its pub portfolio of late. Darren Earl is head of pub operations here, and would happily raise a glass to Sam and Alison in agreement over moving with the times. “How many new pubs do you see that follow the old model?” he asks. “Zero. Nobody refurbishes a pub to a high standard to run the old pub model, because the reasons to visit are more limited than the new model – and people demand more.” Indeed, this kind of diversification – to create new revenue streams and audiences – is sometimes the only way that landlords can meet their ever-increasing overheads. If their outgoings catch up with them, it’s time at the bar for good. “I used to be the general manager of a pub in central London that would take on average £85k per week,” Darren tells us. “Sales remained pretty consistent for the nine years I was there. My rent went up from £660k per year to £1.2 million in this time, the minimum wage went up by 50 percent, and rates went up by £200k. Cost of goods went up dramatically. Prices rises could never match such increases, and this pub turning over £4 million plus a year still could not turn a profit – and was sold.” Some pretty hefty numbers, right there. That example makes it clear why the price of a pint is ever on the up. Question is, though, are punters willing to pay it, especially when there are cheaper options out there? The Raven is in Bath city centre, and has been a licensed premises since at least the 1800s. Tim Perry took it over in 2004 and gave it its current name. (Fun fact: he later found out, by chance, that this

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JUST A PUB, NOTHING MORE, NEVER LESS. www.theravenofbath.co.uk 01225 425045 | 7 Queen St, Bath, BA1 1HE

The Old Ham Tree, Ham Green, Holt, Wilts, BA14 6PY Tel: 01225 782 581 www.theoldhamtree.com


M A I N S

VITAL STATS FROM CAMRA

15

the percent of UK beer drinkers that think that the price of a pint is either very or fairly affordable

20,000

the number of extra pints some pubs will need to sell to make up the cost of the new business rates

An old snap of The Punchbowl on Old Market (above); an up-to-date pic of the historic Three Tuns in the centre of Bristol (right); and a now-and-then comparison of The Raven in Bath (below)

37 15

the rough percent of the cost of a pint that’s made up of taxes

the estimated number of pubs closing a week – that’s down by 14 since 2015

was actually what it was called back in the 19th century. Spooky, right?) He is one of the many publicans under pressure in the face of all the less expensive options that are available to contemporary punters. “We have lost an inordinate number of pubs in the 14 years – good pubs, that were the heart of their community,” he says. “Why? Because supermarkets can sell alcohol at less than they pay for it as a ‘loss leader’. Another contributing factor, particularly in Bath, is the rise in rent and rates, which forces up the prices that we have to charge to make a living.” Not an ideal combo, hey. “What I wish for is a level playing field with supermarkets; a minimum price per unit of alcohol would be a start. I believe that would help a lot of people.” So, enjoying a beer at home instead of at the pub is an attractive option for a would-be patron who, as we all need to do some of the time, is watching those coins. But if it’s the camaraderie and conversation you’re after, as opposed to just a pint, there’s another money-saving option on the cards as well: going to a cheaper pub – which will rarely be an independent one. “The rise of the chain pub has altered the landscape, both for the better and the worse,” notes Sam Liverton, tenant at the Wadworthowned Old Ham Tree in Holt. “Increasing overheads, and chain pubs pricing the smaller pubs out with, in our opinion, an often inferior product,” have, he thinks, played a big part in the decrease in numbers. “Traditional pubs are very important to and for the communities, but there are also people out there who just want cheap booze.” That said, this 18th-century pub is treasured among its community: “We are lucky to be in a village and region where traditional pubs are both appreciated and well supported so, despite the headlines about how many pubs close every day, there is a long, long future ahead for traditional country pubs around here: it’s what people want.”

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What about pubs in towns and cities, though? They face challenges from all angles, not least because – especially in areas where property prices are soaring at an eye-watering rate – they’re worth more as flats than pubs. But, as you might have read in the local rag or seen on social media lately, there’s another big issue looming... “New property developments in Bristol have also put pubs and venues under threat; complaints from residents regarding noise has an impact on late license applications,” says Jenna Graves, who rents The Three Tuns in Bristol city centre from a private landlord. “This disheartens publicans when they are considering whether or not to provide live music, which can be a major factor in attracting new customers. I am very glad that this has had a lot of media attention recently, and do believe more awareness of this issue will eventually help to support smaller venues.” And, again, attracting new punters is critical: “Public houses are for the public,” says Jenna, “and if publicans don’t offer what the public wants, there may be no future.” Indeed, it might well be argued that if we want to keep traditional pubs healthy, we need to be less precious about the actual concept of tradition in the first place. This issue is up to publicans to negotiate. “Tagging a pub as ‘traditional’ can be limiting to a nostalgic stereotype,” Jenna says. “Our industry, just like any other industry, can’t get trapped in practices from 30 years ago, under the excuse of being ‘traditional’. We have an obligation to meet the needs of our ever-changing customers, because without them there would be no pubs – traditional or otherwise.” It’s a team effort, then, between the punters and forward-thinking publicans, to help keep classic boozers alive and well. And with the number of campaigns, on both small and large scales, that are working to save some beloved watering holes, it seems the public aren’t about to let anyone call time on the great British pub.

CRUMBSMAG.COM



Changing perceptions of Ice Cream

Granny Gothards impressive avours are only limited by imagination ...... Call for details of our bespoke service 01823 491591 • www.grannygothards.co.uk

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Monday to Saturday Brunch/Lunch: 9am - 3pm • Dinner: 5.30pm - 9.30pm Sundays Brunch/Lunch: 9am - 1.30pm • Roasts: 2pm - 8pm Vegetarian and vegan options available, and our chefs can cater for all dietary requirements.

www.themalago.club  eatout@themalago.club 220 North Street, Southville, BS3 1JD  0117 963 9044

Book now

Mother’s Day 11th March

We are a friendly, family owned inn offering hearty home cooked food, in a small country village setting.

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Clifton’s Independent Greengrocer

Whether you are local or travelling from further afield, you are guaranteed a warm welcome.

PUB • RESTAURANT • FUNCTION ROOM • ACCOMMODATION

We’re proud to offer quality produce that is seasonal and local where possible, with varieties and prices that you often won’t find in the supermarkets.

Tunley Road, Tunley BA2 0EB • 01761 470408 Email: info@kingwilliaminn.co.uk • f T @kingwilliam84 www.kingwilliaminn.co.uk

We’re the preferred supplier of many of Bristol’s best restaurants, so you’ll often find Reg the Veg on the menu! Open Monday to Saturday 9-6, Sunday 11-4 6, Boyces Avenue, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4AA | 0117 9706777


A F T E RS NEW RESTAURANTS DEVOURED, NEW CAFÉS FREQUENTED, NEW BARS CRAWLED, AND WHAT WE THOUGHT OF THEM

H I G H L I G H T S

FLOAT YOUR BOAT

We take to the river for a meal at Grain Barge Page 74

PARK LIFE

Classic fine dining at Lucknam Park Page 77

CARRY ON HENRY

Lunch at a tiny neighbourhood bistro Page 80

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( G R E AT V E N U E S )

GRAIN BARGE JESSICA CARTER STEPS ABOARD THIS REPURPOSED BARGE FOR DINNER WITH A VIEW

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A F T E R S

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his 1930s Bristol-built boat has always had a connection to food, having begun life carrying wheat and barley over to Cardiff. It was bought and converted into a bar and restaurant just over a decade ago, and has been moored in Hotwells, just across from the ss Great Britain and with a stretch of multicolored terraces as its backdrop, ever since. In the summer, especially, it’s a great venue; sit out on the top deck, or dangle your legs over the side through the railings. In the winter, though, the inside space is cosy and welcoming, lit by a glow of tea lights in glass jars and floor-to-ceiling windows promising lovely views over the river. Our table looked out onto the marina, the calm, rippling water an inky black in the darkness of a winter evening, save for the twinkling reflections of light that skipped across the surface. The furriest member of team Crumbs – Prudence the basset hound – sat by the window at our heels, eliciting much admiration (as she’s prone to do) throughout the evening. Part of the Tobacco Factory group, Grain Barge has a focus on all things local and independent in its food and drink offering: on the reverse of the menu is a map showing the location of its suppliers. Six local breweries are listed including, of course, sister company Bristol Beer Factory, while food producers such as Buxton Butchers, Pie Baby, and Chew Moo’s Ice Cream Co also feature. In the kitchen we find young head chef Chris Stephens and exec chef Charles Mooyaart, who took up the role for the group a handful of months ago. Originally from the Netherlands, he came to the UK in 2016 and launched Bath gastropub The Locksbrook Inn as head chef. (Why yes, we did review it in issue 54; well remembered, reader.) There, he’d curated a long, eclectic menu, influenced by cuisines from all over the world. His most recent bill of fare at Grain Barge is not a million miles away from that, albeit more concise. It also takes into account the venue’s casual, pub vibe, though – and its rep for a decent pie. To kick off, the Scotch egg (£8.80) came halved to reveal a glowing yellow yolk (silky, but set as opposed to oozy) surrounded by a thick jacket of minced beetroot, its deep purple colour running into the cooked white of the egg to give it a pink halo. Candied walnut and crumbs of feta echoed the beet’s earthiness while introducing some sweet and salty interest. The ham hock terrine (£7.50), meanwhile, was made from a pressed mix of slow-cooked meat, capers, mustard and gherkin. It was buddied up with North St Cider and apple chutney, and tangy turmeric pickled veg. There was also cauliflower (£7); simply seasoned and roasted, it arrived on a bed of gently fiery romesco with a drizzling of pomegranate molasses and peppering of ruby-coloured seeds. A Thai green curry (£11.90) marked the move into main courses. Jackfruit played the role of the meat in this vegan dish, having been slow-cooked with ginger and lemongrass. Not as liquidy as you’d expect, the curry was drier, rich with coconut cream, and accompanied by fresh red chilli slices, crunchy veg and sticky broken rice. Across the table, the stuffed gnocchi (£13.50) was coloured with beetroot and filled with salty goat’s cheese, made rich with browned butter and topped with crumbed walnut, Parmesan and leaves of green, peppery rocket. The gnocchi itself was perhaps little doughy, if we’re going to be picky, but it was nothing to sulk about. Our pie of choice was the homemade fish pie (£11.80), which saw a liberal amount of hake, whiting, cod and salmon combined in a super-luxurious leek, tarragon and white wine sauce. A lid of creamy mash was topped with Somerset-made Gruyèrestyle cheese and a layer of breadcrumbs, and the generously portioned pie had been baked in the oven until bubbling and golden. Served with fresh, vivid-green veg, it was uber-comforting and definitely not how mum used to make. (Sorry, ma.) We finished with a sticky toffee pudding (£5.20) made with reduced milk stout (the team are using beers a lot in their cooking and drink matching these days), which we enjoyed alongside a glass of the same brew, and the ‘chocolate nemesis’ (£4.80), whose richness was lifted by sharp blackcurrant gel and a scoop of belting elderberry ripple ice cream – fresh-tasting and silky. With its range of British classics and less familiar dishes, this casual, order-atthe-bar joint is appeasing both its pub clientele and those punters who are after something a bit different – in terms of both setting and food.

Grain Barge, Hotwell Road, Bristol BS8 4RU; 0117 929 9347; grainbarge.com

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Caffè Caruso INDEPENDENT ITALIAN RESTAURANT

Lunch 12–2.30pm Dinner from 5pm Pre-theatre Monday – Friday 5–6.45pm 2 Courses £12.95 01225 426735 3 Trim Bridge, Bath BA1 1HD

www.caffecarusobath.co.uk

Situated in the renowned Spike Island, we are the sister café to the much loved Folk House Café and offer a wonderful setting for everyone. 133 Cumberland Road Bristol BS1 6UX spikeislandcafe.co.uk 0117 954 4030

LOCAL, ORGANIC, SUSTAINABLE, ETHICAL, DELICIOUS. We also cater for evening events, wedding receptions, birthday parties, supper clubs. Call now for more information. 40a Park Street, Bristol, BS1 5JG folkhousecafe.co.uk 0117 908 5035

the home of rice and noodles Classical Thai cuisine in a relaxed and friendly authentic Thai environment.

BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN CRAFT BEER & COCKTAILS On the riverside, Taunton 01823 252466 | info@eatthebird.co.uk x eatthebird a tw_eatthebird

Set over two floors with beautiful views of the Weir. Party bookings are welcome

New Hot Pot Menu Traditional East Asian cuisine, consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the centre of the dining table with ingredients placed in the pot, cooked at the table and served with a dipping sauce

01225 444 834

16 Argyle Street, Bath BA2 4BQ info@thaibytheweir.com | www.thaibytheweir.com


( M I C H E L I N - S TA R R E D M E A L S )

RESTAURANT HYWEL JONES LUCKNAM PARK BY

A FINE DINING EXPERIENCE OF YORE WITH UP-TO-DATE FOOD IS WAITING FOR JESSICA CARTER AT THIS COUNTRY MANOR...

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A F T E R S

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pril will mark a year since this luxury Wiltshire hotel relaunched its flagship restaurant under its current name. And there’s no question that exec chef Hywel Jones – who has been here since 2004 – deserved the kudos; at the time, he’d just retained his Michelin star for the 12th year in a row. (Last October he upped that to a not-so-unlucky 13, too.) Hywel isn’t the only chef here you might be familiar with, though; the talented sous chef is Elly Wentworth, who pulled an absolute blinder in the 2016 series of MasterChef: The Professionals, making it to the final three. Follow the road signs to Lucknam, as opposed to your sat nav, and you’ll meet a pair of black iron gates at the main entrance – which will open of their own accord – then it’s up the mile-long, tree-lined drive to the main house (choose a decent soundtrack for it in the car, now). This arrival is a carefully designed experience – as the rest of your visit will be. In fact, back in the day Lucknam was the very first Michelin-starred meal I ever had and, as was doubtless very much intended, I still remember the visit. If you’ve ever read a classic novel, where rich people float around their opulent homes having passive-aggressive arguments with difficult aunts or arrogant fiancés (I am a fan of a good classic, honest), then you’ll have walked around manor houses like this in your imagination before. Picture the symmetry of the furniture arrangements; the countless chairs that you can bet never actually get sat on; the dark, varnished wood; the huge fireplaces... When the time came for dinner we were shown into the drawing room for digestifs – which we drank near the crackling fire – and to make our menu choices. Although I usually crave casualness at mealtimes, there is something comforting about the ceremony of it all here. As is often the case in restaurants like this, the large dining room – where tables are clothed in crisp white linen and chairs and chandeliers sparkle overhead – can struggle for atmosphere. There’s no background music to take the edge off the hush and, if there aren’t many other diners in, you may find yourself whispering to your companion a little self-consciously. There were a fair few tables in on this visit, though, so there was a nice, if gentle, hum of conversation. As well as an a la carte, there are three tasting menus: one of signature dishes, one of seasonal (which is what we chose), and a veggie option. These each feature seven courses, plus amuse bouche and petit fours, and come in at £110 a head. A velvety parsnip panna cotta arrived first, topped with dots of sweet date purée. Crumbs of salty, earthy granola were scattered on top to create that sweet-salty magic, while refreshingly sharp sherry vinegar jelly poked through the panna cotta’s silkiness. Next, a plump roasted langoustine curled up next to a spiced pork croquette, topped with a cloud of seafood foam and, to follow, fois gras had been marinated in port and topped with a brittle disc of salted hazelnut caramel. Together, those flavours alone would make your mouth water, but also here was the addition of spheres of mulled apple – warm with spice – and matchsticks of sharp, fresh apple to lift the richness and give a crisp edge to the well-balanced assembly. Then, a hunk of flakey, meaty hake appeared with little rings of baby squid, and bathed in fresh and sunny tomato that tasted of holidays in the Med. The meat course took the form of Breccon venison – a cut of loin and a cylinder of slowcooked meat. A spoonful of perfectly loose and creamy risotto sat in a charred onion cup, and cubes of sloe gin jelly gave fruity relief from the dish’s dark richness. From the cheese trolley – God, I love a cheese trolley – we chose the gooey Mont d’Or, which oozed into a delicious, thick puddle on the plate within seconds, and the crumbly, Cheddar-style Lancashire Bomb, which became a firm new favourite (try it with the truffled honey). Pre dessert – a white chocolate-covered sorbet – was so sharp it really played with those pleasure-pain boundaries. As soon as the almost uncomfortable tartness started to wear off, I couldn’t help going back for more. And dessert proper was a smooth banana parfait, showcasing the natural flavour of the fruit at its best and freshest. This was obviously not an everyday kind of feed – Lucknam is hardly the sort of place you swing into because there’s nothing in the fridge one evening. But if you’re due a treat, and want to experience some classic British fine dining with formality and friendliness – as well as cooking from a super-consistent and experienced team of chefs – then, well, I’d hope by this point you’d know what to do.

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Lucknam Park, Colerne, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN14 8AZ; 01225 742777; lucknampark.co.uk



(LITTLE GEMS)

HENRY’S SKILLED AND THOUGHTFUL BUT WITHOUT FUSS AND FRILLS, THE FOOD HERE WAS A PLEASANT SURPRISE FOR JESSICA CARTER

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A F T E R S

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lmost two years ago now, the owners of Bath’s French bistro Casanis, Laurent and Jill Couvreur, decided to retire, and wrapped up their last service at the small and characterful Saville Row restaurant. Henry Scott, who had been working under Chris Staines at The Abbey Hotel’s Allium, swiftly moved in and put his name above the door. Having been looking for some time for the right Bath spot to house his first restaurant, he got the heads up about this space from Chris. With a little helpful mentoring from the now former owner of The Abbey, Ian Taylor, Henry has had a pretty solid first couple of years in business. Having worked in kitchens all over the world, including high-end establishments in London, he’s has honed his culinary style, which he describes as ‘flavour-led’ as opposed to aesthetically focused. There are whispers of his experience cooking abroad in some of the dishes’ touches, although the majority of what’s on offer when we visited had a modern-European feel, featuring ingredients popular on the continent – polenta and sauerkraut, for instance. There are both lunch and dinner menus, each thoughtfully with its own vegetarian version, which offers just as many choices as the meaty lists. Don’t get that everywhere, do ya? Inside, Henry’s has the familiar feel of a neighbourhood bistro; it’s compact (there’s probably room for just about 30 covers) and relaxed, with rustic wooden floorboards, white walls, and chilled out soundtracks playing in the background. The potato and lobster ravioli (£9) kicked proceedings off with real promise; small, plump chunks of lobster meat were encased in a well-cooked pasta dumpling, along with gloriously smoky potato. The single raviolo was surrounded by a moat of ‘ketchup’ (a thick, smooth tomato sauce), which had the concentrated richness of reduced tomato but freshness of the raw ingredient. It was possible to lose the mild meat among those lovely rich textures and flavours, but this lobster lover made a point of picking it out to properly enjoy one of her favourite forms of seafood. We made sure we had plenty of sourdough on the table, on which to smooth spoonfuls of the silky chicken liver parfait (£7). Served in a ramekin, it was crowned with crisp puffed rice for crunch, pickled raisins to cut through the rich parfait in tangy bursts, and earthy toasted walnuts.

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The main course, for me, came from the vegetarian menu, which it would have been a huge shame to ignore, with its considered and imaginative use of plants. I’d have been more than happy with this menu alone, I reckon. The new-season salsify (£17) had been cooked in an aromatic stock with lemon, then sautéed in foaming butter to give a delicate nuttiness and encourage a bit of golden caramelisation. The accompanying chickpeas were crisp and had an ideal texture that was a world away from the dreaded mushiness that sometimes lurks inside, and the plate was dotted with a vibrant green, earthy leek purée and a beautifully light and zesty yuzu mayonnaise, which I’d buy by the bottleful if H was selling. The Welsh lamb rump with onion pudding, artichokes and black garlic (£20) once again showed that, though fancy presentation isn’t the be-all and end-all here, it’s definitely not ignored. Two hefty, blushingly pink slabs of lamb and curls of green kale sat diagonally opposite each other in four quarters, while the meltingly soft onion pudding and pieces of artichoke lurked underneath. This was hearty, and majored on good ingredients prepared simply, but with the addition of some unexpected elements too – like the anchovy-heavy sauce that contrasted beautifully with the lamb. The warm chocolate tart (£8.50) was a really pleasant surprise for someone who’s not huge on chocolate desserts. Inside the wonderfully thin pastry cup was something reminiscent of chocolate fondant, light but oozing, and not too rich. The Sichuan custard was fragrant and floral, and a really thoughtful twist on the classic dessert component. The sound of the Jerusalem artichoke crème brûlée (£7), meanwhile, was too intriguing to pass up, and it played on the sweet starch of the root for a subtle effect. The texture wasn’t as smooth as you’d usually expect, but the unique flavour and spot-on balance of sweet and savoury made up for that. There aren’t too many places locally like this little indie bistro; it’s the kind of restaurant we should definitely be taking advantage of in Bath. And, thanks to it being handily central(ish) and pretty affordable (the lunch menu is just £19 for two courses), it’ll be easy to do so, too.

Henry’s, 4 Saville Row, Bath BA1 2QP; 01225 780055; henrysrestaurantbath.com

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L I T T L E

B L A C K

B O O K

Pete MiLTOn

THE OWNER OF LARKHALL BUTCHERS LETS US IN ON WHERE HE GOES TO GET FED UP…

BREAKFAST? It’s hard to beat the self-named Hunter breakfast in Hunter & Sons; it’s a great place with character and really good coffee. Perfect start to the day.

BEST CURRY? Whilst I like to make my own, I do love the Western take on a curry that Mint Room seems to have perfected. It’s delicious, and they have given me some great inspiration for my own dishes.

BEST BREW? The Teahouse Emporium has got some weird and wonderful brews, and the quaint tasting rooms downstairs are a perfect hideaway in Bath.

SOMETHING SWEET? Though Duncan makes amazing bread, The Thoughtful Bread Company’s various cakes, slices and desserts need some mentioning here. If I’m even remotely nearby, excuses have to be made to poke my head in the door.

FAVOURITE GROCERY SHOP? The Bear Pad is an amazing shop that not only sells locally grown and reared produce, but also has a little café. The ultimate one stop shop. BEST WINE MERCHANT? A bit of Larkhall loyalty here; moving to the centre of Bath from across the road a number of years ago, Tasting Room is still a great stop for a bottle for that special occasion.

BELTING BURGER? Without doubt, Creative Sliders. These little pieces of heaven are so much more than burgers, and the changes of menu keep things fresh and new. larkhallbutchers.co.uk

SUNDAY LUNCH? Tough call, but it has to be the King William for me. Delicious food, beautifully presented. CHEEKY COCKTAIL? Especially since they opened the upstairs, Sub 13 has to be the place for one of those.

QUICK! Now add this little lot to your contact book...

POSH NOSH? Recently I have been found to be abusing the lunch offers at the Gainsborough. It’s great for special occasions.

• Hunter & Sons, Bath BA1 1BZ; hunter-sons.co.uk

ON THE GO? Best of British Deli on Broad Street provides a fab quick lunch; it’s all locally sourced food, and the shop is conveniently located for meetings in the city.

• The Bear Pad, Bath BA2 4QW; thebearpad.co.uk

HIDDEN GEM? Widcombe Deli. A deli in name but more of a café in nature, this place is gorgeous. The staff are fantastic and will go above and beyond to make everything perfect.

• The Teahouse Emporium, Bath BA1 1BA; teahouseemporium.co.uk • Tasting Room, Bath BA1 2JY; tastingroom.com • King William, Bath BA1 5NN; kingwilliampub.com • Sub 13, Bath BA1 2EE; sub13.net • Gainsborough, Bath BA1 1QY; thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk • Best of British Deli, Bath BA1 5LJ; bestofbritishdeli.co.uk • Widcombe Deli, Bath BA2 4LD; 01225 313037

WITH THE FAMILY? Hare & Hounds is a go-to for the clan. With picturesque views over Bath’s valleys and decent grub, you can’t really go wrong here.

• Framptons, Bath BA2 4DF; framptonsbar.co.uk

WITH FRIENDS? The new boys on the block, Framptons, win this one. Situated at the base of the old Empire Hotel, it tastefully incorporates itself into its majestic surroundings.

• The Thoughtful Bread Company, Bath BA1 1HG; thethoughtfulbreadcompany.com

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• Hare & Hounds, Bath BA1 5TJ; hareandhoundsbath.com • Mint Room, Bath BA2 3EB; mintroom.co.uk

• Creative Sliders; thecreativeslidercompany.com

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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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