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Browns New Menu Review

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browns food

After a cool refurb and fresh menu redesign, Browns Bristol has really pulled its socks up.

Browns had always been a reliable eatery. Now however, with its chic art deco-meets-modern interior design and elevated cuisine, it’s a real culinary destination rather than a one-course pit stop.

Old black and white photos of the city adorn the high walls; the colour scheme is black, white and slate grey, with vintage emerald and mustard green booths/comfy chairs. Dark wooden floors and tables keep things cosy; whilst the giant mirrored mosaic behind the bar adds a touch of glamor. For those of you – like myself – who are big on ambient lighting, there are candles and an abundance of funky metal lamps throughout.

browns mirror

The dining area is vast and the bar area becomes relatively packed by 8.30pm, but that’s not to say you can’t have an intimate meal. In fact the many levels, alcoves and tucked away areas mean you often have your own little ‘zone’ to call home for a few hours.

Now for the best bit… da food.

I asked the hubby if he’d come along with me to check out the new menu. As you can probably guess, I didn’t have to ask twice. We got dressed up, hopped in a taxi to town and came away wanting to do the whole thing over again.

The wine list is fairly extensive and suited to all tastes. We opted for a Cave de Fleurie Beaujolais. Light, silky and supple with floral and berry aromas, it’s one of our all-time favourites.

To start, we went for the whole baked Somerset camembert which came with warm toasted bread and tomato/rhubarb chutney. We are big cheese fans. In fact, in our circle Dave’s nickname is ‘Monsieur Fromage’, so this went down an absolute treat. It’s not for the dairy faint hearted however. It is a WHOLE camembert after all. Why did it work so well? So often you order this dish or it’s served at a dinner party and the cheese isn’t quite ‘there’ yet. It has to be molten throughout and this was. Yasss.

cheese at browns

If you think that was enough to start, you’d be wrong. British mussels in a white wine, garlic and parsley sauce were also up for the tasting. A good plate of mussels or ‘moules’ is a fairly fool proof test for a restaurant I reckon. If done well, they are beyond delicious – hot, flavoursome and comforting. If badly executed i.e. cold, not freshly cooked with little or no sauce, they are pretty inedible. These were the former I’m glad to say. The portion is also pretty ‘main’ size, so you certainly aren’t being ripped off.

mussels

Other tempting options include beef carpaccio with parmesan crisps, pea shoots, and a tarragon/lemon mayonnaise as well as asparagus and prosciutto ham served with a poached free range egg and hollandaise.

For the main event, Dave went for the roasted lamb rump that came with potato gratin, crushed minted peas and red wine jus. I continued along the seafood front and opted for the whole grilled lobster which came with garlic and parsley butter, avocado mayonnaise and fries.

The lamb came pink, as requested and as it should be. Again, an extremely generous portion arrived and the eating was indeed as good as the looking. Thankfully, the potato gratin – another risky customer – was moist, punchy with garlic and soft. So dreamy.

lobster

My lobster was delicious. The only qualm? I wish there had been more. I adore lobster but when you get down to the nitty gritty, there isn’t much real meat to enjoy. But that’s the nature of the beast… or shellfish. Still, the flavour was all there and it wasn’t overcooked (easy to do).

Portobello mushroom tart, pork belly, fillet steak and pan fried sea bass are also available.

They say you should always save the best until last (in all things) and in this case, that old adage rang true. Dave picked salted caramel profiteroles which took us straight back to childhood and our parents’ dinner parties. Also, who doesn’t love salted caramel?

desert

But the star of the show was the chocolate brownie. It came hot, with honeycomb ice cream poised on top and Devon cream toffee sauce.

chocolate brownie

Desserts don’t come more indulgent or delicious than this one. We are big bakers and dessert eaters (sorry not sorry) and we both said this was one of the best puds we’ve had for a while. If you’re on a diet, stay clear. My view? Worth it even if you are.

Browns location: 38 Queens Road, Clifton, Bristol, City of Bristol, BS8 1RE

Browns website: http://www.browns-restaurants.co.uk/restaurants/southwest/bristol 

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The Time I Beat Bristol’s Scariest Escape Room

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Hell in a cell Bristol

I’m put in many a tricky situation exploring the very ‘Best of Bristol’.

Usually up high, scaling buildings and cranes (#antimitchclimbs), but I didn’t think it would result in being locked in a prison cell with a psycho killer called Pig Face (pictured above). Welcome to Hell in a Cell, ay?

Now for some of you reading, Hell in the Cell will make you think of wrestling but I can promise you this is scarier than when Shane McMahon jumps off the top of that cell.

Probably..

Hell in a cell Bristol

The rather terrifying Pig Face.

Hidden beneath the old Crown Courts on Bridewell Street, within the cells, this has been dubbed “Bristol’s scariest attraction”. And so in the interest of research I took on Pig Face, and lived to tell the tale!

I can’t actually give away too much of the game, because this is an escape room and that just wouldn’t be cricket, would it?

What I can reveal though, should give you a taste of what to expect.

Hell in a cell bristol

You don’t know what you’re getting yourself in for until they handcuff you and throw a bag over your head..

Like any escape room, Hell in a Cell Bristol sets players challenges that they have to complete. Perhaps the first challenge is not backing out after you’re handcuffed with a sack placed over your head.

It’s then trying not to cack yourself as you’re led into the pitch black cells, where you know you’re not alone, but you can’t quite tell what’s there.

It’s that lovely fucker by the name of Pig Face.

Pig Face is reasonably fair at this point and allows you an hour to make your escape. It’s go time!

Oh, and all your belongings have been taken off you, so you can’t use your phone torch or ask Siri for help.

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You ok there hun?

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What I will say is that you bond pretty bastard quickly when you’re scrambling to find light and remove your handcuffs. I was with my good friend Colin Moody, but with three other people I did not know, and we came out of it with an unwavering sense of camaraderie.

That probably explains why this Bristol escape room has proven so popular with corporate clients in the city. Hell, it’s proven pretty popular with all but one reviewer on a popular site that rhymes with whip chastiser. That person claimed it wasn’t very scary. Ooooooo sorry ‘ard.

The game itself was challenging, terrifying and fun (if you like being scared). It will most certainly fill you with adrenaline and leave you in need of a celebratory drink if you do make it out.

This is NOT for the faint hearted. I don’t scare easy, and if you’re like me you won’t feel a sense of fear, but you’ll definitely be made to jump. Nobody is immune to that.

If you do scare easily, go to the bathroom beforehand. Or don’t, these are real holding cells so you could always have a pee in there..

Fancy it? Then click here to book.

Tag us in your psycho selfies on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook if you take on Pig Face

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Sampling The Lesser Known Ciders From Thatchers

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Thatchers Cider

Despite the recent rain, bbq season is upon us, and no camping trip or garden gathering is complete without a few ciders to sweeten the deal.

With honey notes and a golden colour, the medium-dry Thatchers Gold is the flagship cider from one of Somerset’s oldest cider makers – and it’s a great go-to cider on any occasion – but Thatchers Cider have been producing and pressing apples in the Somerset village of Sandford since 1905, and their selection these days is broad.

Thatchers Cider

Thatchers Katy, the 7.4% single variety cider well-known to Bristolians who want something a bit stronger than Gold or Dry..

An introduction to Thatchers Cider and Pasture

To showcase the full range of their cider offerings, the Thatchers Cider team descended on Pasture – the stylish new bar and restaurant near St Mary Redcliffe – last week.

With butcher Sam’s enthusiasm for local produce and Thatchers’ chief cider-maker Richard Johnson on hand, it was the perfect pairing.

Thatchers Cider

Thatchers Redstreak, a multi-award winning cider with accolades such as Supreme Champion at International Cider Challenge 2017, and World’s Best Sparkling Cider at the World Cider Awards 2017.

Richard introduced us to the Thatchers Cider story – starting over 100 years ago with farmer William Thatcher making cider to help pay his workers, and ending with William’s great grandson Martin (the current managing director) overseeing Thatchers Cider distribution throughout the UK. In between tastings, Pasture’s Sam talked us through the menu selections he’d made to bring out the best in the ciders chosen.

Thatchers Cider

Cured duck breast with juniper and orange marmalade, on a chai cracker.

Food and cider pairings

The Thatchers team opened with Katy, a light and softly sparkling cider made from Katy apples, and with it came Pasture’s scallop ceviche with pickled gooseberry and lime – the delicate seafood working beautifully with the light, bubbly cider. There followed five further mini-courses, each paired with a different Thatchers’ cider.

The meaty steak tartare with oyster mayonnaise met its match in Thatchers’ Old Rascal – a peppery 4.5% cider made with Tremlette and Somerset Redstreak apples for a bittersweet flavour. And Pasture’s short rib croquettes with delicate gochujang aioli balanced nicely with the bold and beautiful Thatchers’ Vintage – an oak-matured 7.4% cider with fruity aroma and crisp flavour. 

Thatchers Cider

Pasture’s Signature Short Rib Croquette with gouchong aoili and nasturtiums.

It was a great chance to try lesser-known Thatchers ciders you don’t regularly see in the big supermarkets, and clear to see the thought Sam had put into the food pairings he chose.

Thatchers Cider

Thatchers Family Reserve, a sparkling Somerset Apple Wine that rediscovers the recipe for champagne cider originally created by William Thatcher in the early 1900s.

If you’d like to give a few of Thatchers’ lesser-known ciders a try, take a look at the full range and buy online here. And for more details on the flame-grilled offerings over at Pasture, check out their website here.

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Bristol’s Biggest Food Festival Is Back

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Bristol Food Connections

Bristol Food Connections 2018 is nearly here, so it’s time to plan your festival!

Bristol Food Connections is one the highlights of Bristol’s food calendar, with a ridiculous amount of events (130 at the last count!) taking place across the city from 11-17th June.

It’s a fairly huge festival, covering everything from growing your own food to huge gala dinners and talks on sustainability. We’ve decided to break down what’s happening and pick out a few of our favourites from this year’s programme.

Bristol Food Connections

Booze it up

There are plenty of ways to hit the hard stuff (and find out more about it too)…

See more of Bristol

With events dotted in every far flung corner of Bristol, now is the time to get out and explore!

  • World Food Passport (All week, £8)
    Taste your way around the food businesses of Gloucester Road, collecting stamps as you go (or you can also do a guided food tour of Gloucester Road that week too).
  • Behind the Scenes of a Gin Distillery (Sat 16th, £25)
    Head out to Thornbury for this special tour of 6 O’clock Gin’s distillery to find out more about how their delectable spirit is made (with plenty of tasters along the way, obv).
  • Shroomshop (Sun 17th, £30)
    Get some hands-on tips about mushroom cultivation at this workshop in St Werbs.
  • Thyme Trail (Fri 15th, £15)
    Visit various vendors in Wapping Wharf, hearing the stories behind the businesses and getting tasters as you go.
  • TimeZone: Eat Your Way Around the World (Sat 16th, £4)
    Try a range of international cuisine in Easton, including Jamican, Indonesian and Spanish.
  • Eco day at Hartcliffe City Farm (Sun 17th, Free)
    Try your hand at pond dipping, searching for bugs and other activities.

Bristol Food Connections

Educate yourself

It’s not just about filling your face with food, there’s plenty of opportunity to learn a new skill or hear some interesting perspectives on the food we eat too:

Fantastical feasts

Some seriously special dinner events from well-known chefs and local producers…

  • FUTURE: FEAST (Mon 11th, £25)
    Star Trek meets Come Dine With Me in an ‘immersive dining experience’.
  • A Summer’s Feast (Fri 15th & Sat 16th, £30)
    The next generation of Bristol chefs serve up a seasonal feast.
  • It’s a Bristol Ting! (Sun 17th, Free)
    Celebrate Bristol’s Jamaican community with rum & jerk chicken at Lakota.
  • Chocolate Gala Dinner (Mon 11th, £35)
    A special dinner to kick-off festival week, with all 3 courses featuring chocolate.
  • Summer Dine & Vine Feast (Thu 14th, £30)
    A three-course tasting menu paired with bio-dynamic wines.
  • Homegrown Collective Supper Club (Fri 15th, £35)
    Three-courses of local, seasonal food accompanied by music.

 

There are also loads of free talks and demos at the Festival Hub (next to Watershed) throughout the week, so it’s worth stopping by to see what’s on!

 

See the full Bristol Food Connections Programme

 

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