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.


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.


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.


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.



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 


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

Espensen Spirit True Romance 20cl portrait

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. 

wings diner

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

Wing's Diner Bristol Spirit menu

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 

Stay up to date by following Cocktails in the City on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 


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.


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.


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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New Cafe”The Epiphany” Opening At The RWA

Bristol’s top barista Alex Zeal will open a modern, chic café at The Royal West of England
Academy (RWA) this August. With the help of Bristol’s queen of cakes, Bethen Reid, the new café will serve locally-sourced treats and award-winning coffee in the stunning surroundings of Bristol’s oldest gallery.
The Epiphany at the RWA is the brainchild of Alex – a finalist in the Bristol heats of the UK Barista Championships – and Bethen, who creates deliciously decadent bakes for top eateries like Boston Tea Party and The Vintage Birdcage Cakery. The new café has found its home in Bristol’s RWA – a spectacular Grade II* listed building in the heart of the city.

The fuss-free, contemporary menu will focus on high-quality, locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients, treated with love and care. Lunches will include a selection of frittatas, tarts, wraps and salads, plus warm, Hobbs bread sandwiches, generously filled with top ingredients like Portobello mushroom, mozzarella, red onion pickle and olive tapenad.

Every Sunday, the menu will feature a star ingredient that is grown or produced by one of the pair’s many foodie friends. The tarte tatin, made from rhubarb grown on an allotment in Easton, and the soup that uses courgettes and peas from a garden in the Forest of Dean, illustrates Alex and Bethen’s commitment to local fare, cooked with care.

As home to Bristol’s premier barista, The Epiphany at the RWA will specialise in world-class coffee. Alex is so dedicated to the perfect cup, he will be sourcing beans in Peru shortly before the opening event. The café will also serve a hand-picked selection of wines, locally-brewed artisan beers and Canton teas.

To launch this exciting venture, Alex and Bethen invite guests to a special evening party, where there will be a chance to sample the menu and enjoy an espresso martini on the RWA balcony. If you would like to go, head to their event page 

The event will include free access to the RWA’s current exhibition Air: Visualising the Invisible in British Art 1768-2017.

Set against the backdrop of the RWA’s breath-taking marble interior, The Epiphany will suit fans of great art and gorgeous food alike.


Review – Bomboloni

I finally made it in! Not through lack of trying, however, since opening only a few weeks ago Andrew, Molly and their team have been enjoying a packed restaurant both in and out.

The boyfriend and I headed over for an early, midweek supper and were greeted by a very empty restaurant. “Don’t worry” laughed Andrew, “we’re booked up for the night”. He wasn’t joking either as we must have watched four or five attempts to get in by walk ins, some of which braved the less than stellar weather outside, surely a mark of a good reputation?


We started with a beautiful garlic and rosemary flatbread, too hot to touch it was that fresh from the oven. The bread was charred and springy with generous lashings of butter, garlic and rosemary. A lovely, carby start to what ended up being a bit of a feast!


For main my fruits of the sea loving dining partner chose the seafood stew whilst I went traditional with beef shin ragu with pappardelle. The portion sizes were incredibly generous, my partner’s bowl was heaped with clams, prawns, mussels, fish and a light tomato broth. All of it was topped with a pungent and beautifully whipped garlic aioli which I couldn’t resist dunking my fork in to.


My ragu was piled on top of perfectly cooked, ribbons of pasta, the beef itself was full of flavour and not too heavy despite the amount I had on the plate.  The parmesan and fresh parsley helped lift it all to star quality!


I couldn’t leave without actually eating a bomboloni so pudding was ordered! Five, freshly cooked little doughnuts appeared with two dipping sauces, jaw smacking lemon curd and sweet raspberry coulee. The bomboloni smelled utterly divine,  who doesn’t adore the smell of hot, sugary doughnuts?


I am so pleased to have Bomboloni open so close to home, I feel with the recent closings of Zazus, Bagel Boy and the cake shop, the little strip on Pigsty Hill had become sad and it desolate. Despite having an array of options to eat on Gloucester Road, what we lacked was a good, family run restaurant (that isn’t an old fashioned Italian) and we have that now. I recommend you book yourself in as soon as possible.

Find Bomboloni here