21 June 2016

Temple Quay Market, Bristol

I'm a creature of habit, but not when it comes to food. Since starting this blog nearly three years ago I've been eating out at least once a week and I've realised there is always something new to try. I am 100% okay with this, but my imagination only stretches so far when it comes to making my packed lunch for work. It was to my absolute joy, then, that my colleague discovered Temple Quay Market, and so began our weekly excursions and my weekday lunches became a lot more exciting.

A stone's throw from temple meads station and smack bang in the middle of Bristol's business quarter (is that what we call it?), this market is ideally located for us office workers, and such a treat. Always local, always fresh and absolutely always delicious, the food is the kind you'd get at a food festival or the best independent cafe in Clifton, and I love it all. Thursday has officially become the new Friday thanks to Temple Quay Market. 

From falafel wraps and tacos to stroganoffs and burgers, there's something for all tastes and appetites. My favourites so far have been Niangs Thai's yellow chicken curry (there is nothing, NOTHING, that compares to that Thai, coconutty goodness), Ah Ma's pork baos and, featuring in this post, Eat Like A Greek's halloumi pitta wrap.

There's something so satisfying about biting into food you've seen prepared right in front of you. A simple combination of fresh salad, grilled halloumi, balsamic glaze and homemade tzatziki stuffed in a soft, warm pitta is the perfect lunch for me. And to finish, a doughnut from The Big O Donut Co, because, let's be honest, it's always good to end meals on a sweet note.

My dad and I found these doughnuts shortly before I moved to Bristol last summer. A woman was selling them at Whiteladies Road market and they looked so shiny and big we had to get some. Thank goodness we did – they are honestly the best doughnuts on the planet. I've been to New York and I've tried all its trendy offerings, including Dough, and trust me, these are better.

Good doughnuts don't make you feel like you're gonna die after you've eaten them. These are so light, fresh and perfectly flavoured without being too sweet. I could eat one after the other at any time of day and nothing and no one could stop me. I'm just waiting for The Big O Donut Co to open up a shop so I know they're here for good.

Lime & coconut
Lemon curd cream

Let me just say, these two doughnuts were eaten on separate occasions, but I'd have no trouble scoffing both in one sitting. The salted caramel rings were also calling my name but alas, my pocket money only stretched so far. If anyone fancies ordering a crate of these to my office I'll probably let you have one :)

Have you been to any of the food markets in Bristol? They are the absolute best and just one of the many reasons I love this city so much. There's often one in the Bearpit, on the Harbourside and, of course, St Nick's. Check out the full list here. Temple Quay Market takes place every Thursday from 12-2pm and I'm there every week, without fail.


9 June 2016

Assilah Bistro – Bristol

I thought I'd been hard pressed to find a decent Moroccan restaurant in Bristol, but perhaps I just wasn't looking hard enough, because last week I was introduced to Assilah Bistro, a little BYOB restaurant in south Bristol.

If you want authenticity, Assilah Bistro is the place to go. Situated on a road in between Knowle and Totterdown, it's popular with the locals and charmed me with its welcoming staff, gorgeous decor and attention to detail.

My friends Drew & Katie were visiting from Abergavenny and they'd been to Assilah before (they loved it). I'm always keen to eat at places friends recommend – especially when it's food I don't get to eat very often. I've never been to Morocco, but sitting on the (slightly uncomfortable) stalls at low, beautifully-tiled tables, it certainly didn't feel like we were in Bristol anymore.

My knowledge of Moroccan cuisine is limited; is it exclusive to Morocco? I've eaten similar food – falafel, lamb cofta, tagine – at Comptoir Libanais, but where does it originate?

Nonetheless, Assilah Bistro had something special to offer, both in terms of its chilled atmosphere and, of course, the food. The curtains draping across the restaurant (which was like someone's living room!), the colourful patterned tiles. Just stunning detail, all round, setting us up ready for the main event – the food.

We ordered some falafels, olives and bread to start. The olives came in a spicy dressing and were really juicy and yum. I'd pass on the other two starters next time, though. The falafels were a tad on the salty side and the bread was just bread – nothing special.

We were a party of 7 so I expected service to be slow, but we waited over an hour(!) for our mains. However, our server was so friendly and the food was delicious, so I had to let it go. I ordered the lamb meshwi – marinated lamb from the grill served with salad, cous cous and a tomato sauce. It had just the right amount of spice, and, combined with the fresh salad, warm couscous and tomato sauce, this dish was, I think, the best on the whole menu.

With BYOB at just £2 per bottle Assilah Bistro is a great restaurant for a meal with friends. It's a little different and a bit out of the way of the city centre, but so worth a visit if you want a change from all the usual high street offerings. If anything, just go to have a nosy and make friends with the staff – this place is awesome. 

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