Monday, 30 August 2010

An epicurian weekend...

Unusually this weekend I've eaten out - not once, but twice. After 4 months in Bristol it was about time too, as up till now I've only been out just once!

Last night I went out for Thali. Originating in roadside restaurants in India, the name Thali actually refers to the metal serving dish, rather than the meal itself. Indeed in India Thali's vary from region to region along with local palettes and cuisines.

Served either in a dish with compartments, as pictured, or on a tray with a number of individual bowls, the main attraction - the curry - has a range of accompaniments. Mine was a chicken curry with rice, Tarka Dahl, pickled vegetables, mixed vegetables with coconut and a mango chutney. Taken together it created a wonderfully balanced meal with the heat of the curry offset by the sweetness of the pickled veg and the cooling coconut. Unlike many Indian restaurants, the portion size was, while filling, not excessive.

If you're in Bristol you can find Thali here!

Today I went to Carluccio's for lunch. This is chain cafe/deli trading on the name and reputation of Antonio Carluccio, the TV chef. As with any chain, the waitress was keen to upsell, but we were content with the fixed price menu!

For starters I had a lovely Chicken Liver pate which was so smooth it must have been pressed through a sieve - the resultant texture was luxurious and beautiful. My only slight criticism was that the butter seal was slightly too salty and detracted form the subtle taste of the pate itself. Having made pate myself in the past, I feel inspired to give it another go and see if I can achieve a similar result. I'll keep you posted on any developments if I do!

For my main course, I had the Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Sage Butter. This was surprisingly light with a beautiful clean taste coming from the sage. Sometimes you can't beat simple but well executed food and this was it.

So, after four months of settling in, I've finally made a start on a gastronomic tour of the restaurants of Bristol. There are many more to explore and future reviews may well appear!


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