Bristol’s Harbourside is rarely as evocative as on a blustery, grey Autumnal day. The gulls call to one another across the water as boats of all sizes burble past the giant cranes that gaze reverently to the ever-darkening clouds. You’d almost swear you could smell the sea as the wind whips around the corner and might find yourself listening out for a peg-legged approach across the cobbles; Blackbeard was known to scour these waters for likely victims in days gone by.
Back in the present, the Egg Poacher was off doing his thing for Cancer Research while dressed like Darcey Bussell and, with just enough time to grab a coffee and a bite before my whooping skills would be required, I snuck into the Arnolfini’s small but popular cafe in search of breakfast.
All is as you’d expect in this modern art gallery’s social space: stark white walls, angular furniture and the odd splash of colour in old programmes framed on the walls. You can shuffle into low booths or perch on swivel chairs by the windows – not the comfiest of spaces, but perfectly matched to the minimalist gallery next door.
Brunch is reassuringly familiar: sourdough toast, Eggs Benedict or Royale, the full works. There are cakes on the bar (grab a freshly made madeleine if you can) and stonkingly strong coffees or teas from Bath Tea Emporium; Spanish beers on draught introduce a European theme that continues into their lunch menu, served from 12. Kids are equally welcomed with colouring in and their own menu and in festival season – May to October in this city – you can watch performers and public mingle in the streets outside or in the Lloyds Amphitheatre across the water. It may not be the warmest of brunch situations, but the food is good and the views are hard to beat.
Price: from £3 (sourdough toast & preserves) to £8 (Arnolfini breakfast).