Le Poivrot

Le Poivrot

LE POIVROT
I am not sure who I felt sorrier for.... Me sitting on a table with a manager who works for my husband. Or for him sitting with the bosses wife, on a Tuesday night with 7 courses plus wine flight ahead of him! Being that he kindly requested my invitation recently at the launch of the new autumn menu launch at Le Poivrot..... the latter!

In the old joke shop between the BRI and Colston Hall, this area is not a natural destination for most. Yet, one well worth making the journey to. Le Poivrot, in the backwaters, screams French Bistrot. However, by their own design with a fresh approach and modern wine. With understated, stylish decor I imagine Le Poivrot will create its own vibe. Certainly, it promises beautiful food and wine.

The new Autumn menu on first glance showed many seasonal ingredients. Quince, figs, wild mushrooms and leaves from the Severn Project, made for a promising start. Once seated our introduction was a rich duck terrine served with quince. With delicate floral notes, toasted hazelnuts and served with an aromatic Arbois Chardonnay. It was a strong start! Followed by a beetroot and goats cheese salad, with a creamy and light goat cheese mousse. Non-goats cheese fans would not be overwhelmed with sour/goaty flavours. Elevated with earthy, pickled baby beets and candied walnuts for sweetness and texture. Paired with a US Reisling, with fruity tones and beautiful velvety honey.

Next up was a French classic that I have never actually tried! Steak tartare. Not served in a traditional sense Le Poivrot describes this as their signature dish. Coarsely chopped steak with fine cornichons brought acidity amidst the rich confit yolk. Peppery radishes and sharp caperberries contrasted and topped off with generous truffle dusting. The red wine match for this dish was my favourite for the evening. A classic blend of Carignan, Grenache, and Syrah grapes. Aged in concrete vats for 6 months, giving a juicy, red fruit profile and very drinkable!

As we progressed and becoming increasingly full we did not lack enthusiasm! Next up was subtle flavoured partridge. Served with sweet baby parsnips, plump, ripe juicy blackberries and earthy sprouting broccoli. The wine match was not one I could personally quoff on its own as it was bold. Yet, with this dish, the Bordeaux blend came into its own. Finally, it would seem unfair not to mention the bavette frites. Highly flavoured, this loose textured cut was perfectly seasoned and accompanied with frites. Beautiful community initiative The Severn Project, Bristol salad leaves completed the dish with a Bordeaux Superieur. Delicious.

I wish Alisdair and Richard all the best in their endeavors at LE POIVROT. Hoping it brings as much success as Redlight. Thank you for hosting me at your Autumn menu launch. The menu is spot on and look forward to stopping in again soon!

Square Food Foundation Dinner and Demo

SQUARE FOOD FOUNDATION LEBANESE DINNER AND DEMO

I was recently invited to a 'Taste of Lebanon' demo and dinner evening, hosted by the Square Food Foundation at Spike Island Café.

My first introduction to Barny Haughton and his decades of work in the Bristol food scene was 10 years ago, not long after Bordeaux Quay had been opened. I attended a bread making workshop in Redland, when I met Claire (pictured right) and I asked her how I could do what she was doing and she promptly invited me to come check out the cookery school ....and the rest is history!

In my years working at BQ, some of my loveliest memories are of assisting Barny on classes like Provincial French cookery and learning LOADS! Things that I still cook to this day. It was such an awesome place to work being around food lovers and cookery heros past and present, Stein, Blunos, Floyd, adventure literature writers and the Lido Spa and Restaurant, Freddy Bird of Saturday Kitchen fame, post Moro. Fun times.

As the evening started, Barnys talked of his continued work in educating in fork to plate cooking and eating and how Square Food reaches out to under privileged groups around Bristol, to ignite and inspire a love for food. Evenings like this enable Square Food to fund their work, so I was pleased to see such a big turnout.

Firstly we saw prepared handmade halloumi...which looked surprisingly simple and tasted amazing, with a slightly different texture to shop bought versions (less squeaky!) Barny also showed us how to make a simple roasted spiced sweet potato dip, babaghanoush and made a spiced flat bread in minutes in front of our eyes! Thankfully after this part of the demo, we got to try the dishes and they were delicious!!

The main course, Lebanese style slow cooked shoulder of goat, had been simmering away all day. With cumin, coriander, cinnamon, all spice, cardamom, black pepper and nutmeg, the goat had a lovely hum of spice and worked beautifully with spiced greens and saffron rice, doused with fruity pomegranate seeds.The meat was so tender and the spices balanced perfectly. Vegetarians were treated to a Maghmour, which is like a Lebanese moussaka.

For dessert, keeping with the seasons and what was abundant, we had spiced apple compote with lavender shortbread. Crumbly biscuit with sharp, sweet, cinnamon and clove spiced apples, punctuated with sweet, plump raisins.

The bar was well stocked with organic gin, selection of cider, ales, beer and of course, some well researched Lebanese wines. The atmosphere was jovial and relaxed, and as my first visit to Spike Island Café I could see its potential for parties, pop ups or meetings. With an organic, seasonal and locally sourced menu, I can see it's the kind of place I'll go back to as they keep cookery books well within reach! If you'd like to try their food and you're on Park St, they also run the The Folk House Cafe & Bar

The next event is on November the 2nd for a Day of the Dean Mexican feast! It's £25 for a 3 course dinner and a great way to support the amazing work Square Food Foundation provide.....or if you fancy skilling up in the kitchen click on the Sqaure Food FB page for their masterclass list or a voucher for Christmas!

Thank you for hosting me and your hospitality Square Food Foundation and look forward to popping into the cookery school soon!

Mesa Tapas and Bar

Mesa Tapas & Bar

Last weekend, Grandma was in town and we took an opportunity to sneak out for some dinner but didn't feel like venturing too far. In the past we have loved a bit of Tapas at Manna on North View, which has recently changed to Mesa Tapas & Bar....so we decided to give it a try! We were pleased to learn that Mesa is still under the Prego Restaurant & Bar umbrella with a revamped, compact menu and refurb with draped pendant lamps, booths and a central table giving it a stripped back cool vibe.

Initially, it seemed appropriate to try the cocktail menu, especially as some of the staff are experienced mixologists....so I started with a Montenegro Spritz which was a welcomed change to an Aperol Spritz. The Amaro Montenegro has an interesting blend of bittersweet, herbal, floral and fruit notes, and well regarded as a 'craft' liqueur. I was also offered the opportunity to order off the cocktail menu too. We also tried the tempronillo which was medium bodied red which was a great food accompaniment.

We started out by ordering the piri piri prawns, mesa pickles and the chorizo and tortilla pinxos, all a fantastic start with our drinks. Further along, we really were drawn to the pulpo a la Gallega, which is a beautiful Galician braised paprika octopus dish which is then browned and served with potatoes. The octopus was super tender and a pure delight! Along with that, we had some Padron peppers which are a great addition or just good on their own, and also some Syrian lentils with cumin yogurt...which were made even more delicious with the paprika potatoes mashed in for a thicker finish!

With a little room left, I ordered a Tarta de Santiago, a Galician almond cake with notes of orange. Hoping to have it all to myself, I was disappointed to have to get 2 folks, as Mr Fuss Free Foodie (who is a Bakewell tart fan!) realised that this was frangipane style heaven! I think I will need to return just to right this wrong!!

All in all an excellent evening, helped along by knowledgeable, down to earth staff with a side order of humour! We look forward to coming back again soon!
Have you been yet? Please show some love or likes if you fancy going too Lisa

Buttermilk and Maple

Buttermilk and Maple

I was invited last week as a guest to the opening of newly launched Buttermilk & Maple which is located on Welshback in the Mercure Brigstow Hotel. Showcasing their brunch menu, I was welcomed warmly by the front of house and seated in the stylish yet relaxed restaurant. The idea is mixing a vibe of Melbourne cafe culture with NYC nightlife which to me looked great for daytime and evening eating and drinking!

Brunch is available until 4pm, and has something for everyone... from English breakfasts to chia fruit bowls. With many egg-based dishes, there are some great vegetarian options, and my favourite being an opulent poached truffle eggs dish served in a skillet; A fondue of Gruyere cheese, truffle cream and sauteed mushrooms with giant toasted sourdough soldiers... it did not disappoint! It was definitely my dish of the day!

There was a great choice of benedicts with kale, spicy pastrami or lobster, my favourite being the pastrami, helped by the 'oh so light' homemade buttermilk biscuits (savoury scones). If you wanted to keep it more simple there is avocado, dukka and poached eggs on sourdough toast, classic maple bacon sandwich, french toast, granola or pancakes. Although they do not have a children's menu, a half-sized portion can be requested or just some eggs on toast.

Dessert ranged from seasonal crumbles, sundaes, doughnuts and carrot cake....of which I tried the latter. Made onsite it was deliciously light and a great balance of cake vs frosting and spices vs sweetness.

The main courses are available from midday until 10 pm which looks fabulous too, not to mention the selection of in-house baked bread, salads and snacks. These will go alongside the extensive drinks menu of craft and draught beer and cider, gins, cocktails beautifully..... and the fiery bloody Mary could serve as an awesome hair of the dog!!

Thank you to all the staff at Buttermilk & Maple for hosting me last week, I think you have crafted a beautiful menu to cater for all tastes in a relaxed and stylish environment and wish you well .....I look forward to trying out the dinner menu very soon!

Which dish would you try? Remember to let us know if you've been or want to go!! Lisa

Fujiyama Japanese Restaurant

Fujiyama Japanese Restaurant

Japanese food is never highest on my list when eating out…let’s just say San Fran, white wine and a mistaken identity between wasabi and avocado c1997 🙄

So being invited out last night to Japanese Restaurant Fujiyama Bristol UK I thought….why not, that was 20 years ago. So I was started off with a delicious miso soup with tofu, seaweed and spring onions. Great start, and to follow came a steady trail of delights: The tuna and salmon sashimi was beautifully fresh and I took it easy with the wasabi and ginger 😁. Then on sticks came pancakes stuffed with squid, which were amazing, but the piece de resistance were the soft shell crab rolls. They were out of this world! So it seems I may be converted…and with attentive service and plenty more options to try….I am certainly going back!

Which Japanese restaurant would you recommend near you? Remember to share your recommendations or show a little love for mine! Lisa 

Wild Beer Company

Wild Beer Company

Had a chance to pop back to Wild Beer at Wapping Wharf this week for Mr FFFs bday! With the sun shining and prime seats in the deckchairs the kids seemed pretty happy (win no. 1!) and we settled into a 'running with sceptres' larger from Bristols Lost and Grounded Brewers:Very nice too.

Whilst the kids happily tucked into their fish and chips, we anticipated the fish platter feast: Calamari, fish tempura and fish in panko crumbs, smoked salmon, samphire and prawns to name a few. We just about finished it all and it was thoroughly enjoyed! So if you find yourselves harbour side this summer and fancy an excellent variety of draft beers (and gin and wine too!) and some delicious food, I would recommend a stop off at Wild Beer! Let me know what you think! Lisa

Pasta Loco

Pasta Loco

I 'm sometimes reticent to go out for pasta as it is one of those fuss-free things to do at home, but Pasta Loco Bristol OMG: This was another level!

Far from the pasta my Nonna used to make this is pasta elevated. Rich, indulgent and full of flavour. We started with the salt cod fritters, which were light as a feather on a tasty pepperonata, with rich aioli and studded with capers, washed down with an Aperol spritz! Great start! Then backed up it up with beautiful caserecci pasta in a thick Norma (aubergine) sauce and goats cheese and linguine carbonara with pork 3 ways. The belly pork was stunning, moist, slow-cooked pork, and crispy skin and stunning salsiccia sausage with subtle fennel flavours. Delicious! The hype I've heard about Pasta Loco is duly justified, and with attentive, personal service, I look fwd to going back and encourage you book and visit! Let us know what you think! Lisa

Bravas

BRAVAS

Last night we walked past Bravas Bristol and seeing people eating the little plates was too much to resist. We stepped in and sat in the window for a pre dinner drink and tapa. When the best seats in the house became available behind us we jumped in knowing full well that we would not be moving from the end of the bar all night. The first bottle of wine was ordered! Donkeyjote...a medium bodied Garnasha....soft, fruity and easy to drink!!! The food was fabulous. Freshly prepared to perfection. The calamari and baby shrimp with aioli were tender and crispy at the same time. The mussels with potato and aioli...salty, sweet and fresh and the cucumber, fennel and pomegranate salad was refreshing and clean. The list could go on! Basically, if you want to feel like you are in Spain with a vibrant ambiance and a great buzz you must go!! The service was spot on too...clearly a well established team who worked in an effortless flow together 5*
PS. Amazing Gin menu too...a must for next time....final red wine bottle count:undisclosed!

Kuch

Kuch

Awesome lunch today at Kuch, Whiteladies Rd with Mr. Fuss Free Foodie....highly recommend beautiful dips and taftoon bread, amazing peasant lamb stew (Deezi) with pickles and lamb kofta. Call in and see Ghullam and say the Fuss Free Foodie sent u! 
He used to own Rucola on Apsley Rd and invented their delicious Blackstone Eggs dish...they used to get thru over 720 eggs a week! His son in law runs the Souk Kitchen which occupies the site now....a talented family!!

Wapping Wharf: The place to BS1

Looking for somewhere new to go with friends or family with a foodie vibe that champions Bristols independents in BS1? Nestled amongst Bristols finest, Wapping Wharf is a new, exciting development by the water, next to the M Shed, the Matthew and the SS Great Britain. Welcome Bristols first retail yard made of shipping containers, offering something for everyone, day and night!

Keeping in line with Bristols vibrant and growing food scene, the Wild Beer Company, Pigsty, the Cider Shop, Little Victories and the Chicken Shed are leading the way: Located along the Gaol Ferry Steps, the new pedestrianised area links South Bristol to the city, via Gaol Ferry Bridge.

You want more great news? Phase 2, will see two more storeys of shipping containers behind the M Shed open by the Summer. They will host even more independent food outlets and retailers!

So, on a wet Sunday at the end of January, I was more than happy to be invited to join a small group of Bristol Bloggers to attend a food showcase with the aforementioned retailers; Putting a spotlight on what they can offer you, the good folk of Bristol.

Starting out, we met at The Wild Beer Company; A Somerset based brewery challenging people to drink beer differently! With a choice of around 22 draft beers (also bottles and cans) they are certainly doing that. But don't worry, with the help of an extremely knowledgeable team, they are happy to guide you if your are not sure what to drink.

I sampled a variety of what was on offer, and even on a wet Winters day, I thoroughly enjoyed supping a refreshing pale ale with a tropical flavours called POGO. I can totally see myself drinking this harbourside in the Summer months, along with SLEEPING LEMONS which has a zingy, but warming taste.

If you fancy trying a stout masquerading as a pudding you must try MILLIONAIRE! Using cocoa nibs for the chocolate and caramel flavours and Cornish Sea Salt for the salted element, this was delicious! I would definitely like to come back for a food and beer tasting to get truly acquainted with more beers (£15), which they run fortnightly!

Food at Wild Beer also really hit the spot. Collaborating with Hook restaurants, specialising in a 'new-school' take on fish and chips. We sampled a beautiful fish sharing board of smoked salmon, fresh crab, haddock in panko crumbs, sea bream in lemon and basil tempura, truffle mayo, pickled seaweed and samphire....DELICIOUS! As well as offering fish in panko crumbs and chips, sides and child sized portions too!

A dash across the road from Wild Beer Co, is Pigsty who offer an amazing range of piggy treats to eat in or take out. Pigsty is part of the Bristol family business The Jolly Hog, who have years of experience with hog roasts and sausage making. In house head chef, Nick Bowden, is doing an awesome job and clearly passionate about Pigsty!

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can find Clifton Coffee, bespoke bread from the Proper Bread Company. They have a great selection of drinks too including, Hunts Cider, Wiper and True beers and independently imported wine: My Wiper and True IPA was a perfect match for the food Nick prepared for us.

Not to be missed when you stop in, is the brilliantly named Pig Mac....which is a perfectly seasoned pork patty, slow roast BBQ pulled pork, cheese, baconaise (a mayo made from rendered bacon!) with house coleslaw. WOW!

More piggy delights can be found on the PIG BOARD, which has a plethora of treats! The Whole Hog, (slow roasted pork belly with crackling), apple sauce and slaw, scotch egg, hoguettes (pork belly croquettes), black pudding and apple sausages, pig mac patty, BBQ pulled pork and chimichuro dressing. If that's not enough, feel free to add skin on or sweet potato fries, and an avocado and lettuce salad. Phew. Walk along the harbour anyone?!

Now what goes best with pork? Apples! A quick skip in the rain 2 doors up and we are at....the Bristol Cider Shop greeted by Davinia; The aroma of mulled cider and a wall of over 100 different ciders, perry and brandy was a beautiful thing!

Formerly at the Christmas steps, the Cider shop are enjoying their new location. With more space brings opportunities to host Cider tasting events, including Welsh ciders, cheese and cider tastings, using the Bristol Cheesemonger cheeses. The latter I definitely want to try!

Whilst warming up and drinking mulled cider we learnt how all of the producers are from within a 50 mile radius of Bristol, using 100% fruit; Which certainly shows through in the clean, apple profile of the ones we tried.

The Cider Shop are definitely catering for a wide market, being a vegan and gluten free product, offering cider with fruit and herbal blends and 20 litre cider boxes for party sized catering!!

Next stop up on the corner was Little Victories, which is the sister venue of Small St. Expresso. Meeting John, the co-owner of Little Vics, he expressed his passion and the importance of being in an independent focused location and using Bristols best independent suppliers. This gives a really great vibe and atmosphere to Little Vics.

A friendly, relaxed and welcoming place, Little Vics serves amazing house and guest coffees, from Clifton Coffee, tea, cakes and wonderful sourdough sandwiches with bread supplied by Harts Bakery.

From Wednesday through Saturday, they stay open late and the skills turn to cocktail making! I can truly confirm that they are out of this world and my cocktail drinking days are long gone! Expresso martinis, cold brew negronis and Bristol distilled psychopomp G&Ts: The two former we sampled and were a delight with giant Gordal olives and deep fried almonds.

Our final pit stop, up above Pigsty, was the Chicken Shed, where you will eat the cleanest dirty fried chicken you can find!!

With proper beak to feet eating, the main staples are the Southern fried chicken pieces, chicken in a bun and house chicken Kiev: But if you are up for some more challenging eating, you can certainly try something new. I can thoroughly recommend the devilled chicken livers, hearts and mushrooms on toast and the special when we were there, chicken hearts with tzatziki and chermoula sauce: Shockingly good!

Obligatory sides, which have a place (least not in your 5 a day!!!) slaw, salad, chicken crackling, fries and an awesome selection of Upton Cheyney Chilli sauces. Drinks certainly did not disappoint either, a must try is the fieriest of Bloody Marys using horseradish vodka.... a winner to drink at either end of the day!

I'm not sure on leaving Wapping Wharf whether my full feeling was from the massive amounts of beautiful food and drink we had sampled (probably); Or whether it was from the brimming pride at what our wonderful city is achieving in the food stakes at the moment (definitely).

Wapping Wharf is going to add another dimension to the quality of life of Bristolians who thrive on these kinds of independent lead areas: For me, I can see Wapping Wharf being a place I will go with the girls, my husband or out as a family. That's no mean feet to cater so well for all....and in my opinion everyone so far is getting it spot on.  Love you WW!

For more blogs, recipes and recommendations, follow my fuss free foodie life in pictures on Instagram, or Twitter or join the Fuss Free Foodie Facebook group. Lisax

PS. If you want to see what we got up to in a 49 second video click below! Thanks to fellow blogger Jenni Sheldon at Travel to recovery.