16 December 2015

Meat Liquor – Bristol

There's a new burger joint in town called Meat Liquor. Apparently that's a play on words. Beats me...

I went with Em (we do everything together, dontcha know?) to one of the training days a few weeks ago when everything was half price. We were so excited about this that we ended up drinking twice as much and paying the usual amount, but, of course, it was worth it.

Meat Liquor fits nicely into Stokes Croft. It's just across the road from the iconic Hamilton House where I went for a few pilates classes that one time when I moved to Bristol and tried to get flexible enough to do the splits (it never happened).

You can read more about Stokes Croft here, but for now let's get down to the real deal.

I wasn't a fan of the decor in Meat Liquor. The photos in this post are a selection of the few bits I did appreciate, but for the most part, it wasn't to my taste. The walls were laced with graffiti – to the extent where I couldn't find the toilets. But I can look past that, because it wasn't too loud or pretentious, and the food and drink was damn tasty.

These 'game over' cocktails are limited to two per person, apparently because there's so much alcohol in them. For the price, I'm not sure I'd agree, but they did taste delicious and the cherry garnish made it for me. It was sour and sweet and very easy to drink.

But what you really want to hear about are the burgers. Em and I ordered two bacon cheeseburgers and fries to share. They arrived on a tray (no plates) and were devoured within minutes. And that crispy thing right underneath the top half of the bun? That's a bacon patty. 

On top of the fact that this was one of the juiciest, most delicious beef patties I've ever had – up there with Shake Shack's – Meat Liquor's offering had the addition of this incredible bacon, too. And it wasn't just rashers. This was bacon bits, crisped up and muddled together in an entirely new format. It sounds bizarre, but Em and I were crazy about it.

Unfortunately, I have to walk past Meat Liquor every single day to get to work and it kills me every time. I need to go back and have another cocktail and burger, or perhaps some of their wings, or chilli cheese fries... It's enough to convert anyone – even the vegan on Twitter who told me I had a personality disorder last week :)


9 December 2015

Brunch at Deco Lounge – Bristol

When I was in my first year of university my sister and her boyfriend (now husband) were living in Bristol, just down the road from where I am now. I walk past the road that leads to theirs on my way to work, and their bus stop, and the place we got our nails done for Emily's hen do. All of these memories from a time when I visited them in their one up one down, completely unaware of the life I'd be living in five years' time. Nostalgia is one of my favourite feelings - a funny combination of comfort, surprise and sadness. 

One place that reminds me of Emily and James' time in Bristol more than anything is Deco Lounge. One morning we went along for brunch. I wasn't feeling well but I remember wishing I had the appetite to eat something – anything – off the menu. There was french toast, eggs and bacon as standard, but it wasn't just an ordinary cafe. It was Emily and James' place for breakfast on payday, a homely place where you can take your time and prepare for the day.

A few years on and I'm living here now and my sister and brother-in-law are not. I have't forgotten Deco Lounge though, just the name - and the location. But everyone here knows about it, and pretty soon I get to go back. It looks almost exactly the same, although I'm sure there was a chalkboard menu on the wall the last time I came here. For some reason it feels less independent, more like a chain, but my fond memories override any odd changes.

One of my absolute favourites, Anna, was visiting on this particular weekend. She used to live in Bristol (I think most people I know have at some point) and we were hungry. Food is the basis of all of my friendships. Anna and I both love pancakes so we both ordered pancakes. But before that I needed a drink. I asked for the watermelon iced tea but what I got was something that resembled more what was described on the menu as a 'lemon sherbet' – I can't put my finger on why I wasn't too keen, but Anna liked it, so perhaps you will, too.

Forever scouting out the next best place for pancakes, I was excited to try Deco Lounge's offering. What arrived was small in size but big on taste and texture. Let's talk about the fluff factor. These pancakes were soft, fluffy, melt-in-the-mouth, American-style-goodness kinda pancakes – I couldn't quite believe my taste buds. The bacon was streaky and delicious, and although I usually enjoy a touch more maple syrup, these were, overall, some of the best pancakes I have ever had. 

But pancakes are nothing without a strong coffee. Deco Lounge is one of the very few places I've visited where they actually remember your coffee when you ask for it to arrive with your food. They always remember to come back and check that everything's okay (I've been a couple of times since writing this!) and I really cannot fault the service here, it's top notch.

Have you been to Deco Lounge? On researching for this post I found out that it is in fact part of a bigger company called The Lounges – and you can find out more about them, and see if there's one near you, here :)

2 December 2015

Cocktails at Aluna – Bristol

A few weeks ago I was invited to the launch party of a new cocktail bar in Bristol. Of course, I said yes - ocktails are my favourite. Em, Libby, George and I went along to Aluna straight after work and began making our way through the drinks menu.
From classic mojitos and cosmos to the bizarre marshmallow daiquiris and lava lamps, there was something for us all. Em's Show Stopper was set alight at our table, and although performances including fire always impress me, the drink itself was a bit too sickly - like a strawberry yoghurt drink! My banoffeerama, however, was delicious.Our bartender Paddy making a drink with Aluna's special apple caviar. One of my favourites was the Mochatini. This was a chocolate version of my all-time favourite cocktail the espresso martini and it was SO delicious, like a dessert liquefied.George had a marshmallow daiquiri – it was so sweet but the marshmallow topping was ridiculously good.The very cool colour-changing cocktail – it tasted awful, though. Like medicine and chemicals :(George being a beautiful angel.

Libby loved her strawberry mojitos, and my favourite of the night was the strawberry daiquiri. Sadly, there were only so many I could drink and at about 10pm we all headed home slightly gigglier than when we arrived.Aluna also has a bar in Birmingham which, according to xAmeliax is also amazing. I highly recommend it for a night out, especially if, like me, you're not a fan of clubs.
Check out the full menu of fancy cocktails over at Aluna's website - they serve food, too.


22 November 2015

You Are Exactly Where You Are Meant To Be

Have you ever been to Bristol? Stokes Croft, specifically? Its an artist's haven. Walking to work has never been so interesting. Living in such a culture-steeped city, I see something new every day. It's beautiful.

Yesterday Em and I took our usual route into town and took some photos along the way. There are so many things I want to show you about this place, like, for example, how different, but accepting, everyone is here. 

And everyone is so friendly.
Tabatha Velvet Long Sleeve Swing Dress*
I'm wearing an outfit that Boohoo.com gifted me as part of their All Black Friday campaign. When deciding on a place to model this look, both Em and I knew it had to be Stokes Croft. Black and purple look so good together (if a little witchy) don't you think?

A year ago I was living somewhere I had outgrown. Now I am where I am meant to be and it feels so comfortable and good.
Imogen Block Heel Ankle Boots*
I love these shoes. They were so comfortable and easy to wear. I managed to keep them on all day... until the long walk home when I changed into flats, heh. Em and I enjoyed burgers and fries for lunch AND dinner yesterday. Absolutely no regrets.

Where's your favourite place to indulge in a mini photoshoot? Big thank you to Boohoo.com for the clothes and to Em, who took these photos. What a star!


16 November 2015

Comptoir Libanais – Soho

For a good few years I've been eyeballing Comptoir Libanais with much intrigue. Having never tried lebanese food, I wondered, what the fuss was all about? I decided to see for myself and went to the Soho branch a few weeks ago for a late lunch. It was a quiet Sunday and we pretty much had the restaurant to ourselves. I was really hungry so starters, mains and desserts were in order, and with such a large menu I was spoilt for choice.

First up were drinks, though, and here's what I got: Iced Fresh Rose Mint Tea. A sweet and zesty tea that made me so happy I cannot even describe it to you. It was incredible. They did a hot version, too!

For starters we got some Damascus olives and Jawaneh (chicken wings with harissa and garlic sauce). The chicken was juicy, spicy and sweet, and the olives were fantastic – fresh and juicy and full of flavour.

The main event: lamb kofta wrap. The menu describes it as spiced minced lamb with hommos, pickled cucumber and tomato and this sounded so tasty to me. I wasn't disappointed. It arrived piping hot, the wrap crisp on the outside and soft underneath, the lamb was so well seasoned – like a sausage, almost, and paired with the salad it was perfect.
And to finish, a chocolate and cranberry brownie, which, if served alone I think would have been too dry but with the ice cream and chocolate sauce it was so yummy. And yes, I ate every last bit. 

I so wish Comptoir Libanais would open a few more restaurants outside of London (there are lebanese food converts here in Bristol too, you know!) I'm dying for another wrap right about now, but I guess I'll just have to wait until my next visit to the city. Find out more about Comptoir Libanais here – brace yourself for a rumbly tummy.

8 November 2015

Sunday Brunch at Primrose Cafe – Bristol

Sunday brunch – it can't be beat. After our autumnal stroll, Em and I met Sian at Primrose Cafe in Clifton for something to eat.

Everyone in Bristol raves about this place, and now I can too. (I'm really starting to feel like I belong here, can you tell?) From the outside it doesn't look like anything special, but what's inside makes up for that.
Not only is the decor lovely – gold stars painted on the ceiling, a giant clock telling the wrong time and a teeny tiny bar – the food is absolutely fantastic.

If there's bacon and maple syrup on a brunch menu, I'm ordering it. This waffle was so worth the wait (the only downside to ordering at peak brunch time). I don't think I've ever had one homemade before but I could definitely taste the difference after many disappointing shop bought varieties. It was soft, buttery and slightly crisp on the ridges. With the bacon and maple syrup it was just the perfect brunch dish... I could have eaten another.

Em and Sian both ordered slices of the coconut and lime cake (it was amazing) and two pots of tea. It was an all-round delicious visit and I will most definitely be going back! 

What a treat to spend a Sunday afternoon with two beauties, enjoying some tasty homemade food. Didn't I say weekends are my favourite? Find out more about Primrose Cafe here.


2 November 2015

Autumn in Bristol

Since moving to Bristol, weekends have become that bit more special. This is my kind of city: roads lined with trees slowly shedding their amber leaves, the fading feeling of newness, the beginning of belonging. A city which I have always been drawn to, one in which I am establishing friendships and a home.
Em was my model last Sunday. The night before we dip dyed her hair and I am so impressed with the result – it blended well and looks so natural. 
What a beautiful muse for my annual autumn post. Where's your favourite spot for crunchy leaves and colourful trees? Check out my post on autumn from last year – set in stunning Cheltenham – here!

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