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Restaurant Review – The Milk Churn

A couple of weekends ago, we fancied trying a new place for lunch so I booked us a table at this Hall and Woodhouse pub. Part of the Badger Brewery chain, Ian loves their ales and, although their menu isn’t exactly fine dining, it offers really good pub grub.

I can’t say the pub itself is in the nicest setting but The Milk Churn is housed in a gorgeous building which has a converted barn feel to it.

We started off with a couple of their ales – I love ‘Golden Glory’ which is a light ale with a peach flavour and reminds me of summer holidays camping in Dorset!

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For my lunch, I ordered a Buffalo Chicken Burger which was coated in Frank’s hot wing sauce and served with a blue cheese mayo. This reminded me so much of the chicken wings we enjoyed in America and although the bun fell apart a bit, the chips were really good!

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Ian opted for a Fish Dog which is basically a hot dog with beer-battered cod goujons in place of a sausage, with mushy peas and tartare sauce. It may sound a bit strange but it really worked and reminded me of a slightly fancier fish-finger sandwich (one of my favourite comfort-food lunches!)

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We also shared some hot wings which were a little on the small and dry side for me.

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I always save some room for a pudding and The Milk Churn offer ‘mini puds’ which I think is a great idea if you are torn between two desserts! I ordered a mini toffee cheesecake and a mini chocolate pot.

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The cheesecake was OK but the ratio between the toffee sauce, biscuit and cream were a little off. My favourite by far was the chocolate pot which had a rich dark chocolate mousse topped with vanilla panna cotta. This was a perfect combination and I could have eaten two or three of them!

We had a lovely lunch here at The Milk Churn. I probably wouldn’t come back here for an evening meal as it has a bit of a ‘chain’ feel to it and I much prefer a local, country pub but it was a great lunch venue and we are big fans of the ales served here.

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Restaurant Review – Wahaca, Bristol

It is tricky to write a review about a chain restaurant as quality control means a certain dish in one location is pretty much identical to that in another. However, Ian and I had such a good meal at this new branch of my favourite Mexican restaurant recently, I thought it merited a blog post!

We went to Wahaca, at the top of Park Street, a couple of weeks ago, getting a table with no problem at about 7 on Saturday night. We started with a couple of margaritas; Ian went for a classic and I tried a passion fruit one which I think added a lovely tropical twist.

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We are both big fans of the ‘Street Food‘ part of the menu and, so that we could try as much as possible, ordered a sharing menu, plus some of my favourite taquitos.

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The stand-out favourites for me included a broccoli and avocado side dish, the smoked salmon tostadas and the chipotle chicken quesadilla.

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We even had a little portion of churros y chocolate to finish the meal.

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Usually reserved for visits to London, I am so happy there is a Wahaca close by so I can now satisfy my Mexican cravings in under an hour! x

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Restaurant Review – Timbrell’s Yard, Bradford on Avon

Today’s post was an unplanned lunchtime visit but one that made me very happy to have found this restaurant! A few weeks ago, Ian and I were having a wander around Bradford on Avon’s summer fair and felt a bit peckish. There weren’t that many food stalls so we were on our way to buy some picnic ingredients when we stumbled across this place.

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Timbrell’s Yard is tucked away from the main high street, right next to the river, and is housed in a beautiful Grade 2 listed building. As it was a lovely sunny day, we opted to sit outside as we looked through the menu. We decided to get some little bites to share from the bar menu and I think this was a great way to get a feel for how good the food is at this place.

We had chorizo sausage rolls, served with fennel seeds and a great crunchy apple slaw, salami chipolatas with a spicy hummus, popcorn cuttlefish with paprika mayonnaise (a lovely twist on calamari and aioli) and cauliflower and smoked cheese croquettes with a truffle aioli. I loved the way everything was served with an individual dip or accompaniment which really completed the food.

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My favourite dish however was the BBQ beef brisket served with a very spicy hot sauce. The meat was so tender and well-cooked and absolutely delicious – I was very tempted to order a second portion!

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I popped inside to have a look at the dining area and it is such a gorgeous space. The menu is seasonal and local and we are definitely looking forward to coming back soon.

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I am now off to carry on tackling our mountain of holiday ironing and packing up our suitcases ready for our holibobs! x

Restaurant Review – Lucha Libre, Manchester

We were in Manchester this weekend and I had a real craving for some Mexican food. After a quick look on Google, we decided on Lucha Libre in the centre of town as it looked cool and had tapas-style Mexican street food meaning we could try lots of smaller dishes.

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After a quick drink at BrewDog, one of Ian’s favourite places for a good pint of ale, we walked over to Lucha Libre and sat down with the menus. The restaurant itself is in a huge, converted warehouse and I loved the decoration of bright sugar skulls, garlands of red chillies and lots of Mexican food packaging.

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I made my first fundamental error by allowing Ian to order a cocktail for me…cue this enormous green skull and two flaming limes! Despite taking up a fair proportion of our two-person table, this tequila-based cocktail was actually pretty good, with a refreshing hit of apple and grapefruit juice.

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After a look through the extensive menu (which reminded me a lot of Wahaca with its fresh, street-food style dishes), we settled on a sharing platter with a side of ‘Dirty Fries’.

I was really impressed with the selection we received on our ‘Street Food Tray’; pulled pork tacos with pickled red onion, buttermilk fried chicken tacos with an amazing coriander sauce, rib taquitos, chicken tostadas and a chorizo and potato quesadilla. My favourites were the quesadilla and the fried chicken – if I wasn’t so stuffed, I could have ordered another portion of them both!

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The side dish of fries was a mix of white and sweet potato, topped with beef brisket chili con carne, cheese and sour cream.

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Mexican cuisine is one of my favourites and one I almost always choose to eat at when we have the chance. Previously, I had to wait until I was in London but I heard this week that Bristol is getting a Wahaca so my craving can be easily satisfied now!

We had a great meal at Lucha Libre and if it were closer, I would definitely be back! x

Restaurant Review – The Stable, Bristol

I’ve had a lovely yet tiring day with my class on a visit to Hampton Court Palace. It was really stunning although I don’t feel like doing much more than eating my dinner and watching some TV this evening!

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Last weekend, Ian and I took a little trip to Bristol to meet some friends for lunch. We wanted somewhere central and casual and so I suggested The Stable along the Harbourside. There is one of these restaurants in Bath too and I love their specialities of pizza, pie and cider. It turns out it was the perfect option for our group as we wanted a long lunch and somewhere baby-friendly.

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There was such an impressive list of local ciders we decided the only way to taste as many as possible was to order a couple of their tasting boards. Although there were a few gross ones, it was lovely to try a variety of sweet and dry ciders and perries.

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We all opted for their speciality pizzas and it was great to see so many local ingredients and references to Bristol and the South West in their menu! I had the special which was topped with roasted chicken, field mushrooms, mozzarella and a tarragon cream – a rather unique combination but one that was bursting with flavour from the tarragon.

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Ian went rather off-piste too and ordered ‘The Avonmouth Angler’ – a fishy pizza that included smoked mackerel, smoked salmon, spinach and mozzarella. I’m not sure I’m a convert but he loved it!

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Nothing ground-breaking here but who can say no to a good pizza and cider?! x

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Restaurant Review – A Midweek Treat at the Muddy Duck

It feels slightly strange blogging about our village pub as we are up there on a frequent basis (maybe a little too frequent!) but we had such a good meal recently, I felt it merited a post. Rather than trying somewhere new, Ian and I decided to wander up to our local for a midweek dinner.

I started with an Aperol Spritz cocktail which looked like a glass of Iron-Bru but this Italian aperitif has a lovely bitter-sweet taste and is apparently rather popular with the Hackney hipsters.

For my starter, I went for a salad which included two of my favourite ingredients: beetroot and goats cheese. Containing golden yellow and deep purple beetroot, which had been both pickled and roasted, this salad had a rich sweetness from the beets matched by the sharpness of the goats cheese, some of which had been whipped with lemon to add another texture and flavour. I thoroughly enjoyed this and I think the only thing missing was a crunch of some nuts or crispy bread.

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Ian had a twist on ham, pea and mint in the form of this rustic ham terrine, served with a pea puree, mint and griddled new potatoes.  This was a hearty little starter and I was glad we opted to share them!

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For my main, I went for another veggie option in the form of courgette arancini. Arancini, for those of you who are yet to discover this Italian delight, are little deep fried balls of risotto and one of those things I have to order when I see it on a menu! These ones were courgette arancini, with a cheesy, rich filling and served with marinated mozzarella, griddled vegetables and courgette and radish ribbons. The combination of these ingredients were spot on and I have my own take on these rice balls coming soon!

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Ian went for the lamb served two ways but I have to admit I was enjoying my own dinner so much (and trying to pick apart the recipe so I could cook it myself at home!) that I don’t think I even tried any!

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Ordering two veggie courses left me with some room for pudding and I could not resist the sticky toffee pudding, served with honeycomb and clotted cream ice-cream. This was a lovely end to the evening and no doubt we will be back soon x

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Restaurant Review – Wahaca, Islington

I have eaten in a couple of Wahaca restaurants now (and bought the cookbooks!) but I don’t think I have ever done a proper blog review so here is an ode to my favourite Mexican restaurant. It’s not a cuisine that we have very easy access to (the nearest decent Mexican restaurant to us is in Bristol) but one that I love…tacos, nachos, guacamole, pulled pork, margaritas – I love it all!

When I was in London recently with friends, we were going to try out Five Guys but when we saw a Wahaca next door, we quickly changed our minds!

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The brainchild of Thomasina Miers, Wahaca serves Mexican market food with the option of small plates to share or something a bit heartier. The thing that always impresses me is how fresh and vibrant everything tastes and the specials are constantly changing with the seasons.

We started off with cocktails and guacamole – my hibiscus margarita was great!

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Unable to choose just one dish, I went for some sharing options with Ian and my friend Hannah.  My highlights included:

Crisp quesadillas

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The most delicious fish tacos

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Sweet potato and feta taquitos

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Pork pibil tacos

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All utterly delicious and a great selection for vegetarians too…I can’t wait for my next visit! x