Shoppers, students and street fundraisers fly past the tall windows of Goldbrick House, the harsh winds and driving rain turning umbrellas into makeshift sails. Inside, all is calm, with velvet armchairs, flock wallpaper and a soothing soundtrack all adding to the sense of being enveloped into a coffee-scented bosom.
Goldbrick is well known in Bristol, offering as it does a classier way to drink than the Scream pubs and pound-a-drink establishments elsewhere on Park Street. It’s a popular spot for weary shoppers and on weekends it can quickly fill with the Clifton set looking for a bottle of fizz to start the evening off. At breakfast time, however, it’s altogether more sedate, with staff soft-shoeing around tables to take orders and deliver coffees while you peruse the menu, the service more restaurant than café bar, and very pleasant to boot.
A good-sized menu offers familiar breakfast options – full English, Eggs Benedict, a round of toast – with some more unusual additions in the veggie options, with tomato and mozzarella bruschetta sitting alongside your more regular fried potatoes and beans. The flavours are good and are complimented by fresh juices and a host of teas, but their coffee isn’t the strongest, so you might opt for double shots if your weekend requires a kick start.
With a steady supply of hot drinks and the weekend papers you might find you’ve started to become part of the well-loved furniture, and the staff seem happy to let you stay. A breakfast you can linger over – just as it should be.
Price: from £2 (round of toast) to £8.95 (full English).
With minor pomp or ceremony, Bill’s landed on the Triangle a few weeks ago. They’re a familiar sight further south with their original café in Lewes providing the template for six more in London and beyond.
Clearly keen to hold on to the homemade quirk of their first venture, the place comes with cosy booths, mismatched chandeliers and a stripped back steel and wood interior. The young staff are friendly (and may be new to the catering game) and do a great job despite being tested by granola imprisoned in kilner jars, ‘rustic’ wooden boards instead of plates, tall latte glasses and giant pewter teapots placed precariously on tiny trays or miniature tables for two.
The food itself is fine, though served so quickly it left little doubt that it’s prepared in advance. My pancakes were just sweet enough, while the Egg Poacher’s fruit skewers and yoghurt did exactly what they said they would. Traditionalists will find bacon rolls and a full English on the menu, while caffeine fiends could definitely do worse. More unusually, you can order organic goods and store cupboard staples from your table – a move likely to be well received in market-keen Bristol. There are imported Italian antipasti in oversized tins, organic veg in wicker baskets as well as picnic hampers and Bill’s own brewed beer to take home.
Bill’s is perfectly pleasant – fans of Jamie’s Italian or Carluccio’s will no doubt find much to like here, too. This particular brunch hunter may head for more independent shores, but decent coffee and a reassuring menu will bring students and shoppers in their droves.
Price: from £2.50 (toast & jam) to £7.95 (Bill’s breakfast).