I was eagerly awaiting the opening of Flour & Ash on Cheltenham Road. The idea of having sourdough pizza and ice cream on my doorstep had me ridiculously excited.
There’s always a concern that somewhere you’ve been looking forward to visiting will disappoint, but I was very pleased with what I saw when I finally went along. Casual and relaxed is the name of the game here, allowing the food to do the talking.
Take a seat at a picnic bench, at one of their smaller tables, or up at the window if you feel like people watching. There are shelves down one wall piled with recipe books, plates and trinkets, with the other wall acting as a display for their ever-changing specials.
The restaurant is fairly small but not too snug, with an open plan kitchen so you can nosily watch to see if your pizza is the one coming out of their wood-fired oven.
There’s a nice mix of unique topping combinations alongside some more commonplace ones, depending on how adventurous you feel – you can always opt for a good reliable Margarita!
I was torn between the speck, artichoke & egg; the rare beef fillet with horseradish & watercress; or the shellfish , but ended up opting for the now infamous ox cheek and red wine ragù pizza. My companion opted for the mushroom with onion puree, garlic and thyme, but there were various other veggie options available – vegetarians are very well catered for here.
I was seriously impressed with my ox cheek pizza – the ragù and meat were so good alongside the creamy Béchamel sauce. It was a nice twist on the the standard tomato base, with the ox cheek adding lots of depth to the flavour.
I also really liked the sourdough pizza base – it was light and soft, slightly puffy at the crust, with a nice slight char at the edges. Apparently the mushroom pizza was very good, although my friend seemed too busy inhaling it to give much feedback. But I can say that it smelled gorgeous.
We’d also opted for starters – the za’atar flatbread with butter bean dip, and persimmon & ewes curd with a koklrabi slaw. Both came out as a decent portion to share, with the persimmon & ewes curd dish being particularly lovely and fresh.
For dessert you can choose from a fair selection of ice creams and sorbets from the slates on the wall – we decided on the dark chocolate ice cream and the blackcurrant sorbet. Both were very intense – the chocolate was particularly rich, but eaten together the ice creams helped to offset each other a bit.
The drinks menu was good, including a selection of local beers and ciders, and a wine list chosen by the lovely lot at Grape and Grind on Gloucester Road.
Prices are around £4-5 for starters, £9-14 for pizzas and £2 per scoop of ice cream. It’s not the cheapest pizza you’ll find in town, but neither is it the most expensive, and you can see on sight and taste exactly what you’re paying for in terms of high quality ingredients, cooked well.
Welcome to the neighbourhood, guys!
Flour & Ash
203b Cheltenham Road
0117 908 3228