Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Flour and Ash - Review

This review comes with a bit of a prologue. Essentially it is the amalgamation of two visits to the same place over two consecutive nights. The reason is simple, the pizza is excellent the second is that we only ordered pizzas the first night and were then too full to order their homemade ice cream! It’s hard 'work' but someone's got to do it.


A few weeks ago I was following the live tweet updates from the Bristol Good Food Awards where Flour and Ash scooped the award for Best Pizza and runner up for Best New Restaurant. As luck would have it a week after the awards I found myself in Bristol and sitting in Flour and Ash. Based near the arches on the bustling Cheltenham Road in Bristol, the industrialesque d├ęcor of matte black walls, exposed pipe work, minimal light fittings and stainless steel topped tables is surprisingly inviting but that may have something to do with the fantastic smell coming from the wood burning oven which can be glimpsed roaring away in the kitchen.




The menu is concise we decided to go for the pea and mint dip with feta and nigella seed flat bread (£4.50) to share as a starter. The vibrant green dip sweet from the peas with a real hit of mint and then salty feta was a fresh and delicious start to the meal. The warm flat bread provided excellent transport for the dip. The waitress from the first night gave us a great tip in that there is more dip than flat bread which is cool because you can keep the dip to dunk your pizza crusts into.




Now onto the reason why Flour and Ash won the Best Pizza accolade at the aforementioned awards. We had in total over the two nights a classic Margherita (£8), a aubergine, grand padano, pine nut, basil and mozzarella pizza (£12.50) and finally the vegan no cheese option of capers, sultanas, pinenuts, basil and red onion pizza (£10). 




The first two pizzas where the finest pizzas I have eaten. A lot of this is attributed to the fact that the pizzas are made with a sourdough base which results in a base that is light, fluffy and full of flavour. No stodge here. The toppings screamed of quality and in fact I would be quite content with the basic margherita every time, just delicious. The aubergine pizza too was a great combination of sweet roasted veg, creamy cheese and crunch from the pine nuts. The last pizza however is a shocker. Capers and sultanas should never be on the same dish, ever!


As mentioned we came back on the second night because we had missed out on their ice creams. Delicious homemade ice creams with flavours ranging from dulce de leche to ginger and sorbets ranging from coconut to golden syrup! All displayed on chalk boards hanging from a rail which change regularly. We opted for the classic rum and raisin and dulce de leche ice creams. The rum and raisin ice cream was HEAVY on the rum but that was perfect for me. The real star for us was the dulce de leche ice cream. Essentially a condensed milk ice cream, heaven and diabetes inducing. Loved it.



Although we mainly had soft drink I did sample a cracking Small Beer from Wiper and True. The drinks menu looked pretty awesome too with a great selection of local beers and spirits (the Psychopomp gin made in Bristol looked very interesting). Also the wine specials on chalk boards looked like some cracking choices.



Service was welcoming and informal. A special thank you to 'Patch' for taking some snaps for me of the wood burning oven in action.

Put simply if you like Pizza (and who doesn't) you need to get to Flour and Ash as a matter of urgency. You deserve to taste how good pizza can actually be (apart from the vegan one).

Flour and Ash
Address: 203b Cheltenham Road, Bristol, BS6 5QX
Tel: 0117 9083228
Twitter: @flourandash


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Hang Fire Smokehouse and Pipes Brewery Collab.

Purveyors of awesome BBQ Hang Fire Smokehouse and craft beer maestros Pipes Brewery have joined forces to launch a new collaboration at their annual Pipes Micro Beer Festival.




Sam and Shauna from Hang Fire have joined up with Simon from Pipes to form the 'Triple Soda Co', producing a range of craft sodas made with all natural ingredients.




Shauna of Hang Fire said: "There seem to be so many unnecessary additives in the 'off the shelf' drinks. We wanted a soft drink that's as natural and local as our barbecue." 
Partner, Sam added: "It's been amazing fun developing new flavour profiles together and I can't wait to see what people think of the flavours."
Simon from Pipes added: "It's great when you can get together with dynamic people to make special projects like this happen. We plan on launching a full range in the coming year - so watch this space, as they say!"

Their opening offering is a zingy Lemon and Ginger Mash soda, which will be available for this weekend’s festival goers to get a first taste. People can enjoy it straight from the bottle, or renowned mixologist, Ericka Duffy, will be using it to create some innovative cocktails.



I personally think this is a great idea with so much scope for imaginative flavours like a hibiscus and lime flavour. It is also very inclusive of those that don't drink alcohol but do not want to be consigned to the run of mill soft drinks. Bravo ladies and gent!

Details on where and when the soda will be available are to be released soon via hangfiresmokehouse.com and www.pipesbeer.com

Tickets for the Pipes Micro Beer Festival have now sold out.

Images and details courtesy of Cowshed Communications.

Burger & Lobster Cardiff - Lunch menu

Last week Burger and Lobster in Cardiff departed from the minimum £20 spend on food and officially launched their new lunch menu. This menu exclusive to the Cardiff branch is designed to get more folk through the door during the day and at £12 it is a tempting proposition. 
On offer is a smaller version of their famed £20 burger, a delightful sounding lobster nicoise and finally an indulgent lobster mac & cheese. 


Cinio means lunch in Welsh - nice touch.


Having been invited to try some of these dishes at a recent #tanktalks event I can vouch for the lobster nicoise. Half a lobster (steamed in my case) served on top of a well assembled nicoise salad. To me the ultimate summer dish. The lobster was perfectly cooked and having the opportunity to compare steamed and grilled lobster side by side, steamed wins every time. 



As someone who is not massively into burgers (shock, horror!) and has not been taken up by the recent fever pitch interest in burgers within Cardiff, my verdict on their burgers can be summed up by one word, immense. If the small version tastes as good as the full size one then it is £12 well spent. 
As for the lobster mac and cheese, I like mac and cheese and I like lobster but cheesy lobster I'm not sure and will have to try it before I pass judgement. 

Full size version of the B&L burger


Lobster mac & cheese with the lunch time burger in the background

The lunch menu runs weekdays only from restaurant opening to 5pm. Personally I think £12 for the above dishes is reasonable to spend on the quality of product you get, but it may not be something you do very regularly. That and it requires you to be in the centre of town during the week. If it was extended to the weekend then that would be brilliant and certainly would see far more people through the door. I've always liked Burger and Lobster and in my opinion it is one of the coolest restaurants in town. Good food and drink (cocktails are killer), great atmosphere and fantastic staff and service. So if you have been thinking about going to see what all the fuss is about then the new lunch menu might be right up your street. Want to know a little more about Burger and Lobster Cardiff? Here is a link to my previous blog post when it first opened  Burger and Lobster Cardiff - Review.

Burger and Lobster Cardiff
Unit 2, 9-11 The Hayes, Cardiff, CF10 1AH
Tel: 02920 224044
Web: burgerandlobster.com
Twitter: @burger_lobster