Bristol’s Harbourside is a curious place – it’s where the cultural landmarks of the Watershed cinema and Arnolfini art gallery collide with the somewhat less salubrious nightclubs and bar chains that are a haven for Saturday night revelers and short-tempered bouncers. Mop up the evidence from the night before, however, and it can also be a very nice place for a spot of breakfast.
Business folk and food fans have been coming to Bordeaux Quay for years, renowned as it is for well-sourced ingredients and a rather good wine list. The restaurant upstairs brings the menu up a notch, and fine dining is very much the focus there; downstairs is more low-key, but the food is still pretty good. Braving the watery April sunlight we opted for the chairs outside, but wasn’t long until we were being offered fleece blankets to keep out the chill. It took a while longer for someone to come and take our order, but with the to-ing and fro-ing of the canal boat folk and the first of the early rising hen dos tottering past there was much to keep us entertained while we waited. To start the days’ eating we opted for coffees and pastries: though my latte had less of a kick than I’d hoped for, the espresso was perfectly made and the pastries crisp and piped full of thick, yellow custard. Not long after we delved into deliciously deep bowls of granola with yoghurt, poached apples and toasted nuts, grasping for a sense of worthiness while knowing, deep down, we were not.
The friendly staff were happy for us to linger as tables around us began to fill; in summer this place will pack out before you can say “pink glitter L plates”. At weekends they also offer breakfast specials (pancakes with bacon, Eggs Benedict), and those looking for a traditional full English or bacon sarnie won’t be disappointed. As with most places with a view like this one it’s not cheap, and I do begrudge paying the best bit of a fiver for bacon in a roll, no matter whether the ‘bap’ is ciabatta and the garnish comes as standard. Despite this, it will make many people happy: there’s heaps of space and the kids can colour to their hearts’ content while their folks nurse a Bloody Mary, or two.
Price: from £2 (toast & jam) to £9.50 (BQ Breakfast).