Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Friday Night Pizza at Flour & Ash

Like pizzas? Looking for something along the lines of the much celebrated Acapella but live north of the river? Then you'll be pleased to know that there's a newcomer to the Gloucester Road/Stokes Croft restaurant scene in the shape of Flour & Ash which opened at the beginning of the month, and - judging by the reserved tables when we visited - is already proving a hit with the locals. 

Having seen the place take shape over the previous months on my walk to work, I was looking forward to sampling what sounded like an authentic proposition - proper pizzas from an wood-fired oven, but using sourdough rather than traditional pizza dough. So myself and my 10-year-old son and pizza aficionado took ourselves there for an impromptu Friday supper...and immediately realised that it's getting harder and harder to do 'impromptu' these days. Everywhere seems to get booked up, and as the waiter went off to consult his reservations book I had a feeling we were probably going to end up in Pizza Express after all. As it was, it was early enough for us to get a table though you should obviously bear this in mind if you want to visit on a Friday or Saturday, and eat a bit later than 6pm. 

The restaurant is a smart, compact place with that industrial, functional look that's the style du jour. In a space this small, it works, with the main focus being the cavernous pizza oven at the back of the restaurant. There are few things that excite me as much as the sight of a flame-filled oven...I would love to have a go at sliding a pizza into one of those babies very much. It's also a reassuring sight, honouring a tradition that began in the backstreets of Naples back in the 1800s, meaning that if your pizza has been cooked in a wood-fired oven you're getting something as close to the real thing as possible.

Thankfully the pizzas at Flour & Ash didn't disappoint. What really works about this restaurant is a commitment to keeping the menu concise, with just a handful of enticing-sounding starters (wood roast queen scallops with herb butter or crispy ox tongue with salsa verde, for example, though we didn't have starters) and just pizzas for mains and ice cream and sorbet to finish.  You can choose from imaginative toppings on bases covered with tomato sauce or without. The choice of a sourdough base makes for a nice, light base that crisps up a treat in the oven, plus it's a 'pure' dough, a better choice for those with intolerances, and is made from three simple ingredients: locally milled flour, salt and water. I found it hard to choose from the delicious-sounding options which include a good mix of meat and veggie toppings, and which are a bit different to the ubiquitous Margherita or Pepperoni. My fennel salami with roasted peppers was divine - a great mix of flavoursome meat and sweet peppers - while my son devoured his chorizo, pickled chilies and rocket pizza in moments, not even bothering to painstakingly pick off the 'green stuff' as he would normally do. The fact that Flour & Dough's pizzas managed to get something green inside my child is no mean feat, and on that basis alone we'll be coming back...

My son found room for an ice-cream which, as well as sorbets, are handmade on the premises and include standards such as vanilla and chocolate, as well as more exotic choices such as caramel stracciatella (chocolate chip) and buttermilk and passion fruit ripple. My son opted for a scoop of pistachio which I 'helped' him out with and it was out of this world - proper, Italian-style ice cream, bursting with natural flavours. I would have liked a coffee but our waiter told us the restaurant hadn't procured a machine, though one was on the way. 

In terms of prices, Flour & Ash offers a competitive alternative to the high street chains; a Margherita costs £ 6.75, something more exotic is around the £10 mark and the luxurious-sounding aged beef fillet comes in at £15. You can buy good wines by the glass, and there's a kids menu at £4, including a small pizza, scoop of ice cream and glass of squash. If I had one complaint it would be that perhaps the pizzas could be just an teensy bit bigger...I could have accommodated another inch, I reckon, or perhaps I was just exceptionally hungry that day.

Find out all the details on on the Flour & Ash website. And if you fancy checking out Bristol pizza institution Acapella, read my review here. 


No comments

Post a Comment

© Bristol Bargainista. All rights reserved.
Blogger Templates by pipdig