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Ivy Clifton Brasserie Review

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ivy clifton

Ivy Clifton Brasserie

I dined at the Ivy Clifton Brasserie for the first time this week and I have to say, the food was pretty damn good. Not only was the food itself delicious, it was served with such care (silver ramekins, linen napkins, Italian glassware, smartly dressed/friending waiting staff), that you really felt like you were there for an experience, not simply a meal.

The unique Ivy brand is one with which most of us are familiar due to the infamous London establishment, and its more relaxed Bristolian sister eatery certainly does the culinary dynasty justice.

We parked in the heart of Clifton Village and headed over to the restaurant which can be found on the corner of Caledonia Place and The Mall, overlooking The Mall Gardens.

ivy clifton outside

We wanted to try out the £21 set menu which changes every 2 weeks. I’m often sceptical about set menus. Although they are usually quite good value for money, the choices are often limited and when you see your dining partner tucking into their a la carte feast, it can be somewhat of an anti-climax pour vous.

When I saw the options for the Brasserie’s set menu I wasn’t blown away (3 starters, 4 mains, 3 puddings) but the key to their success, it seems, is executing those couple of dishes to the nth degree and then mixing that up every few weeks.

ivy menu

As you walk through the rather grand entrance, you’re greeted by the beautiful (and enormous) pink and white blossom feature. There’s an abundance of chic and quirky paintings and photos as far as the eye can see. Dark wood panelled doors, light tan leather couches, plush blue velvet seats, candles on each table, vintage lamps, quirky tiled floors and the hum of jazz – right up my street. It’s cosy but light and airy, old fashioned but chic due to the colour scheme.

clifton brassiere inside

The orangery continues in the same theme but has tropical greenery hanging from ceiling features, white marble tables and a view of the small, pretty walled courtyard behind. As soon as we sat down, we were quickly greeted with menus and glasses of champagne. Now, that’s good service.

To kick things off, I opted for the seasonal soup with creamed cauliflower, crumbled Stilton, capers and parsley. The creamy, piping hot liquid arrived in a small sliver jug with the rest of the goodies already in a bowl. It was rich, but not too overwhelming due to the potion size and actually went down a real treat. The cheese and capers were unusual for a soup, but were a great combo.

soup

The hubby went for smoked mackerel rillettes with lemon pepper and granary toast. It was yummy but not for the fish faint hearted.

fish

For the main event I had the seasonal risotto with butternut squash, sage and goats cheese, with a herb leaf salad. This was the star of the show. OMG. It was seriously good. The risotto was creamy and rich with a whole slab of slightly molten goats cheese on top. The squash was crispy and sweet and the salad brought it all together.

main at clifton brassiere

Dave went for the steak with garlic butter and thick cut chips. The meat was full of flavour and the chips still had the skins on – our fave. We did feel the meat could have been rarer however.

Puddings were classic and excellent.

We shared a crème brûlée and silver bowl of vanilla ice cream with warm salted caramel sauce. The crème brûlée’s sugar crust wasn’t overdone or too thick. It was thin, slightly crunchy and the mixture beneath sweet and smooth. Now, I think I may have a slight addiction to salted caramel. So when the ice cream arrived with a jug – yes, a jug – of the stuff, I was one happy lady.

For £21, we were very impressed. The portions were just right, the food high quality and the chic ambience was spot on. You can catch the set menu from 11.30am-7pm.

We left feeling full, a little giddy and wanting another portion of dessert – #nomnomnom.

The Ivy Clifton Brasserie is open seven days a week and serves breakfast, brunch (Saturday + Sunday), lunch, afternoon tea, light snacks and dinner as well as cocktails. Last month, they also launched the ‘build your own’ waffle menu (Saturday and Sunday 11.30am-4pm).

Head to the website to find out more www.theivycliftonbrasserie.com

Instagram & Twitter: @ivycliftonbrass, Facebook: theivycliftonbrasserie

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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.

You ok there hun?

A post shared by Hell In A Cell (@hellinacellbris) on

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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