Monthly Archives: December 2012

Poco, Stokes Croft, Bristol

Once the site of the now well-established Zazu’s (relocated to the top of Gloucester Road) Poco had some fairly big, organic boots to fill. Happily, they’ve kept the local and seasonal focus – and, in my opinion, have gone one better than their predecessors with a menu packed with homemade ingredients and Mediterranean flavours.

It’s quietly funky inside with bold paintings and creepers reaching for the Velux windows; indie folk plays and relaxed staff natter by the open kitchen as tables start to fill. Poco is famed for it’s tapas served late into the night, and pigs’ legs and bunches of garlic hung amongst the pots and pans testify to the Spanish theme. Breakfast follows a similar route, with homemade chorizo, chilli and coriander all featuring. Their breads, cakes and salads are all made from scratch too; ask nicely, and they’ll give you some of their sourdough starter (named Cleo) to take home.

Despite a fairly nightmarish shift – flying orange juice, an unidentifiable leak, the fire alarm – we were served a very fine breakfast indeed. Their own harissa added a lovely kick to their scrambled eggs, matched by their spicy merguez sausages. The coffee is strong and they have their own fresh herb cordials: everything is flavourful and well matched. It’s a popular spot throughout the day, though like most Stokes Croft residents they don’t rise early at the weekend (breakfast starts at 10am). Some might find the service a little too relaxed, and there’s a slightly chaotic feel when they first open their doors. Come with time on your hands, though, and you can join the cool kids from the festival circuit and feel right at home.

Price: From £3.90 (organic bacon butty) to £6.95 (Moroccan scramble).

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Hapuku Lodge, Kaikoura, New Zealand

Though it’s not one for regular Saturday morning, this rates as one of the finest breakfast venues we’ve seen. Rumbling into the perfectly coiffed driveway in our beaten up hire car, we were a hotel’s worst nightmare – grubby, tent-laden and skint. Nevertheless, the staff at Hapuku Lodge welcomed us with an ingenious mix of informality and attention to our every want and need, while subtly offering us the use of their laundry service as soon as we’d found our room.

Kaikoura itself isn’t much to look at, with a strip of tourist shops, off licenses and shifty looking skateboarders hanging around the (one) street corner. Hapuku, however, is a wonder: there are six treehouse lodges that have been built to take in the incredible views, with balconies on either side for sunrise and sunset. From the rooms on the highest ‘bough’ you can see both the snow-topped mountains and the sea, though it would take keener eyes than mine to spot the sperm whales which make this such a popular spot to visit.

Amongst joys such as a stocked woodburner, coffee grinders for fresh coffee beans, self-heating jacuzzi baths, a DVD library and a fridge stocked with beer, there’s also some very fine food. Breakfast was as local as you can get, with eggs from their own hens, olive oil from their own groves and home-smoked bacon and salmon; the water even comes from their own well. Having been spoiled in their restaurant the night before, I opted for porridge that was perfectly cooked, the Egg Poacher’s eggs were declared ‘divine’ and the spread of fresh breads, pastries and tropical fruits were every hungry backpacker’s dream.

Price: B&B from $600 per night.

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Filed under Intrepid Breakfasts