Flow

It might seem that a restaurant dishing up locally sourced, seasonal vegetarian and vegan food has no place existing wedged between Bristol’s main bus station and a Premier Inn. You shouldn’t let the location fool you though; Flow is accessible from the Bear Pit, and the socially and environmentally conscious nature of this renowned community hub is immediately evident.  Flow consciously breaks free from the belief that we are entitled to consume any food we want, whenever we want, showing us instead how we can work within the boundaries of our local environments to produce incredible food.

With its bare white walls and recycled wooden tables, Flow’s interior is unpretentious and minimalist. Most striking is the size of the restaurant; whilst the owners easily could have squeezed in a few more tables, a decision has clearly been made to prioritise a relaxed, intimate atmosphere over a more lucrative business.

I’ve been to Flow twice, once in the wintery depths of February and most recently on a scorching hot day in early August. These visits offered vastly different, but equally ambitious, culinary experiences. In February I was treated to earthy, warming vegetables (mostly of the root variety), stews and breads (Flow was founded by the owners of East Bristol Bakery, so expect gluten of the highest calibre). Of course, in true Bristol style, all of this was given a contemporary twist; my mind was quite frankly blown by the things Flow could do with the humble parsnip.

In the summer, you can expect a menu which is devised to be more merciful to beach bodies, centred around the greater expanse of vegetables available at this time of year. I stuck with the vegan options, enjoying innovative dishes such as broad bean vignarola and bhajis made of samphire (it’s ok, I had to google what they were as well). The vegetarian options looked superb also, and I must admit to casting a jealous eye at my friend’s halloumi dish. The regular rotation of menus is definitely Flow’s most alluring trait; each visit to the restaurant becomes a distinct experience and you can enjoy multiple visits without the risk of boredom.

Flow is more than a restaurant, it’s an organisation which demonstrates how social, economic and environmental justice are all linked. Whilst I’m not sure I’m able to give up the luxury of being able to purchase bananas all year round, Flow goes a long way in demonstrating how eating in tune with your local environment and seasonal climate can be both delicious and exciting. In a time where the precariousness of our environment becomes ever more pronounced, organisations like Flow play a crucial role in imagining what a more sustainable, ethical future might look like.


flowbristol.co.uk

9a The Haymarket Walk
Bristol
BS1 3LN
+44 117 329 6266


Photos by Flow, used with permission.


Sky Kong Kong

Tucked away on an unassuming, rather grotty side street just metres from Bristol’s Bear Pit, Sky Kong Kong represents all that is good and great about Bristol’s ever-developing food scene. It serves up food for the pure passion rather than the pounds in the bank.

Here Korean food is fresh, experimental and changes on a daily basis. Head Chef and owner, Wizzy Chung, who formerly worked in Michelin restaurants, left the prestige and glory to make her own mark and serve the local people of Bristol.

Dishes here are seasonal, carefully crafted and very affordable. Sky Kong Kong has only one menu. Starter, main and dessert is the same for everyone so be ready to try something new and come with an open-mind, excited to try the flavours Wizzy makes extremely palatable. The menu can range fairly widely, however, the general practice is a starter, main (meat and fish) and dessert. Branding themselves as an ‘organic-Korean café’, SKK also serves up delicious lunchtime bento boxes for just £3.50. But a word of warning: it’s probably not the most vegetarian-friendly.

Upon my visit, I was served smoked salmon accompanied by an array of fruity garnishes, fresh red mullet and a Korean take on beef chow mein. This was finished up with a mouth watering chocolate parfait. The dishes were easy on the eye, a perfect balance of flavours and something new I’d never tried.

The restaurant décor is not particularly colourful but it is certainly inviting and  characterfully cluttered. The Korean lettered walls reflect the Asian influence and cultural pride that is clear in each dish and important to Wizzy. The long wooden table seats all, and the surrounding shelves and surfaces are home to various jars of fermented foods and  Asian recipe books. This is by no means a restaurant that tries to be anything it’s not. The tables are strewn with neatly mismatched crockery and the food served on them is dependent upon the spontaneity of the chef that day.

It cannot be denied that the quality of the food and the care and attention involved are the results of a lifetime dedicated to the love of food. There are two sittings for dinner, with the latest being 8.30pm. Prices start at £12.50 and corkage is £1.50 per person.

SKK isn’t the most conventional restaurant. It’s definitely worth the experience and the bill won’t break the bank.


skykongkong.co.uk

2 Haymarket Walk
Bristol
BS1 3LN
0117 239 9528



Pinkmans Bakery

A fairly recent addition to the plethora of buzzing cafés and restaurants to grace Bristol’s Park Street, Pinkmans offers a huge variety of fresh food on a daily basis, as well as cocktails, beers and wines further into the evening.

Upon arriving, you’re instantly drawn to the incredible display of cakes, salads and jam-packed rolls on show in glass cabinets, and soon become part of the audience of admiring customers. Pinkmans, being primarily a bakery, also offers a vast array of freshly baked breads – as they say themselves, ‘Bread out the oven at 8am’. From a white sourdough to a more adventurous ‘walnut boule’ (toasted walnuts and black treacle), this truly is a baker’s heaven. Inside, the décor is simple and minimalist – with rows of filament bulbs and long benches making maximum use of the fairly small interior.

For breakfast, a range of meals, including smashed sweet chilli avocado and salsa on toast (£5.50) are available until midday, or til 2p.m. on weekends. Lunches include salads, ciabattas as well as more hearty tagines and hot dishes. Having been to Pinkmans a few times, I decided to branch out and try one of their sourdough pizzas, which you can see being prepared and baked in the ovens at the back of the café. I went for the artichoke pizza (£8.50) – with toppings of artichokes, garlic, pepper, pesto and ricotta. The sourdough base made for a delicious, chewy crust, complemented by the excellent mix of garnishes.

With something for everybody, Pinkmans stands out as a café which attempts and succeeds in providing their customers with fresh food and drinks, making for a relaxed but stylish dining experience.


85 Park Street, Bristol
BS1 5PJ
0117 403 2040


Tradewind Espresso

Whitewashed walls, hotchpotch furnishings and a counter teaming with dainty almond friands and hefty carrot cakes, Tradewind Espresso is an instagrammer’s dream. Occupying just a small footprint at the upper end of Whiteladies Road, with a little nifty design, owners Patrick and Tahi host seating for around 20 sippers and slurpers inside and another dozen or so in their wood-clad hidden garden.

Set up in September 2015 and business relation to Roasted Rituals, the Hengrove-based roastery, coffee is at the centre of this independent venture. With V60 filter methods and no paper French Press, you would be forgiven for feeling this is all a little too ‘on-trend’. Fear not, high chairs and local businessmen sit alongside the monochrome ‘straight out of Shoreditch’. Both beautiful and welcoming, this is style with substance.

Behind the perfectly scattered cushions and chunky wooden tables lies an unadulterated dedication to quality, the perfectly balanced coffee clearly benefits from their direct connection to source. Custom blends and single origin roasts vary on rotation, but you can be sure to rely on Highground, the house espresso blend offered year-round for its weight and complexity, versatile enough be supped alone or as part of a milkier creation.

Though their caffeinated offerings sit centre stage, the imaginative all-day brunch menu (available until 3pm) threatens to steal the show. Almost compulsory in Bristol these days, produce is sourced with attention to locality and seasonality, and everything that can be is made in house – nut milks, chutneys and cakes included. Sweet caramelised onions sit atop a pillowy soft rosemary focaccia, generously dolloped with peppery rocket pesto, spicy chorizo and oozy poached eggs (£9); an accomplished French toast (using house made brioche) provides the perfect sticky vehicle for cinnamon roast pears, a not overly sweet blackberry compote, creamy mascarpone and crunchy toasted buckwheat (£8); meanwhile the traditional Full English is lifted with smoky baked beans, wilted spring greens and slow roasted tomato.

With a well-priced menu of this calibre, Tradewind Espresso has firmly asserted its place on the teeming Bristol café scene.


www.tradewindespresso.com
118 Whiteladies Road
Bristol
BS8 2RP
0117 974 3477


Photos by Tradewind Espresso


The Bristolian

Picton Street is not short of outstanding independent businesses. Tucked behind it’s noisier neighbours on Stokes Croft road, this picturesque Montpelier side street is home to everything from an organic farm shop to a yoga studio and multiple coffee possibilities. Back in 2011 it was named the best street in Bristol and since then the offerings of this ‘unassuming side street’ have continued to impress and expand.

One of the most popular Picton Street destinations is The Bristolian. Their brunches are known as legendary throughout the city, and I can testify to their quality. Far less greasy than regular fry ups, their brunches are hearty and filling with generous portion sizes.

The veggie breakfasts come complete with fried potato and halloumi, and are the perfect way to perk up any morning-after-the-night-before. The fusion breakfast is equally tasty; with fried chorizo, tomato salsa, mint yoghurt sauce, garlic mushrooms, fried potatoes and flat bread.

‘It was flipping good,’ says my brunch companion Laura “Bloz” Burke.


2 Picton Street,

Montpelier

Bristol

BS6 5QA

0117 919 2808


Zitto & Bevi

The name Zitto & Bevi is a play on the Italian saying zitto e mangia, which translates as ‘shut up and eat’. Zitto & Bevi however, is an instruction to ‘shut up and drink’ – not that any encouragement is really needed.

On entering we were led downstairs to an intimate and sparingly furnished basement, where we enjoyed a Negroni whilst browsing the menu. Although not as well known as a Campari or Aperol Spritz, the Negroni – which is made up of gin, vermouth and Campari – is becoming increasingly available in British bars and restaurants. It is part of the aperitivo culture which is slowly making its way into the UK, owing to the growing market of both tourists wanting to imitate the bel paese experience at home, and the large Italian community living here.

What may surprise some about the menu is the lack of pizza and sides dishes. However, this is an osteria, not a ristorante or pizzeria. This doesn’t mean that diners are missing out though. On the contrary, it identifies Zitto & Bevi as a more traditional (or original in the UK) addition to Bristol’s Italian food scene. Zitto & Bevi is unassuming and understated, encapsulating exactly what an osteria, or ‘tavern’, is when it’s at home. It’s a bit like sitting at your nonna’s kitchen table.

For starters, I went for the polenta with cod (£5), out of a selection of classic antipasti such as the mozzarella and tomato salad (£4) or the bruschetta with a choice of toppings (£5).

For mains, there are three varieties of lasagne: the classic ragù, Mediterranean vegetables, or salmon (£9). The other dishes also pay homage to simple Italian ingredients, such as the smoked scarmoza (smoked cheese) in the gateau di patate (‘potato cake’, £8). There is also a selection board of cured meats and cheeses (£12) for an even more relaxed finger-food meal. Although not the most exciting menu for vegans and vegetarians, I’m sure the approachable staff would be more than happy to accommodate if necessary.

I picked the amatriciana (£10), a tomato pasta staple in Italian households, from the specials board. Another specials board offering was the currently very fashionable, but simple, cheese and pepper pasta, cacio e pepe. The food, much like the setting, is personal, and above all authentic, made by Italian people for Italian palates (the pasta was unquestionably al-dente).

There is a carefully crafted wine list, red and white, sourced from family-run vineyards. I tried the modest Ulisse – Barbera DOC (£18), one of the more popular choices I was told, which was an ideal companion to the rich tomato base of the amatriciana. Other options start from £4 a glass, or £24 a bottle.

Informal and affordable, Zitto & Bevi offers quality classic Italian dining whilst fitting the independent and quirky Stokes Croft ethos. I look forward to returning to what is sure to become a Bristol classic.


www.facebook.com/ZittoandBevi

3 Nine Tree Hill,
Bristol
BS1 3SB
+44 117 329 7645


Photo by Benjamin Rowe


Shotgun Barbers

Does anyone resent how it’s seen as normal to pay upwards of fifty quid for a women’s cut and blow dry? These prices have driven me in the last few years have my hair cut by my mother, with varying degrees of success. I can safely say that Shotgun provided me with the best haircut I have had in recent years, and at only £19 it was a pretty slammin’ bargain.

Students get an additional 25% off the already highly reasonable prices before 5pm. And not only are they affordable, this salon in also undeniably cool. The string lights, graphic prints and LP sleeves lining the walls combined with an excellently curated vinyl playlists coming from a decks in the corner of the room means it is highly an enjoyable place to sit while you wait for someone to do your hair. Seeing as the salon provides haircuts on a drop-in basis only, you might be waiting a while if you come at a busy time. But it is worth the wait.

The hairdressers themselves are suitably trendy to match the décor, but also extremely friendly. While I was having my hair cut we talked about Berlin Techno (our mutual dislike of it, might I add) and how much we loved our matching Van trainers. A bit of a cliché, I know… But altogether an experience which I am already looking forward to repeating.


Shotgun Barbers

1a Pitville Place, Cotham Hill
Clifton, Bristol, BS6 6JY

0117 973 1130


Tiffins

This understated yet exceptional Indian takeaway takes pride of place at the top of St. Michael’s Hill in Bristol. Since opening in 2003, husband and wife Nick and Jay have been providing the locals with a tantalising taste of Gujarati cuisine.

Serving food described simply by chef Jay as “authentically Indian”, the award-winning Tiffins prides itself on the use of nutritional and health-promoting spices, as well as on the shunning of artificial flavourings and colourings. All dishes are cooked in pure sunflower oil only and are therefore light enough to be enjoyed on a warm summer’s evening, as well as on a cold December night when all you’re looking for is cockle-warming comfort food.

All dishes at Tiffins are cooked fresh daily by Jay, and the choice of curries changes regularly. On any given day there are between five and seven vegetable dishes to choose from, including such delights as Potatoes with Peanut and Coconut, Chickpeas in Tamarind and Saag Paneer (this one comes on special recommendation by the chef!) A £6 small portion, which is easily enough for one person (take it from a certified greedy guts!), can consist of one dish only or of a combination of different dishes.

As a meat-eater, I can confirm that both the chicken and Kheema (minced lamb) curries are equally delicious as the vegetable curries, and a small portion of either of these comes in at £6.50.

The food at Tiffins is fit for a king and comes in second only to the service you’ll receive. Every time I have been to Tiffins I have been greeted with Jay’s huge, welcoming smile and we chat just like old friends. Jay told me that her favourite thing about St Michael’s Hill is the people. My favourite thing about St Michael’s Hill is Tiffins!


www.tiffins-bristol.com

151 St Michael’s Hill
Bristol
BS2 8DB
+44 117 9734834

 


The Apple

Tucked away, lurking in the shadows of King Street, unassumingly floating down by the docks lies The Apple. Next to the Three Brothers burger boat, and at the end of a row of sophisticated, artisanal pubs, you reach your destination. All aboard.

If you have a friend down, and you’re keen to show them how vintage and edgy you’ve become whilst at uni in Bristol, this is the place for you. Outside, on shore, are a host of benches with a heated area and below deck, the décor is classic ‘ship’ style, whatever that means. A rustic, wooden boarded floor and stacked full of craft beers and of course, Cider.

For those who haven’t stepped on deck, warning: Slow down. The half pints of Old Bristolian (8.4 percent and only served in halves, because they’re not allowed to serve them in pints…) do exactly what they say on the tin. They get you drunk. So calm down, take a deep breath Fresher, you’ve got all day, because the Apple is open 12 till 12. For all you plucky students out there looking for a cheap night, Monday to Thursday half pints are £1.50, so rustle your change together and get your deck shoes on. This is a cider fans heaven: natural, brewed local proper cider which packs a punch.

Now, don’t be fooled into thinking this is only for drunk university students, because in the summer there is no better spot to come, sit, pretend to be cultured and enjoy a ploughman’s/Frenchman’s lunch. The recently opened quayside bar means you can sit outside, buy your drinks outside and just pretend you’ve been drinking on a boat all day. Great for a calm, lunchtime drink and on the other end of the scale, the perfect place to go and literally lose your mind. The rightful heir to the cider throne.


www.applecider.co.uk

The Apple
Welsh Back
Bristol
BS1 4SB
+44 117 925 3500

 

 

 


Hart’s Bakery

In a Victorian railway arch at Temple Meads station lies a real Bristolian treasure. Under the curving corrugated-iron roof the buzzing café all kinds of baked treats are sold, drawing a crowd of savvy brunchers from across the city. Bristol may not be short of upmarket artisan bakeries, but Hart’s Bakery really stands out. It is certainly one of my most exciting recent discoveries in the city, and makes me look forward to going to the station.

Opened by Laura Hart back in 2012, the café offers up perfect cups of coffees, succulent sausage rolls, sourdough toasties, patisseries and the best pasty I ever ate (it was filled with spiced lamb and sweet potato, by the way). Their recipes are creative and unfailingly tasty.

Seating its customers at communal tables adds to the sense of café’s community feel, and it is the ideal place to sit and wait for a train, idling away the time mesmerised by the bakers working away in the open plan bakery behind the counter.


www.hartsbakery.co.uk/

Arch 35
Lower Approach Rd
Temple Meads
BS1 6QS
+44 117 992 4488


Photos by Hester Underhill

 


Fishers

Stepping into this little seafood restaurant in Clifton, you are greeted by a nautical themed interior and friendly, attentive waiting staff. Warm, cosy and full of charm, Fishers offers the kind of intimacy you only expect at a local neighbourhood eatery. However, here, the food does all the talking.

For a business that prides itself on using seasonal fish, the variety is incredible. Just one look at the menu takes you to a world of fishy goodness. From whole baked seabass with chilli, coriander and lime dressing to haddock fish and chips in beer batter with mushy peas and tartare sauce, the current menu at Fishers is studded with exotic jewels alongside good old Blighty classics. It is a menu that has obviously been designed with a “something-for-everyone” ideology.

But the variety does not stop here. Owing to a sustainable ethos, all the seafood at Fishers (yes, all of it), is sourced locally. At Fishers, this is not seen as a nuisance, but as an opportunity; each seasonal menu showcasing the best the South Coast has to offer at that time of the year. The fish is all exceedingly fresh and you can really taste it.

My last visit was a New Year’s Eve treat and the 2016-17 winter menu featured baked skate wing (a personal favourite) with a Mediterranean style salsa. The tangy saltiness of the capers complimented the perfectly cooked fish beautifully. At Fishers, they seriously know what they’re doing!

A main will set you back in the region of £15, but you do get what you are paying for. If you are looking for somewhere in Bristol to celebrate a special occasion or fancy treating yourself, Fishers is perfect. Also, for any culinary whizzes looking to cook with local, quality seafood, the Fishers online shop should certainly not be missed.


www.fishers-restaurant.com

35 Princess Victoria St
Clifton
Bristol
BS8 4BX
+44 117 974 7044


Photos by Hester Underhill


Papersmiths

Papersmiths is a design lover’s dream. Tucked away in the heart of Clifton village, the store sells an array of beautifully designed stationary, coffee table books, city guides, colourful handmade prints and practically every independent publication imaginable. If Papersmiths doesn’t have it, do you really need it?

Shoppers lured in by their enticing window displays are met with shelves laden with printed cards and magazines and tables filled with all kinds of design delights. All wares are laid out in such an orderly manner as to satisfy any neat-freak’s cravings. The store is bright and inviting and the staff are unfailingly helpful and friendly design-buffs.

After meeting in 2011 and starting their own design studio, founders Sidonie Warren and Kyle Clarke opened Papersmiths in 2014 to sell works from their favourite designers and makers from all around the world. Their design studio, Studio B, continues operations in offices above the shop and has, among other projects, recently designed the interior of the Bristol Student’s Union Balloon Bar.


6A Boyces Avenue
Clifton Village
Bristol
BS8 4AA

+44117 329 6347


Photos by Hester Underhill