Muiño cuddles up next to some of Bristol’s hippest restaurants (Pasta Loco, Bellita, Bravas…) and offers a menu clearly intent on capitalising on the fashionable foodie set who come here. The evening menu offers seasonal British fare in the now ubiquitous form of ‘small’ and ‘large’ plates, all sourced from the south west and its surrounds. There’s a healthy cocktail selection and a strong wine list, too – surely making this an intriguing stop for Bristol’s refined – and unforgiving – diners.
Brunch is a more familiar affair, with weekend standards such as the full English, Eggs Benedict and smashed avocado on toast, alongside a ‘bottomless Prosecco’ offering lifted from London’s latest breakfast trends. The provenance is equally notable in the morning menu, there are good vegetarian choices and the coffee is decent, too. They’re generous in the option to swap and add extras – the cheddar and leek patty was a definite plus – and yet, it still felt like something was missing.
The portions are fairly small (not unusual in Bristol, yet worth mentioning when dishes are close to £10 each), and the flavours less exciting than they could have been. The full breakfast was a little lacklustre with limp bacon and a watery tomato, the pancake a single coin slathered with runny compote; the huevos rancheros came without the expected chilli bite. With a touch more seasoning and some more generous plating the local ingredients could have packed a proper punch.
There’s much to like here: the staff are fun and welcoming (even allowing Lola, the miniature schnauzer, to be smuggled under the table) and the fresh, calming interiors make this a refined place to dawdle in of an afternoon. But with Cotham Hill’s capricious clientele to contend with, the devil will most definitely be in the detail.
Price: from £7 (smashed avocado on toast) to £9.50 (large traditional).
Nicely ramshackle and comfortably worn in, Havana Coffee provides a welcome relief from the “boho-local-mimosa” joints so easy to come by in Clifton. Che Guevera and Diego Rivera look down upon the mismatched tables and worn tiled floor, with rumba music continuing the Cuban theme. There’s a sense of timelessness about the place: students in slogan’d T-shirts delving into fry ups and deep bowls of filter coffee, the owner and his cronies putting the world to rights in the corner, bathrooms that haven’t seen a paint brush for a decade or two.
The food itself has both a North American theme – thick milkshakes, pancakes of all denominations – and a more traditional bent; the full English comes with artery clogging hash browns, boiled, buttery mushrooms and square toast. Seeking some grease to soak up last nights’ excesses their excellent (and enormous) bacon butty hit the spot, while their coffee is as unforgiving as you might hope.
Compared to the organic options nearby (HFW’s River Cottage Canteen is just up the road), Havana isn’t sophisticated – but, happily, it isn’t trying to be. Instead, it serves no-nonsense breakfasts cooked to order from a small kitchen out back, with not a jot of pretension in sight.
Price: from £2.90 (beans on toast) to £7.50 (Big Breakfast).
With the right honourable Hugh Fairy Whipping-Boy’s passion for all things local, organic and seasonal, it seemed almost inevitable that River Cottage and Bristol would come together. And they have: a church-cum-post-office on Whiteladies Road has been transformed into a high-ceilinged, wood bedecked “canteen” serving the best of the south west’s ingredients, the shining open kitchen and young and enthusiastic staff welcoming in the wind-chapped masses from morning ‘til night.
It’s very much more restaurant than café (or indeed Cottage): polite and smiling waitresses bring water to the table and will hang up your jacket before offering to bring you beverages as you peruse the breakfast menu. Despite the famous name and benevolent HFW looking down from book covers above the bar, it’s surprisingly good value, with most meals sitting around the £5 mark. We opted for muesli topped with extremely creamy yoghurt, spiced figs and poached apple and a Proper Round of Toast (anything under 4 slices and the Egg Poacher will start to eye up the napkins as another source of sustenance). The locally-roasted coffee is excellent, and a peek at the breakfasts around me showed well-crisped bacon, perfect globes of poached egg and sausages that brought murmurs of appreciation from the diners around us.
You’d be advised to phone ahead and, if you can face it, get there early: a 9am start on a Saturday gave us the pick of the place, but by 11 the floor was full; a late brunch may be a quick one if you have to give up the table for an early lunch booking. Children are welcome and catered for with their own menu, quiet music plays and you can watch the resident baker do his thing at the wood-fired oven – no doubt this place will do very well indeed.
Price: from £1.50 (toast & jam) to £8.50 (Canteen breakfast).