We’ve all received countless emails from a myriad of brands we don’t remember buying from, reassuring us that they are here for us in these unprecedented times. Yet the thing that I found truly reassuring – strangely comforting, and a reminder of things pre-COVID – was having a real coffee made for me by someone I didn’t know, frothy milk and everything.
This was a happy accident: the Egg Poacher and I had stumbled upon a working coffee van when out on our weekends’ hunt for green space, this one parked at the Ashton Court-end of the Suspension Bridge. Chapter & Holmes had adapted quickly, with queue markers and store cupboard essentials which were to be bought alongside takeaway coffees, teas and excellent homebaked goods. Cyclists, windswept parents and dog walkers all lined up, with some of the latter looking as if the “a puppy is for life, not just for quarantine” realisation was sinking in, one twitching eyelid at a time.
We felt a bit grubby buying up not one but two bags of flour (surely the most middle class ‘must have’ item of 2020) and scurried parkwards with our lattes, salted caramel brownie and blueberry bakewell tart. It was only on arrival that we realised the logistics of eating and drinking while “exercising” might be difficult, so instead we pushed our new-found rebellion further, found an empty sunny spot on the grass and shovelled it all in without grace. Delicious it was too, and suitably calorific to power a long-winded walk home, weighed down with three kilos of flour.
Energised though we were with our brush with the law, we felt it was time to explore brunch options from the safety of our own home. Happily there are plenty on offer, with many Bristol institutions moving to pick-up or delivery only within hours of the lockdown. Our local favourite, FED 303, are open from Tuesday to Saturday and deliver brunch, cakes and lunch alongside eggs, bread and coffee to make at home.
We opted for our usual phenomenal chocolate and hazlenut babkas with a bag of salted maple granola that stretched to two days (unless you’re like the Egg Poacher, who hoe’d it all down in one go. Gluttony is apparently all the rage during a pandemic.) Delivery slots meant this was more of an afternoon treat than brunch, but given we’ve all lost any sense of day or date, it was a welcome treat at any time. It won’t be long until we’re back. Their rhubarb and custard doughnuts are calling, and their lunch options will make any quarantined weekday much brighter. Get in early – orders are to be put in the day before, and the most popular items sell out quickly.
Our latest foray has been with Farro Bakery, recently ensconced in Brunswick Square. With a £15 minimum for delivery I decided to brave the streets of Stokes Croft and pick up our order myself. Breathing in the fresh air I wondered at the crispness of the blue sky and clarity of the friendly faces I passed, until I realised that this was the first time I’d put my glasses on in a week.
Their set up is swift and well-organised, with my order ready to go at the door. It was another one for the triceps, having fed our habit with yet more flour (the lesser-spotted plain, this time) alongside some truly exceptional double baked honey almond croissants. They are a small outfit so deliveries and collections are limited to Thursday to Saturday, but given their reputation as one of the finest bakeries in the city, you can be sure it will be worth the wait.
For more on local takeaway and delivery options, visit: https://www.thelockdowneconomy.com/