Gloucester Road is as famous in Bristol as the ss Great Britain, Brunel’s bridge and Massive Attack. A pantheon of the independent shop, it gamely fights on against the slow creep of the high street, branding coffee chains “Imposta” and playing host to the heady aftermath of the Tesco rights last summer. Faces change and venues move on, but when we’re lucky new ventures arrive with something exciting to offer. Such is the case for The Gallimaufry, another recent foray into the world of relaxed, fine dining and long weekend breakfasts.
The Gallimaufry lived up to it’s name (noun: A confused jumble or medley of things) by taking over from The Prom, a fairly dilapidated and uninspiring pub, filling it with hand-made curios, clown-based art, a mismatch of furniture and a shiny bar with European beers on tap. You can sit outside on pilfered pews – the charming staff will come to you and take your order from a short brunch menu. It’s all good value, with most meals under £6, though the hungriest amongst us might feel a little short changed when their eggs come on one slice, not two. We had a guest to impress, and luckily he was: his Eggs Benedict came with flaked ham hock and were expertly seasoned. (Declared sufficiently delicious enough to mark his recent doctorate, he was thus forever christened Dr Pepper for the purposes of this blog.) My bacon sandwich was, well, a bacon sandwich – so if you’re egg-averse like me you may find the menu lacking. However, the breads are freshly made and the coffee is decent, and the adventurous amongst us can delve into plates of devilled kidneys on toast or black pudding, broad bean and poached egg salad. Feeling flush, we also investigated this place for dinner a few days later and were equally pleased with the result – freshly baked mini loaves with cold salted butted were a nice touch. This should be a bustling place to breakfast soon; a welcome addition to the Gloucester Road contingent.
Price: From £4.50 (Eggs Benedict).
It’s a chain, Jim, but not as we know it… the Boston Tea Party cafés are reassuringly familiar to many a Bristolian, with shops in Clifton, Stokes Croft and the centre of town. Their franchise spreads to the fringes of the south west too, but, thankfully, we won’t find them defacing any UNESCO sights with their signage any time soon.
The BTPs are all about good food and fine coffee that’s well sourced and reasonably priced. Their newest home on Cheltenham Road boasts an impressive patio area set back from the road that fills up as soon as the sun comes out, particularly popular with canine companions who might snuffle out bits of organic sausage or Applewood bacon dropped by careless omnivores. During the week tiny babies and tumbling toddlers take over and make the most of the buggy-friendly space (and the acoustics); it’s also a student favourite and does have the feel of an upmarket union at times. Nevertheless, the food is good: as much as possible is made on site and there’s a delicious sounding menu from breakfast through to afternoon tea. My Scotch pancakes and bacon hit the spot – not too sweet, and just the right size – and there’s a host of eggy concoctions that kept the Poacher very happy indeed. Veggies and vegans are well served here, and there are real ales and ciders should you find yourself in need of some help the day after the night before.
Price: From £2.25 (toasted bagel) to £6.75 (West Country breakfast).
At the centre of Stoke’s Croft most bohemian heart is Café Kino, a popular spot for artists, musicians, freelance thinkers and coffee drinkers. Great big windows look out to the street and are prime spots for people watching; as it’s at the junction between St Paul’s, Montpelier and Gloucester Road, there’s a procession of colourful characters and local heroes (Big Issue seller Jeff has brightened many a morning) and some fabulous graffiti that catches the eye and engages the brain.
Kino is vegan so sausage dodgers will be well pleased; there’s a veggie bacon option should you feel your plate is missing something, but even the most vociferous carnivores will find something to enjoy here. My mushrooms on toast were well-oiled with heaps of garlic and parsley, and the full breakfasts being served by friendly staff are stacked with goodness. The A-board advertises ’20 Types of Tea’ so it seemed churlish not to try their loose leaf Earl Grey and a potent Chinese Gunpowder. Coffee is good and made to order (no drought of soya milk here) and their cakes manage to taste utterly wicked, without a drop of dairy to be seen. There’s live music and theatre downstairs, books to borrow and art to buy. Gather a clan in one of the giant booths and you can settle in for the afternoon.
Price: From £3 (mushrooms on toast) to £6 (full vegetarian breakfast).
Note: ZaZus has found another new home at the top of Gloucester Road, but fear not, the good food continues there…
Definitely not Tescos.
The Egg Poacher had befallen a fate not all that uncommon in the streets of Bristol – as a cyclist, he had been deemed invisible by an oncoming car and, like Humpty himself, had to be put back together again. So it was somewhat tentatively that we took our first steps out into Stokes Croft, and not long before we found the quiet sanctum that is ZaZu’s Kitchen. Owner Toby is a gent, and we had barely arrived before he was offering fresh fruit smoothies or softly scrambled eggs to my gap-toothed companion. For those of us not feeling the effects of a face plant, there’s also a short but super chalked-up menu to chose from, with a focus on all things local and seasonal. Breakfast favourites are there – eggs every way, their own granola, the full works. Fine dining is key, so portions aren’t massive, but you pay for brilliant quality and good coffee.
Price: From £3.50 (homemade granola) to £6.50 (full English).