Friday, 20 April 2018

The Cuban, Bristol

A couple of weeks ago I popped along to a blogger event, hosted by Socialight at The Cuban, just off Millenium Square. Socialight are an upcoming website and app that aim to connect Bristol restaurants to local bloggers to collaborate together. Such a useful platform to help build a good relationship with the food scene!

Ok let’s get back to the best bit- FOOD! And cocktails of course.
We started the night with a Mojito masterclass, one of my go to cocktails when I’m struggling with choice. Perched on our stools at one of two of the main bars in The Cuban, we watched in awe as the barman whipped up multiple cocktails in quick succession. Such a pro! 

Following on from the mojito, we got a taste for Havana and were served a few more rum cocktails such as the Tormenta Negra and the Hasta MaƱana. Blimey, I was going to need feeding fast before I tipped off my stool!

Hurrying to our (huge!) awaiting table, we were promptly sat down and received a warm welcome and intro from manager Ellie. We were to choose a starter and main and any choice of drinks on the house. 
I noticed from the start that this menu was very meat heavy! Unless you’re happy with a simple salad, I’d say this place isn’t very vegan or veggie friendly. I’m not too clued up on my knowledge of Cuban cuisine so I’m unsure if this is just how they eat! It did however have gluten free options.
For my starter I went for the Boquerones. I absolutely love fish and the saltier the better so it was a no brainer for me. 

These silky little fishes were brined to perfection. With the added garlic to give it kick and parsley to lift the flavours. The seaweed buttered crouton was delicious and complemented the fish perfectly. Such a great little dish that was rich enough to satisfy without adding heaviness, leaving plenty of room to go heavy on the mains. Which I certainly did! 

Opting for the belly pork was a wise decision. Served in a smoke filled cloche to add a theatrical element (I’m not overly convinced it added anything to the flavour of the dish) I loved the tender slab of meat. It was filling and cooked to perfection, the top fat retained some crispiness, the layer fat was melt in the mouth without any clagginess and the side of chorizo added that salty, smokey element. I really enjoyed the addition of the silverskin onions and the little pot of sauce but felt the bed of cassava really let the dish down. Oversized wedges that I found hard to wash down and left an overly starchy aftertaste. Maybe if the cassava was served in some other way, fries perhaps, then it would of been better. 
After our meal, the server kindly brought over a selection of desserts for us to try such as white chocolate panna cotta. I’m not a massive fan of puddings but did try them all and favoured the poached pears. I was however, relieved to see that they hadn’t gone down the safe/boring route of adding brownies to their menu, which seem to be everywhere right now. 

Throughout our meal we enjoyed a live band, Noche and Cubanna. It was such a lovely touch and really gave the restaurant a great atmosphere. If I shut my eyes hard enough, I could almost pretend I was on holiday! Almost. The Cuban have live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 8pm
For more info on The Cuban, head over to where you can find what’s on or sign up to their newsletter to claim your voucher for a mojito for just £3

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Sunday Lunch at The Florist, Bristol

This time last week I headed down to The The Florist, Park Streets newest face on the block. Occupying the former home of Goldbrick House, this restaurant is visually beautiful. Set over 3 floors, The florist not only offers fantastic cocktails and restaurant but also regular weekly DJ sets, cocktail masterclasses and floristry workshops. I’m returning to try these out myself so keep your eyes out for my next instalment.

With copper garden-like detailing such as mixer tap lamps and pipe work, flowers and greenery hanging from just about everywhere- Wisteria covered windows, laden floors and hanging flowers on the ceilings- this is a floral enthusiasts dream. Obviously silk flowers are not a patch on the real deal but let’s be honest, no one has the time or money for being that extra! 

I was fortunate enough to invited down to sample the cocktail menu and Sunday lunch. 
Upon entering, I was shown to the ‘create your own Bloody Mary’ station. Now, to say I was somewhat apprehensive is an understatement. My only encounter with this Marmite of tipples was a metallic tasting, watery thing that was passed off as a drink some years ago. The staff at The Florist needed to convince me pretty well to give these another chance at winning me over. And they succeeded pretty damn well! I opted for the spicy variety. With spiced tomato juice, plenty of vodka, added chilli and pepper and rosemary, this Bloody Mary was delicious! Verging on a spicy gazpacho, I was a new fan to this way of drinking. 

Once I had finished this cockle warmer and was joined by fellow friends, it was time to try the impressive cocktail menu. 17 pages to be exact! With an extensive list of gins, classics, modern takes and botanical focused cocktails, I was eager to try as many as I could. 

First was the Hibiscus Margarita (£7.95) with the black pepper highlighting the punchy notes of tequila and pink grapefruit 

Second cocktail was the Balloons of Jasmine (£7.25) Delicate in flavour that was not dissimilar of sweets, from the mix of brandy, peach juices and egg white foam

Heading up staircases adorned with flowers, the first floor was beautifully decorated with large flower murals on the walls. The large Victorian windows and high ceilings filled the room natural light. The Sunday lunch menu was impressive, with a good range to choose from and include both vegetarian and vegan and gluten free options. 
Being the ridiculous carnivore I am, I went for the Rotisserie roasted Ridings Reserve premium English beef (£13.95) with horseradish cream and the usual trimmings

The beef was cooked to perfection. With a deliciously delicate smoky flavour and melt in the mouth soft. The horseradish cream was possibly too subtle for my liking. The potatoes were fluffy in the middle and not overly crispy on the outside which is a shame as for me, that makes the best kind of roastie. Vegetables were tender and well seasoned and I think the generous Yorkshire pudding perched on top speaks for itself! 

For dessert, I went for the heaviest option there was- I have no idea why, I was already struggling after the food as it was- Lemon Polenta cake with Mulberry sorbet

The cake was heavy yet moist with the top almost soaked with zesty lemon juice. The lightness of the tangy mulberry sorbet gave it some lightness and the addition of the toasted coconut and black pepper gave it an extra bit of texture, which although was nice, it was not really needed. 

So what do you order when you’re fit to burst? That’s right, another cocktail. I’m not even sorry! 

The Geranium and Lychee Cooler was undoubtedly my favourite of all the cocktails I tried. I’m a massive lychee fan and this was summer gardens in a glass. It was unfussy, refreshing yet so effective. Perfect for ending a wonderful lunch. 

I’m not ashamed to say that I was bowled over by the interior design of The Florist and I’m all too aware that the appearance alone doesn’t equal success in the restaurant world. My lunch, although was offered in exchange for a review, was, in my opinion, great value for money. There was no long waiting times which given how busy they were, I was pleasantly surprised. Food was of great quality and I wouldn’t hesitate to return or recommend. 

Topsy Curvy Mermaids Don’t Have Thigh Gaps

There’s nothing more I love than a big, snuggly, warm sweatshirt that I can lounge around in. This one from Topsy Curvy at Lovedrobe is just perfect. There’s not much I can write about it that you wouldn’t expect from your average sweatshirt other than the fact it is super soft. In that classic sweatshirt jersey fabric and soft and fluffy on the inside, it’s a wardrobe must have. And I just love the cute slogans. Mermaids Don’t Have Thigh Gaps is just so cute. I may not be a mermaid but I sure have no thigh gaps!

You can find this here x

Topsy Curvy Side Popper Trousers

Remember back in the 90’s where side popper trousers were the new thing? I had this hideous bright blue pair by a big sports brand and they were shinier than a shiny thing. There was one incident of me catching the side of the said trousers on the bus, full of school friends, and the entire leg popped open to reveal some less than cute granny pants. I was mortified!
Fast forward 20 years and here I am again, but this time I’m embracing the fully exposed legs and feeling sexier than ever. Of course, the beauty of these fabulous Topsy Curvy trousers from Lovedrobe is that they are not made from that shiny, cheap material. And of course can be worn safely done up for that more practical look. These trousers are tapered to the leg, which is such a hot look with a pair of boots or heels. Or you could undo a popper or two and wear with trainers for that more relaxed look, lending a nod to the 90’s trend. Did I mention that they also have pockets?! 

You can these here x

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Beehive Coffee House, Bristol

I’ve recently discovered The Beehive Coffee House in Downend, Bristol. Having seen a suggested post pop up on Facebook, I had been keeping an eye on this little shop for over a year before finally deciding to head over one cold morning. 
Now, I’m not a big fan of milkshake, or any milk based drinks really but I am a fan of a gimmick. No surprise there, really. I especially love over the top, faddy foods so I just HAD to go, even if I wasn’t going to order a milkshake- or freakshake in this case- myself.
Walking through the door, it was clear that this place was not only well known but loved! A 15 minute wait for a table was needed and to be honest, I didn’t really mind, nor did my family. There were sofas to lounge on, newspapers to read and colouring books to keep my 5 year old distracted. And we loved watching the fish in their little aquarium.
Scanning the menu, the names and description of each shake made deciding on just one and almost impossible task. With each freakshake containing wafers, sauce, donuts and crazy flavour combos, it was clear to see why The Beehive Coffee House was shorlisted for ‘Best Coffee Shop’ by the Bristol Good Food Awards.
We settled on the Freak of the Week. A maple syrup flavoured milkshake topped with a waffle, donut, candy bacon, pretzels and sauces in condiment bottles. My daughters eyes lit up once she saw this beast coming her way! 

Tilly baffled us with how much she managed to put away. She quite proudly patted her tummy after demolishing the freak of the week, leaving just a smattering of sweets, half a donut and a slurp of milkshake. Much to the disappointment of her dad, who was hoping he could finish up what she couldn’t! 
Of course there’s much more on offer other than milkshakes. With staple brunch options, light lunches, homemade cakes- inc gluten free and vegan options- and specialty coffees, they had something for every taste. And for the mega fussy, how about a unicorn hot chocolate?!

I opted for the delicious Croque Madame. Rich cheese and ham toasted sandwich topped with yet more cheese and a fried egg. The salad garnish was a welcome addition to lighten the dish. One of my favourite go to comfort foods on a cold day.

This is their latest vegan creation, complete with a vegan cupcake on the side. Amazing!! 
You can find directions, contact details and a gallery full of mouthwatering dishes over on their Facebook page here

This was not a review post. This was my own account of my visit and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Mission Comfort; Chaffree Review

You’d expect to see anti chub rub reviews pop up nearer to summer, when underwear shorts are needed as the days get hotter and that dreaded feeling of chafed thighs begin. But I’ve surprised myself in finding that I’ve worn them just as much during the winter.
I discovered Chaffree Knickerboxers shorts just before Christmas and really wanted to test them out. Not only as an anti chaff solution but as an all rounder pair of knickers that I’d actually get use out of on a weekly basis. 
As a bit of a scrimper/bargain hunter, I initially thought that £18 for a single pair of knickers/shorts was a little steep but I think I’ve actually changed my mind on that. So not only are these shorts designed to stop the rubbing that so many of us endure- summer or not- they are made with COOLMAX®️ which is a performance fabric to keep the skin cool and dry. 
I don’t know about you, but when I get my period, I suffer with irritability and often bloating. It’s never nice having a pair of uncomfortable knickers digging in to your tummy, so these shorts were just perfect for such times. They sit nice and high above my stomach, are extremely stretchy and I could wear them under a T shirt around the house without feeling overexposed.

I not only found these perfect for wearing under my dresses- without the need for tights or knickers- because these are essentially just big pants, afterall. But also in the fact they are seam free. So unless you were actually feeling my body, you’d have no idea! 

These Chaffree Knickerboxers came in handy to wear under my popper seam trousers too. 

You can find the full Chaffree range here for both men and women in briefs and shorts.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Happy Bird Bristol

Last week I was kindly invited to attend the pre opening launch of Happy Bird, Clifton Down’s newest offering. This chicken restaurant prides itself on using only the finest and freshest of ingredients, whilst being incredibly healthy, it still feels a little naughty! The restaurant itself has that on trend urban/faux industrial feel but with the addition of clean stark walls and neon lighting. Very American diner circa ‘86

I started the evening with a much needed cocktail. Punchy, summer flavours from this rum punch was just what  I needed after a day at work. 

We took our seats to ready ourselves for the first round of dishes for tasting. Two beautiful crunchy salads, topped with grilled chicken and halloumi. These were definitely the more healthy option, full of kale, baby leaves and cherry tomatoes. And a portion of honey and chilli glazed chicken wings that were super sticky and tasty although in my personal preference, I do prefer my wings to be a little more cooked and crispy. 

Feeling a bit too healthy and ‘veggie’, I was craving a decent bit of chicken. Afterall, this is what I came for. Then I spotted the trays of food and I couldn’t be happier! 

With individual trays loaded with the best part of the entire menu, we chomped our way through chicken tenders, a portion of skin on dirty fries (light cheese sauce and fresh chillis), a small bowl of spicy rice, a super plump and crunchy drumstick, housemade dipping sauces and a buttermilk fried chicken thigh burger. Nice!! So let’s talk about this chicken. It’s clear from first bite that this isn’t your usual cheap, low quality chicken you’d find in your local fast food chains. The chickens used are free roaming, fed on corn and herbs and are grown for longer, resulting in the most superb meat, both moist and flavoursome. And Happy Bird have really mastered that herb/spice/crunch combo that we know and love. I’d say that the menu was a little out of my price range for what you get (around £10 for a chicken burger and fries) but if quality is what you’re after, then look no further. Burgers- both fried or grilled, could also be pimped up with added extras such as bacon, cheese or avocado etc...and with 10 homemade sauces to choose from, you can really create your own unique burger. Prices around £1-£1.50 for added extras.
We finished our meal with an off menu exclusive- the chicken salt-ed caramel milkshake. Yep, you read that right. Flavoured with ground, salted chicken skin, this was a milkshake like no other! Very rich and a little ‘meaty’ with vanilla notes. 

You can find Happy Bird on Whiteladies Road, right by the Clifton Down Shopping Center entrance, offering both dine in and take away options.