Khoollect Explores: A Food Tour of Bristol

From high profile chefs, ethical eats and some of the most beautiful interiors in the country, the food industry is flocking to Bristol and you’d be foolish not to want a bite.  

The only problem with the food scene here is it’s SO booming that not even our appetites can keep up, and certainly for a weekend you’re going to struggle to fit it all in. Metaphorically and quite literally. However what we can do is give you our picks of Bristol’s very long list of choices for good coffee, great atmosphere and even better food. Plus a few places that’ll make for a special treat for your Insta…let’s all just acknowledge it’s important, okay. 

Although we’re not locals, we’ve spent a fair few weekends this past year eating our way up and down the cobbled, hilly streets, so we’d like to think we know our way around. So here are our favourite places to eat, drink and do in Bristol.

Brunch & Lunch

As you might have guessed, the brunch scene in Bristol is big business and quite rightly. After tasting our way around more eggs on sourdough than we thought humanly possible however, these are our firm favourites.

The Lido Spa & Restaurant  – It’s a place that could easily be mistaken for the Italian Riveria rather than a courtyard in Clifton. Take a swimming costume and make the most of their beautiful pool, hot tub, sauna and steam rooms before you tuck into their Turkish eggs, fruit bread with brown butter or a selection of sandwiches. While you can also have lunch and dinner here, nothing beats starting your day off on their terrace.what to eat and drink bristol

Spoke & Stringer – We’d be mad not to include a restaurant on the harbourside for an early morning brunch and the best we’ve found is Spoke & Stringer. Though technically a tapas restaurant (and a great one at that) it’s their brunches which lead to them winning the best breakfast at the 2016 Bristol Good Food awards. Go for their Rarebit & chilli jam, Poached eggs on toast with sourdough and harissa or their Canella beans with Spanish tomatoes & shaved parmesan and you won’t regret it.

Cargo at Wapping Wharf – Rather than mention a specific place for lunch, we wanted to draw attention to Wapping Wharf, an independent development housed in shipping containers along the harbourside. With plenty of outdoor seating to take in those harbour views and so many top restaurants, there’s a reason this place has such a buzz about it. Pick from Cargo Catina, Salt & Malt, Spuntino, The Pickled Brisket, Gopal’s Curry shack for our favourite lunch treats. 

Dinner: 

Bar Buvette  French food – check. Good wine – check. Charming staff – double check. Bar Buvette has everything you need to make the perfect evening. The food is rich and hearty, like French food should be but also light enough to never be too much. With offerings like endive salad, whole artichokes with aioli, cornichons and varying beautiful rabbit dishes (a personal favourite) it’s hard not to order the entire menu. It almost makes us cringe to recommend a place on atmosphere alone but aside from the food (which is fantastic), Bar Buvette is a place where that sentiment feels right. 

what to eat and drink bristol

Poco Tapas Bar – Ever since Poco moved to a firm spot of bricks & mortar with Head Chef Tom Hunt after years on the festival scene, we’ve been wanting to check it out. Let’s just say it wasn’t a drop left on any plate.

Winning multiple awards including Best English Restaurant 2016 from the Food Made Good sustainable restaurant awards and serving dishes like Deep fried oysters with herb aioli, Cauliflower with brown butter, sumac & capers and some of the best roast Jersey Royals we’ve ever tasted, it’s safe to say the menu is impeccable. They can make a pretty mean cocktail too. The Espresso Martini was one of the best we’ve ever had (and we’ve had too many…) 

The Ethicurean – A little further out of Bristol city centre sits The Ethicurean and boy is it worth the extra mileage. Set inside a Barley Woods walled garden, on location alone this place is on another level but paired with the food – absolute winner. Concentrating on artisan British food and local produce and with the option for ‘full feasts’ menu on a Tuesday (veggie) and Wednesday evening, this place is something special.

Coffee 

This was always going to be the hardest category. Coffee shops in Bristol are more common than the insane amount of seagulls circling the harbour but that’s not a bad thing.

Ceres Coffee – you might already know that Australians love their coffee more than most, we did have our lovely Sonya as Dep Ed for long enough for you to pick up on it. Enter Ceres, a Melbourne export with all the credentials you need for a perfect roast.

Wainwrights Coffee – a small and unassuming place – apart from the bike hanging from the wall – you might easily miss but it’s a huge shame this place has a great selection of roasts and a beautiful interior.

Sweet Treats

Pinkman’s Bakery – Step inside this place and it’ll be hard to ever leave, partly for the fact you’ll have a hard time fitting back through the front door. 

Primrose Cafe – These. Cakes. This place has tempted us in after a stationary splurge in Papersmiths (read on…) more than we’d like to admit, but never have we left without the kind of smile on our face that only good cake can muster. They also have a sun-spot roof terrace perfect for devouring as many baked goods as possible in relative privacy.

what to eat and drink bristol

Drinks: 

There’s two ways to make the most of Bristol’s drinks scenes – working your way through the many brilliant bars and then going right to the source.

East Bristol Brewery TrailProbably the best way to enter into the beer scene is Bristol is to take this tour running on Fridays and Saturdays (check their FB page for details) and covering five of the best breweries in town. Just maybe make sure you have nothing important on the next day…  

Pyschopomp Gin  If there’s ever a place you should go to a craft gin distillery, Bristol is it. Though only doing distillery tours on Tuesday – Thursday, for £130 for two you can make and distil your own gin on a Saturday afternoon. The gin is divine, the staff so knowledgeable you’ll knock the socks off any future pub quiz and they even have a single origin coffee liquor if you’re not looking to break the bank. 

Spuntino – With its speakeasy vibe and location on the harbour front you’d be amiss not to try here. Unless you’re hankering for that Poco Espresso Martini we told you about…

Other things to do: 

We couldn’t recommend a trip to Bristol without mentioning these other places. It just wouldn’t be right. So if you have any time in between gorging yourself into a welcome food coma, stop off and visit Papersmiths, the brick & mortar embodiment of our stationery dreams with a brilliant selection of independent magazines and colour coordinated displays that have us swooning.

Next take a walk to The Forge, a creative workspace, events hub & interior design dream run by the incredible Silkie Lloyd, check out their events and workshops before you go to avoid disappointment.

Have you been to Bristol and eaten as much as we have? Comment below with your favourite Bristol-based food treat. 

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WRITTEN BY:
Maria Bell

Maria Bell is a photographer and editor from the Isle of Wight. Talk to her about food and/or photog...

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