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A Response To ‘Gentrification By Instagram’

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In response to Bristol 24/7 and Thomas Oxley: ‘Gentrification by Instagram’

First of all I should say to those that do not know me; I was part of the @igersBristol team for two years, so this article really was aimed at a lot of my friends and peers.

The reason this article will not be impartial isn’t because of my ties to those involved, but because it is a grossly unfair opinion piece with unfounded accusations, and it’s seemingly based on fuck all else but a desire to be controversial.

I really do love Bristol and the diversity of its people, their passions and their beliefs. What I’ll never stand for is someone telling anybody what they should, or should not create, capture, or share.

Bristol is a city that built a reputation on its creativity, and a community that supports each other. There is no room here for crab mentality, or negativity towards any other person’s craft.

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Happy Easter, gang! 🐣🍫 Hope you’ve all had a lovely day. So. Bet many of you can’t name this viewpoint… Having grown up around BS4 I recognise it as the beautiful view of the city from the railway bridge on Langton Court Rd, St.Annes. A woefully under-photographed area/scene! Get snapping, eastside folk! 📷 We held a brilliant Instameet around this area last summer which lots of you attended, and we made sure this view was part of it. It’s a good ‘un. 👍🏻 • Big thanks to @the_unarmed_shooter for tagging us in this shot! Enjoy the rest of your evening & we’ll be back tomorrow. 👋🏻 PS More Instameets to be announced this week! @porthjess 🌈 #igersbristol

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I understand that most people don’t live in the pretty, colourful Bristol we see on Instagram and in the wider press. It’s not all ‘Sunday Times Best Place to Live’ shite, where you walk your kids to school without swearing at them, past colourful houses, through the park or along the river.

I understand this because I grew up on a council estate in East Bristol. I believe most of us had tough upbringings in a city that is rife with drug use, poverty, inequality and racial tension.

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🎉 INSTAMEET NEWS! 🎉 • As part of our #igersloveGloucesterRoad campaign, we are hosting an Instameet in two weeks time! ———————————————– 📅 Saturday 25th February. • 🌍 – Brunswick Square, St. Paul’s. • ⏰ 13:00-16:00. ———————————————– We’re going to be weaving up Cheltenham/Gloucester Road, taking in some of Bristol’s most vibrant communities, including Montpellier, Bishopston, St. Andrews and Ashley Down. We’ll try and navigate via some great pieces of graffiti, lovely green spaces and stunning terraces! 🙌🏼 • If you haven’t really explored Gloucester Road before, this will be a great opportunity to acquaint yourself with the surrounding areas. If you love Gloucester Road, well then I don’t need to encourage you. 😅 • England aren’t playing in the Six Nations that day so I don’t want any excuses. 🤓🏉 ———————————————– Photo by our very own @richimal_bristol! ———————————————– Shared by @antimitch! 🤙🏼

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The mixed views of Bristol held by many, shouldn’t be grounds to curse those that choose to focus on either the good or the bad. If you want to “Make Bristol Shit Again”, crack on.

If you want to campaign and protest the injustices people in this city face, from the homeless, the refugees, the poor, the ethnic minorities. Please, please do.

Or if you’d prefer to shine a bright light onto the things that make Bristol such a fantastic city to live in, as many people do extremely well, then have a fucking field day as there’s lots to shout about.

@IGersBristol is a community of people that do the latter out of pure passion, immense pride and an unwavering attachment to Bristol. Building friendships, educating, and broadening minds along the way. To question the integrity of people you’ve never met is a lamentable act, for which you are being rightfully admonished.

I’m focusing on @IGersBristol, I’ll reiterate not because of personal bias, because in my opinion, they are the inspiration for a large amount of feature accounts in Bristol. The foundation of the account, community and hashtag is to shout about what you love, to share your Bristol.

A lot of folk’s favourite part of Bristol is indeed the floating harbour, not Withywood nor Knowle. Although, if you look a little deeper you’ll see there are plenty of other Instagrammers who strive to document the “real Bristol” that is claimed to be missing from social media.

You’d also have seen the meets and events arranged across BS1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10 and beyond. Events that took us way beyond “the square mile from the Suspension Bridge to the Arnolfini and from the Create Centre to the top of Park Street.”

I respect opinion pieces, and the conversations we have every day on social media and in the press, but myself and my peers cannot stand by in light of such vitriol.

Bristol’s “gentrifying” Instagram community have made it clear that no amount of hatred will stop us doing what we do, because we love it, and we love our home. Why don’t you join in sometime, Thomas? Everyone is welcome.

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New Year Menu Twist at Woky Ko

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Woky Ko launch new menu

Nestled in Wapping Wharf on Bristol’s buzzing harbourside, Woky Ko: CARGO swung open its doors in late-October, 2016 – capturing attention with a bold menu of delicate flavours. Talented chef-owner Larkin Cen has recently added to the family with Park St’s Woky Ko: Kauto, and the two combined offer some of the finest Asian cuisine you’ll find anywhere in the South West.

Woky Ko: Kauto

Woky Ko: Kauto has perhaps become the flagship venue, offering a little more space and a stronger restaurant feel than its waterside cousin. Sleek lines, muted tones and a contemporary feel combine to create a warm and welcoming space, with a row of high stools offering hungry diners that intimate ‘kitchen table’ experience.

There’s a strong crossover of influence and flavour between the Cargo and Kauto menus – with dishes like noodles, sharing sides and baos featuring in both. But with a larger kitchen, Kauto offers a fuller range.

Photo credit: Larkin Ken

Ramen recommendations (Ramenations? No…)

On my most recent visit I broke with previous form and tried the Woky Ko ramen; a large bowl of steaming noodles swimming in an umami (look it up) broth based on the saltier shio recipe. Larkin has spent hours perfecting the balances of salt, soy and spices across his dishes, and, with delicate jamon bone and rich roasted garlic, Woky Ko ramen is simply stunning.

But yes, I do have form here. On my first Kauto visit I fell a bit in love with the KFC ramen. This show-stopping blend of Korean spices leaves you slurping from the bottom of the bowl – perhaps not very fitting for a stylish restaurant setting, but it’s all too easy to get carried away… 

Sichuan ox cheek and hot and sour aged tofu complete Kauto’s ramen offerings, complemented by a mouth-watering selection of sides like onglet steak, tiger prawn toast, crispy duck pancakes and tenderstem broccoli that will change the way you look at greens forever.

Photo credit: Paolo Ferla

New Year deals from Monday to Friday

Woky Ko’s new weekday deals started up recently, offering diners a little added value for money from 4.30pm to 6.30pm Monday to Friday.

Down on the harbourside, Woky Ko Cargo is offering either chicken vermicelli noodles or edamame bean and sunflower seed yakisoba noodles plus a Tsingtao beer for £10.

And on Park St, just opposite the Wills Memorial Building, Woky Ko Kauto’s early-evening deal brings you a free beer, glass of wine or soft drink with any of the four ramen dishes.

For an idea of the dishes available, check out Woky Ko’s sample menu. And to read more of @cjcallaghan’s write-ups and reviews, nabber over to his Best of Bristol page and fill your boots.

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Behind the Scenes at Thatchers Cider

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I have a confession to make… I’m a cider snob. I like it dry or medium-dry, and cloudy – with the heady scent of fermented apples still brimming in the glass. The kind of cider that’s been greasing the wheels of agriculture and industry in Somerset for centuries. Not for me, the sugary, sweet, supermarket stuff… I’ll have a pint of real zider, and you can leave the twigs and leaves in, too.

Spanning four generations in the same family, Thatchers is our region’s most famous cider-maker – and their range of produce is broad. Although most of their ciders are slightly over-processed for my liking, they do still make cider the traditional way. I’d say a visit to their orchards at Myrtle Farm in the heart of Somerset’s cider country is a must-do for any cider-lover in Bristol.

Exploring the orchards

Image courtesy of Natacha the Franglaise

My recent visit began in the Thatchers Exhibition Orchard, where manager Chris oversees over 450 different apple varieties. The weather conditions in Somerset offer the perfect conditions for growing apples – with cold winters allowing the trees to lie dormant, and temperate springs promoting bee pollination and blossom-growth. True to form for this time of year, it was pissing with rain as we strolled among the lines of fruit-laden trees – but the apples like a little of that, too.

Hearing how Chris and his team fuse new apple buds to young root stocks to produce varieties like Dabinett and Jonagold was insightful, and his ability to harness the power of nature to produce the finest harvests made for fascinating listening. Our tour continued past the huge apple vats and ancient fermentation tanks to the state-of-the-art canning plant, and it was a joy to hear the various Thatchers team members share their passion for the product.

To the tasting…

Thatchers brought a selection of their lovely cider to Bristol a few months ago, so this was a fortunate second tasting for me. We sampled diverse brews including Redstreak, Old Rascal, Vintage, Haze, Katy, and more – each offering a different balance of scent and flavour to the last. It turns out Old Rascal is the team’s overall favourite Thatchers’ cider – a very fine drop indeed.

Lunch at The Railway Inn

Image courtesy of Bristol Bloggers

The Railway Inn is Thatchers’ local pub, with a broad selection of beers and ciders alongside a full menu of delicious dishes sourced, of course, from in and around Somerset. The pub has been lovingly converted from its original stone structure to a warm and welcoming space – with traditional snug, open bar area and stylish oak-beamed dining room. There’s garden seating for summer visitors, and a seasonal menu that makes the very most of the region’s natural produce.

Take a tour

If all this talk of apples and cider has got your taste buds tingling, you can find details on Thatchers’ guided tours and tastings on their website here. October is Cider and Perry Month, so now’s the ideal time to celebrate and support our local orchards and cider-makers. Harvest season is upon us too, so if you visit Thatchers there’s a good chance you’ll get to see the trucks arriving from across Somerset – their fruity haul ready for pressing.

If you head over, do book a table at The Railway Inn – it makes a good visit great. I can recommend the Thatchers Gold-battered fish and chips, and the sticky toffee pud hits the spot. Cider’s not bad ‘n’ all. Cheers!

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For more of @cjcallaghan’s reviews and write-ups, check out his Best of Bristol author page.

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Pata Negra Revamp Kitchen And Menu

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Pata Negra Steps It Up for the Autumn Season

Bristol’s proud independent streak is well-documented, and we’re lucky to have so many vibrant and exciting bars, restaurants and cafes to choose from in this city.

If you enjoy visiting and supporting Bristol’s varied independent venues, it’s likely you’ll have a list of places old and new that you’re just waiting for the right time to tick off.

The Ox on Corn Street had been sitting on my must-visit list for months when I went last month, and I was very, very impressed.

But from the style-savvy team behind The Milk Thistle and Hyde & Co, what else could I have expected?

Also on Corn Street, and also run by the same talented team, Pata Negra is another venue I’d been curious about for a while — but on those occasions when I’d peered in past the door, I’d never felt encouraged in. Despite the great location and classical décor, it somehow just didn’t feel tempting.

Fresh changes at Pata Negra

That’s all changed now. In the latest round of developments at Pata Negra, the kitchen has been brought up from the basement to take pride of place at the forefront of the room — and the difference is striking.

You step through the doorway to skilled chefs preparing delicious dishes in their new open-plan setting, with a fine haunch of cured Ibérico ham hanging from the wall.

Further towards the back of the room, welcoming window seats and banks of plush red-leather benches offer the perfect settings for intimate gatherings of friends.

A menu re-vamp for the autumn season

The engine-room of the restaurant is now fully on show, and a menu re-vamp has changed things up for autumn. Diners can expect seasonal twists on authentic Spanish classics alongside new dishes created to bring the best out of the kitchen’s open grills.

Meanwhile, the wine and sherry list showcases the best of the Iberian Peninsula — the perfect accompaniment to the delicious tapas dishes, fresh seafood and decadent desserts on offer.

For full details on Pata Negra’s refreshed autumn menu, head over to the website here.

For more of @cjcallaghan’s reviews and write-ups, check out his Best of Bristol author page.

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