Tag Archives: harbour

riverstation, Harbourside, Bristol

People make haste, while the sun shines, to the riverstation – and for good reason. Nab a leather sofa by the window and you might think you’re somewhere altogether more European: the sun’s rays bounce off the water and red-faced sailor types chug by in their boats, while shifty-looking swans prowl past on the lookout for arms to break and, possibly, the Queen.

Early-risers are treated to a proper breakfast – muesli, fresh pastries, bacon sandwiches – but the lazier amongst us need not fear as there’s a robust brunch menu served until well after lunchtime. As well as eggs every-way, there’s French toast with bacon and maple syrup and duck eggs or mushrooms with parmesan on toast. For hunters of a classic brunch like me (I steer more towards breakfast than lunch) it feels like a fairly reduced choice, but if you’re happy to expand your dining horizons mid-morning, there’s sausage and mash, smoked haddock risotto and caesar salad; best of all, they do a mean Bloody Mary so you may decide to forgo food in favour of a more liquid reward for another week conquered.

The staff are busy but friendly, and despite my longing for a lie in you might not want to leave it too late as the best seats will fill on a sunny day. Kids eat free until 6pm so it’s a firm favourite with the babes-in-arms set and can be noisy, and you may find you’re politely asked to eat up if there’s an event on in the afternoon – so do phone ahead at weekends. The food is good and the coffee is great, and the kitchen staff are clearly well-versed in provenance. It’s not the cheapest, but you’re paying for quality and a relaxed, friendly service – and, of course, the swans.

Price: from £3.50 (French toast and maple syrup) to £8.50 (sausages and mash).

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Mud Dock, Harbourside, Bristol

As soon as we’d taken our seats in the Mud Dock, the Egg Poacher declared it was like “sitting in the Death Star” – mercifully a reference to the giant circular window looking out towards the Thekla, and not a tyrannical manager with a thing for patent leather. In fact, the views are one of the best things about the place; there’s a large patio overlooking the harbour that’s popular in summer, and even we were bathed in intermittent rays from our spot inside. Working through our first coffees of the morning (bean freaks may wish to order double shots to wake up properly), we perused a short brunch menu with a traditional bent. As the fresh croissants were busy being baked we opted for a pig fest instead: my bacon and eggs (cooked to within an inch of their lives, at my request) were fine, though the toast a little pallid for my liking. EP’s full English had all the reconstituted swine you’d expect, but there’s better black pudding to be found in town. The staff were polite and efficient, and softly playing world music brought a pleasant summer feel to a squally January day.  It’s not cheap, so expect to pay for your setting – though that in itself is rather lovely. We were free to read the broadsheets back to back while tables started to fill around us and our waiter even helped with a crossword clue or two. Breakfast here is perfectly acceptable, though it’s not one of my favourite spots. It is, however, ideal for those on two wheels: the co-owned Bike Shed below can service your bicycle while you dine.

Price: from £3.50 (croissants with jam) to £7.95 (Big Breakfast).

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