The Retreat is a bar, bistro and restaurant serving world foods from a small house like building in the village of Long Ashton, 10 minutes from Bristol city centre.
Sarah and I visited this restaurant on a Wednesday evening with our friends Jacki and Ross. The Retreat is taking part in an offer by the Telegraph newspaper whereby you can collect vouchers for a reduced price meal. Jacki and Ross had been collecting these vouchers and decided to invite us with them.
As it turned out the meals cost only £5 per person for a starter and main course dish with desert charged as extra.
From the outside The Retreat looks far more like a pub than a restaurant and this theme is continued inside the establishment. The decoration consists of contempory art prints and fairy lights. The building has a sense of being somewhat worn.
Confusion began with trying to decide how to get into the building. Of the two doors available we ended up in the bar and had to retreat outside to go into the restaurant.
Throughout the meal we were the only people eating in the restaurant, although it sounded like the bar area became busier toward the end of the evening. Our waiter was the only front of house staff on duty to cope with both the bar and the restaurant. Very chatty and friendly he was fairly attentive and always asking us if there was anything else we wanted. When Sarah asked what the fish was he told her that she could go and look in the tank outside to see what they looked like. Both Sarah and Jacki declined the offer.
My started consisted of a whole roast garlic with a small green salad and some bread. Jacki had the same and we were initially skeptical about the dish but it turned out to be quite nice. My only comment would be that there was a little too much oil on the salad. Sarah and Ross began with a carrot and coriander soup which was reportedly very nice.
For our main course Sarah and Jacki had Talapia fish panfried in extra virgin olive oil and lemon zest served with spiced cous while Ross and I had Albondigas meatballs in a rich Provencal sauce served with turmeric rice and salad. The meatballs were very nice and the dish was well presented.
On asking for the desert menu we were told that the cook was lieing on the floor with back pain. After looking at the menu and the prices we decided to buy some icecream on the way home.
The food was good but there is something about this restaurant that feels slightly wrong. I think it was the slight lack of professionalism. The evening itself was very nice.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the latest of the Harry Potter films based on the books by J.K. Rowling.
We rented this film from Lovefilm.com and watched it last night with Becky and Andi. As per usual Sarah fell asleep on the sofa and woke up asking what was going on and who everyone was.
I thought that the film was good and the graphics were implimented pretty well. The film cut out large chunks of the book but then films always do. There was a little bit of over acting from the children at times but in general I really enjoyed it.
Andi and Becky visited came round last night to watch the latest Harry Potter film that we had rented from Lovefilm.com.
I decided to make a bolognaise sauce that we could have with some fresh pasta that was left over from the weekend.
Normally when we make a bolognaise sauce I just use lots of tomato, some dried herbs and meat which I cook for about 20 minutes. However last night I decided to havea go and making a proper bolognaise sauce.
Sarah chopped some onions for me and also some garlic. The garlic was a bit old and dry but tasted fine. We fried the onion and garlic in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil and chopped up bacon. Once the onion had turned translucient and the bacon had crisped I added the meat. We used a kilo of meat so that we could freeze some of the sauce.
While the meat was browing I crumbled two oxo cubes over the meat to give it a bit more flavour. Once the meat had browned I added a large glass of red wine and let it boil down so that there was about half a glass of liquid in the pan.
I stired in a tin of roughly chopped tomatos, half a jar of passata, two tablespoons of worcestershire sauce, a handfull of blitzed fresh bazel leaves, about 10 blitzed sundried tomatos, some oregano, black pepper, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper and thyme. Mixed this all together and let it simmer for about an hour before serving.
I think it was possibly one of the best bolognaise sauces that I have made. Everyone appeared to enjoy it.
I have spent the last week or so buisly updating my address with various companies. This wouldn’t be so bad if they (a) Had my new address on their out of date postcode database and (b) didn’t insist that Bristol was in or part of the county of Avon.
Wikipedia states that:
The County of Avon was a short-lived non-metropolitan county and ceremonial county in the west of England, named after the River Avon which ran through it.
Avon was formed under the Local Government Act 1972, on April 1, 1974 and abolished under the The Avon (Structural Change) Order 1995 which came into effect on 1 April 1996.
Bristol is both a city and a county. If my address must be written with a county then Bristol should appear twice!