I love food. As far as I’m concerned, most people do. This year I really want to expand the places I eat at because I find that it’s really easy to get stuck in a rut with your beloved favourites. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll always return to places I love the most, but you never know what you’re missing until you try, so welcome to the first instalment of my Foodie Finds series, where I’ll review any cool food places I go to. I’m not exactly an expert foodie, and I have no real knowledge of fancy food-tasting terms, but most of us aren’t experts, so I’m here to give a normal person’s opinions on a bunch of interesting restaurants. In these I’ll include…
- The restaurant’s story
- What I ate
- Stand out features (If any)
- Likelihood of me returning
And rate each of these (minus the story) out of 5.
I’m kicking this series off with a pretty exciting review, as I was lucky enough to be invited to the Parlour Bristol’s food tasting event, run by Socialight*, and honestly, I could not be more thankful! On a chilly January night I headed to Cheltenham Road (Very near Gloucester Road) with my friend and blogger Eni, to enjoy an evening sampling 6 of their courses (not in full size, obviously), enabling me to get a real feel of the menu (And share it with all of you!).
The Parlour is an independent Italian restaurant that has been making ice-cream since 1974. In his opening speech, the owner noted that it all started with his Grandpa and has slowly been passed down to him. Recently, they noticed that their ice cream, no matter how delicious, was never selling as well in the winter than as the summer. The solution? Introduce a restaurant menu and expand to both ice cream desserts and Italian delicacies. They offer meat, vegetarian and vegan options when it comes to food, as well as vegan gelato, so it is clear that they aim to be very accommodating.
What I ate…
As I said, this was a bloggers tasting event, so I was fortunate enough to be able to try six mini versions of some of their great dishes, so I’ll give you a summary of each of them below:
We began with their Focaccia Bread and Olives (£3.45)… And I have to say, although green olives aren’t usually my favourite, these ones were really good! They were juicy and full of taste, as well as impressively large for olives. They were also sourced locally and what’s better than independent businesses supporting other independent businesses?
Then, they moved us on to their Napolitano Antipasti (£7.95)… A brilliant antipasti consisting of Serrano Ham, Napoli Salame, Spianata Piccante, Spicy Salame, Fenell Salame, mozeralla, sundried tomatoes, olives and hand baked bread, all sourced locally. Whilst the ham was definitely full of flavour (and massively complimented by the accompanying cheese), the standout from this meal was surprisingly the spiralised courgettes! I don’t know what they were marinated in, but they had an unexpected sweetness to them that tasted so good, especially when eaten with the ham and the cheese.
Next, we were introduced to one of my personal favourites, Mamas Meatballs (£6.45)… Which are served as both a starter in a small bowl (Like we had) and as a main with pasta. The meatballs, for me, were the star of the show (And you can clearly see my honest love as I gush about them in my Youtube Video here). They were packed full of flavour, soft and tender, and the sauce was beautifully rich but not sickly in any way whatsoever. I could have eaten these meatballs all day and you guarantee I’ll be going back for them.
We then got fishy as we sampled the Pan Fried Scallops (£7.45), fried with chorizo in a parsley, lemon and garlic sauce. I really liked the mix of the mild scallops with the slightly spicy chorizo, and thought that the texture of the scallops was perfect. I thought the meat with the scallops was a weird mix at first, but it worked surprisingly well. Also, it was served with the infamous courgettes from earlier, so I was happy.
Moving onto the main, we got to sample the masterpiece that was The Boar (£13.95). This consisted of ragu and linguine with wild boar, pork cheek and beef shin slow roasted for 4.5 hours to make it soft and tender – and trust me. It was definitely soft and tender. I won’t lie, there were a couple of tough bits… but most of it cut like butter and I was very, very impressed.
Finally, in true Ice Cream Parlour style, we tried their Brownie Sundae. In all honesty, I’m not a Sundae person, and I will almost always pick a warm dessert over a cold dessert, but even I have to admit that this was delicious. It consisted of warm brownie, salted caramel ice cream and hot chocolate fudge sauce, which worked together to create little explosions of good sweetness in my mouth. It wasn’t over-indulgent but it sure was the right kind of indulgent, and Sundae-hater me was pleasantly surprised.
Stand Out Features…
I really liked how accessible they were. They really come prepared for everyone with vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options, and sensible prices that provide great value for money without breaking the bank. I tried out the vegan ice cream and the vegetarian antipasti and honestly, I would happily eat either of them whether I was vegan/vegetarian or not. The vegan strawberry and banana ice cream was still pretty creamy despite (obviously) lacking cream, and seemed like just another option on the menu rather than an afterthought (As vegan and vegetarian options can often feel like).
Would I go back?
Most definitely! I’m already planning another visit when my family come up to Bristol in a couple of months. I do believe that there is something for everyone, and the taste was brilliant. They definitely have a new customer in me!
- Food: 4/5
- Stand Outs: 4/5
- Likelihood of Return: 5/5
And so, The Parlour Bristol starts off this series with an impressive 13/15!
Thank you so much to the Parlour Bristol and Socialight for organising this event! Let me know if you plan to try The Parlour in the comments! And don’t forget to check out my vlog from the event here!
Lots of love,
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*This post has been paid for by Socialight and the Parlour Bristol. However, this does not affect the honesty of my review. I pride myself on being genuine, and that occurs whether my post is paid for or not.