More tacos, oh and some nachos!

Crispy Chicken Taco

You can tell when I enjoy something I have it again and again. Its one of the reasons I blog about food, so I can tell I have too much of a good thing. I like to think I try different things, the reality is when there is something I’ve enjoyed, I do have it again and again.

This is pretty much the situation with the delicious tacos from Taco Barra at the St Nicholas Market. Needing lunch again in Bristol instead of choosing something new, I went with what I liked and enjoyed the last time I was in Bristol. Though this time I did go with something slightly different.

Halloumi Taco

I went with two tacos, one was the crispy chicken and the other was the fried halloumi. You have a choice of salsa, I went with mango, and they also include salad. They use white and blue corn tacos.which are heated to order. I enjoyed the crypts chicken taco which I had the pineapple salsa. The chicken was tender and tasty, and the salsa was a great contrast to the crispness of the chicken strips.

The halloumi was nice, I had BBQ salsa (or was that just BBQ sauce) which was okay, but I didn’t like it as much as the mango I’ve had before and the pineapple I had on the crispy chicken.

In addition to my tacos, I went with a side of nachos., these had some pineapple salsa and sour cream.

Nachos

They really needed more salsa and more sour cream, I think I would have liked some guacamole with them as well.

Overall I wasn’t as happy as I had been on previous occasions, the food was great, but the BBQ sauce wasn’t great and the nachos felt rather plain. I think I will go with the tacos again, probably won’r have the nachos though.

More Tacos

Halloumi Tacos

I enjoyed my tacos from Taco Barra so much last time I had them again on a recent trip to the St Nicholas Market. As with my last visit I went with the crispy chicken and pulled pork and the fried halloumi. You have a choice of salsa, I went with mango on the chicken and the halloumi, and red salsa with the pork. They use white and blue corn tacos.which are heated to order and then filled with your choice of filling.

As before they were delicious and tasty.

Time for some more tasty tacos

Crispy Chicken Tacos

In a previous blog post I talked about the new tacos place in St Nicholas Market in Bristol. I enjoyed the tacos I had there last time, so decided to pay them another visit and have some more tacos.

Halloumi Tacos

You can have a single taco for £3, two for £5 and three for £7. This time I decided to go with three. As with my last visit I went with the crispy chicken and pulled pork, for my third choice I decided to try the fried halloumi.

You have a choice of salsa, I went with mango, and they also include salad. They use white and blue corn tacos.which are heated to order and then filled with your choice of filling. I really enjoyed these tacos as I did before. Great mixture of textures and tastes.

Go Greek (again)

The Real Greek

It’s been a while since I was last at The Real Greek and I have been meaning to make a return visit for a while. Well looking for a place to eat and sit, even though it was a Thursday with the Temple Quay market been very tempting, I with a couple of friends decided to visit The Real Greek.

There was a warm welcome and what with the music playing inside, we asked to sit outside. Now outside was a weird thing as we were inside Cabot Circus, a shopping centre in the heart of Bristol. Even though technically it was inside the shopping centre, the way Cabot Circus has been designed and built, it’s more of a covered shopping area, in some places you can see sky above you and the whole place is open to the elements. So even though we were outside the restaurant, there was a glass roof above us. Having said all that, once you were sat down, it didn’t feel like you were in the heart of a shopping centre, it felt more like you were in a street cafe sitting outside watching the world go by, without the cars and scooters you would probably find in Greece.

It was really nice that a carafe of water (as in free tap water) was provided without us needing to ask. The last time I went I said

The Real Greek has a great lunchtime menu, and if I visit again I will probably choose from that and it looks like great value. 

So I went to have a look this time at the lunch menu, though I was still somewhat tempted by the hot meze choices of grilled octopus and the lamb cutlets that I had on the previous visit.

The Lunch Menu is a fixed price at £8.50, where you can choose between a Greek Trio or a Greek Plate or a Souvlaki Wrap & Side.

The Lunch Menu

The trio’s are fun coming on an afternoon tea style rack with the starter on the top, the main in the middle and the accompaniment on the bottom. Well I think it should arrive like that. Both times I have been, the dishes have been mixed around… The trio is also a great choice if you are vegan, as there are plenty of vegan choices available.

I went with the Halloumi Greek Plate which was served with saffron rice, a Greek salad, tzatziki and warm flatbread.

Halloumi Greek Plate

The halloumi was very nice, grilled, but not overcooked. The interesting texture, saltiness and flavour was balanced with the vibrant Greek salad comprising peppers, tomatoes, feta and lettuce. I enjoyed the flatbread which was soft and fresh.

Overall I really enjoyed the plate of food in a pleasant environment (and great company).

I think I will go again.

Well, that was nice, a sweet memory!

I don’t know about you, but I quite like those quirky independent cafes and coffee places.

In Newcastle for a meeting, we went for lunch in one of these, it did have a slightly bizarre name, Sweet Memories at Study Café. Various tables and chairs with bright coloured walls, interesting artwork across the walls provides the quirky environment which you don’t find in the high street chains (even when they try to do that like Coffee#1).

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It also has a slightly bizarre attitude to the menu, with a load of lovely vegetarian and vegan options, along with a range of breakfast dishes that include bacon and sausages! You can see the vegan scones and cakes in the window, I do wonder if they might annoy vegans and vegetarians who might not want to eat at a place that serves bacon. Likewise those who are not vegetarian might not consider the place, because they may think it serves just vegan food from the window displays. Having said all that, it was quite busy!

Looking over the menu, I was quite tempted by the eggs Florentine, but it did feel a little bit too close to breakfast and I had had eggs for breakfast. So I went with the mushrooms and halloumi in pitta bread served with salad.

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I really enjoyed the mushrooms which were cooked well and full of flavour. Likewise the halloumi was nicely cooked and just how I like it. Alas the pitta bread was cold and stale, it could have been so much better if it had been warmed or even toasted. The salad was tasty and refreshing drizzled with a balsamic glaze.

Time for a salad

St Nicholas Market

If you are in Bristol looking for somewhere to lunch, there are lots of chains of restaurants and coffee shops across the city centre; however those looking for something different, tasty, individual and good value, need to look no further than St Nicholas Market. Within the narrow passages you can find all manner of foods and tasty treats. The range of smells, flavours and colours as you walk between the crowded stalls both stimulates and inspires, as well as making your mouth water. The choice is almost overwhelming, you can choose Portuguese, Chinese, Caribbean, Moorish, Italian, Vegetarian, Vegan, Modern, American BBQ, so much choice you often have no idea where to start. The place is usually packed and there are long queues for virtually all the stands, so I am sure they move quite quickly otherwise people wouldn’t join them.

Down in the St Nicholas market there is the Kofta Bar, well I think it’s the Kofta Bar, the aprons of the staff say the Olive Company. Well whatever they are called, if you do know please let me know in the comments, they do offer some lovely food, including freshly made wraps.

The salad boxes are my favourite. You get to make four choices from a wide variety of salads and what they call tapas choices.

They include cous-cous, mixed pulses, butterbeans in harissa dressing, Greek style salad, dolmas, sun dried tomatoes, pesto pasta salad, pecorino salad, falafel and a wide choice of olives.

On top of this you can choose between hummus, focaccia or flat bread as an extra.

There is also a choice of dressings, including pesto, yoghurt and harrisa. What this means is that it makes very easy never to have the same salad twice.

You can have extras added to the salad, a choice of lamb kofta, grilled chicken or halloumi.

The cost of a salad box is £4.50 and with the addition of 50p you can choose from a choice of cans of San Pellegrino or a bottle of water. Lamb and chicken salad boxes are a reasonable £5.50.

Though I’ve not tried them, the wraps look equally tasty.

So if you are looking for a nice salad for lunch then I would recommend the salad bar in St Nick’s market.

Grilled Halloumi

halloumi

One staple of many of the salads I have been making over the recent weeks has been grilled halloumi. I don’t recall the first time I had this Greek cheese, but I have over the years found it a tasty addition to salads. Halloumi is a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk.

I usually slice mine into 5mm slices and then fry (so not grilling) in a hot frying pan with a little olive oil. They only take a few minutes to cook on each side. The end result is a crispy outer and a soft salty inside, that complements the greenness and freshness of a salad.

Some people like to add a little rock salt to their halloumi, but I find it salty enough.

One thing I have not tried yet is cooking it on the barbeque.

A tiny corner of Kurdish tastiness

A tiny corner of Kurdish joy

If you are in Bristol looking for lunch, there are lots of chains of restaurants and coffee shops, across the city centre, however those looking for something different, tasty, individual and good value, need to look no further than St Nicholas Market. Within the narrow passages you can find all manner of foods and tasty treats. The range of smells, flavours and colours as you walk between the crowded stalls both stimulates and inspires, as well as making your mouth water. The choice is almost overwhelming, you can choose Caribbean, Moorish, Italian, Vegetarian, Vegan, Modern, BBQ, so much choice you often have no idea where to start. The place is usually packed and there are long queues for virtually all the stands, so I am sure they move quite quickly. Oh on Thursdays the choice gets even more difficult, as there are loads of new food stalls in the weekly food market.

One stall which seems to have a permanently long queue at lunchtimes is Matina right by the magnificent Georgian entrance to St Nicholas market on the High Street. Matina is a Kurdish takeaway selling delicious wraps and boxes. Keeping it simple you choose a freshly made Kurdish wrap (more like a naan bread than a wrap) or a box with rice (or cous cous). This is then filled with fresh salads, humus, sauces and topped with a choice of grilled marinated chicken, lamb kofta or hallumi and vegetables.

The bread is made in front of you to order in hot oven. They take fresh balls of dough, flatten them out into a circle on a mould, before sticking it to the side of their hot oven. These are then, once cooked, taken out and covered in your choice of salads, sauces, humus and chilli, before the addition of the main filling. Wrapped for you and ready to eat, though sometimes too hot too handle with the freshly cooked bread.

The bread is amazing, this is down to the freshness, you have warm bread, that is still a little doughy as you bite into it, and unlike a wrap, quite happily soaks up the juices from the salad and meat.

I went with the marinated chicken, which had been freshly cooked, so was hot, crisp on the outside, moist inside and full of middle eastern flavours. The salads are fresh, seasoned and full of taste. It was a joy to eat. The combination of textures, flavours and colour, makes this an incredible tasty lunchtime treat, and you understand why there is always a large queue. These are also very good value, all under £5.

Grilled Halloumi

Grilled Halloumi Salad #photo365 #fb

This is a quick and easy addition to any salad or as a starter.

Halloumi s a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk. I slice the cheese into 5mm slices and these are then placed under a hot grill, cooked on both sides until browned.

For speed though I have been taking a large frying pan, using some a little olive oil and then frying the slices until browned on each side. You need to take care, as it can be easy to overcook the slices.

Dinner at the Brasenose Arms

The last time I stayed at the Brasenose Arms in Cropredy I went with the chicken. I really enjoyed the meal, it was beautifully cooked and full of flavour.

On this visit, and having missed lunch, I was feeling quite peckish, so decided to treat myself to a starter as well as a main course.

There was a nice choice of starters and I was tempted by the mussels, however I had a suspicion that these would not be fresh mussels, but from a sealed bag (as one gets from a supermarket). That’s not really a surprise, lots of places do that, they’re also not too bad in terms of flavour, nowhere near as good as fresh, but okay. So in the end I chose the grilled halloumi – Cypriot cheese grilled and served with oven roasted cherry tomatoes, olives and tsatsiki.

Grilled Haloumi #photo365

The cheese was nicely cooked, crisp edges, good texture and flavour. It looked nice on the plate and was tasty.

For my main course I decided on an 8oz Sirloin. There is a large selection for the mains and in addition there are specials available too. At the time I was there they had a track of ribs as the special. The steaks are all supplied locally and come with frites and mixed leaf salad, with a choice of either red wine and caramelised red onion, or peppercorn sauce.

Sirloin

The steak was cooked well and had a great flavour. It was tender and tasty. My only slight criticism would be that the menu talked about frites, but my steak came with maris piper chips.

I did order the red wine and caramelised red onion, thinking that this would be a sauce, but it was chutney. It was nice, but I did think I would be getting a red wine sauce for the steak so was a little surprised. Next time I would go for the peppercorn sauce.

I didn’t have a pudding, but they have a really nice selection and from the ones I saw going to the tables of other diners, they looked really nice.

Also should point out that they have a nice selection of beers to go alongside the food.

As with my last visit to the Brasenose Arms, I had a really nice meal in a pleasant environment.