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.

 

 

Review – Burger Theory

Working opposite Kong’s and living near The Golden Lion has meant I  wasnever further than a hop, skip and chubby jump from tucking into a Burger Theory or three. I have been dragging friends in and calling ahead after late shifts at the hospital (thank you Rory for all those times you put a wee something extra in my bag!) for something comforting to eat before collapsing…I suppose you can say Burger Theory is one of those food places you come to rely on to fill an empty space, like Mum’s Roast Chicken or a cup of tea in a crisis.

Anyway, they went and sodding shut both pop-ups for a few months to open at the old Europa site and I have been bereft without my KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) burger.

Luckily for me, they invited me to come and try the new restaurant so I grabbed my equally greedy friend Bristol Eating and headed over to see what they did with the resturant that infmously created #Toastgate.

The resturant has been transformed with a colour pallete that is feeling familair, beautful blue walls, wooden bar and signage, tables that aren’t overly packed together with a mix of bench and chair seating and lots of colourful stuff on the walls.

I wouldn’t be doing my “job” properly if I didn’t get the bad out of the way, we did stand there for a while waiting to be seated (I had booked ahead), they were incredibly busy so it can be forgiven but a quicker acknowledgement of us being there would have been gratefully recived. The food also took an age to come out too but again, they had over 65 covers over lunch and I wasn’t in a rush to get back to the office. Just worth considering if you are planning to head over whilst the dust is still settling at the restaurant and your boss is an arsehole about long lunches.

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I went for the the KFC, of course, and my friend had the Prarie Girl with BBQ sauce. The KFC is a fried chicken thigh sopping with a Korean BBQ style sauce, greens, chillis and salted peanuts. The Prarie girl (a firm office fave) is a buttermilk fried chicken burger coated with Frank’s hot sauce and cool blue cheese dressing or BBQ sauce.

Other offerings include The Beefy Boy, a beer braised beef rib in a black pepper glaze on hash brown with pink pickled onions and mustard mayo or their infamous veggie burger the Southern Hippie, a southern fried Portobello mushroom with halloumi, Franks hot sauce and cool blue cheese dressing or BBQ sauce.

We both had fries as sides (they have plenty to choose from, even poutine (but not cheese curd poutine)) and chose Blue Cheese mayo and Garlic Mayo for side dipping sauces, a nice extra you didn’t used to get in the old sites. The burgers arrived and were enormous, which was lucky because I was about ready to eat the customer next to me. Fries followed close after and were cripsy and piping hot, which for fries is good. Despite the wonderfully staged photo below it was a knife and fork job, which TBH now i’m over 30 is how I tend to tackle burgers. Everything tasted as good as it ever did, the service was friendly with all of them working doubly hard with the success they are enjoying.

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I can’t wait to redeem my Crowdfunder meal and I will be dragging friends down for a birthday too. Welcome back Burger Theory, we missed you.

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Chicken Kiev Burgers – it’s happening!!

UPDATE – 18/07/2017

Apparently, I have a knack for whining long and hard enough for people to eventually give in (see pizza dips) so here is my plea to the burger barons of Bristol to give me and Bristol what we want.

We have seen the rare meat options in burger restaurants grow,  you can get anything from crocodile to zebra if you want it. You can get beef and chicken too if you prefer. The toppings on offer in some places are things you’d never think of but taste great, green sauce, beef marrow mayo, all the cheeses. These are all great, all modern, all very tasty.

However.

We are are a city ignoring two major things, the stuffed patty and the power of NOSTALGIA. Why we don’t have more things stuffed in burgers is beyond me, for sure pile my burger higher than the Sunday Roast presentation at The Bank Tavern but shove some gooey cheese my burger patty and I’m happy. The benchmark of stuff in things though is the humble and much-maligned chicken Kiev.

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Crunchy breadcrumbs, moist and juicy chicken breast, a hot pocket for molten butter, garlic and herbs used to be a staple tea time treat when I was a kid. We’ve all dabbled with a chicken cordon bleu but it’s never as good as a kiev that’s burst and fried the oven chips in fragrant garlic butter.

So why on earth is no one serving a chicken kiev burger (or chicken kiev, RIP Europa*) is beyond me. I have asked and asked. Others have asked and asked. I have tagged, created debate, posted on both mine and the work account (sometimes having all the passwords means you can do nefarious things) and even MADE MY OWN and still nothing. No one has even replied to tell me to stop bothering them.

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Every bite tasted like angels singing

So Bristol Burger Mafia. As I have been so good all year, please please please can you do a chicken kiev burger? I promise I can bring a lot of people that will at least try it once.

*Lest we forget #ToastGate

Hubbox is open! 

After much excitement from my Cornish colleague, Hubbox have finally flung open the doors to their newest restaurant after a successful expansion through the South West. Hubbox has taken over the Las Iguanas site on Whiteladies Road and it’s unrecognisable, gone are the bright latin themes and have been replaced with a familiar vibe. Dark, neon, tin signs on the wall, booths and a back bar heavy on the bourbon with modern tunes pumping loudly from the PA, it definitely feels like a cool place to be.

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They’ve kept the opening front windows which were a popular feature with the previous restaurant and is a tempting place to sit and drink the Hubbox version of a snakebite, a far classier affair than the one I remember from 12years ago. Otherwise, a good selection of craft beer is available from Harbour, Tiny Rebel and Siren etc, decent wines and of course Aperol Spritz in generous glasses.

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I only tried a few nibbles and so can’t comment on too much but we all agreed the beef patties were full of juicy flavour, the blue cheese and mushroom topped one being a favourite. There were also nachos, fried courgette chips, fried chicken, hotdogs and chicken nuggets. We also tried the Crack Pie which I’ve not had in ages and it was very sweet and very good. Topped with, of course, clotted cream, what a treat. Definitely will be back to try a proper meal and see if the Cornish can do burgers as well as they do pasties.

Where – 113 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2PB

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Pink burgers –

I got a lot of pushback from my opinions on pink burgers very briefly outlined in my Asado review  and even an anonymous commenter who seemed to think I was giving Bristol burger restaurants a kick in the head for having a preference.

Honestly, I had no idea people were so passionate about the pinkness of their burgers and, at least as far as I’m aware, the pink burger trend has only been around for a few years so assumed people didn’t have that much of an opinion but, as it’s the internet, I should have known better.

I feel this is a good place to outline my issue with the pink burger thing. I am not a health or food professional but luckily a friend of mine was and she is someone who is also wary of burgers cooked pink, regardless of where it is. If someone’s job used to be understanding the health implications of eating undercooked meat, I am going to listen.

 

 

It isn’t the quality of meat that is the issue as a lot of people assume, it’s the processing of the carcass. There will be harmful bacteria on the surface of the steak or mince when it leaves the processing plant. This bacteria will multiply until it hits the restaurant. If the restaurant minces its own steaks the bacteria on the surface of that steak will be transferred throughout the mince. Whilst there are strict guidelines from field to fork to ensure the risk is as low as possible the thorough heating of the meat is the only way of killing off the bacteria.  If it isn’t cooked properly you’ve created a bit of a gastroenteritis time bomb.

This is explained far better here if my wittering on doesn’t make much sense

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“But I eat burgers rare/pink all the time and I’m fine!” well yes, if you are an otherwise healthy person chances are you will be, but if you are young, elderly, pregnant or immunosuppressed the risk of eating that mince is is a high one and could kill you. There are around 500,000 reported cases of food poisoning a year. I have IBS, no one knows what causes it but I can tell you when I get an attack its agony, if I can avoid food poisoning which is a 72 hour IBS attack with vomiting thrown in, I will thanks.

HOWEVER you can safely eat a pink burger if it holds a temperature of 75c for 30 seconds whilst cooking. I trust some kitchens to adhere to this (Asado say they do and I trust they do) and I don’t trust others. Maybe that is me being harsh but if I enjoy the burger cooked through, who cares? And no, I will not list where I do and not trust.

Lastly, I want to add that I don’t even like the taste or texture of pink burgers and it is perfectly achievable to sear a burger and leave it juicy and delicious if you give a crap about the beef and technique, no squishing the patty or packing it with crappy binding ingredients.

Like anything, eating pink is a risk, as is eating raw oysters (I don’t), eating dodgy chicken or not washing salads before eating. I have decided that I don’t like pink burgers enough to warrant the risk, I know a lot of you do and that’s cool.

Scientific research above

To the “anonymous” commenter  – buddy, implying you know me and will “see me soon” is creepy AF and you need a word with yourself.

ew no

 

Back to lighthearted food reviews and pithy observations on pizza dips tomorrow

 

Asado Burgers – Review

Not another burger restaurant I hear you cry. Well shut up a minute, this one is good. Heavy on the Bristol and South American influence, chef and owner Lucien Gordon is serving his burgers pink & juicy, using organic, high welfare beef and topped with West Country cheese.

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Replacing Rosemarino’s on Colston Street, Asado is the newest burger joint to grace the city. The place has been decked out in greys and yellows which is incredibly eye catching with plenty of seating, a beautiful new bar and steps leading down to the kitchen and loos.

We were greeted by cheery staff and seated with a drink where we had a peek at the menu. I attended a pre-opening evening so had a menu already planned for us but the buttermilk fried chicken certainly caught my eye.

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Firstly we were given chicken wings to share that were chargrilled and moist, with a spicy glaze, pickled chillies, coriander and a gorgeous mint and yoghurt sauce. Although a bit on the small side, perhaps I was spoiled with Carols Crab Kitchen  flavour was there and they were devoured in earnest by the table.

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We were asked beforehand how we wanted our burgers cooked, Asado prides themselves on cooking their beef “pink and juicy” and is served as the standard, however, if you prefer something a bit more well done, that is fine. I usually steer clear of pink burgers in most places, I can’t trust the beef is cooked well enough to not give me a stomach upset. But after hearing about how high quality the beef was and owner Lucien’s Gordon’s cv including Patty and Bun in London, I thought it best to try these burgers as they were intended.

We had a bowl of chips come up first which were plentiful and well seasoned with the advertised rosemary salt. Topped with the house-made mayo and hot sauce, the recipe of which I will trick Lucien out of someday, were a cracking addition and sadly a rarity in restaurants. I perhaps filled up too much on these as well as the wings and the burger felt a challenge when we were presented with it.

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The burger its self is a lot smaller than the monsters we are perhaps used to but what it lacked in circumference it made up with in height and sheer quality. The patty was indeed pink and juicy, too much for my personal taste but everyone else loved it, and had that beautiful charred flavour from the traditional, woodfired asado grill used downstairs. It had a generous topping of bacon and cheese, pickled red onion, tomato, lettuce and sauces of garlic mayo, chimichurri and housemade ketchup. Sadly the bottom bun struggled to stand up to the juice and I ended up with very mucky hands, not that I was that bothered. The burger tasted fantastic and I have been thinking about it ever since. I really look forward to going back to try that Pollo Libre though.

Head to the website here and see for yourself

 

The Ox Clifton – Bar Burgers

The joy of Whatsapp is one can be contacted immediately when a spare place pops up for a blogger tasting evening. When that evening turns out to be trying out burgers, ribs and wings at The Ox in Clifton…well you could have seen the grin on my face from the International Space Station.

The Ox, Clifton is the lighter, brighter, airier of the trio, sitting above ground on Whiteladies Road. Large windows flood the front part of the dining room with light whilst the rear still retains the dark, sophisticated look of the other two.

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They haven’t scrimped on the decoration here either, the walls are adorned with curiosities, the lighting is beautiful and the taxidermy is present (much to my happiness). We were seated at the bar for nibbles and drinks and decided that actually, we would like to stay there for the entire meal.

To whet our appetites a round of cocktails were ordered and we were served olives and beef dripping popcorn to share. I am not a fan of olives but always try and eat one when I have them in case I suddenly change my mind…I hadn’t…why do people eat these things? The popcorn, however, was moreish and that distinct beefy, salty flavour you’d expect from dripping. I may have suggested the next time I hit The Everyman Cinema on Whiteladies Road ill be popping in with my own paper bag and ordering some to take away. Delicious!

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Next we were treated to ribs and wings. The ribs were of a sensible size (no Flintstone impersonations here!) and had the most beautiful charred taste on them. Smothered in a tangy BBQ sauce they had plenty tender meat on them and were devoured with gusto. The hot wings again were of a sensible size with a generous coating of hot sauce, potent with spice and vinegar and complemented with a dollop of blue cheese dressing. The dressing, incidentally, went super well with the ribs, waste not, want not!

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The kitchen prepared 6 different combinations of the burgers on offer, three beef and three chicken, and we were left to split the offerings between ourselves. The first impression was good, stacked up burgers with plenty of toppings and shoestring fries were placed in front of us, I started with a chicken and bacon burger with plenty of cheese. Cutting through revealed a thick, tender breast with plenty of batter and it was a joy to eat…ashamedly with a knife and fork but it was so big!

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The beef burgers again had that gorgeous charred taste on them and were thick, juicy and very moreish. The structural integrity of the buns held up mostly to the demand of them but it isn’t a good burger unless you need to wash your hands! My only complaint is the stinginess with the side sauces, I need ketchup damnit!

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It was a nice experience to sit up at the bar, until I tried to get off the high stool and my weak ankle let me down (boo) but definitely, somewhere I’d eat again. It seems incredibly subversive to say I went to The Ox and mostly enjoyed the Chicken burger but my goodness, it was everything I wanted in a burger and more. However that flame grilled, charred taste is from the beef and ribs is something I cannot get out of my head, so that’s a testament to them.

I highly recommend popping in soon and giving their burgers a go for a casual night out, you’ll leave full and happy, I guarantee.

You can find The Ox here to book your table