Ronnie's: In Thornbury
I couldn't put this in a Thornbury page as the location doesn't exist. Thornbury is a small town about 13 miles from the centre of Bristol and is served by a few bus routes.
We visited early November 2012 for our anniversary. Going inside and the look is modern, there's a bar and restaurant area downstairs and another seating are upstairs. We were sat upstairs where there's a lot of exposed brick and candles, I like that the food was served in interesting containers; different glass bowls, slate and lovely wooden boards.
Waiters were attentive and helped us decide on our desserts too!
Favorite Dish: I had Cured Salmon, crab, orange and lemon mayo £8 to start and my boyfriend had potted partridge with toast. Both were lovely, I liked the jelly on top of his partridge, served in a Kilner jar.
Main courses were Partridge, white fowl sausage, girolles, smoked fondant potato and madeira jus £17 for me and Venison Loin, ox cheek & risotto fritter, red cabbage, sweet potato and patty pan £19 for him. And again delicious they were too, how did they get the smoked flavour in the fondant potatoes I don't know but it tasted brilliant.
We had just enough space for dessert so I had Vanilla Panna Cotta with trio of stone fruits and plum gel £6.50 and he had Ronnie’s Bread and Butter Pudding with apricot glaze £5, a very light and fluffy dish so not like the heavy home made versions. Mine was lovely, I really liked the stewed fruits in a cinnamon stew, mine also came with a mini cake and toasted pancake tuille.
To drink there was a good selection by the glass, I had a lovely rich red that made my nose go all stuffy! My boyfriend had a fresher sangiovese.
- Food and Dining
The Villager: Homely, local and tasty
From the outside it looks a bit like someone's home but with larger windows. Walking in there's a mini-bar and a few tables and chairs, it instantly feels warm and cosy and non-corporate with lots of ecelctic decorations. We visited on a Friday evening in early November (2012) and the fire was on so we chose a table close-by.
A feature you see less and less now is that it's bring your own wine with only £2 corkage which was very handy, my boyfriend was driving and I don't drink much so it was handy to take the not empty bottle home.
The waitress was friendly and took our coats and gave us the menu and specials board.
My boyfriend had been before and didn't like the choice of sauces on offer with his steak so the chef came out and offered to cook whatever he wanted (red wine and mushroom) which he said was brilliant. A lovely touch.
Favorite Dish: I had crab and watercress risotto for a starter and my boyfriend had devilled kidney with toast both from the specials menu and they didn't disapoint. The kidney was very rich in a creamy, gravy sauce and my risotto was lovely and moist with nice lumps of crab meat.
Our mains were slow cooked pig cheeks for me and stuffed chicken breast for him with shared vegetables. My pig cheeks, well you didn't even need teeth to eat them they were so soft! Cooked with fennel and other vegetables made it a really different flavour. The side dishes were buttery, creamy mashed celeriac, crunchy roast potatos, red cabbage with raisins and green beans.
I was far too full to order dessert so had a peppermint tea but my boyfriend ordered Chocolate “Cup” filled with Yoghurt and Orange Cream, served with Ice
Cream and a bit of home-made toffee which was lovely.
The chef / owner came out to have a chat to another couple and we all got talking about local food, their business (going for 29 years), the food we'd eaten and it was lovely. Really interesting to hear about their specials which sell very well as specials but for some reason when put in the main menu don't sell as well. How they make everything themselves and try to buy local where possible, how they were picking the herbs from the garden a few hours ago.
I really enjoyed it here and would love to come back. It cost £45 for the both of us.
- Food and Dining
A Costas coffee shop: Unecessary and unwanted.
The Gloucester Road, as noted elsewhere, is a fabulous streetfull of shops. Butchers, bakers and candlestick makers: purveyors of things you would never buy for yourself but make excellent presents (mostly tasteful and imaginative), a good selection of charity shops, and all the cafes you could shake a spoon at . All human life is here, and chainstores are scarce.
Since I'm not generally in the market for a coffee so close to home, I rarely patronise any of these (so no tips...yet, but all the ones I have used are good: they have to be or they go bust.) It's competitive, and the last thing the place needed was a representative of one of the ghastly chains of American-style 'coffee' shops. When it was announced that some stupid businessman with a complete lack of imagination and no understanding of the locale had applied to the council for planning permisson to open a Costas, my heart sank. For fear of the libel laws I will not say that the council is a hotbed of cronyism in this mason-ridden city: all I will say is that when I went into one of the cafes to sign the petition against it , I was told there was no petition....the request had not been granted. YESSSSSSS!
I was so surprised I had to buy a coffee and sit down. Black, absolutely right but the roast wasn't to my taste: I like a dark roast Italian. A full selection of papers to read, so I got to read an excellent obit of the guitarist from the Miracles and have a belly laugh at Steve Bell. Place next to the shop selling decorative toys for the under-threes, on the right going up from the Arches and before the corner with the (now closed) 'The Hobgoblin' pub on it.
The above was written in late October. Early December, the effing Costas opens. Without permission. The slimeball who own the franchise owns another in Bristol: also illegal. One wonder what the sneck the laws are for . Propping up the tottering system, that's what: somebody who was taking a photo of the place got rummaged by the feds who were watching over the place.
People are voting with their feet, and I hope that the loathsome owner drops a packet on it.
The star rating is for toothless planning laws as well as all chain coffee shops.
One the one side, Pembury Cycles. On the other, Tart! (cafe selling excellent cakes and pastries) . Just down the road from Cafe Blue and Lagoon. More or less opposite Zulu. A roaring trade it is doing, not.
Favorite Dish: Hopefully humble pie for the owner
The Rummer Hotel: One of the City's Oldest Inns
The Rummer Hotel was the City's new Exchange in 1743 that fixed the old inn's name and present structure. The merchants of Bristol were looking for a suitable meeting place for discuss their business needs as Bristol was thriving in the merchant world.
John Wood designed the building and as well as playing a big part in his Exchange scheme and yet he wanted to rebuild the inn with its side entrance as well as a main one for the Exchange. The same site goes back as far the medieval times when inns began occupying the site. A lot of the interior today goes back the the 17th and 18th Century.
John Palmer signed a contract with the Postmaster General for the carriage of mail by coaches. The coaching Inn played a part on the London to Bristol route and The Rummer became Bristol's first inn. In August 1784 the first coach arrived at the Rummer Tavern after a 15 hour journey from London!
The Rummer played a big part of Bristol's history from the Elizabethan times to England's Civil War. The hotel was closed at the beginning of the 21st Century but reopened in December 2005 after not running for 8 years.
It a pleasant hotel with a bar and offers fine dining from brunch to Sunday roasts!
It's nice to talk a break from sightseeing to enjoy coffee and cake in Bristol Oldest inns!
Favorite Dish: I ordered an Americano coffee (1.85 gbp) and Courgette Cake (2.00 gbp). The courgette cake was delicious and reminds me a lot of carrot cake.
- Historical Travel
- Food and Dining
The Llandoger Trow: Great Traditional Fayre!
This historic pub with a Brewsters Fayre restaurant is adjacent to where I stayed. As I was under the weather at the time, I chose to eat there as I didn't fancy venturing out far for my evening meal.
The Landroger Trow dates back to the 17th Century where Captain Hawkins retired and ran the pub after sailing a Trow (a flat bottomed sailing barge) across the Severn between South Wales and Bristol. Llandoger is associated with Llandoger which had five gables and was situated besides the Welsh beck where ships from across the Severn were moored. The pub originally occupied one of the gables but subsequently occupied the remaining gables but one. However, during the bombing of World War II the two end gables were destroyed so only three remain today. Daniel Dafoe and Alexander Selkirk are part of the legends that is associated with the Llandoger Trow. It is believed that Dafoe and Selkirk (with the Robinson Crusoe connection) met there. There are also links to Robert Louis Stevenson.
Today there is a lively pub downstairs but I liked the rather quieter restaurant with its traditional refurbishings where I enjoyed my meal.
Favorite Dish: I ordered a mixed grill (rump steak, gammon, sausages, fried egg, chips, tomatoes and peas) with onions rings stack. This was accompanied with a large glass of white white (Pinot Grigrio).
I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and will not hesitate to eat there again.
It came to 17 gbp including tip.
- Food and Dining
Bella Italia: Always love Bella Italia!
Before I went to see Phantom at the Hippodrome I had dinner at Bella Italia and order two courses from the Lunch Menu Fisso which is available until 6.30 pm (although it has now changed from midday to 5.00pm with the new menu).
Favorite Dish: I had the Insalata Caesar (Caesar salad) as the starter and followed by a Bolognaise pizza. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal with a glass of Prosecco. It came around 15 gbp including service charge.
- Food and Dining
Caffe Gusto: Great Hot Chocolate!
On my final morning in Bristol after I had done some sightseeing I stopped at this Bristol chain cafe for a hot chocolate. There are a number of branches in the city and its suburbs and some offer free WIFI.
This lovely cafe offers a range of sandwiches, cakes and their hallmark coffees and smoothies.
Favorite Dish: I ordered a delicious hot chocolate which cost me around 2.60 gbp. It cost more than an average hot chocolate but it was worth it!
- Food and Dining
Mackenzies Cafe Bar: Cheap Takeaway Coffee!
This trendy South West chain Cafe Bar at the Watershed was offering cheap coffee at 75p. I was in a need of a caffeine fix so it was a good opportunity to purchase a takeaway. The Americano coffee came in good use although there was nothing special about it.
Favorite Dish: I just purchased a takeaway coffee.
- Food and Dining
Last ate here 27/06/2012.
We went here for two friend's Birthdays and there were 17 of us, we went for the mid-week offer (2 courses £15 or 3 for £20).
My boyfriend were the first to arrive so we were seated and asked if we wanted to order drinks; we got a bottle of Vega Del Rajo Rioja Tempranillo (£14.95) which was very nice. Everyone else started to arrive and presents were unwrapped and drinks imbued. Our orders were taken and the starter didn't take too long to arrive; great considering there were 17 of us and quite a few other full tables.
I was very impressed by the waiter as he knew which dishes belonged to which person.
It was very hot inside though, I couldn't finish my main as I was too hot! The outside weather wasn't great either; the hot and humid you get just before a storm which had an effect.
We split the bill and paid £22 each including tip.
Favorite Dish: I had calmari with a wedge of lemon and home made tarter sauce. Not like rubber bands at all, they had a slight sprinkle of paprika which went well. I tried my boyfriend's filo wrapped asparagus which had palma ham wrapped round which was delicious (£1 extra).
We were given enough time to digest when the main courses arrived.
The majority of us went for pork belly with a herb sauge, mash and gravy which was lovely, the skin wasn't quite crispy so I left that but the rest of it was delicious.
The salmon on a risotto base went down well too, as did a beef and chorizo chilli and a roast chicken breast with salad and chips.
I didn't have a dessert but did try a couple; the white chocolate and coconut cheesecake with chocolate sauce which was insanely sweet (some loved it, some couldn't get past one bite) and the warm sticky toffee pudding with rum raisin butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream which was very nice.
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
Bell's Diner: So good I almost cried
Located in the Montpelier area of Bristol I lived not too far away for three years and had never been before. When I mentioned to friends that I was going they all said something along the lines of 'Oh Bell's Diner, brilliant, it's been there for years'. After spending 3 hours there eating 6 courses I wish I knew about it before.
Walking in we were greeted and coats taken and shown to our seats in a candle lit corner (I was there with my boyfriend so this was appropriate) with snacks waiting for us already (cep mushroom popcorn and marmite cheese straws) we were given the menus and a while to choose our drinks; I had a kir wine, Andy the house red which we both lovely and served very quickly.
We were given a while longer and chose our starter and main and took in our surroundings properly. We were sat inside an old grocers (we asked the waitress who used to work for the original owner) that, 36 years ago, had been left with all fixtures and fittings so they had used them to full effect. The entrance had been taken over from an adjacent shop and turned into a bar / waiting area. I also overheard another couple come in, the lady was pregnant and the waiter / somelier asked if she wanted to know anything about the food and if there was anything specific she couldn't eat which was a nice touch (we were also asked at the time of booking whether we had any special dietary requirements).
I wouldn't say the restaurant would be good for anyone with mobility problems due to the narrow doorways and steps; one down to restaurant area and I think two up to the WC and further dining area.
Date of visit May 2012.
Before our starters arrived we were given mini oat cakes with a smoked yogurt and cucumber topping with a shot of still lemonade and fennel which really got the taste buds working.
I ordered parsley and oxtail tortelini with a horseradish puree, roasted salsify and pickled herbs, Andy the pigeon breast with a coffee crumb, jelly (I can't remember which flavour), sweetcorn and puree (I was obviously too taken with my own food to remember). Which were both delicious and so well balanced, no flavour out-did another, my (spinach) tortelini was lovely and rich, the horseradish not too strong and the salsify just gave it that something extra. The pigeon melted in your mouth, as did the jelly which really worked with it.
Favorite Dish: I'd finished the glass of wine I'd ordered at first and the somelier recommended one to go with my main which, I think, was from Armenia (not tried an Armenian wine before). It was lovely and smokey.
Our main courses then arrived; the duck breast, onion soubise (puree), sweetned, toasted hazelnut, and pickled pear for me and beef, bone marrow, wild garlic sauce, artichoke, and pink fur potato for Andy. Amazing, yet again everything went so well together, the sweet hazelnuts and sour pickled pear working so well with the duck and the beef was delicious!
Our arms were twisted even before we were given the dessert menu and, with the somelier's help chose a drink to go with them. We were given ample resting time and a shot of strawberry and Pimms sauce with cucumber and mint foam and lime dusting as an effective and surprising palate cleanser.
My toasted hay custard tart with pastry base, coffee smear, ice cream, sweet toasted walnuts and beer sorbet and Andy's chocolate brownie / millefoy, chocolate tuille filled with marshmallow ice cream, and chocolate sauce arrived as well as the madeira to go with mine and a Frence dessert wine for Andy's. They were also amazing, I wasn't sure about the walnuts but they weren't that wallnutty and added a desired crunch.
I was just in heaven the whole way through the evening. We were given a nice resting time and ordered tea (peppermint & normal) which came in a mini-teapot each with petit fours (chocolate macaroon, blackcurrent jelly, and fudge) to finish us off in a state of bliss.
- Food and Dining
Easton Thali Cafe: Thali
There are a fair few Thali cafes in Bristol (Clifton, Montpellier, Totterdown and Easton) but the Easton one is the one I've been to the most. The company started with a stall at local festivals and has now opened the cafes, some of them just sell fish and vegetable dishes, some of them do meat too, they can still be seen at festivals.
They do a tiffin take away service too, you can buy one (or just provide your own) for 24.95 filled with a Thali and then refills start at 8.50.
Favorite Dish: What isn't my favourite? I've had Goan Fish Curry, Masala Dosa, Chowpatti Beach Snacks, Tarka Dahl, different Thalis usually washed down with either ginger beer, lime soda or a lassi.
I like the fresh salads and dips you get with most of the meals.
- Food and Dining
The Bristolian: Bacon,sausage ad egg no more....
The Bristolian closed at the end of 2011. Sic transit gloria mundi. Victim ofthe Collape of the West. I'm not scrubbing the tip as a tribute to the place and to Cath, the owner and usually the fryer of your egg.
I am very fond of the Bristolian. It's not a greasy spoon, it's a Bristol Cafe, with a good ambience as well as good food. Tretchikoffs on the wall, an eclectic choice of music on the stereo, a sunburst clock on the wall forever stopped at ten to three (and is there honey still for tea?) and a good selection of reading matter, including the complete works of Joseph Conrad. I have to say that the service is ofen very slow (it's a Bristol Cafe, just chill It takes time because they're cooking it for you) but not by any means long enough to read The Secret Agent, let alone Nostromo.
The choice is fairly limited but all good: there's generally a special of the day, staples such as bacon sandwiches, very good mackerel pate with salad (omega 3 oils and vegetables) smoked salmon and scrambled eggs or the house speciality, the Bristolian breakfast: bacon, sausage, egg, beans, mushrooms tomato and sauteed potatoes. Available in small or large, which doubles up the sausages and bacon. Really there is no higher praise of a cafe than to say 'I'd eat the sausages'. And if you're a vegetarian (like both my boys) you can get a veggie version.
Favorite Dish: Well, I'm only small, and not really a Bristolian, so I go for the small Bristolian. An all-day breakfast that will keep you going all day.
The Hatchet Inn: Oldest Inn
The Hatchet Inn is one of if not The Oldest Pub in Bristol. It has a great history and this old Tudor timbered house has probably the finest facade in Bristol although the interior has been ripped out and nothing much of note remains.
The Inn dates from 1606 and the building probably earlier than that but it has undergone some significant alteration (It is a grade II Listed Building) It has a fantastic 300 year old door that is said to contain layers human skin under it's tar coating.
The main part of the building was originally a small farm house in Frog Lane which was once the main route to the then remote village of Clifton and the pubs name is thought to originate from the axes (hatchets) that local woodsmen used in Clifton Woods.
Until the end of the nineteenth century it had large gardens with a cockpit for betting on the Cock fights that were popular at the time, In 1775 Samuel Maddock owned the Inn and it was known as No. 25 Frog Lane and buildings on each side of the Inn were hoses which turned into shops but these were demolished and the space left used to provide extensions to the Inn.
We had a drink here and shared a delicious combo for a late lunch. I would love to visit again for food or for a night out. The Pub is one of Bristols best Rock and Alternative Music Venues and regularly has live bands and DJ's in the evenings.
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
Pieminister: Everybody knows pies are round
Pieminster pies are another Bristol institution. The epicentre of the pie activity is their restaurant in Stokes Croft, but the pies are available for home consumption at various places and they have a small diner in the arcade of St Nicholas's market. As well as the piemobile which does the festival circuit.
A small but perfectly formed selection of pies, ranging from the traditional steak and kidney to such esoterica as a Thai green curry pie, served with mash, gravy and minted mushy peas. All using locally sourced and ethically produced ingredients.
This is a lunch stop: they close aroud seven in the evening.
Favorite Dish: Pies aren't the only option. You could have a sausage roll. But I'll go for the simple steak and kidney usually, mash and gravy, and I'll pass on the peas. But I'm sure they're good. That'll set you back £5.50.
Only cavil is the cutlery for takeaways. In line with the organic meat and local produce ethos, they provide wooden disposable cutlery: the heat and moisture of your pie will make them wilt until they are inapable of tackling the crust of youur pie.
'What did you learn in school today, son?'
'I learnt that pi R squared'
'It's bread that's square........
Brunel's buttery: Who ate all the pies?
Brunel's Buttery is situated by the waterside of the floating harbour, about 400 metres along the quay from the Princes St. swing bridge. It's just a shed serving snacks with outside seating, but they don't rely on the pleasant surroundings to bring in the trade. Excellent bacon sandwiches, vast slices of cake and home-made pies that actually contain meat rather than the all too common toxic sludge. A great place, weather permitting, and it's popularity can result in fairly epic queues.
Favorite Dish: A pie for me, if there are any left. Now that the boys are no longer vegetarians, they'll do a bacon sandwich. With chips.
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