Sky Kong Kong

Tucked away on an unassuming, rather grotty side street just metres from Bristol’s Bear Pit, Sky Kong Kong represents all that is good and great about Bristol’s ever-developing food scene. It serves up food for the pure passion rather than the pounds in the bank.

Here Korean food is fresh, experimental and changes on a daily basis. Head Chef and owner, Wizzy Chung, who formerly worked in Michelin restaurants, left the prestige and glory to make her own mark and serve the local people of Bristol.

Dishes here are seasonal, carefully crafted and very affordable. Sky Kong Kong has only one menu. Starter, main and dessert is the same for everyone so be ready to try something new and come with an open-mind, excited to try the flavours Wizzy makes extremely palatable. The menu can range fairly widely, however, the general practice is a starter, main (meat and fish) and dessert. Branding themselves as an ‘organic-Korean café’, SKK also serves up delicious lunchtime bento boxes for just £3.50. But a word of warning: it’s probably not the most vegetarian-friendly.

Upon my visit, I was served smoked salmon accompanied by an array of fruity garnishes, fresh red mullet and a Korean take on beef chow mein. This was finished up with a mouth watering chocolate parfait. The dishes were easy on the eye, a perfect balance of flavours and something new I’d never tried.

The restaurant décor is not particularly colourful but it is certainly inviting and  characterfully cluttered. The Korean lettered walls reflect the Asian influence and cultural pride that is clear in each dish and important to Wizzy. The long wooden table seats all, and the surrounding shelves and surfaces are home to various jars of fermented foods and  Asian recipe books. This is by no means a restaurant that tries to be anything it’s not. The tables are strewn with neatly mismatched crockery and the food served on them is dependent upon the spontaneity of the chef that day.

It cannot be denied that the quality of the food and the care and attention involved are the results of a lifetime dedicated to the love of food. There are two sittings for dinner, with the latest being 8.30pm. Prices start at £12.50 and corkage is £1.50 per person.

SKK isn’t the most conventional restaurant. It’s definitely worth the experience and the bill won’t break the bank.


skykongkong.co.uk

2 Haymarket Walk
Bristol
BS1 3LN
0117 239 9528



Zitto & Bevi

The name Zitto & Bevi is a play on the Italian saying zitto e mangia, which translates as ‘shut up and eat’. Zitto & Bevi however, is an instruction to ‘shut up and drink’ – not that any encouragement is really needed.

On entering we were led downstairs to an intimate and sparingly furnished basement, where we enjoyed a Negroni whilst browsing the menu. Although not as well known as a Campari or Aperol Spritz, the Negroni – which is made up of gin, vermouth and Campari – is becoming increasingly available in British bars and restaurants. It is part of the aperitivo culture which is slowly making its way into the UK, owing to the growing market of both tourists wanting to imitate the bel paese experience at home, and the large Italian community living here.

What may surprise some about the menu is the lack of pizza and sides dishes. However, this is an osteria, not a ristorante or pizzeria. This doesn’t mean that diners are missing out though. On the contrary, it identifies Zitto & Bevi as a more traditional (or original in the UK) addition to Bristol’s Italian food scene. Zitto & Bevi is unassuming and understated, encapsulating exactly what an osteria, or ‘tavern’, is when it’s at home. It’s a bit like sitting at your nonna’s kitchen table.

For starters, I went for the polenta with cod (£5), out of a selection of classic antipasti such as the mozzarella and tomato salad (£4) or the bruschetta with a choice of toppings (£5).

For mains, there are three varieties of lasagne: the classic ragù, Mediterranean vegetables, or salmon (£9). The other dishes also pay homage to simple Italian ingredients, such as the smoked scarmoza (smoked cheese) in the gateau di patate (‘potato cake’, £8). There is also a selection board of cured meats and cheeses (£12) for an even more relaxed finger-food meal. Although not the most exciting menu for vegans and vegetarians, I’m sure the approachable staff would be more than happy to accommodate if necessary.

I picked the amatriciana (£10), a tomato pasta staple in Italian households, from the specials board. Another specials board offering was the currently very fashionable, but simple, cheese and pepper pasta, cacio e pepe. The food, much like the setting, is personal, and above all authentic, made by Italian people for Italian palates (the pasta was unquestionably al-dente).

There is a carefully crafted wine list, red and white, sourced from family-run vineyards. I tried the modest Ulisse – Barbera DOC (£18), one of the more popular choices I was told, which was an ideal companion to the rich tomato base of the amatriciana. Other options start from £4 a glass, or £24 a bottle.

Informal and affordable, Zitto & Bevi offers quality classic Italian dining whilst fitting the independent and quirky Stokes Croft ethos. I look forward to returning to what is sure to become a Bristol classic.


www.facebook.com/ZittoandBevi

3 Nine Tree Hill,
Bristol
BS1 3SB
+44 117 329 7645


Photo by Benjamin Rowe


Südblock

Südblock is a cafe, bar and brunch buffet situated in the heart of buzzing Kreuzberg, Berlin. Expect Middle-Eastern and Turkish oriented cuisine, with events and occasional drag acts in the evenings.

On the corner of the Kottbusser Tor roundabout, where Arabic snack stalls meet Turkish falafel stands, groups of youths loiter the streets under tall colourful building blocks. At a standstill for most of the day, the Kreuzberg traders quietly observe the hundreds of faces passing through central Kreuzberg minute by minute and hour by hour.

Taking a step back from the mayhem of anxious tube-goers and beeping car horns, ‘Sud Block’ café-restaurant situates itself on the quieter side of the Tor; an adequate amount of tables and chairs stretching their way across a large plot of paving, taking pride and place under the foundations of the southerly tower-block.

When the sun shines this place is a glorious reflection of the concentration of cultures that have found their home in Kreuzberg or in Berlin in its entirety. Huddled together across wooden tables and down long benches, groups of people speaking languages European in nature or rooted further afield enjoy Sud block’s brimming buffet brunch. Normally not a fan of buffet breakfasts, finding them to be more quantity over quality, yet there is something to be said about S block’s authenticity and general quality of taste that has led me to write this article.

As well as the more generic breakfast options from Germany, parts of Europe and America, Süd block cooks up a feast of Arabic, Turkish and North African dishes allowing you to ‘brunch’, ‘lunch’ or even ‘linner’, whenever you so may please. My favourite part is the sauce and dip section, boasting German ‘käsequark’ and freshly ground ‘hummus’.

Now for the price tag. It starts at 8,50€ and you pay what wish up to a maximum of 14/15 euros. Sound fair? I think so. Drinks are not included in the 8€ benchmark, but are not that expensive all the same. For quality, convenience and general enjoyment, Süd block has got it down to a T. You will leave feeling satisfied with what you ate, paid and with no real need to eat for the rest of the day.


Südblock.org

Admiral Straße 1-2
Kreuzberg
10999 Berlin
Germany
U-Bahn Kottbusser Tor
+49 30 60941853


Assaggio Italian Bistro

Assaggio Bistro is a personal and authentic Italian restaurant in the quieter parts of the Marais, Paris.

Finding food on a Sunday in France is like looking for alcohol in Saudi Arabia. Yet Assaggio Italian Bistro in the heart of the ‘hidden’ Marais (the bit that’s not ridiculously busy, nearer to Hotel de Ville) is one of those gems you wish you’d stumbled across sooner.

The staff is made up of a set of young and, it has to be said, flirty waiters, who are swift in presenting you with a charcoal chalkboard. Once your eyes have adjusted to the small squiggly handwriting, you have the small problem of choosing what to eat. Having been here on two occasions now, it has become my favourite Parisian Italian, because the food is simply divine.

If you don’t want to book, I’d advise coming before 8 or 8.30pm, otherwise you might be turned away or stood out waiting in the cold. The food is selected seasonally, so don’t expect to have the same thing twice if you make a return visit, which you will probably be inclined to do. Whether you go for the seasonal lasagne, a caprese salad or the garlic fettucine, you will be able to taste fresh, wholesome ingredients with complete Italian authenticity thrown in too.

What is also a welcome treat, is the sliced onion and tomato pizza crust ends given to each table as an alternative to the ‘French bread basket.’ Dessert is also something not to skimp over. Alongside the classics and the likes of vanilla pannacotta and creamy tiramasu, you may find yourself up against ricotta, cacao and lemon cannoli. This is the best thing since sliced bread, quite literally.

Italian food means Italian wine and the waiters have no qualms about giving you the eye if you opt for the French Merlot over the Italian Montepulciano, so choose wisely!

The stripped-back interior and bare brickwork are the perfect contrast to the exquisitely detailed tastes, creating an addictive Italian charm.


www.facebook.com/Assaggio-364261743584786/?fref=ts

48 Rue du Temple, 75004 Paris
+33174646155