February 2017 marks the sixth anniversary of my eating adventures and, as ever, I'm excited about what the coming months will bring for us foodies! In case this is your first visit (if not, welcome back), I'm a 30-something female with a very healthy appetite!...I promise to share with you my experience of each restaurant, café or bar in which I set foot...so, let's go out!

Friday, 18 February 2011

The Brass Pig, Clifton Triangle - Bristol

It's the evening before Valentine's day and to avoid the pre-empted rush, The Boy and I have booked a table at The Brass Pig in Clifton…

Date and Time: 13th February 2011, 19:00
Name of Establishment: The Brass Pig
Location: 1 Clifton Heights, Triangle West, Bristol
Reason for Visit: Valentine's Meal with The Boy

The Brass Pig is a relatively new venue in Bristol occupying the building which was formally Spanish chain restaurant, La Tasca on the West-side of the Clifton Triangle. I had spotted an advert in 'Flavour’* magazine for the three-course Valentine's meal, plus bottle of Prosecco for just £16.90 per person and without a thought for the content of the menu, I jumped at the chance to try somewhere new at such a reasonable price and booked it up. I'm so glad that I did…

My first thought upon entering The Brass Pig was how spacious it was, with wood panelling throughout the two floors and high ceilings, the space felt grand and airy - if not a little chilly. The Boy did mention the latter as we were being seated though and the heating was instantly turned up. As well as with the service, which didn't falter all evening, I was hugely impressed with the musician who played the piano as we were eating and this, along with flickering candlelight made for a perfectly achieved romantic atmosphere.

With Prosecco poured, the starters arrived - we both had the duck which was served on toasted ciabatta alongside a warm nectarine salad. The meat was expertly cooked, valentine-pink in colour and the tang of the fruit complemented it's flavour in a way which I considered both imaginative and original. We were given ample time to rest before our main courses were served - The Boy opted for sea bass which was sat on top of layers of green beans and mange tout and I chose the butternut squash and sage risotto. Both dishes were generously flavoursome with contrasting textures and tastes – The Boy enjoyed the freshness of crunchy vegetables which were balanced with delicate flakes of sea bass and the sticky, creamy rice of my risotto melted  together with the sweetly smoked taste of the squash. Despite being hugely full-up, The Boy and I managed to hand back two very clean plates and even finished our shared dessert, the aptly named ‘Valentine’s Mess’  which was a large heart-shaped meringue filled with Strawberries, ice-cream and fresh cream then topped with a strawberry coulis. The was not a very adventurous choice for me (as I’m known for my love of decadent and chocolaty desserts) but I did really enjoy the home-made taste of the meringue which had a crisp outer shell and satisfyingly gooey centre.

The meal as a whole was of notable quality and very tasty so I was keen to discover the content of the day-to-day menu. I interpreted the offering as posh pub-grub – gastro pub-style burgers, pizzas as well as ‘well known dishes with a twist’* - most of which are priced from £6-8. There are also daily and seasonal specials, a brunch/lighter bites menu, weekly Sunday Roasts and although I didn’t see it, the promise of a cocktail list which has been written exclusively for the venue!

So, back to the night in question and with the evening coming to an end, I wondered why we seemed to be the only couple enjoying the Valentine's Menu (it was the day before but even still) and although this secured an intimate setting and almost personal service for us, I did miss the buzz which can only be created by a fuller occupancy. I urge people who have not yet visited The Brass Pig to do so and as a result give it the only thing which it arguably lacks, a crowd-fuelled pizzaz. That said, I will definitely be returning to The Brass Pig and look forward to seeing this venue become a Bristol favourite, (it's certainly in the running to be one of mine!)

And now for the male opinion…

'The Boy' gave The Brass Pig a rating of 8/10 and when asked to describe it in 3 words chose, 'hard to beat’!

*according to the website: http://www.thebrasspig.co.uk/Home.html

Monday, 14 February 2011

Cafe Du Jour - Whiteladies Road, Bristol

I thought about where I should start my blog...there are, of course, my usual haunts, places where the staff know me by name and venues that I return to time after time when only the best will do. But, we will come to all that later and for now, let me start with a review of my current location...'un peu de la France' on Whiteladies Road!

Date and time: 6th February 2011, 16:00
Name of establishment: Cafe du Jour
Location: 72 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol
Reason for Visit: It's proximity to 'The Boy's' workplace

Looking in from the outside of Cafe Du Jour, it looks typically 'Clifton' - minimalistic and chic yet not particularly original in its set-up and style. Although upon entering, I was pleasantly surprised by its charm. The decor is almost Gothic in places with black swirls on the aubergine-coloured walls that your eyes want to trace and chandeliers that boast a certain grandeur as well as making the space light without being overpowering. My first thought however was how Cafe Du Jour had not just adopted a French-name to appear chic, but that there actually was an authentic French feel to it which I really enjoyed. Their website states; 'we want our guests to genuinely feel The Cafe Du Jour is their neighbourhood cafe, as it would be in Paris' and from the generous choice of filled baguettes on offer, to the well-made coffee and even, I realised after listening for a while, French radio* that played in the background, they have committed themselves to getting this just right.

As I only had a short time at this venue on this occasion (due to a looming hospital visit), I sadly did not get to sample as much of food on offer as I would have liked. Although, I did have time for a piece of home-made lemon meringue pie which was recommended to me by the staff. It was presented on a square white plate and was ruggedly cut, the filling was a pale yellow and the meringue on the top looked crispy and appealing. The lemon filling had an almost cheesecake-like texture, perfectly zesty and with the thin pastry crust on the bottom and crunchy meringue on the top, it was not too heavy - in fact, I managed every last bit without any help from 'The Boy'! It was certainly different to other lemon meringue pies that I had tasted due to the consistency of the filling, but refreshingly so in my opinion. I ordered a skimmed cappuccino to wash it down which had a freshly-roasted taste and just the right amount of froth - though with no chocolate sprinkles on the top (at my own request)!

Despite being pretty quiet at the time of my visit, I can imagine that Cafe Du Jour gets pretty busy in the week - with comfy seats, free wifi (plus payable computer terminals if you wish) and reasonably priced food which is well-presented you can't go far wrong. I was also impressed with the speed and quality of service, cleanliness of the facilities (always important as grubby toilets can really let a place down) but most of all, the relaxed atmosphere that the staff have achieved. I will definitely return to Cafe Du Jour, though next time, for something savoury from their menu. the food envy I felt when the couple next to me were given steaming bowls of the  'soup of the day' must be remedied…and soon!

And now for the male opinion…

'The Boy' gave Cafe Du Jour a rating of 7/10 and when asked to describe it in 3 words, chose 'tidy little joint!'