14 October 2016

The Art Shop & Chapel – Abergavenny

There is something very special about The Art Shop & Chapel. I lived in Abergavenny on and off for 11 years and during that time there was never one cafe that struck gold. Until, finally, when I left, of course, and it is the perfect fit for this quaint little market town.
The Art Shop & Chapel is a favourite of every single member of my family and I make a conscious effort to go in whenever I'm home. As you can see the decor is just gorgeous, it's so warm and homely but not old fashioned or twee.
There is always plenty on the menu here, and this time I ordered the smoked salmon and avocado sandwich – probably the best sandwich combination I've ever tried. The quality of the ingredients helps, and I know they serve only the best here.

Sarah had the cod which came with a mixed bean salad kind of side dish. I love this place because it offers something for all appetites, from small bites to full main meals, and it's all super fresh and delicious.

Another great thing about The Art Shop & Chapel is that they do an incredible selection of gluten-free cakes. I'm not gluten intolerant but I love trying these options anyway.
Sarah and I got a slice of the chocolate, courgette and hazelnut cake to share, and the waiter gave us a pot of cream to go with it which was soooo good. With cake must come tea, so I chose Jasmine which came with a medjool date – such a sweet touch – and Sarah had opted for the Breakfast. 
We loved the cake! The fact that it wasn't too sweet ensured the taste of the hazelnuts and cocoa really shone through. I couldn't taste the courgette, but perhaps that's a good thing. Regardless, I have to try making this myself soon, it was one of my favourites to date!

If you're visiting Abergavenny you really must visit The Art Shop & Chapel. It's only now that I'm living in Bristol that this wonderful little place has popped up, but that just means I enjoy visits home that little bit more. Find out more about The Art Shop & Chapel here.

7 October 2016

Eatchu – St Nicks Market, Bristol

I don't think I'll ever get sick of Japanese food. Some people have Chinese or Indian as their takeaway of choice, but Japanese will always be my favourite. I could honestly eat ramen and dumplings at any time of day – even for breakfast.

Bristol is not short of Asian eateries, but I'm always going to welcome any new ones with open arms. And so, I was super excited to try the newest addition to St Nicks Market, Eatchu, on my lunch break last week. Gyoza are their thing – a Japanese-type dumpling that I love so much.

Eatchu's process is simple; you choose your filling, sauce and any toppings you want (and you can have as many as you like). I went for chicken (free-range, from Ruby and White butchers!), tonkatsu sauce and added rice and pickles. The gyoza were so delicately uniform and identical, and the filling was compact and flavoursome. The rice was sticky and fragrant, but the pickles were my favourite – I'm not sure what kind they were, though. (I seriously need more pickles in my life).

My colleagues were impressed, too, and we all agreed we could have eaten the same again, right there and then. But, alas, work was calling.

Have you been to Eatchu yet? Guy and Vic are at St Nicks Market at lunchtimes from Monday to Saturdays serving up their incredibly tasty gyoza. A box of six dumplings will set you back as little as £5 and I think that's a great price for what you get. 

Find out more about Eatchu here!

16 September 2016

Turtle Bay – Cheltenham Road, Bristol

Bristol is already home to one Turtle Bay – perched just off the harbourside near Park Street, a really good area for happy hour cocktails. I've only been a couple of times on busy Saturday nights out, so never had a chance to try their food menu. However, a second branch opened on Cheltenham Road recently, which is a lot closer to home and when I was asked to go and check it out I jumped at the chance. I personally feel like Turtle Bay suits the Gloucester Road area of Bristol much more than the harbourside. It's cool, relaxed and filled a huge gap in the market in this diverse area of the city.

So many people rave about Turtle Bay and it's easy to see why. Liam recommended the jumbled julep so Em and I got one each – it was fruity and delicious but far too easy to drink for a cocktail! We could have gone for more but as it was a school night we cracked on with the food.

We got two starters: the duck wraps and the chicken wings. I'd give the wraps a miss next time; they were a bit soggy and flavourless, but the chicken wings (which, sadly, didn't make it onto my camera) were amazing – thanks to my colleague Mike for recommending these!

For mains we wanted something a little milder to cool off our mouths. Our waiter was really friendly and helpful, pointing us towards the less spicy dishes. Em went for the Mo' Bay Chicken – it came in a super creamy jerk sauce with onions and a fried sweet plantain – it was so good and absolutely perfect if you're not a fan of spice.

My dish, the Trinidad Curry Chicken, was a little hotter, with scotch bonnet being the main culprit. Still, it was incredible and full of coconutty, fruity flavour and everything was cooked perfectly. The coconut garnish was a great addition, too.

Despite being stuffed we had to try a dessert. Covered in passionfruit sauce, the zesty lemon and lime tart had just the right amount of zing and sweetness - exactly what I needed after a super spicy meal. 

Overall, Turtle Bay won me over on all fronts. I can confirm the food is just as good as I had always suspected, if a little hotter than I imagined. However, spice is growing on me, and I love being open to trying new things. Even if you don't like spicy food, the staff will happily help you choose a milder dish with absolutely no judgement. So, definitely go – even if just for the 2 for 1 cocktails! Thanks to Turtle Bay for having Em and me round for tea :)

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