Friday 24 April 2020

Brix and Bones - Norwich

1st floor
Unit A
68 London Street
NR2 1JT 


When Jeff from Gonzo's Tea Room told me about plans to open a new breakfast and steak restaurant up on the first floor above Gonzos I was so excited. When he later told me that Tam and Ellen (formerly Olives) would be joining the team I was over the moon! Just before launching in March 2020 I was invited along to sample a breakfast showcasing what the kitchen team were capable of offering to the lucky people of Norwich. Without a doubt this was the finest breakfast I've ever had the pleasure of eating and the team at Brix and Bones were clearly so excited about the launch the following week. The launch was a huge success but Covid 19 sadly reared it's ugly head the following week closing all bars and restaurants. I decided to write a blog post on Brix and Bones to show you what to expect when it can finally re-open again.

The dining area is spacious with large tables beside the windows and smaller tables in the centre. The natural light in here is incredible, an instagrammers dream! If you enjoy people watching there are excellent views of London Street down below. 

Sauces here are by Stokes based in Suffolk. I love their sauces but the food was so damn good I can honestly say it wasn't needed. I was eating in the afternoon so decided a beer was perfectly acceptable. I went for Chewy by Redwell Brewery, a wonderful passion fruit IPA.

When the breakfast arrived I was blown away by the flavours, presentation and selection of items on the plate.  I always start with the tomato as it's my least favourite item on a breakfast. Not the case here though, the flavour in this slow roasted tomato was unreal! Meats are supplied by Clarkes Butchers in Hevingham, I loved the choice of pork sausage which worked perfectly on this breakfast. Dry cured and smoked back bacon are served here and cooked over flames, this really is the dream breakfast! The legendary Fruit Pig Company supply the black pudding, certainly the best out there in my opinion. The beans are homemade and have the thick consistency I always like to see when eating beans. The mushrooms are cooked in butter for the ultimate flavour, so tasty!

The sourdough served here is exceptional and cooked over flames, it's supplied by Two Magpies Bakery on Timberhill. There was also bacon fat fried slice, easily the best fried bread I've ever tasted! The beef fat hash brown and bubble & squeak were both to die for too, insane flavours and textures. Finally the eggs which you can order anyway you like, I tried scrambled which was so good I'll probably order them every time. So there we have it, the best breakfast I've ever eaten and this was before they had even officially launched.

A week later and the menu was released offering something for everyone, featuring impressive veggie and vegan options too. "Wham bam thank you Tam" is definitely the one I'll be choosing, love the name of this breakfast! Sadly with the country currently in lockdown we all need to sit tight until restaurants can re-open again. One thing is for sure though, the already strong breakfast scene in Norwich has been taken to another level by Brix and Bones. 

Monday 20 April 2020

Gran Canaria Adventure - Day 9

Las Palmas

When we opened the front door this morning Lucy had returned again! She was just in time as we were heading back to Las Palmas today. 

We gave her some tuna and she jumped into Ella's suitcase. It was so nice to see her one last time before leaving, such a beautiful cat!

We wheeled our cases down to the petrol station and handed the Airbnb keys in at the counter. Our stay in Fataga had been wonderful but now it was time to head back to Las Palmas where we would spend our final night. We grabbed a coffee and sandwich for breakfast and made our way to the bus stop.

Just before the bus arrived Tony from Fataga Grill walked past with his dog. It was good to be able to say goodbye and thank him for his kind welcome and great food.

We caught the bus to Maspalomas and from there caught a bus to Las Palmas. First we dropped off our cases at Casa di Stella, a delightful property with a wonderful host which cost us just £27 for a one night stay.

With check in complete we wandered around in search of somewhere to eat some lunch.

Everywhere was so busy but we eventually found a table at a Gluten Free restaurant. Ella ordered a salad and I ordered some calamari.

Great calamari served with fried potatoes and salad.

After lunch we strolled around the streets of Las Palmas. We didn't really have a plan in place, we were just spending our final day here so we were closer to the airport in the morning.

I forget the flavour but remember thinking I'd have one last ice cream in February before returning to Winter back in the UK.

Whilst walking around Las Palmas it's always worth remembering to look up, there's some beautiful buildings to be seen.

Particularly along Calle Francisco Gourie.

My wife went to look in an art gallery whilst I took in the sights of the Cathedral. 

We met up again and continued walking the streets until sunset when we finally stopped for something to eat.

We shared this delicious Caprese salad and moped up the pesto with some warm bread.

Then we shared some mushroom croquettes with a beer. Our time here had almost come to an end so we walked back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

The following morning..

We got to the airport in good time for our flight as bus access from Las Palmas to the airport was easy and frequent. The rooftop terrace in the departure lounge was a nice surprise. I had a final beer and the opportunity to vape before boarding the flight. Our time here had been wonderful and I'd highly recommend Gran Canaria, especially during the winter months when you can experience some glorious sunshine and longer days. I think we got particularly lucky though as temperatures during our time here were slightly higher than usual. We also got lucky by avoiding the distruption of Storm Ciara and later in February the dust storm "Calima". This was never intended to be a trip I was going to write about, just a relaxing holiday in the sun. With much of the world currently in lockdown though due to the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, it suddenly seemed important to remember this trip. After all, who knows if and when holidays will ever be the same again?

Saturday 18 April 2020

Gran Canaria Adventure - Day 8

Final Day in Fataga

This morning we went for breakfast at the cafe next to the petrol station. I'd noticed the locals here ordering a tortilla sandwich so decided to try one. Served warm it tasted really good and was a decent size too. Over a coffee we decided we would spend our final day here relaxing in the village and making the most of the cottage.

We took a morning stroll around Fataga seeing if there was an alleyway we hadn't yet found. The sun was beating down once again and although the evenings inland are slightly chillier the daytime temperatures feel the same as on the South coast.

This cactus made us laugh!

I can highly recommend a trip to Fataga if you're visiting Gran Canaria. It's a beautiful village and so relaxing compared to the large tourist resorts.

The mountainous terrain makes for breathtaking views.

These alleyways were drapped with stunning blossoms and lined with fruit trees in places.

The church of Fataga sits in a large square close to the main bus stop. There's public toilets here too as well as two shops selling local crafts and produce.

Earlier today we'd booked a table for lunch at Restaurante Albaricoque as we knew the outside terrace can get very busy. We'd specified a table at the edge of the terrace which we were delighted to find was reserved when we arrived.

The perfect view with a large Cruzcampo beer in the sunshine.

Ella enjoying her beer at Restaurante Albaricoque. This was on Sunday 9th February and we had no idea that in just over a months time Coronovirus was going to spread worldwide causing so much distruption and so many deaths. 

For lunch I decided to order the Canarian sweet suasache. It looked like black pudding to me so an easy decision.

It was basically a plate of black pudding served with a sweet sauce, delicious!

My wife chose the vegatable stew which she informed me tasted way better than it looked!

For dessert we shared this cake with cream. I can't for the life of me remember much else about it, tasted great though.

This dessert was far more memorable, the house special Chocolate Garden. 

Ok, so the flower pot wasn't edible but the contents were. A rich chocolate mouse topped with crushed Oreos and a sprig of mint. 

We walked our lunch off by taking another stroll around Fataga. We never tired of walking around these beautiful streets, especially in this glorious sunshine.

You never had to walk very far before finding a cat sunbathing on the pavement. Talking of cats we hadn't seen Lucy for a few days now.

Back at the cottage we spent the afternoon relaxing. My wife read a book and I sat back in the hammock with a glass of wine, sheer bliss!

As I looked out across Fataga looking so peaceful it was difficult to imagine the storms causing havoc back home by Storm Ciara. It looked like the storms would be gone by the time we returned on Tuesday though which was a huge relief.

For the third night in a row we returned to Fataga grill and sat beside the giant cow on the terrace. Tony had looked after us well so we wanted to show our support.

As it turned out though Tony was in the kitchen this evening so we didn't get to see him again FOH. He cooked us a great pizza with Caprese salad which we shared with a cold beer.

Click here for
Day 9 - Las Palmas

Wednesday 15 April 2020

Gran Canaria Adventure - Day 7

South towards the Camel Park

It was another beautiful day in paradise and we started it with breakfast at Restaurante Albaricoque. Over a coffee we decided that today we would walk South along the G60 where we'd passed an aboriginal cemetary and camel park on the bus journey to Fataga.

We couldn't resist ordering some more of the delicious cheese and tomato on toast. I'm pretty sure the bread  used here was made at the local bakery.

Ella took the opportunity to get her sketch book out and I updated my Instagram Stories.

The walk South was fairly easy as it was downhill nearly all the way. Mountains, palm trees and blue skies made for the perfect backdrop.

The uneven surfaces made it easy to loose your footing though as Ella found out. The graze was pretty bad but we carried on regardless.

As luck would have it just around the next bend in the road we spotted this aloe vera farm. The shop was open to the public so we went inside to take a look.

The staff welcomed us and gave us a short talk on aloe vera and it's many uses. Ella was offered to rub a large chunk of it over the graze on her leg which seemed to help.

As we made our way further down the G60 it was clear to see why this area was referred to as "Valley of the thousand palms".

This morning we'd bought some fresh bread from the bakery and used up the cheese and tomatoes we'd bought for the pasta a couple of days back. We'd figured there would be nowhere to eat on this walk which turned out to be correct. We sat on a rock to eat lunch in the sunshine at Artara Necropolis, the largest aboriginal cemetary on the island.

Afterwards we explored a series of trails around Arteara Necropolis. It occupies an area of 137,570 m2 and houses 809 tomb structures, with both individual and collective burial mounds. Not many other visitors were about as it was due to close for the day fairly soon. Entrance to site is €4 and there are toilets as well as a small shop selling ice creams.

The perfect opportunity to buy a Magnum!

Right next to the main entrance of Arteara Necropolis there's a tiny village. Just a few houses and nobody else seemed to be about, a beautiful place though.

As we walked through the village we were greeted by this stunning cat.

We started heading back North along the G60 until we arrived at the camel safari park.

La Baranda Camel Safari Park is not just about camels, it's also home to many other animals and has some gardens to explore too. We didn't want to go for a camel ride so just paid €3 each to have a look around instead.

There's a tropical garden here with a variety of fruit trees such as papaya, mango, guava etc. On the ground below we spotted a peacock scurrying around determined not to be photographed.

As we admired the gardens we remembered the almond cookies we'd bought at the bakery this morning. I'm pretty sure we'd bought these everyday in Fataga, they were so delicious!

The camels could be found at the far end of the park. We didn't feel comfortable with the idea of riding on the camels but enjoyed seeing them close up.

These mules were adorable and loved being stroked.

Just to the right of the palm tree you can see an incredibly tall cactus. The Camel Park are very proud of this but it took us quite a long time to track it down.

The different fruits grown at the park are made into mixed fruit smoothies. These cost €3 each and they tasted incredible!

After leaving the camel park we made our way back up the steep G60 to Fataga. A well deserved rest and a glass of wine was definitely needed!

Later in the evening we returned to Fataga Grill as we'd enjoyed the food here last night. Tony greeted us and we ordered some beers and a vegetable paella to share.

Tony kindly sent out a starter on the house whilst we waited for the paella to cook. Some cheesy garlic bread and a plate with bread, croquettes, tomato, cheese and olives. 

The paella looked amazing and there was so much of it too! All made using local ingredients and the flavours were amazing, we both thoroughly enjoyed this.

Before we left Tony sent out some cocktails on the house. I have no idea what was in this cocktail but damn it was strong!  We returned to the cottage after drinking this hoping Lucy the cat had returned, still no sign of her though.

Click here for
Day 8 - Final day in Fataga