Butterfingers Needs You

After successfully founding and running the monthly BS5 Market in St George, Holly Chalmers is determined to support local producers and talent from her own community convenience store, Butterfingers.The local BS5 resident is launching a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the new venture. e has just 30 days to raise £10,000 else Butterfingers won’t become a reality.

Just a stone’s throw from St George park and next door to the recently opened Bristol Loaf, the store will stock fresh fruit and veg, meats and cheese, all the essentials, but with one difference – all the produce will be sourced locally. And it won’t just be the essentials, Holly will be linking up with some of the wonderful traders from the BS5 Market to stock their specialist products.

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Holly has just 30 days to raise £10,000 else Butterfingers won’t become a reality. Just a stone’s throw from St George park and next door to the recently opened Bristol Loaf, the store will stock fresh fruit and veg, meats and cheese and all the essentials, but with one difference – all the produce will be sourced locally. But it won’t just be the essentials, Holly will be linking up with some of the wonderful traders from the BS5 Market to stock their specialist products.

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But it won’t just be the essentials, Holly will be linking up with some of the wonderful traders from the BS5 Market to stock their specialist products so you won’t have to wait till market day to stock up

In the evenings and on closed days Butterfinger’s will be offering the space to hold workshops, talks and supper clubs. So whether you’re a street food stall that wants to offer an extended menu, or you’re a silk artist using botanical dyes, this space will provide you with a platform to share your talent and skills. A contribution to this worthy cause may mean a fantastic pop up coming near you soon!

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The Kickstarter campaign will go towards buying essential equipment such as chillers, deli counters and of course a coffee machine.  With the deli becoming a pop-up paradise in the evening, Holly will also need more fittings in the kitchen with much-needed equipment for hosting the perfect supper-clubs.

To contribute to this fantastic, community-minded project, follow this link to the Butterfinger’s fundraising page. Dig deep!

 

Tsukemono takeover @ The Volunteer Tavern 

Those who know where to find good beer and good times have probably already stumbled into the unassuming Volunteer Tavern for a pint of cask ale and a decent roast (if it’s Sunday).

They have now turned the kitchen over to pop-ups, a trend I can get on board with, and their current residents are the fabulous Tsukemono who specialise in tasty Japanese food. I first came across these guys at the BS5 Market where I grabbed some lunch and thoroughly enjoyed some Japanese fried chicken with mayo and pickles.

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A picture of me being joyful about having chicken.

I popped over on a Friday lunchtime and found the pub to be full of diners and managed to nab a window seat by the bar. I ordered a portion of fried pickles, a dangerous choice as many offer these but most serve up something floppy and wet that get left on the plate. I also went for the Katsu- Kare Don, a pork cutlet on a bowl of rice, katsu curry sauce and pickles.

I was also joined by this good boy.

The pickles came out first and they were presented in a little cardboard bowl. They were generously drizzled in a saricha mayo, fried in a light panko crumb and looked very tasty. They weren’t oily and kept their punchy, sour pickled taste whilst also staying turgid and offering crunch. Definitely a good shout by me to order these, burger bars offering similar, take note and take a lesson please.

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My main appeared soon after and I was very pleased with the generous offer. Everything was presented beautifully as you can see, an Instagramers dream with those pickles and Tsukemono’s signature pink lotus root on the side. The pickle (Fukujintsuke) is made with cucumber, ginger, beetroot,, aubergine, daikon and kombu and provided a moreish, crunchy bite with the sweetness making the katsu curry really sing. I polished off the bowl and felt like I had really won at lunch that day.

These guys will be in the kitchen until the end of October and I suggest all of you head over for at least lunch or dinner. The dinner menu expands into the realms of Okonomiyaki (a real favourite of mine, a Japanese potato and cabbage pancake topped with mayo, hot sauce and bento fish flakes), Nasu-Katsu Aubergine and plenty of pickles to munch on whilst waiting. I defiantly want to come back for the “Kimchi Scotch Egg”. They also cater to veggies and vegans so there isn’t an excuse for you not to come!

Find them on FB here

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.

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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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