This weekend we headed to Bristol for the hot air balloon fiesta that never was. Sadly, the weather let us down, so there was not a balloon in sight, not even tethered to the showground.
But we didn’t let the wet weather dampen our spirits and made the most of our time there. I will blog separately about activities and Banksy, but for now, here’s our best experiences of food and drink.
Niall found the Apple on Instagram before we left. The Apple sells a range of ciders on the cobbled quayside in the heart of Bristol’s old city. It’s mainly an outdoor affair with lots of picnic bench seating in a lively area. We got there at after-work-drinks time and it was bustling, with quite a few people holding tables waiting for friends to arrive (the sort of behaviour that can get my goat when I am stood holding a drink already).
📷: The Apple’s bar area
The drinks were served from a hatch in a fun container/shed type structure, and they had plenty of local ciders and specialist fruit ciders available. Niall tried the Celtic Tiger orange and pineapple cider and I tried a half pint of Ashridge pear cider, because it was 6% abv. I felt like it tasted of smoked ham, and apparently this is normal.
📍 The Apple, Welsh Back, Bristol BS1 4SB http://applecider.co.uk/
King Street Brew House
We headed straight over the road next to King Street Brew House, a pub with its own micro-brewery. Of course it had a wide range of beers, but as I’m not a beer drinker, I had to settle for a gin and tonic as they also didn’t sell fizz of any nature by the glass.
King Street Brew House has an outdoor seating area too, on the cobbles of King Street, which is great for people watching, and looks out to the Llandoger Trow, a Grade II pub built in 1664. Apparently it’s haunted by 15 ghosts – wish I’d have gone in there too now!
📷: Llandoger Trow – the view from King Street Brew House and communcal seatin area.
📍 King Street Brew House, 13 Welsh Back, Bristol BS1 4RR http://www.kingstreetbrewhouse.co.uk/
Next we walked along the water and went into Arnolfini Cafe Bar – part of the international arts centre, mainly because it was good for a glass of prosecco. They did indeed sell it by the glass but my measure was stupidly short I was really disappointed, so that’s the end of that particular write up (apart from the insanely long toilet queue, it was so long even though the place wasn’t that busy).
📍 Arnolfini Cafe-Bar, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA https://www.arnolfini.org.uk/visit/cafe-bar
We walked over the bridge at towards Wapping Wharf, which I was very excited about! At Wapping Wharf is CARGO, Bristol’s first retail yard made of converted shipping containers. I’d read about CARGO and get quite excited about the use of shipping containers for homes and shops. No reason why.
The Wild Beer Co.
First we went to the Wild Beer Company, which is on the corner of the bricks and mortar buildings there. By this point I was a bit fresh (tipsy, as some might call it), but I am pretty sure I had pinot grigio because – no fizz. It was super busy in there at this point, so we squeezed on the end of a table outside already occupied by a group.
📍 Wapping Wharf, Wapping Road, Bristol, BS1 4RW http://wappingwharf.co.uk/
Bristol Cider Shop
From the outdoor seating of the Wild Beer Co we spotted the excellent deal that was £3 a pint of draught cider. When in Rome…
📷: Bristol Cider Shop
The shop staff were super passionate about all things cider and let us try as many was we wanted before committing to a pint. I’ll be honest, I found them all vile. The shop man wasn’t offended at all and introduced me to some other bottled ciders in the fridge that were more ‘accessible’. I went for Dabinett by Harry’s and it certainly was more accessible and not too strong at 4.5%. There was a small amount of seating outside, plus some inside, but inside there was a cider tasting class taking place.
📍 Bristol Cider Shop, 4 Cargo 1, Gaol Ferry Steps, Bristol BS1 6WE https://www.bristolcidershop.co.uk/
Salt and Malt
From Bristol Cider Shop we noticed that Salt and Malt was next door. I’d already planned to try food from there after seeing a photo on Instagram of a food I LOVE: fried gherkins. Pickle fries as I call them – what they’re known as in Austin, Texas where I was first introduced to them.I wasn’t super hungry (but definitely needed to eat!) so I ordered them with chips and curry sauce. Niall went for fish and chips. And they sold prosecco! Winner. The curry sauce was kind of bland, but the pickle fries were the best I have had since Texas in 2013.
📷: Pickle fries and chips in Salt and Malt
📍 Salt and Malt, Cargo 2, Bristol BS1 4RN http://saltmalt.com/wapping-wharf/
The next day was spent doing some fun activities which I will blog about in another post. But I must talk about Asado, where we went for our tea.
I’d seen Asado on Instagram, they’d posted an incredible photo of their El Rico burger: a towering burger oozing with blue cheese and stacked with bacon and shoestring onions and pickles. Asado are influenced by South America and Southern America, and use best quality, locally sourced ingredients. Their beef comes from a specific local farm.
We got there fairly early (about 6pm) and there was just one other couple in there. The service staff were SO friendly. It’s a while since I have been impressed by waiting staff. With our burgers – I went for the El Rico, as advertised, and Niall had La-Lam-Baa-Da, a lamb burger with feta cheese, confit garlic mayo, pickled pomegranate and cabbage – we ordered rosemary salt chips to share, and espresso BBQ sauce.
📷: El Rico at Asado
The burgers were served on enamel plates with deep sides almost like bowls. Thank God. They were so juicy they pretty much melted into the bowl on the first bite. The meat was intended to be served medium rare, but mine was cooked through. I didn’t mind. I would have liked a little more blue cheese, you could just taste it but there wasn’t quite as much as shown on the photos.
The espresso BBQ sauce was a new experience. Like barbecue sauce only with a deep, dark flavour. My face sweats when I have barbecue sauce and various other condiments and this was no different.
We both really enjoyed Asado and felt like we’d made a good decision heading there.
📍 Asado, 90 Colston St, Bristol BS1 5BB
The next morning we went to Clifton to see the suspension bridge, and we’d hoped to get to Boston Tea Party for breakfast, but when we arrived it was quite busy and they said food would be a 40 minute wait. We were hungry and that felt like a long time.
Our Uber driver recommended trying anywhere down Boyce’s Avenue if we couldn’t get in. In particular he recommended Primose, but it was rammed. Instead we went next door into Saffron, a brightly coloured cafe promising Turkish food. It was just a ten minute wait that turned into five minutes.
The cafe was bustling with people speaking different languages. I am not sure if Clifton has many international inhabitants or if it was tourism for the hot air balloon fiesta.
On the menu was various options: shakshuka, Turkish sausages, full English and veggie breakfasts. I went for a dish of shakshuka that was served with Turkish sausages. After my last shakshuka disappointment I checked that the eggs would be served runny.
It was perfect when it arrived and the egg was indeed runny. The sausage was a delicious bonus, nicely spicy and well cooked. Its only let down was the bread it was served with. To me it seemed like standard wraps from the supermarket that ad been griddled, rather than freshly made or made in-house. Otherwise it was perfect.
📷: Turkish breakfast at Saffron
📍 Saffron, 4a Boyce’s Ave, Bristol BS8 4AA.
Our last food and drink stop was after we’d walked from Clifton suspension bridge through the marina and back to Wapping Wharf. It was drizzle and kind of chilly and I fancied a hot chocolate. At CARGO, we found Oliver’s Ice Cream, and they served speciality Belgian hot chocolate. Of course, we stayed for ice cream too! I had one scoop split between salted caramel and white chocolate. It was super creamy and tasty.
What did disappoint though, was that they served from a counter, and one would expect that all choices would be on the sign behind that counter. After sitting down to eat the ice cream and drink the hot chocolate I realised there was another sign with crepes, waffles and sundaes listed. Seems a bit daft to put them on the wall behind where you would stand to order…
📍 Oliver’s Ice Cream Parlour, Unit 7, Cargo 2, Museum Street, Wapping Wharf, Bristol BS1 6ZA http://www.oliversicecream.co.uk/
We really enjoyed the majority of where we ate and drank in Bristol. There’s a couple more places left to talk about but they were combined with activity fun, so I’ll save them for next time.
🔖 We travelled with National Express (£59.40 for two, return) and stayed in the Ibis Temple Meads (£171 for two nights) booked through Expedia.