Girl in Bristol gorges on some legendary pizza at Flour & Ash …
There’s something really wonderful about pizza. It takes you back to those summer days when you sat outside with a group of friends, tomato and molten cheese smeared across your faces and hands, but you didn’t care because it was damned good pizza!
Flour & Ash have a pretty straightforward ethos when it comes to what they put on their pizzas; if it doesn’t cook in their massive wood fired oven made in Gloucestershire (or tiny fryer), they won’t serve it. On this basis the majority of the menu comprises of tomato and non-tomato based sourdough pizzas which head chef Joe and manager Steve change up regularly according to what’s in season and well, what they think will taste great really! There are also a small selection of starters, side salads and homemade ice creams and sorbets for you to divulge in too. If you have the space.
In terms of décor and style, Flour & Ash break away from the stereotypical pizzeria mould where everything is painted in vibrant greens and reds and Italian music is blasted through speakers in the walls and toilets. Or maybe that’s just Bella Italia? Instead, you will find neutral tones which match those of Flour & Ash’s logo with cream walls and dark brown ceilings. Wooden picnic tables with metal tops fill up the main eating area and chopped wood encased in a three sided box create the bar with a kitchen hatch lying just beyond. Black shaded lights hang low from the ceiling, bonded together by thin rope and a bookshelf bolted to one of the walls holds a variety of cookery books including one called flour + water. Notice any name similarities there?
To kick off our meal, we started with a simple bowl of olives which was closely followed by a surprise seafood dish kindly sent out by the chef. The olives were nothing special really. You do get a lot of them for £3 but we found them to be rather bland. The surprise seafood starter on the other hand, which consisted of king prawns and other shellfish served with a hearty chunk of sourdough bread, was wonderful. Packed with flavour and delicate in texture, the fish was cooked perfectly and we delighted in soaking up the remaining juices with the bread.
[Note: Post fish-consumption always wash your hands with cold NOT hot soapy water to remove the smell. I have learnt this through trial and error recently.]
We both went for the meat options when it came to our mains. I, under the recommendation of MANY Bristol foodies, chose the famous ox cheek and red wine pizza (£13) and my companion chose the pork belly and onion pizza with a tomato sauce base. We also ordered a side of Caesar salad too because, well, it felt healthier to have a bit of green on the table. That basically makes pizza low-cal right?
Now, pizza has always been one of my favourite dinner treats, like ever. But it has to be done right, too stodgy or too greasy – you’ve totally ruined it. And don’t get me started on stuffed crusts. Oh but when I took that first bite of ox cheek pizza it was like floating up to a whole new cheesey, meaty, slightly-fruity-because-of-the-wine realm. There was just so much to be thankful for in each bite I could barely contain my pleasure. The Caesar salad, dusted with shavings of parmesan, was also crisp and fresh. Balancing out the richness of the pizza.
But why are all the pizzas made with sourdough? I hear you cry. Is it some hipster alternative to pizza? After chatting to Steve (the manager) about this, he commented that the reason they use sourdough is simply because it tastes better. The pure dough gives the finished pizza crust a much more digestible and chewy texture striking a difference to the more common, airy and crisp alternative we’re used to having. It’s also said to be kinder to your tummy, especially if you have intolerances, but don’t quote me on that! That said, sourdough pizzas are a labour of love. Cooking up to 152 loaves a week, Flour & Ash’s create their sourdough from scratch and it can take up to 72 hours to mature.
Of course whilst Flour & Ash may first and foremost be a pizzeria, they also serve some delightful regularly-changing homemade ice cream and sorbet. To finish our evening, the chef sent out a scoop of chocolate ice cream, hazelnut ice cream and blackcurrant sorbet for us to try and all were delicious. Of the three, the Hazelnut was my favourite whilst the blackcurrant sorbet was preferred by my companion who ironically, mentioned beforehand he didn’t like blackcurrant! I personally found the latter a little too sharp in flavour for my liking, although it did add a whole new zing to the ice cream when merged together, waking us from our food coma ready for the uphill walk home. Ah, the joys of St. Michael’s hill.
Flour & Ash may not be the cheapest of pizzerias, but they’re not too expensive either. Inside there is a great atmosphere, lovingly prepared food and staff who are some of most attentive and cheerful that I have come across (I’m looking at you waitresses who were on shift on Wednesday night). I recommend you all pop in this weekend for their new £9 lunch deal. Bargain!
203b Cheltenham Road, Bristol, BS6 5QX
(Please note, whilst this was a complimentary meal, all opinions are my own. Photos also belong to me so please don’t use without permission.)