Time for some Tapas at the Brunello

We were out and about in Weston last April. Feeling peckish, we decided to head to the Brunello Lounge for a bite to eat. I did the tapas deal for three tapas dishes. They have a nice range of tapas dishes, I think they would work well if you spending an evening in the Lounge drinking (and chatting). They also work well for a light lunch.

I went with the hummus, crispy squid, and some chicken wings. The hummus was my favourite of the three little plates of food.

plate of hummus

This was a nicely presented dish, the garnishes enhancing the hummus. I liked the flavours and there was enough flatbread to go with it.

The crispy squid was a little overcooked for my liking. 

crispy squid with a wedge of lemon

The coating was a little too crispy, more like crunchy.

I liked the chicken wings, but I wanted more of them.

chicken wings

Overall I enjoyed the three dishes, it was a nice snack for lunch.

The Coach House Pub Chicken

The Coach House is a pub in Locking Village close to Weston-super-Mare. I have been a few times for drinks, but this was the first time I had food there.

It’s lovely traditional pub, with a good range of beers, and as this is Somerset, a good range of ciders as well. 

There is quite an extensive menu, with grills, burgers, salads, and traditional pub meals. They also have a wide variety of pie specials. I was quite tempted by the pies. In the end though I had the Chicken Forestiere. This was a flame grilled chicken breast, topped with smoked streaky bacon, and a garlic, mushroom, brandy, and Dijon mustard sauce. It was served with chips, homemade onion rings, and a dressed salad.

plate of food

The dish was what I expected, this was a nice looking plate of what I would call pub food. The chicken was nice, slightly overdone, so a little dry, but the sauce was nice.  I liked the chips and salad. The home-made onion rings were a delight, lovely crisp batter and tasty onion.

I do think that this dish might have been better if it had been served with potatoes and vegetables, rather than chips and salad. Another option was maybe I should have gone with another protein option.

Service was order and pay at the bar, and then sit down and wait for the food to arrive. The staff were all friendly and welcoming.

I did enjoy the plate of food, it was tasty and good value for money.

Time for truffle chicken, no, a burger, no, okay bang bang chicken then

I was attending a belated Christmas meal at the Brunello Lounge on the seafront at Weston-super-Mare.

I planned to park in Carlton Street. There was a long queue due to roadworks by the Town Hall, I popped by the station and managed to bypass the queue. However, upon entering the car par, I found the council had closed the upper levels and the rest of the spaces were filled. A conversation later I found out that there had been some anti-social behaviour on the upper levels of the car park, so as a result the council had closed them. Not sure how that encourages people to go out in the evening in Weston, if it’s challenging to park

I headed to the Sovereign Centre and parked there instead, which cost me three times as much.

We had booked a table, which was great as the place was super busy.

As it was January, we didn’t have access to the festive menu, so we had to make do with the regular menu. There is a wide choice on the menu, but if you exclude the brunch and breakfast items, and the sandwiches, there are a few main course items and a range of burgers.

I wanted the Rose’s Truffle Chicken, pulled chicken breast in a creamy truffle & mushroom sauce, with crispy bacon, fried potatoes, veggie parmesan and parsley, served with tenderstem broccoli. However, that wasn’t available. My second choice was the beef brisket burger, but that also wasn’t available. So, in the end I went with the Bang Bang Chicken. This was buttermilk fried chicken with noodles, pak choi, tenderstem broccoli, mushrooms and sugar snap peas topped with bang bang coconut sauce, sesame seeds and chilli.

It was busy, and we were a large group, but I didn’t think it took too long for the food to arrive, I certainly wasn’t made to feel I was waiting. The dish actually looked rather good.

However, I had anticipated that the fried chicken element would be fried chicken pieces. What I got was sliced buttermilk chicken steak on the bed of noodles and vegetables.

There was a fair amount of chilli in the dish as well, I don’t mind some heat, but there was a little too much for me, luckily it had been sliced quite thinly and not chopped, so was easy to remove some of the chilli from the dish.

I did enjoy the food, but it wasn’t amazing, and I felt it could be much better. Looking over the menu, it would appear that there are quite a few menu items there that are based on the buttermilk chicken. Would I have the dish again, probably not.

A Flat White at Bistrot Pierre

runners on a beach

I was watching the Christmas Cracker 10K on Weston beach and as the runners headed off to Uphill I headed off for coffee.

I went to the Brunello Lounge first. However, they were packed, so I went to Bistrot Pierre instead. They were busy, so popped out to see the runners run pass the pier again. I then headed back to Bistrot Pierre for a flat white.

The rush had calmed down, so I ordered a flat white and took a seat. I always like it when that happens, makes the coffee a little more special.

This was a nice looking flat white and tasted great. Just what I needed after standing out in the cold on the beach.

Tapas at Brunello

We went for lunch in Weston and decided to head to the Brunello Lounge.

We weren’t really that hungry, so decided against a full size main course, and we ordered three tapas dishes, some fries and onion rings. Service was quick and efficient, which is always nice when you don’t have a huge amount of time for lunch.

We had some chicken wings, the salt & pepper squid, and the hummus.

The chicken wings were fried crispy chicken wings, which had been coated in a sticky sauce and dressed with sesame seeds.

For me the chicken was overcooked. Probably a result of being cooked twice more than anything else. I do like chicken wings, but these weren’t my favourite.

The squid was nice and crispy and there was a large dollop of aioli in the middle.

My favourite of the trio of dishes was the hummus. This was beautifully presented little dish of hummus with fried chickpeas, chilli and parsley. This was served with some flatbread.

The fries were nice and crispy, as was the batter on the onion rings.

Overall a nice snack for a quick lunch.

That’s why I don’t go to Starbucks

I was charging my car when I walked over to my local Starbucks. This branch has a drive through, but also space to sit down. As I was waiting, I decided to drink in. I was going to have an iced drink, but they had no ice.

I ordered a flat white.

I thought it was well overpriced at £3.74. I know we have excessive inflation, but I think £3 for a coffee in London is expensive. I suspect that they use the same pricing structure as Starbuck branches on motorway services. This Starbucks is next to a petrol station but is in Weston-super-Mare and not on the motorway.

It did look nice, but it wasn’t in my opinion a really good coffee. I remembered I am not really a fan of Starbucks coffee. 

Can’t Dance Coffee

I can’t dance, and I like coffee, so it wasn’t too surprising that I would end up in a place called Can’t Dance Coffee in Weston-super-Mare.

The Sovereign Centre is a shopping centre in Weston-super-Mare, which opened in 1992. There was a cafe when the place opened. At some point it became a Druckers cafe. Druckers was there for much of that time, serving cakes and coffee.

£500,000 was spent by in 2016 to create the six-unit food hall, with the hope of ‘transforming’ the shopping centre and luring national firms. Well, that didn’t work, as no one except Druckers took an outlet. Even then Druckers left two years later.

Back in 2000 on the Twitter I wrote this in response to this question:

What’s the worst shopping centre in the UK?

I said it has a food court with NO food outlets to buy food from! 

The health centre idea never happened, instead some of the empty shopping outlets became a business hub, with offices and desks.

The food court area, once more underwent a refurbishment and it does now have a food outlet. It is now the Can’t Dance Coffee cafe.

I rarely spend time shopping in Weston, as there isn’t too much choice of shops, so usually I am in and out, having been to specific outlet. However, this time I was picking up my daughter, I had some time, so went for a coffee, and decided to give Can’t Dance Coffee a try. So, I ordered a flat white.

Service was a little slow, but I got my coffee in the end and sat down. It looked like they knew what they were doing.

The environment is rather industrial and stark. There were some sofas, but the main seating was hard chairs or chipboard benches. As a result I think the place lacks any kind of warmth or character. It feels spartan and cold, it was also quite dark. It certainly wasn’t inviting.

The coffee was nice, and I enjoyed it. However when going out to drink coffee, there is so much more to the experience than just drinking coffee. There is ambiance, the physicalness of the space, the seating, chairs, tables, sofas, and the lighting.

Would I go again, probably not.

My time at the Ginger Pig Kitchen

I was once asked where I go to eat out in Weston-super-Mare and I recognised that most times I go out to eat are in other places. When eating locally, as a family, we usually end up in Bristol, as part of doing something else. It doesn’t help that quite a few places that we use to frequent have closed down.

So it was a nice to go out to eat at a local bistro in Weston-super-Mare. I and others visited the Ginger Pig Kitchen recently (as in January) for a “Christmas” dinner.

“At the Ginger Pig Kitchen we’re proud to be serving Modern British bistro food, made from fresh, with passion, using local suppliers and produce. We trust that with every visit you make you will get great service in a great environment.”

The environment is certainly interesting with pipework and wooden tables and what felt liked random chairs.

The menu looked inspiring and interesting, and it was quite difficult to make a choice, but as this was a booked meal I had to make my choice the week before! I also prefer not to do this, as what I felt like eating last week, may not be what I feel like eating now. However I did think I made the right choices.

For my starter I had the Cauliflower Bhaji, which was served with mango yoghurt chilli jam and crispy onion.

I got two bhaji, made from onion and cauliflower. They were crunchy and crisp outside and soft inside. I couldn’t really taste the cauliflower, but they were nice and spicy. I liked the crispy onion, but I do feel that it needed more yoghurt. Overall I did enjoy the bhaji and they were really tasty.

We then had a watermelon gazpacho in a spoon, which was quite nice and zingy. 

Forgot to take photograph of the spoon before drinking the soup.

My main course was I think the house speciality, which was Woodbarn Farm pork belly. It was served with a GPK black pudding bon bon, mashed potato and a braised carrot. On the plate was also a scattering of green leaves, crispy onions and something else.

It was quite a small piece of pork belly, but was well cooked. The cracking was crisp and crunchy, but wasn’t going to be teeth breaking. The pork was tender and tasty.

The GPK bon bon was nice and meaty, I think it could have had a deeper flavour. I did like the use of crackling as the bon bon stick. The mashed potato was nice and creamy, but I would liked to have had a gravy with a deeper flavour, the same could be said for the braised carrot. 

On the plate was also a scattering of green leaves, crispy onions and something else. I am not sure what this was and what it added to the dish. It did add texture, but I was a little underwhelmed by this addition to the dish. Overall I did enjoy this plate of food and it was delicious.

I had a choice of desserts, in the end I went with the cheese and biscuits. I had three pieces of cheese, crackers, chutney, fruit, and celery.

I did not eat the celery. Overall it was okay, nice cheese and nice accompaniments.

It certainly was a popular establishment and was full all evening. Took a photo of the restaurant (at the top of this post) as we were leaving and was now nearly empty, but that’s because it was late. The service was excellent, warm and friendly. I really enjoyed the food, it was delicious and it is certainly a place I would visit again.

Cheese Games

Met up with some friends at The Stable Game Room for a coffee and a bite to eat (oh and to play a game).

The Stable Game Room has many board games you can play, as well as serving food, alcoholic drinks and coffee.

I had an espresso, which was a little harsh to be honest, so much so I had to add sugar and I generally never do that to coffee. However when I was in Italy in the 1990s I would see quite a few Italians do that, so still felt I was being honest with myself.

I wasn’t that hungry, so I had the Cheese Deli Board, expecting to share it with the table.

The board was quite plentiful with cheddar, red Leicester, stilton and brie. Alongside was apples, grapes, pickle, pickled onions and cornichons. With this came bread and crackers. 

I had to ask for butter though. It was a big board and there was lots of cheese. I have to say though, the cheese was nothing to write home about, the sort of cheese you could find in any supermarket. The cheddar was quite bland in comparison to the mature cheddar I usually have. Nice to have some stilton with the dish.

For a little more money you can have a cheese and ham board. Not sure if this means the same amount of cheese and then ham, or less cheese and some ham!

Our table also had a couple of pizzas. They have a pizza oven and used fresh dough, so the pizza looked excellent and according to those that ate them, they were delicious.

Certainly would do a return visit.