Tag Archives: Bristol

Restaurant review: The Ethicurean

We were driving down to Wiltshire on Friday, minus the children, with an hour or three to spare. We were hungry. “Is there anywhere that we could stop about an hour from here,” asked my husband optimistically somewhere between Worcester and Gloucester trundling down the M5.

I scoured the map. We didn’t really want to drive in to Bristol as we were heading south-east of there, to explore the Somerset/Wiltshire borders. And then I remembered I’d been wanting to try The Ethicurean for a while. But where was it? Not quite in Bristol.

A Google search and phone call later we were booked in to this ethical, hyper-local, sustainable restaurant that sits in a walled garden south of Bristol. I say restaurant, but  The Ethicurean is really a ramshackle greenhouse and shed, stuck to one corner of the Barley Wood Walled Garden. If that makes it sound scruffy, then you shouldn’t go. But if you love the romantic notion of sitting in the orangery of the very garden that the produce on your plate was grown in, and to hell with a bit of damp on the walls, or the wonky mis-matched tables and chairs, then this is the place for you.

The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)
The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)

As a gardener, an interiors addict and a greedy appetite for food, I was in heaven! Looking out, sipping cider from apples grown in the orchard, you could imagine Peter Rabbit might pop up at any moment and steal an organic carrot.

But, romance aside, the aims of this place are in credible. Virtually all of the food comes from the garden or is foraged locally, so menus are created each day according to what’s on offer. I was worried that we were visiting at possibly the worst time of the year – the winter season over, nothing would be growing for spring yet, apart from the earliest wild garlic and maybe some nettles and rhubarb.

The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)
The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)

I needn’t have been. They pickle and preserve what they can, so the beetroot starter with strained goats cheese was divine. They also make their own cider from the apples and even their own vermouth to go in the Negronis. Our other starter – cider and cheddar Welsh rarebit – did not disappoint. The cider and cheese had been cooked and turned in to a thick fondue, then spread on the doorstep slab of home-baked bread and grilled into submission. A sharp salad of winter leaves and pickled carrot in place of tomatoes, cut through the rich rarebit to clean the palette.

Our mains were even better – considering the chefs were cooking in a shed the size of, well, a shed, this was a miracle. My pork belly was pressed to squeeze out some of the fat and served with chipotle crackling, more beetroot, pickled apple slices and deep, forest green kale. The husband’s bavette was succulent and stylishly presented. We may have been in a garden but there was no heavy-handed presentation, the finesse of the food and it’s delectable flavours were matched by the delicate presentation.

The Ethicurean
The Ethicurean

Pudding? Sticky toffee apple pudding! It could have had more sauce – as the husband pointed out, it isn’t hard to whip up – but it was moist and treacly without being stodgy or heavy. All in all, we were bowled over.

The only thing we couldn’t understand on this sunny, blustery spring Friday lunchtime, was why it wasn’t packed out? People of Bristol, what are you doing?! Perhaps you’re already too spoiled for choice by great, ethical, locally-sourced eateries…

The Ethicurean cookbook
The Ethicurean cookbook

ALISON TYLER

Britain’s best Eat Streets

Want to know the best foodie hubs across the UK? Here they are…

The news that Berkeley Street has become London’s hottest gastronomic real estate may not come as a surprise to foodies, but where are the most delicious streets in other cities?

The view from GB1 in Brighton
The view from GB1 in Brighton

Brighton: Kings Road

Situated on the seafront, this is the go-to destination for any food fan, especially seafood lovers.

Salt Room
Salt Room

The hottest new opening, right on the seafront, is The Salt Room, sister to the Brighton’s famous Coal Shed steak restaurant, who’s menu focuses on sustainable British fish, including cuttlefish, bouillabaisse and lobster – but the huge cocktail list is worth the trip alone.

The stylish GB1
The stylish GB1

Or try GB1, a glam culinary hotspot that is renowned for its exceptional seafood. Grab a seat at the central champagne and oyster bar and share a seafood platter, all sourced from the south coast – with 75 per cent caught within an eight-mile radius of the hotel.

Other King’s Road favourites include Smokeys, for a flavour of America (great for a Californian brunch), Steki, a Greek taverna with live music, and the Regency restaurant for traditional seaside fish and chips.

The seafood afternoon tea at the Victoria Lounge
The seafood afternoon tea at the Victoria Lounge

Head to the Victoria Lounge Bar and Terrace at the Grand Hotel for afternoon tea with a seaside twist – think salted scones served with crème fraiche, chives and Keta caviar, and treacle-cured salmon. Or make for the Hilton’s Waterhouse bar and terrace to sip on Sussex Mules and chow down on a local Hailsham lamb burger.

 

 

Bakers and Co
Bakers and Co

Bristol: Gloucester Road

The longest independent shopping street in the UK, Gloucester Road – also known as Stokes Croft – boasts pubs, foodie shops and restaurants nestled between Banksys and artists studios, with a laidback, alternative vibe, that’s uniquely Bristolian.

Poco Bristol
Poco Bristol

Start at the original Pieminster shop for a steak and ale pie washed down with a local craft beer, stop at Poco – voted Best Ethical Restaurant by The Guardian – for global tapas plates including roasted belly of pork with fennel crackling, homemade Moroccan harissa and chorizo and merguez sausages, then there’s an incredible co-operative called The Canteen, where free live music sets the backdrop for affordable “slow food” that’s all super sustainable and ethical.

Poco
Poco

There are two Caribbean restaurants – Rice and Tings and Plantation which turns into a salsa club after hours. For more musical inspiration, stop at the pub where George Ezra was discovered, the Gallimaufry, a curious bar combining local art, music, home cooking and good drinks, all under one roof.

Huevos rancheros at Bakers and Co
Huevos rancheros at Bakers and Co

Another late-night institution, Biblos is the place for wraps and snacks, while the morning after you’ll find everyone brunching at Baker’s and Co, a San Francisco-inspired café and deli where everything is baked from scratch.

 

 

Edinburgh's Grassmarket
Edinburgh’s Grassmarket

Edinburgh: Grassmarket 

The historic cobbled streets of the Grassmarket in Edinburgh’s Old Town are packed with amazing culinary independent shops and restaurants.

Melli's Cheese
Melli’s Cheese

Tempt your taste buds with some foodie shopping: Demijohn was the world’s first liquid deli when it opened in 2004 selling bespoke vinegars, oils and liqueurs; Melli’s Cheese is an Edinburgh institution that stocks the city’s best restaurants and is a delight for the senses; get a flavour of Scotland at the Saturday Market, which has an abundance of locally grown and produced organic vegetables, artisan breads, fresh meat and fish as well as street food and the most amazing gin macaroons.

Hula Juice bar
Hula Juice bar

Make a pit stop at the Hula Juice Bar – the Betty Ford Detox Smoothie is virtue in a glass; for something less saintly try Mary’s Milk Bar for a cosy gelato, hot chocolate or freshly-made chocolate truffles – you can even join the monthly truffle-making masterclass. If you like your tipples a little stronger there’s a clutch of traditional pubs including the White Hart Inn, Beehive Inn and the Last Drop Tavern.

OInk hog roast
OInk hog roast

As for dining out, new arrival Oink specialises in delicious hog roasts from the owners’ Scottish Borders farm, while Maison Bleue offers an eclectic mix of French, North African and Scottish cuisine all sourced from local suppliers and producers. Mamma’s Pizzeria serves some of Edinburgh’s best, fresh stone-baked pizza alongside delicious steak on the stone, pasta and a great range of starters, sides and desserts.

Grain Store
Grain Store

But for a truly Scottish treat seek out the Grain Store, above the market and beneath stone vaulted ceilings and archways of the original storerooms used by the warren of shops below, serving the very best of Scottish produce.

 

 

Circo Lounge
Circo Lounge 

Bournemouth: Poole Road

The Westbourne neighbourhood, centring around Poole Road is brimming with independent delis, cool cafes and artisan food shops, just a 15-minute stroll from the beach.

Le Petit Prince bakery
Le Petit Prince bakery

Le Petit Prince on Poole Road sells delicious, award-winning bread made on the premises as well as cakes and coffees; a little further up the road is Chocol8, a luxury chocolate shop and coffee lounge.

le-petit-prince-patisserie

Something savoury? Badger and Bumble is a fab deli offering British cheeses and pies; Circo Lounge is a laidback brunch and tapas bar with a cool, casual vibe, while Geneve, an American-style diner and burger joint is one of the best places to eat in Bournemouth.

Circo Lounge
Circo Lounge

Best of all, you can bag up your farmers market (on the first Saturday of every month) and deli feast and wander through a wooded pathway from here to Alum Chine beach for a picnic al fresco.

 

 

Trinity Kitchen
Trinity Kitchen

Leeds: Trinity Leeds, Boar Lane

The city’s glossy, glass-covered shopping area, is also home to some of the best restaurants and to Trinity Kitchen – each month five different street food trucks are lifted into this industrial-chic space to create an ever-changing, vibrant grab-and-go eatery, that’s as cool as it is affordable.

Noisette bakery
Noisette bakery

For cocktails, try the garden-inspired Botanist and share a watering can (yes, really) with friends – the Raspberry and Sage (sage, black grapes, raspberry vodka, elderflower liqueur, grenadine, white wine and lemonade) is our favourite pick. The Alchemist is a stylish spot for a lazy brunch or lunch.

Kerb Edge at Trinity Kitchen
Kerb Edge at Trinity Kitchen

For something more substantial, Crafthouse, five storeys above Boar Lane with glittering views, headed up by Lee Bennett pays homage to the areas amazing local producers and serves up the best of British and Yorkshire. Angelica, on Trinity’s top floor, has become the city’s latest go-to destination for drinks and dinner – the Raw Bar and the rooftop terrace are the must-book seats.

Trinity Kitchen
Trinity Kitchen

Meanwhile, Meatliquor will satisfy and burger cravings, and those with a sweet tooth should head down Boar Lane to Roast and Conch, the flagship café and restaurant from the team behind Hotel Chocolat.

 

 

Manchester House
Manchester House

Manchester: Spinningfields

One of the city’s most vibrant, newest destinations, Spinningfields is fast-becoming Manchester’s gastro capital.

Manchester House in Bridge Street serves Michelin-worthy modern British food (from Michelin chef Aiden Byrne) in a warehouse setting, while it’s lounge bar up on the 12th floor and roof of the building is a real draw too, with 360 degree views of the city.

Manchester House
Manchester House

The Left Bank Café in the People’s History Museum is a lovely place to catch up over lunch or a glass of wine, make sure to bag a seat on the waterside balcony. Pick up sweet treats at Hey Little Cupcake, or move straight onto the stronger stuff at Oast House or Neighbourhood – a Manhattan-inspired bar.

The Lawn Club reopens next month with a members-club feel and a retractable roof so that you can savour drinks and British small plates (very now) al fresco.

ALISON TYLER

This article appeared in Metro on 17 March 2015

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