Bottles and Books is now open!

Open at the top of end of  Gloucester Road, Bottles & Books is, allegedly, the worlds first Bottle & Comic shop specialising in craft beer, real cider and comics.

Bottles & Books is being launched by the team behind Bristol based Orchard Box, the craft cider subscription club, which features real ciders from around the world made by small producers. Bottles & Books will be carrying on in this vein offering a huge selection of specialist ciders on it’s already groaning shelves. 

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Although being launched by the team behind Orchard Box the craft beer selection is not being overlooked, there will be the freshest craft beers from great local & international breweries such as Verdant, Lervig, Wild Beer, Left Handed Giant, Cloudwater, Beavertown, Lost & Grounded and more!

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Regarding their range of comics, Bottles & Books intend to focus on the indie, creator owned and interesting whilst supporting local & UK creators. Of course they won’t be forgetting the bigger titles, with fans able to enjoy superhero titles from Marvel and DC.

Bottles & Books will be a hub for beer/cider/comic geeks with regular events such as meet the brewers, Q&A’s, Tastings & Comic signings

Find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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Mid Week Mac is a thing and it’s here

I admit I get some damn good invitations in my inbox, champagne cream teas, two courses of fine Indian food etc and most of the time I leave full, happy and feeling #blessed to have carved out my wee blogging niche.

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However, I wasn’t expecting the sheer volume of tasters I was offered last night at The Urban Standard’s first Mid-Week Mac and Cheese night. Perking up hump day, the Gloucester Road bar has pulled together 10 Mac-Attack dishes that will be exclusively served on Wednesdays. I got to try ALL.OF.THEM. The pic below was taken as my BF had to pull off my boots whilst I lay down for half an hour.

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The menu is split between either burgers or loaded dishes of the cheesy stuff for you to try and pick your way through, every dish I tucked into (with may I add, greedy gusto) was hot, creamy, cheesy and strong enough to taste great but do not detract from the toppings.

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Top dishes of the night for me were;

The burger – a beef patty topped with a mac and cheese fritter, bacon, swiss cheese and pickles

The P.I.G – Mac and Cheese fritter topped with pork and fried egg

Mega Mac Fries – These loaded fries rivaled the Dirty Dirty Fries at The Hobgoblin and are about the same price, well worth trying out.

The Beef and Blue – Topped with beautifully slow cooked beef and plenty of blue cheese

Sweet Potato – Topped with mashed sweet potato and chimmi churi

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You can pick any three topped macs for a reasonable £13, the burgers are all under £9 and you will come away feeling like you might burst. Highly recommended, I will be back.

 

 

Farmdrop Has Come To Bristol

With Bristol becoming one of the top foodie cities in the UK you would expect to be knee deep in fresh, local produce. However, for those of us who work hard, play hard and don’t have the time or inclination to head to Gloucester Road, St Marks Road or Clifton Village to pop to the butchers, bakers and candlestick makers,  Farmdrop is quite the boon.

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Via the jolliest, cow-print electric vans, you can place your order and a nice bloke will deliver within the allotted time, just like Sainsbury’s but without the guilt. I was lucky enough to have been given some credit to try the service for myself and racked my brains for what to buy. As I live smack bang in the middle of Gloucester Road I am literally tripping over the A Boards of a Fishmonger, Butchers, Bakers, Grocers and Bottle Shops so Farmdrop is a wonderfully lazy treat. I went for 2KG of Beef Rib which I intend to roast on a Sunday for friends.

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They were delivered on time by a lovely driver and the beef was exactly what I was expecting which means 10/10 for me really. If you aren’t as geographically lucky as I am, you can expect to find anything from seafood to alcohol, organic fruit and veg, grown in the BS postcode, meat from farms mere miles away and even household goods. They also run a referral scheme so you earn £20 credit by recommending friends, brilliant!

Find Farmdrop here and download the app!

Pictures courtesy of Farmdrop

Whilst I received a complimentary £40 credit this in no way impacted on my opinion. I was not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.

 

 

Champagne Cream Tea at The Ivy

To celebrate their 2nd Birthday, The Ivy Brassiere in Clifton Village is offering a champagne afternoon tea to diners who like a little fizz with their finger sandwiches. Taken in The Orangery, you will be surrounded by nearly 700 origami butterflies hanging above you, making this already beautiful venue something incredibly magical.

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I was incredibly lucky to have been invited along with a few others to try this indulgent treat on a Wednesday afternoon, a nice experience to have after a week laid up with some rather nasty tonsillitis! I hadn’t been to The Ivy before but was incredibly impressed with the decor, the attentiveness (but not over fussing) of the staff and how special the afternoon felt.

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The tea itself is incredibly generous, with both savory and sweet elements. a groaning three-tier cake stand arrived loaded with truffled chicken on brioche, cucumber finger sandwiches, smoked salmon on rye. The sweets were just as indulgent, including a bite-sized raspberry cheesecake,  an espresso chocolate mousse with salted caramel and a fabulous creme brulee inspired doughnut (I would have willingly sacked everything off for 10 of these). Obviously, it isn’t a cream tea without scones, jam and cream. I go cream first, sorry Cornwall, your beaches are nice and your little pies are lovely but cream first all the way. You also get a glass of Perrier – Jouet to sip on throughout and choice of tea or coffee to be served when you prefer.

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As an extra bit of excitement, every bill comes with your own butterfly to be opened to reveal if you win a prize! The tea is running until November so head over and treat yo’ self.

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Big things are coming at Espensen Spirit

Sam, Matt and Phil have been hard at work at Espensen and Bristol Spirit, coming up with new products and cramming their kitchen with some of the best pop ups in the business. With two new, limited edition vodkas to sip and mix.

With two new, limited edition vodkas, you are going to have to move quickly to grab them. Queen of Summer, with its Kate Bush inspired label, is packed full of tart, Gooseberry and best served chilled. It is just wonderful on its own, but it works equally well with a range of mixers including soda, ginger ale or elderflower. It’s also fab in a glass of Prosecco or Champagne. For cocktails, it makes a stunning version of a Bee’s Knees. 20p of each sale also goes to a local brain injury charity. Order yours here 

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Second in the lineup is True Romance, naturally featuring an homage to Marc Almond, and a sloe packed vodka that’s been seeping for a year. Made with Welsh sloes and British vodka, Sam started making this batch of True Romance back in autumn of 2016, resulting in a gorgeous flavour reminiscent of sour cherries and blackcurrants. Pre-order yours via the website

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If that wasn’t enough news, one of my favourite purveyors of fried chicken will be hitting up the kitchen at Bristol Spirit and feeding the BS5 public. Wing’s Diner will be serving up juicy buttermilk fried chicken with an Asian twist from Thursday 14th to Saturday 30th September 2017. 

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Wayne Chung and Kevin Bradshaw will be offering a range of different chicken options including burgers, wings and pieces, along with a variety of side dishes. They are also cooking up fantastic vegan food including dirty fries and ‘Pulled Pork’ (pulled jackfruit served in their signature Korean sauce). The kitchen will be serving from 5-9pm Wed-Fri and Saturday 1-9pm during the pop-up. YOU MUST GO! 

Find Wings Diner on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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Cotham Arms – Review

Nothing warms my cockles like a new pub opening, somewhere new to quaff ale, tell jokes, eat crisps and stop people trying to hang out in my house and drink my booze.

The Cotham Arms is on the previous Chin Chin! site, which according to the history poster on the wall, has been a pub in one form or another since 1861 and sits next to Beerd on St Michaels Hill. Now I do have to get the elephant in room out of the way, despite appearances this isn’t an independent inn but owned by Enterprise (now known as El Group) which some may find surprising.

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When you walk into The Cotham Arms you are met with a very cozy feeling place with what I assumed to be original features including a fire place, stain glass windows, good solid furniture and beautifully tiled flooring. It is hard to brush away the cynicism, Enterprise has evidently spent a good chunk of money making the place fit in with the local surroundings, and they have done it well, but I wanted to be up front about it.

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Anyway, we were greeted by some of the nicest staff I have ever met (seriously) seated and left with a menu. My partner and I are both craft beer wankers and were a bit disappointed to see nothing local on the bar or in the fridge but there is plenty to choose from so we settled with a pint of Lagunitas IPA each. We did note the gin list, a brave move with The Green Man down the road but a nice angle none the less.

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The one thing this pub doesn’t do, is a full, hot menu. Instead, they are keeping it really simple with meat, bread and cheese. Some would say…Ok I would say that is pretty much all you need to live on but that’s also why I fear sitting in unfamiliar chairs. The menu has four choices, a meat board, a cheese board, a cold sandwich or a toasted one. Brilliant. To start we went for a mixed board which features cheddar, brie and stilton cheeses, charcuterie from David Richards of Capreolus fine foods. We also had chutney, olives, pickled onions and thick slices of bread and butter. The board was very generous and made a great starter or snack for two people. The meat was amazing and we both still think fondly about the cured mutton, we must find some for our own fridge. The cheese suffered from being left in the fridge, with the brie and stilton not being very soft to slice but the cheddar was fantastic. Perhaps some “cheese training” might be good here?

We couldn’t come to a pub priding itself on toasties without trying one so I opted for us to share a Cotham Arms “Rueben” and the “Mother of all Bacon Sandwiches”. I asked what made the bacon sandwich so good and was told “it just has a lot of bacon in it”…well you can’t argue with that logic.

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The Rueben, isn’t a Rueben, if you want one of those got to Pickled Brisket, but it is good. Pastrami and brie are stuffed betwixt two slices of bread, topped with pickles and *something* that gave it a kick, if I had to guess I would have said horseradish and put in the paninni machine. Definitely a decent toastie. The bacon sandwich I would describe more of a 2nd cousin of Bacon Sandwiches. It was good, it was crispy, it came with a choice of sauce on the side for dipping but it was about as big as you would make at home, I was expecting something a bit more extravagant but as bacon sarnies go, it was good. No rubbery bacon or stringy fat to contend with here. Both sandwiches for the price (£5) and size could benefit with a bag of crisps on the side as standard if you hadn’t munched your way through a sharing board before hand.

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I took my pudding to go, a rather indulgent salted caramel brownie, a choice I had to make from a delicious list of cakes and sweets, which was taken home and eaten in front of Bake Off. I wish I knew where these were from and I hope they are buying local. Same for the bread, chutneys and pickles.

All in all the pub ticked the boxes I look for, warm, cosy, nice stuff on the walls, gorgeous staff, something drinkable and a pile of games. The food isn’t gormet but it’s good enough, no faffing about with people wanting to order big plates of over indulgent food, no going into a pub you like only to be standing around whilst diners take over the tables (I think I moan about this a lot). I hope Enterprise get something local on the bar and make use of the great staples we have on offer in the city but all in all, I would go back.

Find The Cotham arms on FB here and Twitter here, they’re a friendly bunch!

 

 

 

 

Bristol Cocktail Week Is Back and Bigger Than Ever!

Cocktails in the City is making its return to Bristol on Friday 15th September. After five years of touring the country, the event is back, bringing 16 of Bristol’s best bars together under one roof.

Held at The Passenger Shed next to Bristol Temple Meads; you will be able to indulge in specially-designed cocktails by the likes of The Milk Thistle, Red Light, Hyde & Co, Her
Majesty’s Secret Service and Harvey Nichols Second Floor Restaurant and Bar.

Cocktail lovers will be invited to discover something different and learn about the art of
mixology with interactive masterclasses, games and food and drink pairing experiences
throughout the night.

Accompanying the array of cocktails will be plenty of delicious food from a selection of
Bristol’s favourite street food vendors: Bambalan, Eatchu and AlpMac.

Guy Siddall from Bristol Gyoza restaurant Eatchu comments;
“Bristol’s booming independent food scene is creating a lot of buzz so we were delighted to be approached by Cocktails in the City. A chance to pair our gyoza up with some amazing and innovative cocktails, what could be better?”

Around 850 people are expected to attend the event which costs £12 a ticket and includes a welcome cocktail on entry. The return of Cocktails in the City to Bristol follows successful events in London, Leeds and Manchester and precedes an inaugural event in L.A later in the year.

Tickets are available to buy now here 

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