Happy 10th birthday to Bristol Bites!

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Bristol Bites tenth birthday

 

Ten years ago today, on January 20th, 2010, Bristol Bites was born. And it’s changed somewhat since then! When I first started, I’d only moved to Bristol six months earlier, and I was still learning that the city’s food and drink scene was something that was well worth exploring.

It originally started out mainly as a listings site, and mainly for me: somewhere I could post details of upcoming foodie events and decide which ones I wanted to explore. But over the years, it’s changed and grown – and while the last two years have been a little quieter on the posting front (having a baby plus a serious health problem set me back somewhat), I’m still loving having Bites here to share what I can, when I can, about the amazing food and drink scene we have here in Bristol.

A tenth anniversary is a big milestone, and I figured I needed to celebrate it in some way. So, I’ve put together a compilation of my top food and drink experiences for each and every year that the blog’s been going…it’s been fun reading back through old posts to remind myself of all the great things I’ve seen, done, eaten and drank since I moved here!

2010

My first year of blogging involved all sorts of exciting experiences: supper clubs, chocolate workshops, cider festivals…I was starting to realise just how diverse and busy the city’s food scene was. But the highlight of the year was definitely my first trip to Casamia: an evening of dazzling food theatre, inspiring creativity and incredible flavour which you can read about here.

2011

2011 was the year in which Vincent Castellano hosted his very first “All Things Pig” dinner at St Aldhelm’s Church: a two-night pop-up that celebrated nose to tail porcine dining. From trotters to brawn to boudin noir, it was an incredible evening.

Less incredible, sadly, was my meal at Fratelli’s in July – a restaurant that’s long since gone. It was a bizarre experience, and one that I’d never want to repeat – some of you may remember this post…

2012

My top pick of 2012 has to go to a street food vendor – and one that sadly no longer exists. While it was around, though, Meat and Bread was ridiculously popular, with massive queues of people hungry for equally massive sandwiches stuffed with owner Ben Warran’s home-cured meats, homemade pickles and sauces, and more. Seriously good stuff.

2013

Who remembers Meluha on Park Street? It was there that I enjoyed my favourite meal of 2013: a place where chef Stephen Gomes created contemporary Indian food, reimagined using spherification, cold smoking and intriguing flavour combinations. Their chilli, chocolate and honey naans, for example, were incredible…read more here.

2014

Best experience of 2014? It’s a close call. Our February meal at Romy’s Kitchen was incredible – it’s such a shame that she’s closed her Thornbury restaurant, but with a cookbook out, newspaper columns, television appearances and more, she’s managed to carve out an incredible name and reputation for herself since the early days.

We also loved a meal at The Hobgoblin on Gloucester Road, with its incredible burgers and seriously dirty dirty fries – return visit needed soon, I think…

2015

It’s too hard to choose just one top meal/experience from 2015. We covered two special events at The Bank Tavern (Stag Night and Bovine Dining) which certainly showcased the kitchen team’s talents and creativity, while the opening of Bellita on Cotham Hill was also a welcome addition to Bristol’s dining scene.

Aron’s Jewish Delicatessen on Chandos Road provided me with one of the best Reubens I’ve ever had, featuring their homemade salt beef…and who can forget the incredible Historical Dining Rooms in Totterdown, where historical recipes were resurrected and reinvented for the modern palate?

2016

A LOT happened in 2016. A trip to The Pony & Trap in Chew Magna was a definite highlight, along with the opening of Swoon on Park Street, which is still a firm favourite. The Ivy Clifton Brasserie was pretty impressive, as was Indian restaurant Nutmeg – which showcases dishes from all 29 of India’s states – just over the road.

My biggest highlight, though, has to be a stay at Celtic Manor in Newport…yes, I know it’s not Bristol, but it’s only a short drive away, and it’s an incredible place for a break just a stone’s throw from home.

2017

In 2020, Squeezed are moving into a bigger unit at CARGO at Wapping Wharf – they’ve been ridiculously busy since day 1. And it was in 2017 that we experienced the joys of a Squeezed burger for the first time…and their incredible peanut chipotle BBQ sauce that I described at the time as “like crack”.

The most memorable dining experience for me, though, was at Backwell House: a restaurant-with-rooms in Backwell whose restaurant opened in April 2016. We were blown away by the place – and I’m desperate to experience an overnight stay there at some point!

I definitely wasn’t blown away, though, by The Smoke Haus at the Colston Tower. The venue invited multiple bloggers along on the same night to review the place – which meant multiple bloggers highlighting just how poor their offering really was.

2018

After having a baby and a brain haemorrhage in rapid succession at the start of the year, 2018 was where it started to get a little quiet on the blogging front. There were three places, though, that really stood out to me that year…

The first was The Grace on Gloucester Road – not a new venue by any means, but one that gave us fantastic food in a relaxed setting for our first meal out with the baby in tow. Bar 44 on Clifton’s Regent Street also didn’t fail to impress, with the roast chicken croquetas and homemade ice creams two of my highlights.

The real surprise, though, was Symonds Restaurant at Audley Redwood retirement village. Both the food and the setting were completely incongruous with our original expectations. Definitely check them out and visit, if you get a chance!

2019

I need to get back down to The Malago on a Monday night again, because a booking at their regular Monday fondue night was out of this world. At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, FLIP on North Street was where I enjoyed one of the best vegan lunches I’ve ever eaten – and 2019 was also the year I discovered the TooGoodToGo app, where you can pick up dishes from local food and drink venues that would otherwise have gone to waste at a bargain price.

2020…and beyond…

It’s been an exciting ten years for Bristol food and drink – and there’s still plenty more excitement to come. With the child about to start at a childminder one day a week, I’m hoping I’ll have more time to stay on top of the city’s food and drink scene…it’s tough at the best of times with so much going on!

 

2 Responses to Happy 10th birthday to Bristol Bites!

  1. A wonderful journey. So proud of what you’ve achieved. May you continue to grow and flourish.

  2. Happy 10th Blog Birthday!

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