Time for Low and Slow

In this blog post I am remembering my most recent visit to Low and Slow, which took place some weeks before the lockdown in February.

Having been a staple of the street food markets for many years I was pleased to see Low and Slow find a more permanent home in St Nicholas’ Market in Bristol. I have eaten there once or twice I think since they moved in, but I have noticed on more recent visits to the market that they have sold out quite quickly of their slow smoked beef brisket, so I have missed out. What was happening was I was going for a walk at lunchtime I would walk through the market see the Low and Slow stall and think, I’ll come back here to get some food for lunch, but by the time I returned they had sold out! So I then go somewhere different.

On a recent visit to the market, I went early and remembering what had happened before, I decided to order there and then, and managed to secure a delicious lunch. I went with the Barbecue Box which consists of a slice of slow smoked beef brisket, pulled pork, burnt ends and your choice of two sides. This time I went with fries and slaw.

low and slow barbecue box

The brisket was full of flavour and had a melt in the mouth texture. It’s so delicious and tender. When I have had brisket in barbecue restaurants it’s never as good as the brisket from Low and Slow. I enjoyed the pulled pork and the burnt ends were rather tasty. The fries added texture and the slaw freshness. It was a delicious lunch and I will miss going back there, as we seem to be in lock down for a while now. I also hope that all the stalls in St Nicholas Market survive the temporary closure, and I for one will be back to support them when the market reopens. 

Quick(ish) Greek Lunch

I don’t go to The Real Greek for a while and then I go not just once, but go again real quick.

I had actually intended to have pizza from Bella Vista down by Bristol Bridge, but they were really busy and there was going to be a long wait. I had enjoyed my recent visit to The Real Greek, so decided to go for their lunch deal again.

As before there was a warm welcome from the staff and this time I chose to sit inside. 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. This time I went with the trio of dishes.

I had the warm flatbread with houmous and taramasalata. A nice starter, though I should have asked for it to all come at once rather than separately. If I had chosen one of the other ramekins available, such as tzatziki, I would like to have that along with the main.

The middle of the trio was Loukaniko beef and pork sausage. A traditional Greek beef and pork sausage, chargrilled and sprinkled with oregano.

Loukaniko beef and pork sausage

I’ve had similar dishes before and really enjoyed them, this was a tasty dish, strong flavours and a really meaty experience. It was served with smoked chilli relish, which I didn’t really like, I found it somewhat harsh and overpowering.

The final choice was the Aegean Slaw, thinly shredded cabbage, carrot, red and green peppers, with an olive oil dressing. I was slightly annoyed that the Loukaniko sausage was already accompanied by a reasonable portion of the Aegean Slaw, so I got extra slaw. If I had know this I might have chosen a different final choice. This was nice, fresh and crunchy.

The service was excellent, and it was a pleasant lunchtime experience with some great food, great value and nice environment.

Satay Chicken Hot Box

I have been intrigued by Leon for a while now, I was surprised to find a branch at the Strensham South Services on the M5. Also pleasantly surprised that their prices were the same as they are in their high street stores and not inflated because they are in the motorway services.

The reasons for my intrigue is the interesting menu of salads and hot boxes. The choice is varied, sounds delicious and look appetising.

I didn’t eat at Strensham as I wasn’t stopping to eat, but to be honest I was a little bit tempted. So it was no surprise when needing to buy lunch in London the other day I was pleased to see a Leon branch and I popped into to get some lunch.

As it was rather cold, I decided I would go with a hot box rather than a salad. There were some really nice choices, but in the end I went with the Satay Chicken Hot Box.

Satay Chicken Hot Box

This contained sliced chargrilled chicken thigh on Italian brown rice, served with a punchy satay sauce. Topped with fresh parsley, mint & toasted seeds.

The chicken was really tasty and tender, it was covered in a nice but not too spicy satay sauce. The slaw was crunchy and fresh.

I really enjoyed the box, it was tasty, fresh and full of flavour.

So what’s close by?

I have really enjoyed my previous visits to Wahaca, visiting central London and looking for somewhere to eat, I did wonder if there was a Wahaca close by, a quick search and 0.2 miles away on Charlotte Street.

This is a very different establishment to the one on the South Bank, more traditional in appearance from the outside. Inside it felt more like the one on the South Bank, the furniture was very similar. The staff were friendly and welcoming. Inside there were the similar tables and chairs, but as the place isn’t made from shipping containers, the walls were brick and the ceilings high.

Looking over the menu, I decided to go with one of the specials as they were different from those at my last visit. There was a choice of two, so I went with the lamb taquito, this was slow-braised lamb shoulder marinated in ancho chilli and orange rolled in a crispy fried tortilla.

slow-braised lamb shoulder marinated in ancho chilli and orange rolled in a crispy fried tortilla

Unlike my previous experience with taquitos, these were very tasty, strong flavours. The fried tortilla was nice and crip and I enjoyed the accompanying slaw.

I also went with the Tostadas, two crispy corn tortillas topped with fresh, light layers of Mexican flavour, served chilled.

Tostadas, two crispy corn tortillas topped with fresh, light layers of Mexican flavour, served chilled.

These were smoky chargrilled chicken, avocado, guacamole, chipotle mayo and fresh slaw. This was delicious and refreshing. A wonderful combination of tastes and textures.

I did also order a dish I had before, and went with the tacos, three toasted soft corn tortillas with flash grilled skirt steak with chipotle salsa.

three toasted soft corn tortillas with flash grilled skirt steak with chipotle salsa

They also came with raw diced onion and some guacamole. As before they were delicious. I was asked if I wanted grilled cheese with them, I said no, but they arrived with the grilled cheese. I felt this added very little to the dish and wasn’t really needed, pleased that I wasn’t charged for this extra.

Another enjoyable visit to Wahaca and some great food.

A little more Mexican market eating

You can tell how much I like somewhere sometimes whether I go again, so just a week after my previous visit, I found myself waiting outside Wahaca for it to open at midday to grab a quick lunch. There was a bit of a queue to get in, but I think that demonstrates how popular the place is to go and eat.

Wahaca, one of a chain of Mexican street food eating places that to be honest I only found out about last week! There are branches across London and England, there is even a branch in Bristol! I went again to the branch on the South Bank. The restaurant is situated on the South Bank next to Waterloo bridge. It is built from eight recycled shipping containers arranged across two overhanging levels, with both inside and outside seating.

The Wahaca Southbank Experiment

These brightly coloured containers make for an interesting eating environment. As with my previous experience the staff were friendly and welcoming.

There is a wide choice of dishes, the menu is split into nibbles, bigger food and street food. The street food menu is a range of smaller dishes. As I had missed breakfast, there was a cancelled train, so I had rushed to catch the earlier one, and was hungrier, so I went with three dishes, whereas in my last visit I had had two dishes.

I really wanted to try something different this time so made sure I didn’t go with the dishes I had before.

Of the three dishes I ordered, the first to arrive was some taquitos. These were two corn tortillas filled, rolled and fried into crispy cigars and served with shredded salads and salsas.

taquitos were filled with crab and shrimp in a gently spiced Veracruzan tomato sauce, topped with habanero slaw and fresh tomato salsa.

These taquitos were filled with crab and shrimp in a gently spiced Veracruzan tomato sauce, topped with habanero slaw and fresh tomato salsa.

I really liked the look of this dish, I thought it was well presented. The habanero slaw and tomato salsa were delicious and very fresh. As for the taquitos I wasn’t as impressed with them as I thought I would be. They were quite spicy and crunchy, but I couldn’t really taste the crab and shrimp. I was hoping that the crunch of the crispy rolled tortilla would be complemented by the fresh taste of seafood, but alas it wasn’t to be. I really did enjoy the slaw and salsa. It was reasonably priced at £4.95.

My next two dishes arrived together. One of these was one I was going to order last time, but in the end chose something different. I went with the tacos, three toasted soft corn tortillas with flash grilled skirt steak with chipotle salsa. They also came with raw diced onion and some guacamole.

three toasted soft corn tortillas with flash grilled skirt steak with chipotle salsa

I really enjoyed this dish, the steak was cooked well and was very tasty. The accompanying salsa and guacamole added a little extra to the dish. Each tacos had two or three pieces of steak. These I thought were also reasonable priced at £4.50 for three.

My final dish was one of the specials, Gringa Taco. Described in the menu as Mexico city’s favourite street food dish. Grilled pork pastor, marinated in achiote and pineapple, served in a floured tortilla with toasted cheese.

Gringa Taco

I did wonder what achiote was and found our later that it is a Yucatecan condiment called recado rojo or “achiote paste”. It is made from ground Bixa orellana seeds combined with other spices. As a result the pork was very red and quite spicy. The floured tortilla was first spread with guacamole and the pork added as a layer to the top of that before a chunk of grilled pineapple topped the dish.

This was quite a spicy dish, but was delicious. The pork was very tender and the guacamole helped offset the heat of the spice. I did think that a spoonful of sour cream would have helped finish the dish, but I am guessing that is more American than Mexican. I did like the grilled pineapple which added a real contrasting sweetness to the spiciness of the dish and was fresh and tasty. Reasonably priced at £5.15.

The service as before was excellent and I really enjoyed my food and the meal.

Looking forward to next time.

Eating at the diner

Butlins American Diner

Recently I was on holiday at Butlins in Minehead. One evening we went to the relatively new Diner. This is an American style diner complete with booths, signage and singers.

It was much bigger on the inside then it looked from the exterior, somewhat like the TARDIS. It was quite early and we had a choice of seats, in the end we chose a booth close to the juke box. Alas the jukebox was fake… I didn’t quite understand why there was a fake jukebox, well actually I did, it was there for aesthetic purposes and not so diners could choose some music. The diner had music, but we as diners had no choice. I also wonder if it was a cost saving measure, as I know a juke box can be expensive to run, both in terms of licensing but also in maintenance. I did wonder if they could go with a digital jukebox. I did make the suggestion to the staff that they should get a real jukebox.

As I was in an American style diner, I decided to go with a burger and had the Fonz. This was a prime 6oz beefburger topped with Monterey Jack cheese, crispy bacon, BBQ sauce and diced avocado. Stacked up with homemade onion rings.

Fonz Burger

Was I surprised when the meal arrived in what could only be called a cutlery draining basket! Why can’t we have plates? What is wrong with plates? I think these basket things are quite normal in US diners. However the burger was delicious. I was less impressed with the roll, which was a standard floured bap. It was supposed to be a glazed brioche bun, but they had run out!

The ‘slaw was really interesting, this was no standard cheap coleslaw. I really liked the small peppers that it had. Not sure for this convention of called coleslaw, slaw, is this an American thing?

I really enjoyed the burger and I did feel that they had captured what an American diner from the movies and television was like. Was it like a real authentic American diner? Probably not, but this was Minehead!

Slaw

Slaw

Though I have been known to go out and buy small tubs of coleslaw I much prefer to make my own. I recently made a slaw to accompany a meal I had cooked. I used a variation of my usual recipe.

Half a white cabbage thinly sliced into strips.

Two carrots, sliced thinly, I used a cheese slicer to get strips of carrot.

A parsnip, similar to the carrots, sliced thinly.

Half a red onion, sliced thinly.

Half a brown (or white) onion, sliced thinly.

Half a red pepper sliced thinlu.

Mix with three spoons of mayonnaise, two spoons of creme frache and two teaspoons of mustard.

It works better if you can let it stand in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight.

It tasted fresh, crunchy and delicious.