Review: Tapas Revolution, Bath

I was recently invited to review one of the newest editions to the Bath food scene, Tapas Revolution – brainchild of Spanish TV chef, Omar Allibhoy. He’s been dubbed the ‘Antonio Banderas of cooking’, so it was hard for me to say no to the offer.

I’m always a bit dubious when it comes to chain restaurants because it often seems that decor and marketing are top notch at the expense of the food, which is often flavourless and boring. Thankfully, Tapas Revolution is not one of those and I was very pleasantly surprised with the whole package.

Tapas Revolution, Bath

The restaurant

Located in Southgate opposite the Bath Spa train station, it has a really great position to greet passers-by and draw them in for a drink and a few bites. The decor is light and welcoming, with a few Spanish touches here and there. You’re eating in a modern restaurant with cultural roots that go back a very long time.

We were seated in a quiet corner booth so we had time to mull over our food choices. It was also a good spot to view the rest of the restaurant from (who doesn’t like to people watch!).

Drinks

We were offered water and then the waitress let us know that it was happy hour so quite a few drinks were two for one. I thought the drinks list was quite good, without being overwhelming.  A good range of wines, cocktails and non-alocholic options options are available, including some Spanish gins, which we decided to try. The Galician Nordes came out in a large glass with plenty of ice and a Mediterranean tonic – I learnt something new because I didn’t know there was more than one kind of tonic!

The food

After asking the waitress for her recommendation, we picked options from almost every part of the tapas menu. I tried to pick a few I’d had before as benchmark and some I’d never had to really see what was on offer. We tried:

  • Pan de la casa – toasted bread, tomato topped with garlic sauce and serrano ham
  • Croquetas de jamon – deep-friend Iberico ham and bechamel croquettes
  • Altas de pollo a la miel y limon – marinated crispy chicken wings with lemon and honey dressing
  • Albondigas en salsa de tomate – beef meatballs in a vegetable, tomato and white wine sauce
  • Chorizo a la parrilla – bread with grilled smoked sausage, piquillo pepper and cider reduction
  • Torreznos con mojo dulce – crispy pork belly with sweet and spicy sauce
  • Calamares fritos a la andaluza – squid strips tossed in flour, deep fried and served with alioli and lemon
  • Berenjenas fritas con miel – crispy fried aubergine with a spiced honey and thyme dressing
  • Patatas bravas – roasted potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and alioli

I’m pretty terrible with numbers and didn’t intentionally order so many dishes, but everything that came to the table was so different and really gave us a good idea of how good the rest of the menu is.

The standout dishes for me were the Chorizo a la parrilla and Berenjenas fritas con miel. The flavourful, only slightly spicy Chorizo was served on fresh bread that was fluffy in the middle and crispy on the outside and a lovely sweet cider reduction, which worked so well with the spice of the dish. The aubergine, was, as promised, crispy, sweet and a little spicy – having never tried crumbed aubergine, it was a really nice mix of textures and I couldn’t get enough of the honey. The only thing I wasn’t a big fan of was the crispy pork belly because there was so much cinnamon in the sauce and even though I like cinnamon it was a bit much for me – in saying that, this is me looking for problems!

My dining companion, despite not being a huge seafood fan, really loved the calamari and was singing its praises on the way home later.

Tapas Revolution, Bath

Tapas Revolution, Bath

Tapas Revolution, Bath

Tapas Revolution, Bath

The best comparison I have for Spanish restaurants are the ones I’ve been to in Australia and they tend to be expensive and the portion sizes small. So, it was with great surprise that we received huge amounts of food and couldn’t finish it all. I also thought the prices were very reasonable, even more so when you get delicious, good quality food.

Overall, I really enjoyed my evening at Tapas Revolution and I’m looking for excuses to go back to Bath so I can have dinner there again.

The details
Tapas Revolution, Bath
Mon-Fri: 10am – 11pm  | Sat: 9am – 11pm | Sun: 10am – 10pm
20a St Lawrence Street, Southgate Bath, Bath BA1 1AN
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Bristol’s Backwell House

One of the reasons I love living in Bristol is the number of stunning food options and importantly, so many restaurants and chefs using fresh, local produce. I love that people are so passionate about what is produced in the region – from cider to pork.

This is most definitely the case at Backwell House, a gorgeous, recently established boutique hotel in the North Somerset countryside near Bristol.  They have just launched a 40-cover restaurant where Chef Ross Hunter has developed a menu that focuses on local produce. So local, in fact, you’ll find that quite a few of his ingredients come from the Backwell Estate itself!

Backwell House

When I asked Chef Ross (who has worked closely with everyone’s favourite chef, Josh Eggleton) what he was aiming to achieve with his menu, he shared that it was about showcasing the produce. For him, choosing three to four stunning local ingredients and really making them shine is the most important thing to him. That’s my kind of philosophy. It’s all well and good spending hours creating foams and gels, but if you lose the fresh ingredients then you’re really just missing out.

The menu is very well priced at two courses for £29 and three courses for £35. It also changes regularly depending on what ingredients are available and in season.  Not only will you get to eat gorgeous food, you’re doing so in the beautiful countryside in a Georgian house (that’s the history lover in me talking!).

Pressed Backwell pork, new season peas, pancetta & tarragon emulsion was first off the ranks. Well-seasoned pork, gorgeous free peas and perfect crackling made for a brilliant starter. My esteemed dining neighbor, Alex (aka Gingey Bites) chose the Brixham crab, beetroot, apple, Nori seaweed, which not only looked stunning but was very tasty too.

Backwell House
Pressed Backwell pork, new season peas, pancetta & tarragon emulsion + potato gnocchi, wild garlic, calcot onion, hazelnuts

For mains, I didn’t want double portions of meat, so I chose the potato gnocchi, wild garlic, calcot onion, hazelnuts for something a bit lighter. Sadly it was underseasoned and the texture was not as light as I’d hoped. The onion was also too crunchy and undercooked for my taste. However, everyone else at the table sang the praises of the Cornish cod, Brixham crab bonbon, crab bisque, kohlrabi, pak choi and the 60 day Hereford sirloin, ox cheek, alliums, king oyster mushroom, beef jus. Alex said the sirloin was as soft as butter and very moreish.

Next, I had the strawberry cannelloni, meringue, Cheddar Valley strawberries – a little play on eton mess. I loved the mix of textures and the use of strawberries. Definitely something I’d eat again.

To finish off, we were offered some housemade petite fours, including raspberry and beetroot marshmallows, apple jellies and orange shortbread. I adored the marshmallows and was pleasantly surprised at how well the flavours worked.

Dessert
Strawberry cannelloni, meringue, Cheddar Valley strawberries + raspberry and beetroot marshmallows, apple jellies and orange shortbread

I enjoyed my meal and the setting in which I got to eat it. Chef Ross has put together an excellent menu and knows how to make the most of the ingredients he has sourced. I can highly recommend a lovely drive into the Somerset countryside to Backwell House for lunch or dinner.

About the hotel

I couldn’t not put something in about the hotel itself because I really enjoyed spending time there. On the outside, Backwell House is everything you’d expect of a Georgian House – well-manicured grounds and stunning views. But inside is a different story. The General Manager and his family have given the house a revamp with their own quirky (often handmade) touches. Like a suitcase sink and handmade bedhead – it’s kind of fun to look for the little things that make Backwell House so beautiful.

The common areas are comfortable and there’s plenty of space to relax with a drink from the handmade bar. The rooms are luxurious and I’m jealous of anyone lucky enough to stay there.

The details:
Menus start at £29 for 2 courses and rooms from £95 to £245 per night B&B
Email: enquiries@backwellhouse.co.uk
Phone: 0117 325 110
Web: backwellhouse.co.uk
Backwell House, Farleigh Road, Bristol BS48 3QA

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Be there or be square: Bristol’s Square Kitchen

Before we got to Bristol, we had booked an AirBnB in Berkeley Square (pronounced Bark-ley for my Australian audience). I had no idea what the area would be like and just hoped for the best. Luckily, it’s lovely little square in Clifton, a beautiful part of Bristol. On arrival, one of the first things I noticed were the restaurants in close proximity. Particularly, the aptly named Square Kitchen, part of the The Square Club.

When old meets new

Berkeley Square was laid out and built in the late 1700s, so it’s made up of beautiful Georgian buildings (which I love). However, when you walk into the Square Club it’s a very different feel, and in fact a pleasant contrast from the outside. Modern art adorns the exposed brick walls, and the furnishings are a mix of old meets new. You don’t feel like you’ve walked into a stuffy fine dining restaurant, but you still know you’re going to get some excellent food.

We began our evening with a cocktail in the underground bar. The Square Kitchen’s extensive drinks menu won’t leave you without choice and it took me a while to decide on what to get. In the end I chose a Caribbean Cosmo at £7.50. It was a sweet tipple, that really made you feel like you were at the beach.

Classic fare

We were then taken upstairs to the dining room where we were treated to a little amuse bouche of ham hock terrine with piccalilli. It’s one of those dishes I usually associate with old-fashioned food, but it was surprisingly light to eat (not just because of the portion size) and the piccalilli picked it up and stopped it from being just a boring piece of ham.


Head Chef Kyle Jordaan aims for a menu that focuses on seasonal ingredients and for good reason: when fruit and vegetables are in season, they taste better, and he makes the most of that.

My first course was deep-fried goats cheese, pickled beetroot carpaccio, garden peas and cider reduction at £6.50. For the price it was excellent. Personally, I get a bit confused when a menu says ‘carpaccio’ if there is no meat involved as carpaccio is thinly sliced raw meat with a vinaigrette, but I just went with it because I really like goats cheese.  It was a surprisingly rich dish – too much gorgeous creamy goats cheese is actually not as easy to eat as it sounds!  In fact, I’d perhaps recommend sharing it with someone because of the richness. Based on what my fellow diners ordered, I think the options are varied enough to have something different and go halves.

For the main, I chose my usual – pork belly. It was served with crispy squid, globe artichoke, white polenta, crispy capers, aioli and gremolata for £15.50. Overall, it was a nice dish, but I did miss the crispy crackling. It was obvious a lot of love went into the dish as each element was cooked really well. I also had some food envy when the assiette of lamb came out though as it really looked like it made the most of the different cuts and their various textures.

A sweet finish

Sadly, we came to the end of our meal. But not so sadly, that meant dessert. At the time we dined at Square Kitchen I was going through a rhubarb phase, so I couldn’t pass up the poached rhubarb, vanilla panna cotta, rhubarb consomme, almond clusters at £6.20. It was my favourite dish of the night – soft poached rhubarb that wasn’t too sweet, thin and chewy rhubarb straps (I assume dehydrated), sweet and luscious rhubarb soup and a creamy vanilla panna cotta to round it all out.  I was actually disappointed that the bowl had such a large lip because it stopped me from drinking the rhubarb – perhaps they do it on purpose.

A couple of my fellow diners chose the chocolate bomb and none of us were disappointed when the waiter came up with a perfect sphere of chocolate and proceeded to pour warm caramel over it to melt it. I do love a bit of showmanship!

Chef Kyle is taking some stunning ingredients and turning them in to excellent dishes. I can highly recommend making a booking and going for a celebratory meal in the modern meets historical atmosphere or perhaps a Sunday lunch with a few friends.

Details:
Square Kitchen at the Square Club
Opening hours: Mon–Sat: Breakfast, 7–9:30am; Lunch, 12–3pm; Dinner, 6–9:30pm | Sun: 12-4pm
Address: 15 Berkeley Square, Bristol BS8 1HB, UK
Phone: 0117 921 0455
Web: thesquareclub.com

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A Grand old time: Bristol’s Mercure The Grand Hotel

Being in the UK means I’ve had the opportunity to travel so much more. This means scouring travel websites looking for the best deals on flights, accommodation and tours in brilliant locations (and I’ve really spent a lot of time looking!).

Because my wanderlust usually takes me further afield, unsurprisingly, I often forget about what’s happening right here in Bristol. But, I know some of you don’t come from here and perhaps you’ve been thinking of visiting.

When I’m looking at hotels, people often say “it doesn’t matter where you stay because you’ll be out and about and you’ll spend very little time in your room”. I think that’s half true – you spend longer than you realise in your hotel room and the more comfortable it is, the better. I also think it’s nice to walk into a lovely clean room with practical features and nice things to look at.

I was recently invited along to Mercure’s The Grand to see their very funky makeover. I know this isn’t the 70s, but they really have done some amazing work with the refurbishment.

Located on Broad Street in the Old City, close to Broadmead and St Nicks’ Market, it’s the perfect place to base yourself if you’re in Bristol.

The building itself is gorgeous. I couldn’t find any history on the building itself, though it’s Grade II listed. When you see the outside, you imagine you’ll walk into something old world. But after the refurbishment, it’s now a stunning combination of classic and modern. You walk into the lobby and it feels bright, clean and modern, but it the old and new world compliment each other well.

Mercure The Grand, Bristol

Local artists

The team who designed the new look and feel of the hotel worked closely with Upfest to give the hotel the ‘Bristol’ feel. More than 500 pieces of art have been created by local artists. So often when you walk into hotels, they are bland and clinical, you could easily imagine yourself in any city in the world because there’s no art or even personality in the hotel, let alone the rooms. I think it’s brilliant that Mercure has taken the opportunity to make use of Bristol’s creatives to make the hotel something to write home about.

Mercure The Grand, Bristol - Art

Comfortable amenities

The rooms aren’t just pretty. They are practical too. The beds are amazingly comfortable and the bathrooms are classic and clean.

Mercure The Grand, Bristol - Room

Keepers Kitchen and Bar

As part of the refurbishment, the restaurant has had an even bigger makeover and it’s not your usual boring hotel restaurant. As you’ll see from the photos below, you’ll note that Keepers has a theme – honey! Their plan is to eventually have bees on the roof of the hotel, so they can use (very) local honey in their cocktails and on the menu.

Mercure The Grand, Bristol - Keepers Kitchen and Bar

Mercure The Grand, Bristol - Keepers Kitchen and Bar

Mercure The Grand, Bristol - Keepers Kitchen and Bar

Mercure The Grand, Bristol - Keepers Kitchen and Bar

Speaking of cocktails, they have a brilliant range on offer in the bar, including three honey-based cocktails.

Mercure The Grand, Bristol - Keepers Kitchen and Bar

On the food side, the restaurant has a solid menu to please everyone. We were treated to anti pasti, pizza, and small versions of mains from the menu, including mushroom pappardelle, pan-fried sea bass, glazed pig cheeks (my favourite from the night), and the Keepers posset made with honey, of course.

Mercure The Grand, Bristol - Keepers Kitchen and Bar

Mercure The Grand, Bristol - Keepers Kitchen and Bar

Mercure The Grand, Bristol is the perfect place for a staycation or if you’re just visiting, it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Details
Address: Broad Street, BS1 2EL  Bristol
Telephone: 08713769042
Web: mercure.com

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Bristol’s Wapping Wharf, have you been yet?

As a foodie who arrived in Bristol in October last year, one of the first things I heard about was the Wapping Wharf development with all the amazing independent traders, located behind the M Shed in the heart of the city. I went ahead and added a few places to my already growing list of must-try establishments, but didn’t get around to trying anything until recently. Luckily, I got to try five places in one amazing food and drink session with Bristol Bloggers.

Wild Beer Co

Wapping Wharf, Wild Beer Co

We started at Wild Beer Co‘s second establishment, a collaboration with Hook Restaurants – Wild Beer at Wapping Wharf. They have an insane 22 beers available – and they change fairly regularly so you don’t have to drink the same thing more than once, even if you go back twice a month! Obviously, their partnership with Hook means their food focus is on fish and chips.

Wapping Wharf, Wild Beer Co

We were delighted with a range of goodies from their menu, including their classic panko crumbed fish and chips (with one of my most favourite things – hand cut chips!), chicken tacos, vegetable tempura, and a massive fish sharing board, with a load of fresh seafood and fresh foraged goodies. Everything was light and easy to eat, and would match perfectly with so many beers (which is the point, right?).

Wapping Wharf, Wild Beer Co

Speaking of beers, there were so many to choose from I went with ‘Fresh’, a tangy pale ale as recommended by fellow blogger Dan. I only had the one drink, but I could easily go back for more. I asked the assistant manager what she would recommend if you could only have one beer at Wild Beer Co and she waxed lyrical about Sleeping Lemons. When I return I know what I’ll be choosing.

On a related note, Wild Beer have some cool fermaculture events and beer dinners. Check out their Twitter feed to stay up-to-date.

Details
Wild Beer at Wapping Wharf
Units 6-8 Gaol Ferry Steps, Bristol, BS1 5WE
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 12pm to 11pm; Sun 10am to 11pm
Web: wbwappingwharf.com
Phone: 0117 239 5693

Pigsty

Wapping Wharf, Pigsty UK

I had been hearing so many amazing things about Pigsty, particularly about their epic scotch eggs, so I was really stoked to be trying some porky goodies.

It’s located in the cargo part of Wapping Wharf, so it’s very small…or one could say it’s…concentrated. What I’m saying is, make a reservation so you don’t miss out.

Pigsty is the brainchild of The Jolly Hogg team, makers of tasty pork sausages which you can pick up in quite a few supermarkets. Given the feedback they have received about their products, launching a restaurant for the food-loving people of Bristol was the obvious next step. Pigsty serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a focus on local, RSPCA approved produce, and a menu that will open your eyes to the delights of all things pork (not that I needed any help, I love pork!).

Wapping Wharf, The Jolly Hogg, Pigsty UK

We were offered drinks from their range of local producers, including Wiper and True (I’m a fan of their pale ale!). Then the meaty offerings began – starting with their Pig Board, which can only described as a carnivore’s dream – perfectly roasted pork with stunning crackling, hoguettes (croquettes to everyone else) with baconnaise made with real bacon, a divine mound of pulled pork, one of their famous scotch eggs and salad (but you don’t make friends with salad). Eyes around the table got too big for their bellies on sighting this intense platter and it disappeared pretty quickly. Next up, we had more hoguettes, the Pig Mac burger and a Whole Hog burger (including that very fine roast pork and crackling). Unfortunately, by this point I was really full – as we all were – and I could only manage small bites of the burgers. I could have gone back for more if I knew I wasn’t continuing the food adventure.

Details
Pigsty UK
Units 1&2 Goal Ferry Steps, Bristol, BS1 6WE
Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 7:30am to 10pm, Sat 8:30am to 10pm, Sun 9:30am to 8pm
Web: pigstyuk.com
Phone: 0117 929 7700

Bristol Cider Shop

Wapping Wharf, Bristol Cider Shop

Even though I’ve only been here a few months, I have the impression that the Bristol Cider Shop is a Bristolian institution. I was really impressed with their range and with the fact that they only stock ciders that are produced within 50 miles of Bristol – now that’s drinking local.

The Bristol Cider Shop recently moved to Wapping Wharf so they could expand their offering. They stock more than 100 varieties of cider and perry (draught and bottle), plus other apple products like cider brandy, chutneys and vinegars, hampers, gifts and books. They also host cider tasting sessions at the shop, and tours so you can see the farms and meet the producers.

Wapping Wharf, Bristol Cider Shop

Our quick session at the Bristol Cider Shop started with some delicious mulled cider and a taste of some stunning cider brandy. You could probably spend an entire day at the shop trying the different brands and varieties – you’d go home really drunk and still not try half of their offering.

However, if trying a few ciders and learning a few things about cider in the process is your thing, their tasting sessions are for you. They do a range of sessions including:

  • Introduction to Cider
  • Specific cider types, such as their upcoming Welsh cider session
  • Cheese and cider sessions

In the short time I was at the Bristol Cider Shop, I didn’t need much convincing to attend a tasting session in the near future. Support local by drinking local, take a look at the sessions you can attend here.

Details
The Bristol Cider Shop
Unit 4 Cargo, Gaol Ferry Steps, Wapping Wharf, Bristol BS1 6WE
Opening hours: Tues-Sat 11am to 7pm, Sun 11am to 4pm
Web: bristolcidershop.co.uk
Phone: 0117 929 3203

Little Victories

Wapping Wharf, Little Victories, Small Street Espresso

As someone who isn’t into coffee, Little Victories didn’t pop up on to my radar before we did our tour. However, I’ve bookmarked it to take hubby in the very near future because I know he would love it.

Little Victories is the sister cafe to Small Street Espresso, which owners Chris and John set up in 2012 in the Old City area of Bristol. They had one main goal in mind – bringing great coffee to Bristol, based on the experiences they had in Melbourne (hooray, Australia!), London, Bath and beyond. As a first run, Small Street Espresso was set up on a tight budget with the coffee as the focus. This time around, after seeing signs for the Wapping Wharf development wanting independent traders, Chris and John wanted to create something a bit different and a little more decadent. From this thought, Little Victories was born – a laid back cafe/cocktail joint with clean lines, serving top notch sandwiches and cakes, a huge range of coffee and some super sexy cocktails. I won’t lie, it was a bit like being back at home in Aus.

Wapping Wharf, Little Victories, Small Street Espresso

We were lucky to try their espresso martini and their cold press negroni. As someone who doesn’t drink coffee, I couldn’t do the espresso martini, but I gave the cold press negroni a go – and it was gooooood. Their range of sandwiches and cakes are so good too! I can definitely recommend their lemon cake – supplied by Harts – so moist and tangy. They also have other tidbits from local producers, like salted smoked almonds which I could have eaten all day, and the biggest (and tastiest) olives I’ve ever eaten.

Wapping Wharf, Little Victories, Small Street Espresso

Details
Little Victories, Wapping Wharf
7 Gaol Ferry Steps, Wapping Wharf, Bristol BS1 6WE
Opening hours: Mon-Tues 7:30am to 4:30pm, Weds-Fri 7:30am to 9pm, Sat 9:30am to 9pm, Sun 9:30am to 4:30pm
Twitter: twitter.com/LittleVicsBris
Email:  hi@littlevics.co.uk

Chicken Shed

Wapping Wharf, Chicken Shed, EatDrinkBristolFashion

Our last stop on our Wapping Wharf adventure was the Chicken Shed, one of Bristol Chef, Josh Eggleton’s projects.

At the top of Cargo 1, Chicken Shed has a nice view of the whole development and is quite large in comparison to some of the other eateries downstairs.

Wapping Wharf, Chicken Shed, EatDrinkBristolFashion

They serve free-range, slow grown, GM-free meat from local suppliers, with the philosophy of ‘Happy chickens + happy planet = happy dinners!’. They aren’t your run of the mill chicken restaurant, because not only will you find filthy fried chicken options on the menu, you’ll find things like grilled chicken hearts and deviled livers. I think it’s great that they are aiming for a beak to foot approach.

We began our chicken feast with a seriously spicy Bloody Mary cocktail, made with horseradish vodka. This Aussie girl hasn’t had much in the way of horseradish so it was an interesting experience. Then the food came – deviled chicken livers, grilled chicken hearts on a bed of tzatziki and chermoula, southern fried chicken, spicy chicken wings, coleslaw, spicy fries, a green salad, and a range of dips from house-made aioli to fire-breathing hot sauce.
 Wapping Wharf, Chicken Shed, EatDrinkBristolFashion
I don’t know how we did it. But, we got through most of it. Even though we were very full, the food was excellent and it’s hard to stop when the food is good. Surprisingly, the pick of the night from was the grilled chicken hearts – really well-seasoned and stunning tzatziki and chermoula to finish it off. It was their special for that day, so I hope when you go, you’ll get to try it too.

Details
Chicken Shed
Cargo, Gaol Ferry Steps, Wapping Wharf, Bristol, BS1 6WP
Opening hours: Tues-Thurs 12pm to 10:30pm, Fri-Sat 9am to 10:30pm, Sun 9am to 6pm
Web: eatdrinkbristolfashion.co.uk/chickenshed
Phone: 0117 930 0260

I had a great time checking out what Wapping Wharf has to offer and it was great to meet some fellow food lovers and bloggers in the process.

Honestly, Bristol is a pretty lucky city to have such amazing independent traders offering such amazing food. I have this cool idea for a progressive dinner, doing a different course at each establishment. We’d have to roll home, but I know it would be so worth it.

I can highly recommend visiting each of the places above – each of them offer something different and each offer something amazing.

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Review: Lunch at Creole Soul Kitchen, Spring Hill

Holy moly.

When I started writing this post about three months ago, Creole Soul Kitchen was still relatively new on the scene in Brisbane and it had only been open a few weeks by the time I’d eaten there six times! Mostly because I went with a different person every time – the old, ‘I want to go, but I can’t go with you today, let’s go next week!’ dealy.

Given I’d been so many times, I thought I should write about it because clearly I enjoy it.

I’ve never really had a lot of Creole food before. While there a plenty of burger joints in Brisbane, there aren’t a lot of Creole places to eat (feel free to send me recommendations!), so something authentic and delicious can be hard to come by. I’m also super keen to get over to Lousiana one day – beignets, po’boys, gumbo, Jambalaya…you get the idea! I’m sure there some nice cultural things to see too…………….

Creole Soul Kitchen has creole goodies like po’boys (lunch only, get on that!), gumbo, salads, pasta and pizza. They are also licensed, with some American beers on tap! Since I left Spring Hill, they have added beignets to the menu and other delicious things too.

Creole soul kitchen

It’s a small establishment, making the most of the deck they built out the front. There’s loads of memorabilia from the South on the walls and the back bar. It kind of gives you the feeling the owner my be a tad homesick, aside from giving the place a Southern vibe.

Can I also say, the chairs are comfortable!! So often you go to a new restaurant and the chairs are horrible to sit on, which makes for an uncomfortable meal.

When speaking with the owner on the first day I went there, he was telling me that so many of the products they needed just weren’t available easily in Australia, so he resorted to making a few himself. For example, he makes the Andouille sausage he uses in his sandwiches, pizzas, gumbos etc. himself – the texture is a little like Chorizo, but the flavour is different. I love that he’s just not willing to compromise on the ingredients and flavours.

You can make your own pasta, with a range of sauces and other ingredients, which is awesome because sometimes the pasta dishes in some restaurants are a couple of ingredients off what you really feel like.

I’m actually dying to head back to Creole Soul Kitchen because I haven’t even tried half the menu. I’m no longer working in Spring Hill, so that does pose a problem, but I think I’ll get there for drinks on a Friday night soon.

creole soul kitchen

As for what I have tried. I’ve been a staunch po’ boy eater, particularly the Soul Burger, which is insanely filling and really tasty. It reminds me of something I’ve eaten before, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. That’s probably why I’ve had it more than once. It’s a fairly simple burger with meat pattie, salads, sauce and cheese on one of their soft long rolls. I’m a bit fussy about bread and their bread does it for me! I also enjoyed the Andouille sausage po’ boy, but I’ve never been a huge fan of tomato sauce on a sandwich.

If you do go to check it out, you must get some waffle fries. They have a range of sauces, but what you need to get is the garlic butter. The chips are deep fried and then finished off in a pan with garlic butter. The first time we had them, that’s how the owner described them to us and that’s exactly how they tasted. Holy moly.

Writing all this is making me crazy hungry, can someone please go back with me soon?!

The details
Creole Soul Kitchen
448 Boundary St, Spring Hill
Opening hours: Mon, 11-3 | Tues-Fri, 11-11 | Sat, 5-11
Web: facebook.com/creolesoulkitchen/

 

Karis Sign Off-01-01

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Review: Ambrosia & Co, Bulimba

When you’re a hop, skip and a jump from Oxford Street in Bulimba (or as I call it, east Brisbane’s foodie haven), and you’re a foodie- you get really excited when a new place opens.

This one in particular I have been anticipating the opening for a while. As I was observing the construction, I noticed it was going to be somewhere I would enjoy, the open bright decor is very inviting, and when I went inside I felt relaxed. There are cute little sail boats on the tables that you raise the sail on when you are ready to place an order!

As you probably already know, I’m a huge fan of Greek food, so having a Mediterranean Restaurant open so close to home is fantastic. Even more so, when the food is great!

So what did we eat? To start we shared Pumpkin sumac spiced yoghurt and pita, it was light and full of flavour (I was also stoked that my pita bread we made at our Greek Feast was spot on!). We scraped the plate clean!

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Then we had Saganaki cheese, fig and current glyko – one of my all time favourites! Saganaki is like a oozy version of fried halloumi, but oh so much better! This salty, oozy cheese was served with a currant syrup which cut through the saltiness, to give it balance. I could have eaten two!

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Next, was Lamb and Pistachio Kofta garlic and yoghurt dip, basil puree and flat bread. I really enjoyed this, the flavours matched well, the meatballs were juicy and we were left wanting more!

To share as a main, we ordered the meat paella – personally I would ordered the seafood, but my date is allergic to shellfish! It was still incredibly tasty, moist and full of flavour. I find getting everything perfect can be really hard to achieve in a paella, so this was love in a bowl.

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To drink, we shared the rose sangria, it was fruity, fresh and very tasty, the perfect accompaniment for our meal!

I’m already planning my next dinner there, although I just looked at their breakfast menu and it sounds pretty good too! So many places to eat, not enough meals!

The details:
Ambrosia & Co.
Shop 5, 180 Oxford Street Bulimba
Ph 3395 6333

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Review: Asana by Pete Evans, Brisbane

My day to day diet is very healthy. I don’t follow a set diet, it’s more that I try to use a variety of ideas from various chefs and nutritionists to give me inspiration. The paleo and sugar free recipes are some that I use quite frequently, but I can never seem to say no to that sneaky chocolate or ice cream as a little treat!

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In saying that, I often find it difficult to find a guilt-free restaurant. It’s all well and good to have a splurge every now and then (I think it also helps with our sanity!) but sometimes its nice to have a meal out and not be tempted by the creamy heavy pasta or sugar laden desserts, and now I’ll introduce you to Asana.

Pete Evan’s restaurant, Asana, is completely Paleo. Its a modern restaurant with a relaxed feel. Surprisingly, it has quite an extensive menu, so even if you are a little anxious about the paleo concept there are plenty of options to choose from!

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We had grass-fed beef carpaccio with fermented daikon, bonito, and wasabi mayo to start – it was light and full of flavour , the wasabi gave it a little kick, and the fermented daikon cut through with some welcomed acidity. My only issue was there wasn’t enough!

For Main we shared a sweet potato gnocchi with wild mushrooms, smoked almonds, red vein sorrel and tarragon (devine!), confit belly of Borrowdale pork with vanilla braised parsnip, pimentos de padron and smoked candy apple, and spiced cauliflower, pomegranate and mint salad. The gnocchi was heavenly, just as they should be- pillowy clouds from heaven and the mushrooms and whole mustard seeds gave it a whole different- yet delicious flavour. The pork belly was perfectly cooked, and the accompaniments matched perfectly. Lastly, the cauliflower salad was fresh and tasty.

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We also had a kombucha cocktail each. It was made on tequila and was very refreshing!

After all that food we couldn’t fit in dessert, so we will have to come back again because it looked amazing!

All in all, my date and I agreed that the restaurant was great, the service was a little slow but we soon forgave them after tasting the food! Asana: We’ll be back!

The details

80 Albert Street, Brisbane QLD 4000
Toll-Free: 1800 110 800 (within Australia)
Phone: +61 7 3013 0088
Email: reservations.brisbane@capribyfraser.com

 

What’s your favourite healthy place to eat?

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Review: Salt Meats Cheese, Surfers Paradise

Who doesn’t love a little weekend away? A random couple of days relaxing, eating, drinking and catching some sun.

Only problem is deciding WHERE to do all of the above. Hashtag first world problems.

salt meats cheese smallWe decided on Surfers Paradise, and on the recommendation of some friends, chose Salt Meats Cheese for dinner for one of the nights we were away. Now, as previously mentioned, I’m quite fussy about pizza. However, as I always do, I went with an open mind and wasn’t disappointed.

It was a pretty simple meal – we had some arancini to start and shared two pizzas between three of us.

Sadly, I was disappointed with the arancini because they weren’t seasoned well and I honestly could barely tell the difference between the three different flavours on the plate. Also, it came as a serving of five, which is kind of annoying.

However, the wood-fired pizza was delish. It took me a while to choose (somehow I always end up being the one to order everything, wonder why that is?) because everything sounded really good. We ended up with a Prosciutto (tomato, fior di latte, prosciutto, rocket and shaved parmigiano reggiano) and a Caramelised (tomato, fior di latte, caramelised spanish onions and fennel salame). Simple combinations, but so tasty. The bases were clearly fresh – soft, chewy, a little charred – and the toppings were just enough. If there was less, it would have been disappointing and if there was more, they would have been sloppy and unimpressive. As an added bonus, the seasoning was good!

I’ve been thinking about those pizzas since my dinner there. I think that’s a good sign!

The details
Salt Meats Cheese Surfers Paradise
10 Beach Road, Surfers ParadiseMonday-Friday: 9am – late
www.saltmeatscheese.com.au

 

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Review – Sin Vida

It’s always a challenge when you need to find a venue for a function that ticks all the boxes. Some of the requirements include; is the food good? Is it easy to find? Is there parking available? Can they cater for large groups? Are they flexible? Is it going to be fun?

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Well, Sin Vida delivered the goods!

Firstly, the booking process was a cinch. I went to their website online (and drooled over the menu) and made my request through the online booking system. Shortly after, I was greeted (which sounds so much sexier in Spanish ‘hola amigo’) by a very helpful team member, Ed, who went above and beyond to make this function a hit.

Ed suggested since there was a large group of us, to have a set menu, or what they call ‘La Fiesta’. We got a selection of their favourite dishes, and it meant everyone got to try a bit of everything.

I can’t believe I haven’t yet mentioned the Sangria! Anyone who knows me, knows I love Sangria, I even pride myself on my own recipe. I may have to have words with the barman, because his is better!Sin Vida 2

SO what did we eat?

– Guacamole and Sin Vida Corn Chips (corn chips were outta this world!)
– Quesadilla de Chorizo
– Quesadilla de Papa
– Chicken Wings
– Lamb Tostada
– Seven Chilli Goat
– Sides of Tortillas

I cannot wait to go back, because their tacos also sound to die for!sin vida 1

The details
Sin Vida
Address: 12/100 McLachlan St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
Phone: (07) 3625 0298
Email: bookings@sinvida.com.au

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