The Parlour – Review

The Italian restaurant has always, to me, had an air of the old-fashioned. A world cuisine that in the UK at least was heavy on the checked tablecloths, carbs, candlelit eating rooms and breadsticks as standard. You went because you needed a feed, you bought into the romance of carbonara and liked to be treated a bit poorly by the waiter.


Not anymore! As someone who didn’t really bother with Italian food as “well, I can do that home” I have been shown that is no longer the case. Already a huge fan of the neighbourhood restaurant Bomboloni, who serve nonna portions with a modern flair, I was interested to see what ice-cream parlour cum restaurant The Parlour would be offering.  On the corner of Cheltenham Road and Zetland Road, owner Nicolo has been smashing ice-cream (their apple pie ice-cream is fantastic) but wanted something more from the space. With his family connections to the C & T Licata and Son deli, an Italian delicatessen on Picton Street, he and head chef Jack (with previous at Poco and the Cherry Duck) have created an Italian menu that screams authenticity without a breadstick in sight.

parlour terrine

Pasta is made fresh upstairs and sauces are made with ingredients that are sourced as close to the restaurant as possible. They also make beautiful focaccia, brushed with the most flavoursome olive oil and heady with rosemary, delivered to your table fresh from the oven

The Parlour has, at this time retained the very stark look of the original parlour with white walls and wooden seating, but have tried to warm the atmosphere up a bit with art on the walls, wooden panelling and an extension of the bar. You can watch the bread being made from scratch and the staff are incredibly keen to talk about the menu and the ingredients.


We enjoyed plenty of fresh bread, a Caprese salad and a game terrine to start. Both were excellent and generous with their portions, the salad especially was absolutely beautiful with creamy mozzarella, juicy, well seasoned and flavoursome tomatoes and lashings of that fruity, nutty olive oil. The terrine was packed with sherry-soaked raisins and was served with a fruity chutney that complimented the slight irony flavours.


For main we, of course, had pasta. My colleague had the wild boar ragu on pappardelle, a thick, unctuous meaty ragu on freshly made pasta, it was absolutely divine. The El Comado is a ragu made with chorizo, roast pepper, aubergine and a good kick of spice. Served over a bowl of thin spaghetti and plenty of parmesan cheese this was a lighter option than the boar and just as tasty. With the sauce mopped up with the last of the bread, we didn’t think we could manage a pudding.

Though of course, we had pudding because I am a complete glutton.

We shared a dark chocolate and salted caramel fondant and were very impressed. It was light, it was full of glistening chocolate sauce and it was polished off far too quickly for two people that had eaten as much as they had.

The Parlour might not be the cosiest place to reenact your Lady and the Tramp fantasies but hit all the right spots when it came to service and food. Quite frankly that’s the important bit.

Find The Parlour at 243 Cheltenham Rd, Bristol BS6 5QP. Their Facebook, Twitter and Website here.

*Please note I received this meal free of charge through my job but loved it so much I wanted to showcase it here. The Parlour didn’t see the review before I released it.*



Franco Manca – Review

Happy New Year food fans! As you may have read previously , I  spent the majority of the festive period dying of horrible ills but I did manage to get out and try a few dishes here and there.

Franco Manca got in touch and asked if I wanted to pop along to try their new restaurant just off Baldwin Street, an area of the centre that seems to be gaining strength when it comes to great places to eat. Pata Negra, the incoming Pasta Ripiena and The Ox are just a few gastro-destinations to choose from ithin spitting distance of each other.


Franco Manca gained a cult following in it’s native London starting as a small pizzeria but has quickly expanded throughout the capital and into a few large towns and cities. Specialising in sourdough pizza, they stick with mostly traditional Italian ingredients, charcuterie and wines.  Obviously, we in Bristol have some absolutely top, homegrown pizza places offering sourdough pizza so the team at Franco Manca certainly have their work cut out to make an impact on the city.


The restaurant itself is a large and open plan space, you wouldn’t recognise the building as being an ex-bank at all.  Despite this, the place is warm and inviting with lovely staff and a beautiful open plan kitchen with tiled pizza oven. It was busy when we headed in as it was the last week before Christmas and the place has a lovely buzz about it. We were seated right by the action of the kitchen and started with a lovely bottle of red and a platter of focaccia and charcuterie. Everything was served beautifully and were generous between three hungry diners. We especially liked the wild pig and fennel salami and the focaccia as generously seasoned with salt and heady rosemary. Lovely!


We had a look at the Christmas menu and I chose the “53”, a pizza topped with roast potato, mozzarella, wild boar mortadella and watercress pesto. From the main menu, we also chose the “5”,  topped with tomato, garlic, oregano, capers, olives, anchovies and mozzarella and the “54”, topped with homemade porchetta. salsa verde and watercress.

All the pizzas arrived in good time but all sadly suffered from the soggy middles that other people have mentioned (another 30 seconds in that oven and it would have been perfect!) and mine had been a little too liberally oiled so had a bit of a greasy element but overall the pizzas went down really well. The meat was generous and full of flavour, my potatoes didn’t really add much to the pizza, something more crispy would have been better but the pesto was delicious. The anchovies were salty along with the capers and again was oilier than desired but my dining partner enjoyed it. I wish I had seen they offer dips for those lovely, chewy crusts, I will have to head back and give them a go.


We were treated to dessert, a tiramisu (which I am not keen on but was devoured with gusto by the others ) and a really lovely chocolate and almond sponge. The grappa, made exclusively for Franco Manca by Devon Distillery and Three Choirs Vineyard, was…challenging but grappa is by its very nature challenging. The Limoncello was much better.


Whilst Franco Manca isn’t going to be blowing the likes of Flour and Ash, Berthas and Pi Shop out of the water, the price point (all pizzas were under £9) and the overall feel of the place means it will definitely be somewhere I would try again. Just please give those pizzas a little more time in that beautiful oven!

Find Franco Manca’s website here, Twitter and Facebook 

The meal was offered free of charge but no way impacted my review. This review was not sent to the Franco Manca before publishing.



What I loved, ate and wrote in 2017

Hello all, apologies for those waiting on tenterhooks for some hot December content but I was pretty much ill for the entirety of the month, starting from my birthday on the 2nd to around about the 23rd. It has been miserable, it has been frustrating and most of all I had to miss out on pretty much everything I wanted to do including eating my way around Bristols Christmas burgers. Not cool.

I managed to try the Asado Christmas burger and it was so worth it.

Anyway, I am “fighting fit” again, by which I mean my back hurts, I still cough at night and I never feel well rested but I think that is due to my living an unhealthy lifestyle and being in my 30s. I shall, however, soldier on and do the customary round-up of 2017.

Firstly landing my dream job at Wriggle has got to be the top of the list. Writing for fun, then writing for Wriggle for money then being asked to cover sick leave for three months to be offered a full time, perm role has been a rollercoaster. Some of my nearest and dearest thought I was mad to give up a job that was stable and not that poorly paid for something that might not leave me with much after 12 weeks. However, I was 30, I was miserable and the worst that could happen is I would go back to temp work. Thankfully it worked out, I have a great team, a supportive boss and a wonderful job that has been incredibly challenging but in the best way. I hope to just get better and better at it in 2018.

wriggle about me
Have to say I cried with laughter when they wrote this about me.

Next would be my Pop-up, the Bristol Pudding Society. What started as a moan on Twitter that resulted in being asked “well why don’t you do it then?” led me to run my first ever monthly Pop-up. Once a month I have been generously hosted by Bristol Spirit and I have served 576 puddings since May. I have been lucky enough to have been featured in Bristol 24/7’s  best events of 2017  which is not too shabby for a homecook! Look out for more events next year.

Baked apple and boozy fruit with caramel sauce

Some of my favourite openings include Bristol Spirit, Bomboloni, Asado, Burger Theory in their new restaurant and Wiper and Trues tap room. Obviously, burgers and beers are holding steady in my heart but a new love for Italian food has edged its way in. For some reason I always considered it to be a cuisine I couldn’t be bothered with because “I can do it at home”. Oh arrogance, you have denied me such feasting! There are few more Italians I definitely need to try in Bristol along with trying the new ravioli bar  Ripiena, coming soon from the Pasta Loco boys. Luckily I even got a pasta maker Kitchen Aid attachment so I can gorge myself to my heart’s content.


bombolini seafood stew
Bomboloni’s seafoood stew


I’ve also had the opportunity to try some great food, with highlights coming from The Urban Standard and their Midweek Mac nights (Honestly couldn’t breathe after gorging myself on all that cheese), The Bank Tavern and their “Fowl Dining” experience (with wine flight of course!) and finally getting my arse to Bethas for a lovely lunchtime pizza with a chilli and honey dip (more on those dips later!). I have genuinely gone from someone that doesn’t give a shit about pizza, to having strong opinions on pizza. What a bore. Christmas Eve saw a delicious brunch at another favourite, Cauldron who cook everything with fire. The fizz was great, the breakfast was better and I can’t wait to head back soon for more. I definitely can’t forget getting to go to Thoughtful Bread and regaining my confidence with baking and sourdough. After my disaster before, it was great to have an expert like Duncan showing me the right way to do things!




Making bagels is a favourite of mine. now


I had a few bees in my bonnet this year too. One being the lack of pizza dips on offer, thank goodness then that my favourite pizza places (Flour and Ash, Bertha’s and Pizzarova) are now offering them. With those gorgeous charred crusts, we need something good to dip them in. Also, the kiev burger, which still hasn’t come to fruition. I won’t touch on this one too much after some unpleasantness from a twitter user but I am hoping 2018 might bring this one home. Lastly the pink burger. After getting some flack online and in a previous post about Asado, a lot of people seemed to misunderstand why pink burgers weren’t always a safe option. I spoke to a friend who used to be a food hygiene inspector and got the science behind it.

Last but not least I tried stepping up my recipe writing, my brisket chilli has been popular for a long time so I updated it. The experimental cider apple crumble was a hit also, nothing says it’s cold like pudding with booze in it. Fried eggs were never again covered in uncooked white with my tip for “froaching” them. Egg snot is not acceptable.

Big brisket chilli and tortillas

So there you have it, a quick(!) look through my 2017, hopefully, 2018 will continue to go well and for blog updates to be at least be semi-regular, sadly with writing for work all day, I struggle to write at night but I am going to try and schedule my time properly (go go bullet journalling!).

Happy New Year!

The New Menu At The Eldon House

The Eldon House is a bit of a hidden gem. Straddling the invisible border that separates the “olde world” buildings standing in the shadow of the QEH school on Jacobs Wells Road and the modern part of the Clifton Triangle. Blink and you might miss it, this pub is steeped in history and used to be a theatre a few hundred years ago.


Stepping inside, the front room is warm and cosy with the bar dominating the space. They have a great range of beers on tap, when I was in they had Bristol breweries Lost and Grounded, Moor and Bristol Beer Factory on which makes a girl feel at home. The “restaurant” area has plenty of solid wood tables and chairs arranged in an unusually shaped room, it very much still feels like a theatre here with some tables on a raised stage area and the round wall. If you want some privacy, you might be lucky enough to snag the wee snook area hidden behind the bar.


I have been here before, I won a free meal and was totally blown away by the size of the meals and how tasty everything was so hearing they had ditched the pub grub and gone down the pizza route left me slightly dreading heading back. In a city where pizza is king, it better be good pizza.

The menu is decent, enough pizza toppings that everyone would be happy, simple but tasty sounding sides and the occasional pub special can still be ordered if you really can’t find anything to tickle your fancy. My dining companion Bex and I decided to start with an order of nacho’s to get the ball rolling. The weather was foul and we needed the cheese hit.


The portion was huge, not really a side or a starter for one so be warned and was very generously loaded with tortilla chips and cheese. We both agreed the cheese could have done with more melting as a lot of it was merely warm and we both wanted more of the lovely toppings (sour cream, guacamole and BBQ sauce) but all in all, we were satisfied.


We ordered our pizza’s, Bex going for a classic Margherita with pesto and me (the chubby chubber of the pair) went for a fried chicken number. The pizzas are all handmade using a simple dough, no sourdough or “authentic” Nepalese 300-year old recipes here. All the toppings are made in-house and you can really tell. The Margherita had plenty of sweet tomato sauce, creamy mozzarella and punchy green pesto drizzled liberally on top. My fried chicken topped pizza had a sweet and creamy sweetcorn puree base and was loaded with plenty of spicy fried chicken breast, chilli, a fantastic homemade BBQ sauce flavoured with orange and lovely pink, pickled onions. Really tasty!


The pizzas were made really well, no soggy middles, stingy toppings or bland flavours. The pub was criminally empty of diners so I suggest you all head over soon!

NB: This meal was offered free of charge but I was in no way expected to give a good review

Wiper and True Taproom is now open!

Once upon a time, a few years ago, Wiper and True opened their brewery and we had lots of fun. Chomp were still slinging patties from their wee van and I was excited to meet the heroes making the first craft beer I knew I liked (and recognised).

Fast forward a few years, some tap takeovers, Chomp opening a proper restaurant (Wiper make their house brew, and it’s wonderful) and a short but sweet residency at The Old Butchers and Wiper have finally got themselves a proper taproom of their very own.

It’s small but perfectly formed, with a row of benches, bar stools, shelves with beers and merch for those that like to wear what they drink. They have a little outside seating but with the weather drawing in you won’t be out there much.

They have five taps with the delicious keg beer a permanent fixture, a fresh and creamy IPA. The other beers get switched up as and when they run out, the tobacco porter was an absolute favourite when I headed there last week. If you don’t fancy what’s on the wall, there is plenty in the fridge with bottles of old favourites and exciting new collabs. You only need to ask.

They have really made the place their own, stuffed it with art and taken the black, white and gold motif as far as taste will allow them, it really is a gorgeous place to come and sit.

During my visit, I saw young families with children, local publicans, other brewers, couples and singles all having a nose, enjoying a drink and having a great time. The staff were friendly, knowledgeable and obviously love the beer.

Being in the shadow of the huge tanks is enough to pique anyone’s interest and luckily they offer weekly, ticketed brewery tours to show and explain how their great tasting beer is made. 


You can find Wiper and True in St Werberghs ( 2-8 York St, St Werburghs, Bristol BS2 9XT) and the taproom is open 1pm til 7pm on Saturdays and later on special occasions. 

Find their website here, Twitter and Facebook!


Voodoo-Q BBQ to open on Gloucester Road

A chilli farmer, a spice mogul and a seasoned publican, walk into an empty restaurant and say “this is perfect”.

Voodoo-Q is the combined brainchild of Alex, owner of Upton Cheyney Chilli Farm, James, Technical and Supply Chain Director at Bart’s Ingredientsand Jamie, a seasoned publican who currently runs The Upton Inn also in Upton Cheyney. After a chance meeting between Alex and James, in the pub run by Jamie, the combined expertise and love of all things smoked became too big a draw.

voodooq 1

Starting as a humble smokehouse on the decking in The Upton Inn’s back garden it was soon apparent that they knew their way around a pork butt and Voodoo-Q came to Cirencester. Taking over from Graze, they went the whole hog giving this very traditional town something very different. Open as Voodoo-Q At The Hare, as a nod to Bath Ales, they serve a menu that indulges in their love of meat and heat but also offers more traditional fare for those not quite ready to thumb in a hotdog in polite company.

voodooq 2

The itch wasn’t quite scratched though and the three owners, wanting something a little more Voodoo and a little less clean-cut, took over the long-empty Food Nation Resturant and have started the renovations for an opening aiming for the end of November.

voodooq 3

Photo Credit to Clifton Chilli Club, watch them eat this monstrosity here 

Promising expert BBQ from burgers to brisket and much-needed hotdogs, Voodoo-Q are committed to also feeding Bristol’s veggie and vegan population, often an afterthought in the meat-heavy world of BBQ.  The Voodoo theme will be taken throughout the restaurant with murals of the four pillars of Voodoo, aptly named cocktails and menu items.

Look out for updates on Facebook and Twitter and say hello to Voodoo-Q

Big Brisket Chilli

Not sure there is anything more comforting than a massive bowl of steaming chilli. Not Chilli Con Carne by the way, that slop is the stuff of nightmares. I am a big fan of beef mince but when it comes to chilli it’s got to be low and slow, thick and unctuous and full of chunky beef.


Beef tossed with seasoning and about to get into a beer bath

Its a proper Saturday night in recipe that needs to be cooked low and slow and served with either boiled rice or my personal favourite, all over some tortilla chips. Add sour cream, guacamole and salsa for a really indulgent dinner on the sofa paired with a good selection of light beers (i am having mine with the Wiper and True Red Orange)

As usual, I feel the need to put in my disclaimer that this is not “authentic” but it always wins in the taste department as far as I’m concerned.

Get your hands on a decent spiced porter like the above from Moor beer, or if you prefer a smoked German beer works equally as well (easiest to get is German Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen).

Basically, you want to get as much flavour into your brisket as possible.


Better than any Lush bath bomb

You will need

  • 1kg or so of Brisket (Co-op sell it!)
  • two medium onions
  • 2 tblsp Tomato paste
  • Can of Kidney beans
  • Can of tinned tomatoes
  • 330ml of a good beer
  • One fresh chilli
  • For the seasoning (you won’t need all of it but you can keep the rest for next time)
  • Tsp ground cumin
  • Tsp oregano
  • Tsp garlic powder
  • Tsp smoked paprika
  • Tsp cumin seeds
  • Tsp chilli flakes
  • Tsp cocoa powder
  • Tsp parsley
  • 2 Tsp brown sugar
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mix everything but the cinnamon stick together


Chop the brisket into chunks, toss in a couple of tablespoons of the chilli mix and pop into a large bowl. Empty the beer onto it and leave to marinade for as long as possible (overnight is great.

Chop the onions and add them to the pan and sweat. Add in your chopped fresh chilli and cook through a little further, add the tomato paste and cook for a further few minutes.

Add your beef (but retain the beer mixture), stir well and add a few tablespoons of your spice mixture. You have to work by smell here but go easy, you can always add more but you can’t take it out! Let the beef colour a bit then add the beer. Let the liquid reduce by half.

Add cinnamon stick and tomatoes, bring to a rolling boil then put into an oven about 120c for at least 4 hours (i try and go for 6) or chuck it into a slow cooker.

Check it every few hours and give it a stir.

Take it out of the oven after cooking for a few hours and add your kidney beans, you need to add these in alter else they will just disintegrate. Once the beef can be pulled apart and the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce you can remove and shred the beef.