Bristol Bites Blog

Posts Tagged ‘wine

After the success of the last Big Cheese Taste Off, held on the Grain Barge (write up here), we’ve been eagerly awaiting the next installment. Luckily we don’t have to wait too much longer, as The Kings Arms on Whiteladies Road will be hosting round two on Tuesday, October 19th. Read the rest of this entry »


With cheese being bought by 98% of British households, and over 700 named cheeses produced in the UK, our love of the stuff is evident. We consume over 700,000 tonnes of cheese per year…but how are we eating it, and are we actually appreciating our local produce?

Wednesday, May 12th will see four British names coming together for The Big Cheese Taste Off. Described as “the ULTIMATE in food and drink pairing”, the evening will see the Grain Barge playing host to Bristol Beer Factory, Trethowan’s Dairy Shop, The Orchard Pig and Hallgarten Wines as they ask the question:

“What do you drink with cheese? Beer, wine or cider?”

Trethowan’s will be supplying a variety of locally produced cheeses, which have been matched to beers, wines and ciders provided by the other three companies…and they want YOU to answer the question. For only £10 per ticket, you can spend your Wednesday evening learning a little about how to match food and drink, taste some new beers, wines and ciders, and decide which works best with each of the cheeses. Bristol Beer Factory appear to have decided that it’s the beers…then again, they’re a little biased 😉

The evening is one in a series of “Taste Offs” that are apparently planned, and will be held at the Grain Barge on Hotwells Road on Wednesday, May 12th, starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 each on a first come, first served basis, and are available from the Grain Barge, The Bristol Beer Factory and from Orchard Pig.

I think this may have to replace my original plan of the regular quiz night next Wednesday. My prediction is that cider will most definitely get my vote… 🙂

Clifton-based Papadeli have just announced the dates for a series of wine tasting sessions that they are running at the deli this year. These tasting sessions follow on from similar events that they hosted last year with wine expert Raj Soni.

Further details of the sessions are below – to book, simply email with details of the session that you’d like to attend, or phone them on 0117 973 6569.

The wine tastings with Raj Soni last year were superb. Raj is former chairman of the West of England Wine and Spirits Association and is a font of fascinating knowledge about wine. His style is easy and humorous and suitable for all – from novice to connoisseur. The wine is accompanied by delicious papadeli food and the atmosphere is always jovial.

Here are the dates for this year.

Start time 7.30pm

21st April

Burgundy, including Cotes Challonaise, Maconnais and Beaujolais. £35.

18th May

Spanish wines. £30.

22nd June

Loire and Alsace. £25.

21st September

Italy with focus on Tuscany. £25.

26th October

Bordeaux. £35.

23rd November

Champagne, sparkling wine and sherry accompanied by delectable festive foods. £45.

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When times are hard, do we really want to sacrifice our love of eating out, or would we rather just economise? Personally, I fall into the latter category. Of course I still want to eat out, even if I can’t afford to do it as often as I’d like, or have to avoid the more expensive options.

If you like a bottle of wine with your meal, as many of us do, you’ll undoubtedly be paying over the odds, and no doubt you’ll resent it. Chris on The Weekly Gripe website has recently claimed that the wine mark-up in UK restaurants used to be around three times retail price, but is increasingly four or five times, meaning that we are paying over the odds by quite a significant amount.

So, what are our options? We can begrudgingly pay a small fortune for a bottle of cheap wine. We can stick to soft drinks – or even tap water – if we’re feeling skint. Or we can venture down to one of Bristol’s “bring your own” (BYO) restaurants and save ourselves a bit of money.

The BYO concept has been around for a while, but has historically tended to be confined to Thai restaurants and curry houses. However, it appears that more and more restaurants are getting in on the act and not only saving their customers some money, but also giving them a wider range of drink options in the process.

We’ve attempted to list some of Bristol’s BYO venues below – if you know of any more or have comments on any of those that we’ve listed, let us know!


Courtyard Restaurant, 20 Lower Park Row (Noodles)

Sergio’s, 1-4 Frogmore Street (Italian)


Al’s Tikka Grill, 33 Ashton Road (Indian)

Il Grano, 149 East Street (Italian)


A Cappella, 184C Wells Road, Knowle (Pizza)

Assilah Bistro, 194-196 Wells Road, Totterdown (Moroccan)


Eastern Taste, 94 St Mark’s Rd (Indian)

Kashmir Restaurant, 15 High Street (Indian)


La Voglia, 130 Cheltenham Road (Italian)

Thai Pepper, 215 Cheltenham Road (Thai)


Simply Thai, 67 Gloucester Road (Thai)

Dev’s Kerala, 180 Gloucester Road (Indian)


Il Rustico, 133 Hotwells Road (Italian)

The Muset by Ronnie, 12 – 16 Clifton Rd (British) – BYO at the Chef’s Table only


The Villager, 35/36 Church Road (modern European)


Shadin, 70 Broad Street (Indian)



It’s amazing what Google can throw out when you’re not even looking for it. It was such a search that brought up the Lionsdrinkbellinis website – created in order to “start a series of tasting sessions for drinks you may have never tried or think you don’t like.” They make it clear that they’re not a dating agency, there’s no annual fee, and no restrictions on the types of people who can attend, the idea being to create evenings that are “fun, sociable, affordable and even a little bit educational.”

Thursday, April 8th will see Goldbrick House on Park Street playing host to the next LDB event – a cheese and wine tasting evening. Wines will be provided by Bath’s Great Western Wine, and cheeses by Trethowan’s Dairy. A cheese-only option is also available for non-drinkers and those who are driving on the night.

Tickets are only £20 per head, and must be booked in advance – no tickets will be available on the door. Details of how to book are available here. We’ll certainly be checking the website regularly – I’m waiting in particular for more details of the “Pudding Club” they have listed for May 6th!

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