Setting an alarm on the weekend is sacrilegious enough. Setting an alarm for sport on a Sunday one step closer to insanity. So to set an alarm for Sunday sport that never materialises is damn near devastating. We were two Lycra-clad women with nowhere to go. But then, of course, came the salve and the saviour to all unmade weekend plans – an impromptu brunch.
With some mild jostling and promises of caffeine partners were pulled from their slumbers and a small party set off for the freshly-washed hills of Whiteladies Road. Though the street was calm we quickly found that we weren’t the first to cotton on to Tradewind Espresso, as the small cafe was full to bursting with groups of washed out parents and soggy dog walkers. Luckily for us they have a space outside rigged up with an almost entirely shower proof roof. Decked out in in wood and free of sunlight its somewhat like stepping into the hull of a boat, with rainmac’d pensioners and shaggy-headed students making an unlikely morning crew.
Peering at our menus in the half light we were soon salivating at the imaginative options before us. Avocado pico de gallo with salmorejo, french toast with rum and caramelised pineapple, spice chorizo with pineapple relish and padron peppers – this was clearly a place more interested in inventive cooking that followed the seasons than the standard full English and scrambled eggs on toast. Duly warned in stern terms that menu alterations were not an option, we chose a good selection from which we could sample, and weren’t disappointed by our choices (a side of the delicious spicy chorizo also an excellent addition). Though expensive, the coffees were well made and delicious, and in all felt the bill represented good value for excellent ingredients and a kind and helpful staff.
Fully fed, we were ready to brave the rain for the journey home. And, having exercised our brunch muscles there was only one thing left to do – retreat for a well-deserved nap.
Price: from £3.50 (toast & jam) to £9.50 (The Full Easterly).
The breakfast stars have aligned over Stokes Croft. The Bristolian has been a familiar sight in Picton Street for years, though its once grubby interior has had a spit and polish and it’s come up shining: on a sunny Saturday the pine floors, bright lanterns and fairylights make the place the feel like the inside of one giant toy box. And it’s full of good food.
The Bristolian is the best of what this city represents – all are welcome, from St Andrew’s poi performers to dads on the morning shift, freelance parents with free-range toddlers and last night’s casualties, invited in from the walk of shame and offered a sympathetic ear and a constant supply of coffee. In fact, this place is the perfect hangover cure, with Bloody Mary and her mates making an appearance, as well as an impressive breakfast menu that will suit all appetites.
Top of the list is the Bristolian Fusion, a Mediterranean delight full of deliciously spiced chorizo, salsa and fried potatoes; their full English is a carnivore’s dream with their bacon and sausages declared the best ever by the Egg Poacher – praise indeed.
This microcosm of Montpelier comes with all the extra options you’d expect – vegan and vegetarian, soya milk and super salads; there’s bread for sale from the wonderful Hobbs Bakery, home-baked cakes, proper leaf teas and a full-bodied coffee. Get here early to avoid the rush – by 11 most of the ‘Croft residents are awake and ready to descend on the tightly packed tables. But it’s worth the squeeze – this counts as one of the best breakfasts yet.
Price: From £3.50 (muesli & yoghurt) to £7.95 (Bristol Fusion).
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).