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, 17 March 2017

Lovett Pies, Cargo 1

The 6th - 12th March marks that lesser known tradition of British Pie Week and it was therefore particularly fitting that I spent last Friday evening with my sleeves rolled up in readiness to get down and dirty at the small yet perfectly formed Lovett Pies container, located at Cargo 1...What I found was comfort food at its finest; served with a smile and for not a lot of dollar. Read on to find out more...

Date and Time: Friday 10 March 2017, 18:30
Name of Establishment: Lovett Pies*
Location: Cargo 1, Wapping Wharf
Reason for Visit: Comfort Food on a budget

What do you do when you're short of cash but in the mood for a right old nosh up? You scour the content of your Wriggle* App of course! This is exactly what my friend and I did on the verge of last weekend's merriment; in order to line our stomachs for the drinks that would inevitably follow. We found that for just under £6, Lovett Pies were offering one of their tasty creations in addition to two sides, gravy or sauce and an optional topping of bacon bits (a meal deal usually priced at £8.50)...we were opting in! Luckily, it wasn't too busy as there is limited seating in this intimately-spaced shipping container...we're talking two tables-for-two and a couple of stools poised alongside a makeshift bar. In light of this, I’d suggest that although the decor may be seen as minimal, (think exposed light bulbs, distressed wood and a neutral colour-scheme), the ambiance sparkles. My dining companion and I were really impressed with the super-friendly server who had been left to run the show - her smiley nature and 'here to help' attitude made for a really warm welcome. Whilst on the subject of warmth, the container itself was an absolute sweat-fest! We had to prop open the door to save ourselves - as well as anyone else in the vicinity - from melting.

The pie selection process was the most difficult aspect of our visit as there are a number on offer - both to eat-in or takeaway. In short, I would have settled for any of the fillings but finally decided to embark on a veggie-friendly foray of sweet potato which had been combined with goats’ cheese, butternut squash, spinach and plum chutney - what a mouthful...and it really was! All the flavours came through deliciously and the sweetness of the chutney offset the twang of the goats’ cheese to perfection. I think adding a side of roasted root vegetables was a rookie error however as, despite tasting great, it doubled the fun in terms of my intake of butternut squash and I found myself getting full very quickly! That said, the second side of bubble n' squeak - which was well seasoned and generously portioned (with an ice cream scoop no less) - was just too good to leave alone and I'm proud to confirm that I saw it through to the bitter end!

My dining companion opted for the seasonal special which constituted an ensemble of venison, smoked bacon and porcini mushrooms. It's fair to say that this was well-received as were the minted mushy peas and the aforementioned 'bubble' (as it's affectionately referred to) that she chose as sides. Generally, we were unanimous in our praise for the pastry which was crisp and well-executed and the gravy; which was of an adequate consistency and applied using the tried and tested method of; ‘say when’…No unsightly sogginess here, thank you! Pies are branded with letters - stencilled in poppy seeds which correspond to what lies within - I enjoyed the novelty that mine sported an 'S' which doubles up as my initial...simple things hey!

Overall, this an establishment that focuses on what it does best. There are no desserts to speak of and the drink menu is ‘soft’, (though lovingly sourced). As a result, you receive top quality fare that has been crafted using top quality ingredients. Furthermore, I enjoyed the upbeat atmosphere that resonates within the Lovett Pies container nearly as much as I enjoyed the food itself. Dining-in really feels like you've popped 'round a friend's house for dins and a natter and although I'm sure that this wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, it certainly kept a smile on my face! Incidentally, there is a similar experience to be had a couple of doors up at Corks of Cargo*; where I would fully recommend that you head to in order to follow up your pie with a glass of wine. This is without doubt the best option if, like yours truly, you like to eat and drink...to be merry!

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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Pinkman's Bakery - Park Street, Bristol

Starting a shiny new job within spitting distance of Bristol's Clifton Triangle has, without doubt, brought about a newfound appreciation of my lunch hour...not to mention the abundance of breakfast breaks and after-work snacks that I've been enjoying on account of the multitude of eateries so suddenly at my disposal. However, it seems that the jewel in the area's somewhat encrusted crown is the multi-foodie-functional 'dough-to' that is Pinkman's Bakery. Offering an array of appropriate edibles by day and wood-fired pizza and cocktail combos by night, this is an establishment that's big on quality bakes and smiley service; adhering to an ethos to ‘embrace the connections between the old and the new’ and thus, an attitude that keeps an eye on the past and an eye to the future. This means that ingredients are carefully sourced in order to craft products with passion and skill. An ambitious aim you might say...But wowee, does Pinkman’s deliver…!

Date and Time: March 2017 (to encapsulate visits past and the inevitable visits to come)
Name of Establishment: Pinkman’s Bakery*
Location: 85 Park Street, Bristol
Reason for Visit: To feed my illustrious addiction to carbs

You know that age-old adage of being as happy as a child in a sweet shop? Well, that was most certainly the sentiment that sprung to mind upon stepping into Pinkman’s for the very first time. Now, I want you to imagine a wide, wooden countertop adorned with row upon row of beautifully arranged bakes; tarts dusted with icing sugar, doughnuts oozing cream and cakes that glisten under spotlights that illuminate an army of showstoppers that would silence Paul Hollywood...well, probably! Add to this; plump buns, filled rolls, crusty flutes studded with hazelnuts and flaky pastries and you’d be close to the dazzling snapshot that I first indulged in on that day. As you stand in line, mid gaze and contemplating where on earth to start, the buttery scent of baking hits you which, coupled with the warm, breezy reception from the oh-so friendly workforce, really makes for a treat to the senses. I also love that the kitchen is open-plan so that you can sit, pretty much amidst the consistent hive of activity; particularly if, like me, you arrive for when the doors open at 7:30am as everything is freshly baked onsite for the day ahead.
Given the frequency of my visits, it would difficult to big-up everything that I’ve sampled to date. To that end, I will talk you through my top two choosings; the cinnamon pastry twist and Pinkman’s signature bake; the sour-dough-nut. The first are distributed like bon-bons from large glass bowls next to the till points but they certainly should not be considered an afterthought. Proving simple yet perfectly executed, the pastry is crisp and flavoursome but not overwhelmingly so which allows the spice of the cinnamon to warm the palate. The second is an absolute must and besides the fact that the overall composition is everything you’d want from a doughnut (and more), the flavours of the fillings - which change regularly - are deliciously on point. If you get the chance, bag yourself either the honeycomb or the mocha but quite frankly, pick a filling that you don’t mind licking from your hands and your face as this is not to be consumed in a ladylike manner...Oh yes, you’re going to get in a right old pickle...you might as well embrace it! There are, of course, healthier options available and the toasty granola that you can add to a self-assembled breakfast bowl is next to try on my list. I also have on good authority that the baked meatballs (available for lunch, dinner or as a pizza topping) are not to be missed; described by a pal as juicy and well-seasoned. Even the toast - priced at £2.50 for three doorstop-sized slices - is absolutely yum. Consequently, I think it’s fair to say that whatever you opt for, you’re on to a winner.
This flute is a beaut
Owing to my coffee habit, I have sampled both the flat white (on many an occasion I might add) and the espresso martini; the latter a snip at only £5. Coffee is sourced from the freehand roasters in Cornwall which makes for a smooth yet rich-tasting brew. If you’re a tea fiend like my beloved, you’ll be interested to know that it derives from Bristol’s Canton Tea Company; another enterprise with a whole lot of heart. What’s more, there are a range of juices and homemade drinks (such as lemonade and iced tea) on offer as well as an ample selection of alcoholic tipples to wash down your pizza - and at prices which won’t break the bank which is arguably rather unusual for this neck of the woods.
Overall, you really can’t beat the community feel that Pinkman’s Bakery has achieved. With ingredients sourced from some of Bristol’s best-loved businesses and the cheerful manner in which you’re greeted and looked after during your visit, you can’t help but harbour a soft spot for this hybrid of traditional baking and contemporary shine. I’m referring to the concept of classic bakes with a twist, influences, (both culinary and cultural) from around the world and the originality required to set Pinkman’s aside from its peers. I now have two favourite bakeries in Bristol….and one of them is Pinkman’s.

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Pinkman’s Bakery is open for breakfast from 7:30am - Midday (Monday to Friday and  until 14:00 on weekends). The full menu (including pizza) is available daily from Midday.