Please before you start shouting obscenities let me explain. I am a Geordie and where I come from the process of having a meal is easy, breakfast, dinner then tea! My grandad would not only turn in his grave if he could see me indulging in such a ritual known as “brunch”, he would also probably call me a few choice names, that I wouldn’t dare repeat on here. Fast forward to current times and how my eating habits have changed, especially at weekends. After years of ridiculing my so called “more affluent” friends about brunch, I seem to have not just fallen into the trap but seem to be a real advocate of this once made up meal.
The history of brunch
Next time you are in a cool cafe or a swanky restaurant eating your eggs florentine or your pancakes just remember the person you have to thank for this new addition to our meal culture. Guy Beringer was an english writer who is 1895 wrote an essay called “Brunch: A Plea”. Mr Beringer basically thought that people who drank heavily on a Saturday evening needed a meal around midday on a Sunday, which was neither breakfast or lunch as he felt a typical Sunday roast was too meaty. See, I am now educating you all so you can use this to show off with your friends at your next brunch date.
What makes a good brunch?
Obviously living in Clifton I have so many choices when it comes to where to eat our brunch, so how do I choose? I personally like a menu that is both small and unique. We don’t need pages and pages of choices showcasing how many different ways you can do a sandwich. Just give us half a dozen options but do something that is unusual and that we regard as a treat. Secondly, I look for the “brunch buzz” as I call it, which is a semi busy establishment with a nice mix of couples and families reading newspapers or just generally chatting about the world, (which, lets be honest its all about Trump at the moment). Thirdly they must do tea in teapots and mugs for me! I drink a lot of tea and don’t want what could be my first cuppa of the day served in a small cup where I cannot even get my finger in the handle (flashes of my grandad come streaming back).
My top 5 “brunches” in Bristol
For your reading pleasure, I have listed 5 establishments that you the reader might not have been are unaware of. So this rules out some of the cities favourites such as http://www.primrosecafe.co.uk in the village or http://www.rosemarino.co.uk close to the triangle, sorry guys but at least you got a sneaky mention. These are in no specific order.
Pieminister – Broad Quay
I know, I know, you are probably thinking – seriously pie for brunch?!? I decided to try this place on the back of following them on Instagram, which just shows how some great cool photos can attract new customers! And generally being from the north we love pie’s. The menu is ideal, small but so unique and the choice is simple, pie or skillet you decide. They also do a great range of drinks and if you are hungover from a Saturday just like Mr Beringer (Mr Brunch inventor) you can recuperate with a bloody Mary.
Rubicon Too – Cotham Hill
Unless you are from a 1/2 mile radius of this great cafe you will never know of its existence. It lies within an unassuming shop front, that just looks like a normal cafe which serves endless cappuccinos to the passing students and young professionals. I was compelled to try brunch here after walking past the out-side diners and doing something we all do, although we always try not to get caught, we look at other peoples food as it comes out and do the old fashioned “elbow nudge”. There is a major mediterranean feel to the menu, plenty of tomato based skillets with Spanish sausages (top tip get some bread to mop up the juices).
River Station – The Grove
Like most people in Bristol, I always thought this was a great venue but never stepped foot in here, why I hear you ask! Well do you know how many places I have to walk past from Clifton to get here? Which is especially tough when you are hungry, so you have to make sure this is your set goal for the day, as its not a venue you just stumble across. Another great menu with some favourites on there and also a few unusual dishes which makes this venue stand out. As a self proclaimed egg expert, I have to say the eggs florentine is the best in the city, so far anyway. If you’re lucky and the sun is out and your timing is good you might get a seat outside where you can chill and enjoy the Harbourside.
Saffron – Clifton Village
Tough when you open pretty much next door to one of Bristol’s best love cafe’s but Saffron has managed to stand out by itself against The Primrose cafe. Why I wonder? Well, they do something different. Don’t get me wrong everyone loves a standard brunch option but Saffron manage to bring a real middle east twist to the area. Oven baked eggs do I need to say more? Staff are great and there is that buzz I was talking about every time I walk into this great cafe.
Workhouse Cafe – St Michaels Hill
I stumbled across this very different but amazing cafe after my choice earlier that morning couldn’t offer me scrambled eggs! They said did they fried but not scrambled, lets not get into that now. This place is very different and if its a full english you want, or lots of meat you might want to look somewhere else. The french toast is as good as you get and why oh why can’t we get more places that do great avocado on sourdough? I love it! Please stumble across this place, you won’t regret it and you can tell the staff love it too.
So basically as you can tell I am no food critic or neither do I aspire to be but I hopefully have given you a few ideas of places to go and try but then left enough mystery and intrigue for you to both be excited and enjoy your own personal experience. The thing about being a critic everyone has different opinions. Do you have a favourite?? Let me know just so that I can go and try them. Thanks for reading please follow me at the bottom or on Instagram @bristolfoodluvver