Friday, 24 October 2014

Byron Burger & The Fuss Free Meat Bonanza

Burgers. They're like meat inside bread.

For those of you who are hot on the Bristol ground meat scene (who isn't right?) you will have already heard tales of a new burger venture that has settled in this fair city of ours, and a lucky few of you may have already had chance to walk it's hallowed floor and tasted the delights within.

I am of course talking of Byron Burger, the newest addition to the Triangle.
The philosophy behind Byron is to serve 'proper' (still unconfirmed as to whether this carries the same weight with Byron Burgers when pronounced with a West Country accent) hamburgers, simply done, with minimum fuss & fanfare.

So, what does that mean in reality, and what does a non-fussy burger look like?
Well, turns out you can somewhat adjust the amount of fuss on your burger if you so wish. I went for the 'Smoky' - smoked cheddar, streaky bacon, crispy fried onions, shredded iceberg, pickles & smoked chilli BBQ sauce, but if I'd wanted to fuss it up there were 14 other extra toppings I could have added for an extra cost.
But if you really are a purist you can go for the Classic - the fuss free simple option of burger, lettuce, tomato, red onion & mayo.

The Smoky was a dream! Now I'm not normally one to eat a lot of red meat, so when I do go for a hamburger it's got to be nice, and this really delivered - the flavours were great, the burger wasn't too greasy, the bun held together all the way through eating despite a good amount of sauce, and the mess was pretty minimal.
I would say though that make sure you order some sides, because unlike at many other burger places your patty won't automatically come with fries on the side.
We went for the macaroni cheese and the famous courgette fries which seems to be the side of choice from the word on the street. Both were super tasty and left me wanted to try the other sides - although I would have been far too stuffed to try them there and then (another visit is in order me thinks).

The drinks selection was pretty impressive too (although 'craft beer' does seem to be a term thrown around a lot these days), and featured an American leaning with a good choice of Bourbons, American beers & milkshakes, along with menu regulars of wine, bottled cider & soft drinks.
All in all I was very impressed with Byron, and am actually looking forward to going back and having some more red meat, nom.
Although if you're somewhat less of a carnivore than I there's no need to despair, you will find something there for you too (although there was definite room for expansion in veggie choices).

The Bristol burger scene seems to be growing almost as fast it's beer scene, and there are some excellent established choices out there already, but if you fancy somewhere new then go check out Byron!

Let me know if you've been, and what you thought - and if you also succumbed to the charms of the courgette fries!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

5 Ways To Have A Super Saturday In Bristol

The weekend - the perfect time for a bit of rest. Or is it? Everyone loves a chilled out Saturday every once in a while, time to recover from the previous night's shenanigans and to discover some level of Zen before the working week begins again - but what if you want to get a little adventure, make the most of the sunshine and escape from the washing up?

It's time to put on your shoes, whack on a bit of sun cream and get out the door! Let's take a peek at the exciting adventures in Bristol that await when you decide to seize your Saturday!

1. Get our mouth around some tasty delights at a Food Festival

You can hardly go from one weekend to the next without coming across another Bristol festival! Grillstock, Eat Drink Bristol Fashion, Vegfest, and so many more - something for everyone, and guaranteed to leave you stuffed and satisfied!

And don't worry if you've missed out - there's still the Foodies Festival 11-13th July, Grape & Grain Festival 12-14th Sept - and plenty more!

2. Jump on the beer bandwagon and visit one of Bristol's (many!) beer havens

If you're new to the beer scene in Bristol then an easy place to start is King Street, Bristol's unofficial 'beer quarter', playing host to Small Bar, The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer (or 'The Volly' if you can handle it), The Beer Emporium, The Old Duke, The Llandoger Trow, The King Bill, and more!

If you like a wide range of choice then take a peek in The Beer Emporium or The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer, both of which have more beers than you could shake a stick at! But hey - drink responsibly!

And if you want more of a low down on the beer scene then keep an eye on what Bristol and District young CAMRA members are up to - they're always out and about with an eagle eye on the best beers!

3. Get back to nature and discover a hidden gem

There's plenty of green space in Bristol, and it's likely that you've chilled out in plenty of the parks, BBQ'd all the meat you could handle, got lost on the Downs - but have you really explored them?

If you haven't been to the rock slide up by the suspension bridge, the hidden calm of Temple Church just off Victoria street, or the peaceful gardens of the Cathedral then I suggest you check them out!

And what about Brandon Hill - it's not just Cabot Tower that deserves a visit (open early morning til dusk) but you should also follow the water and take a peek at the little pools and ponds hidden amongst the shrubbery!

4. Bust out your sea legs and get that Captain's hat on!

Ok so there's no real beach in Bristol (despite what The Bronx tried to tell us when they came to visit Thekla), but it doesn't mean you can't enjoy the mermaid life! 

Well... on second thought I wouldn't recommend taking a dip in Bristol harbour, but there are still plenty of options such as paddleboarding, rowing, sailing, etc that you can get involved with if you want to be a waterbaby for the day.

And if that sounds too much effort for a Saturday then do not despair! Take a picnic down to the waterfront and stare wistfully into the sunset as the cool water glistens around you. Stay a little longer and you'll get to enjoy the sunset over the river!

5. Treat yourself!

Everyone know Cabot Circus and Cribbs Causeway - but there is so much more in Bristol in terms of shopping than just these behemoths! 

Each area in Bristol has it's own gem - Gloucester Road (with personal favourites Iota, Fox & Feather and The Olive Shed Shop), Clifton Village, North Street, Park Street (some awesome charity shops popping up here recently), St Nicholas Market - so many places there's something for everyone! 

It's great to shop local and in Bristol it's easy - you just have to look!

Let me know how you like to spend your perfect Saturday in Bristol! Or at least a Saturday where you can be bothered to get out of bed!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Chase Taste: Weber & Tring's

On Wednesday evening we were lucky enough to attend a tasting session given by Chase distillery at Weber & Tring's.
After the dissolution of the Milk Thistle's Gin Club we at Bristol Whipped have been missing our spirits education, so we jumped at the chance to attend!
This was our first trip to Weber & Tring's, and we were not disappointed, after a quick nose around the shop we headed down to the cosy & atmospheric 'vault', ready for our journey to take place.

So I have to admit I started out a little sceptical - only because drinking vodka just brings back hazy memories of cheap spirits that could probably be used to strip paint off wood, mixed with sickly heart-attack inducing energy drinks - not my ideal drink of choice... Plus generally, we Bristol Whipped fellows are fans of the mother's ruin when it comes to a cheeky tipple.
However my worries were soon laid to rest after the first sip of Chase (original) - who knew vodka could be so flavourful! We were told how the taste comes from basing the spirit on potatoes, rather than just grain - easy to believe with the subtly creamy taste.

Next up was the Naked Vodka - lighter & sweeter than the original, it gave off a tantalising aroma of apple sherbet - a good contender for a fresh, summery cocktail me thinks.

It was the taste of the Smoked Vodka however when things really started to get interesting! Made by blowing smoke through the water during the production process, this offering succeeded in making us all hungry for a bit of charcuterie - some cheese or smoked ham would go delightfully paired with a drop of this.
Personally I was also reminded a little of good smokey stouts, and can imagine it would help make a particularly delicious Bloody Mary.
Lucky for us gin fans we were also treated to tastes of the Williams Extra Dry Gin & Williams Elegant & Crisp Gin, the former with an amazingly spicy & Christmassy taste (recommended to be served with a little ginger, lemon peel & thyme), the latter with a lighter, crisp finish (an excellent Martini base).

Lastly, we were introduced to the flavoured vodkas. I know what you're thinking, but flavoured vodkas don't always have to be sickly, neon and served on a 6 shot stick... (birthday cake flavour - what's that all about?). These vodkas were made by mixing with real fresh fruit, producing an intense and tantalising flavour.
The Marmalade vodka, made with zesty Seville oranges for a rich, bittersweet taste, would make the perfect Breakfast Martini, we were told, whereas the serving suggestion for the Rhubarb Vodka was with ginger ale & tonic. However, the beautiful rhubarb taste - sweet, tart, creamy - could, as far as I'm concerned, easily be enjoyed neat!

The evening ended on a high with a sweet & syrupy Elderflower Liqueur, conjuring up visions of English gardens & long lazy summer afternoons (pair with the Elegant & Crisp gin for something special). 

All in all it was an excellent education into the world of Chase (did you know that Tyrrells crisps originally spring from the Chase family?), and a pleasant surprise for an (ex)vodka sceptic!
And of course a big thank you to the guys at Weber & Tring's! We'll definitely be back to visit soon for some tasty delights (we've got an eye on those beautiful bitters!).

Let me know your thoughts on Chase, or if you've got any inspired cocktail recipes & serving suggestions!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Belated William Onyeabor Musical Delight (Feat. Floating-Heads)

OK so it's a pretty late review, but we've been busy leading a cosmopolitan lifestyle (visiting grandma's house, spring cleaning, discussing the best filler for homemade draught excluders, etc - standard). But better late than never, so here's a cheeky write up of the glorious musical escapades of "Atomic Bomb - Who Is William Onyeabor".

In what seems to be Bristol Whipped's season of Colston Hall adventures we found ourselves lucky enough to be attending this celebration of Nigerian "synth pioneer" enigma of a man - William Onyeabor.
Even the event itself asked the question on everybody's lips - Who Is William Onyeabor?
After self-releasing 8 (pretty exclusive) synthesiser-led Afrobeat music albums in the late 70's & early 80's in south-eastern Nigeria, Onyeabor became a born-again Christian and dissolved from the music scene, leaving behind a legacy of great music and great mystery. To this day his post-music life remains a hazy riddle.
In 2013 the compilation album "Who Is William Onyeabor" was released by David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label, as a finale to the 5 year journey of trying to track this man of mystery down. And the evening we were lucky enough to attend was a celebration of this album, the journey, and of Onyeabor's influence to the world of music, performed by a whole host of fans and familiar names.

Now I'm no music critic, so if you want actual words of wisdom on that then I would have to point you in the direction of actual IRL music aficionado Sammy Jones and her review on the same event.

But what I can provide you with myself is irrelevant commentary and bizarre pictures (can anyone figure out what's going on in those floating-head magic-eye visuals??) - that's what you're here for right? No? Well sucks to be you, because that's what you're going to get:

- Ghostpoet: Such dancing, much shoe shine, so dapper!
- Lijadu Sisters: My favourite part was their amaze sparkly red outfits - they looked like glorious dragons!
- Alexis Taylor: Oh if only we could all carry off such a strong look! And a great voice to add on to many of the songs.
- Kele Okereke: Great to see him there and I appreciated his brightly coloured shirt, but there was a slight look in his eye that reminded me of a rabbit being petted slightly too hard by an excited child...

Plus so many more lovely guests and highlights! Personal high point for me has to be Money Mark (Beastie Boys) bossing it on keys. Ooh, so much funk for a Wednesday evening!

Needless to say the crowd had a jolly old time and even though we may be no closer to figuring out who William Onyeabor is, we can at least come away being a little more acquainted with his music!
If you haven't checked him out then give this a listen and let me know what you think (plus the video is pretty mesmerising):