Beets n Roots Cafe, Cotham Hill

Beets n Roots Cafe

There's nothing like a bit of sunshine to check your comfort food intake, so this week was a perfect time for Beets n Roots, self-confessed vitality cafe, to launch their new summer menu. Located on Cotham Hill, I have always associated this spot with delicious, nutritious food as when I first moved to Bristol it was Blue Juice cafe and was a regular stop off!

Today, with the beautiful sunken deck perfect for people watching and soulful tunes, Beets n Roots couldn't feel any more like a cool holiday hangout if it tried! The food is totally en pointe, as these days more and more people are conscious of eating more plant-based foods, and nutritionist Rosie Letts, has been brought in to help design and balance this new menu.

If you are a meat eater with vegan or vegetarian friends, this is the perfect place to go as you will not even question the lack of meat on your plate! If you are feeling the need to be energised after a heavy weekend or working flat out, Beets n Roots is your place. Whether you want to stop in and grab a smoothie bowl with luscious toppings or revitalise with a freshly pressed raw juice, like my beetroot juice, you will feel it doing you the world of good!

If you have a bit more time on your hands the brunch dishes like the 'All Mighty Breakfast' which includes flat mushroom, avocado on toast, organic baked beans, scrambled egg or tofu, roasted tomatoes and sauteed kale will certainly keep you going. If you fancy something a little more indulgent (and healthy too!) the buckwheat pancakes with banana, chocolate and maple syrup topped with coconut shavings and pumpkin seeds are definitely worth trying.... A-Ma-Zing! 

I'm heading back next week to try out the lunch menu, so I will add my findings here! I love the look of the loaded Miso soup, burrito bowl and the Beets burger bowl. But if you just fancied a wrap or buddha bowl they look pretty good too.

If you fancy trying out the menu for yourself, I'm offering you a chance to win a voucher which allows 2 people free brunch at Beets n Roots before the end of April, so enter here and the winner will be announced and notified on Monday! a Rafflecopter giveaway  




The Parlour, Bristol

The Parlour, Bristol

I am a sucker for a great foodie family story, especially if it's Italian and for sure if ice cream is involved!

On Thursday, I was kindly invited as a guest by Nick Licata and Socialight to attend the new dinner menu tasting at The Parlour on Cheltenham Road, Bristol.  I used to live close by 15 years ago and would've loved this independent neighbourhood restaurant ... last thing I knew this was a lighting shop!

The Parlour has been here for 2 years in its ice cream carnation but the family has been involved in selling and making ice cream since 1974, spanning 3 generations.  You may recognise the family name of Licata from the treasure trove Italian deli that is located on Picton Street, a fine Bristol institution. So rest assured the ingredients used in the dishes are truly authentic which Nick is very proud of, and rightly so!

With ice cream being a fairly seasonal product, Nick has been working on creating a dinner menu to compliment the ice cream aspect of The Parlour. He wanted to reflect rustic Italian food that is accessible for all and I think he has definitely achieved this. The menu has a selection of simple starters including scallops and king prawns; Equally a sharing antipasti board or some beautifully light homemade bread and huge, creamy green olives would keep you going till the mains arrive.

The beautiful walnut antipasti boards we tasted were meat or vegetable based and a great accompaniment with their house Merlot or Pinot Grigio.  The boards included fennel salami, Parma ham, aubergines, mozzarella to name a few and the most beautiful marinated, almost cured courgettes in oil and lemon.

I was pleased to see the other starter dish come out was the scallops!  I am a huge scallop fan, and these did not disappoint. Sweet scallops served with creamy celeriac puree, and those delicious lemony courgettes to offer a little palate cleanse.  Ours were served with an Italian 'chorizo' which was a little overpowering for me with all the delicate flavours but I'm pleased to see on the menu released it is usually served with pancetta. This for me would seem a lot more balanced and work better for the dish.

No Italian menu would be complete without a meatballs dish...a favourite for young and old. The Parlours combination of beef and pork mince, sage and garlic are served in a rich tomato sauce. With a note of warmth from black pepper, the meatballs were succulent and super tasty. Available as a starter in the sauce or with pasta as a main, I imagine this will be a crowd pleaser and a menu staple!

The main courses are divided between baked pasta, including traditional lasagne, aubergine lasagne or pasta bake of the day. The rest of the pasta menu covers pesto, carbonara, chicken, seafood and aforementioned meatballs!  So really there is something for everyone.  Vegetarians are catered for with tomato or aubergine based pasta, and vegans will be fine as long as they request their dishes without Parmesan or mozzarella.  The children's options are child-sized lasagne or tomato pasta which as 2 courses, they can choose a scoop of ice cream with toppings and sauces for £7. A great deal. The main courses range from £9.95 to £14.95 but on average expect to pay £11-£12.

Our main course dish was The Boar which is a meat ragu...with pork shoulder, wild boar and beef shin slow cooked in a tomato-based sauce. This is a meat lovers delight, the kind of dish my husband would be drawn to.  I really enjoyed the pork shoulder and wild boar but would have preferred the meat all pulled and within the sauce rather than in meaty hunks but that's just my inclination!

To finish I guess it would be crazy to go to an ice cream parlour without sampling the ice cream, so pudding is certainly going to be well catered for here! The Parlours ice creams are made with only 5 ingredients.  The strawberry ice cream is 25% fruit and each scoop of coffee ice cream is a shot of coffee! SO we are talking a totally natural product here, and Nick has created a great vegan ice cream base too. We were treated to the salted caramel ice cream, chocolate sauce and brownie sundae, which regular Parlour visitors will be familiar with.  If you're in need of an indulgent dessert then this is definitely going to check the box for you!

In a fiercely competitive city of restaurants, I think the parlour dinner menu can have its place.  The service from the staff who looked after us on Thursday was faultless and the two guys clearly have a genuine love for what they do, with character and heart. The Parlour is open at 7 pm from Wed-Sat and 12-6pm on Sunday.  I can definitely see this as a place to bring the family and as long as they keep these simple rustic dishes en pointe, the quality of service high and with a family focus...I think The Parlour is going to be a great solution for family dinner times!

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

Pinkmans Bakery

Pinkmans Bakery

I recently found myself a baguette short of a picnic as I walked towards our destination it wasn't looking good. As I passed Pinkmans Bakery I looked thru the window and hadn't realised that they sold sourdoughs and baguettes. Score! As I went inside it was like being in a French bakery...with beautiful patisseries and delicious sandwiches, as well as other delights to sit in and eat. I'd heard a lot of buzz about Pinkmans and now I see why! I will definitely be engineering another trip towards Park Street....possibly without the kids too  
Like or love Pinkmans? Let me know if you've been and what you would recommend! Lisa x


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

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.