The Epiphany

Opened in August 2017 by Alex Zeal – a finalist in the Bristol heats of the UK Barista Championships – and Bethen Reid – Bristol’s talented baker, creating for the likes of Boston Tea Party –, The Epiphany dedicates itself to world-class coffee and a laid back but innovative café menu.

The café occupies only a small footprint on the ground floor of the gallery, but high ceilings, whitewashed walls and vast windows create a bright, airy space. The bar seating against the windows and the tumbling indoor plants create a casual atmosphere, maximising the natural light, while not overcrowding the space with a jungle of greenery. All is executed with perfect balance.

At lunch you can indulge guiltlessly in a green machine sourdough toastie on Hobbs House bread, stuffed full of pesto, courgette ribbons, spinach, smashed avocado and lime. Or opt for the heartier Goat’s cheese tricolore, packed with roasted red peppers, rocket, and a coriander and lime garlic mayo.

On the sweeter side, a delightfully dense apricot, almond, rose and cardamom cake (gf) caught our eye atop the clean-lined counter, only just tipping temptation away from a blackcurrant and almond friand or a rhubarb chocolate orange cake. Bethen’s creativity ensures that the counter selection changes regularly, often featuring a star ingredient from one of the many local initiatives and suppliers supported by the café.

A well-picked selection of Canton teas supplements the accomplished coffee offerings, while locally-brewed artisan beers and a choice selection of wines round off the menu, upholding the dedication to quality and provenance throughout.


https://www.rwa.org.uk/about-us/your-visit/eating-and-drinking
Queen’s Road
Clifton, Bristol
BS8 1PX
0117 317 9816


Photos by Pippa Cole


Meet Joh from That Thing

Joh Rindom is the one-man-band behind Stokes Croft’s intrepid fashion hub, That Thing. From a stall in St Nicolas market, to today’s bright and airy premises in Bristol’s cultural hub, the journey hasn’t always been easy. We caught up with Joh to find out how she’s built the brand we see today, overcoming a testing law suit to develop a retail space for her own line of That Thing luxury streetwear, while also providing a platform for up to 65 designers.

So how did it all begin?

I came from Denmark to study fine arts at UWE in 1999, but I always had a vague idea of wanting to move into fashion. I went to a school where we didn’t have to wear uniform, so it was a great opportunity to make my own clothes. I started doing commissions for friends when I was about 14 and continued to do so throughout university, all just through word of mouth. I formed my original brand name after my two family cats Butchi and Gosmos and met my co-founder Louisa Jones through mutual friends. She had a small stall at St Nick’s market and I started selling my wares in there and gradually jumped on board. We put our heads together and realised we could do something much bigger and better together. That became Shop Dutty, our first store in Stokes Croft which opened in 2008.

How did it work in the early days?

We initially started out selling our own brands and a handful of others, as well as selected pieces of vintage clothing and jewellery. That eventually grew into what we wanted it to be, a platform for up and coming designers.

Have you seen a lot of coming and going around you?

Some things have come and gone, some are staying, but in any economic climate it’s a challenge; you have to lay your foundations really tight, have a watertight business plan, be prepared for changes like increases in rent. We’ve grown with Stokes Croft, everything we do in-store, but also the fact that we’ve been able to move to bigger brighter premises. We’ve only moved down the road, we used to be where Emmeline’s is now – they have the best grilled cheese sandwiches, proper doorstop sourdough bread.

Was it a tricky move?

It was, but it was a lifestyle choice. If you thrive and are looking after your own happiness you have more to give, it was important for us to have that. Before, we had an office in the basement, and now we have a bright upstairs office space. I basically run every aspect of the shop from here: design, PR, social media, HR, accounting. A few things I’ve learnt on the job, like accounting, but I’ve learnt that the skills I had at the start were enough and I’ve just built on those.

So what about the name change from Shop Dutty to That Thing?

During the shop move we were in the midst of a two-year law case, with claims to do with copyright and use of name. We had no choice but to take the case, otherwise we would have lost immediate use of name and we may as well have declared ourselves bankrupt. It was like living in a limbo land. Two months after moving into the new shop we lost the case and were given three months to change name. Yes, we could have thought up a new name during those two years, but we didn’t for one second think we were going to lose it, and we didn’t want to think about admitting defeat. It was tough, three months to change everything, branding, bank account name, insurance documents, on top of paying all our own legal fees. That Thing was a lightbulb moment. It felt like it was staring us in the face, fresh, upbeat, doesn’t take itself too seriously, a bit cheeky, has longevity and not ‘genderfied’. Louisa left the company shortly after the rebranding, that’s when ‘one-man-band’ sprung into action, and I’ve managed the business since.

How do you go about creating a collection?

To start with I get my brushes out and start drawing, I think about logos, what I want to reuse, if I need to pull anything new out. It’s not all about splashing logos, it’s about creating a solid collection. I want people to be able to dress top to toe without looking silly, without every piece looking like a statement piece. I’d say they’re luxury streetwear, wardrobe staples.

Who makes the clothes?

Sometimes I use a seamstress, a lot of the prototypes I make myself. Some things like t-shirts and hoodies are blanks, I find high quality ones that I like and want them to be part of the collection. I’m very lucky to have a brother who has a screen-printing company. He helps me no end to create a bespoke collection and have a bit of fun with logo placements and stuff like that.

How do you choose designers?

Since opening the shop back in 2008 we’ve always had an influx of people coming to us, in-store, out and about, even on a night out. We always get people who literally barge into the shop with a bag of stuff to show us. I do have certain things that I like to see from a person before taking their brand, the aesthetic for example. How well it’s made is the other top priority. You can have brilliant ideas, great textures and colours, but if it’s not high quality I can’t take it. What I can do is have a conversation with that person, look at how I can help them with ways to improve, and then they can come back and see me in six months. I’ll also ask them about the realities of being a designer, we are looking to nurture talent, I don’t mind being that link. I’m quite happy to tell people how they can improve, then they often come back. I often advise people to try and make it on an online selling platform first, to test the market.

You talk about being fashion conscious, something many businesses struggle with even when equipped with significant funds. How do you manage it? And what does it mean to you?

It’s open to interpretation to a certain extent, it’s thinking about where your clothes come from, and who you support. The business is very much curated by myself, and I am very conscious of who I pick as designers. I’m not for fast fashion. I want to nurture the creativity in Bristol and give back opportunities within the business to the community, offering work experience to local school kids and teaching what I know. We support up to 65 independent designers in Bristol, and we don’t sell fur, but we are not perfect. I am very open to conversations with people in the shop about aspects we still do want to improve on when we are more financially stable and can make more choices. Plastic carrier bags are next!

Stokes croft now has a hub of independent retailers, who supports this? Is being here a good place for an independent retailer because of the community around you, or is it thanks to action from the council?

In very few other big cities across the UK do you have such a vibrant but also struggling community right on the doorstep of the city centre. There is big scope for creativity here, but more could be done by the council and politicians to help what’s going on here. Sometimes I feel like Stokes Croft is a little fort. We protect ourselves, but it’s the vulnerable people here that the government need to help. We have organisations like the PRSC (Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft) and Chris Chalkley there does so much to clean up the area and revamp the artwork; keeping things fresh and keeping people thinking about politics and the social layers we’re surrounded by every day. I think there should be more funding and support for people who want to make Stokes Croft better. I’m not for gentrification, I don’t think the people who’ve built Stokes Croft up to what it is now should be pushed out by rent, but at the same time I am 100% for change. I think as a society we move quite slowly because it takes people a long time to adapt. Change is good if it’s positive and supportive.

So what’s next?

ASOS, we’re set to have our vintage section on their marketplace within the next six months.


thatthing.co
45-47 Stokes Croft
Bristol
BS1 3QP
0177 924 9990


Photos by Pippa Cole


Meet Steve from Chance and Counters

Since opening in May last year, Chance and Counters has quickly become a magnet for millennials, families and dedicated gamers alike. Offering over 650 different board games ranging from Viking’s Gone Wild to Obama Llama, the café has been drawing in crowds to its snugly tucked away position at the foot of Bristol’s iconic Christmas Steps. The café is owned and run by friends, Steve, Luke and Richard who used a Kickstarter campaign to help fund their venture. I spoke to Steve about what makes Chance and Counters stand out, the idea behind the business and why board games deserve an image re-think.

Do you think Bristol is a good place for Chance and Counters to start out?

For sure. Quite a lot is said about the character of Bristol and its willingness to experiment. But it’s hard to put the right word on why the city is exactly right for us… We’re not hipster, we just genuinely believe that board games are really fun. Bristol is really good for us in that respect, as people seem more willing to accept that board games are just a really lovely way of spending time together.

But they don’t always have the best rep…

We do a lot to challenge expectations. It’s very much a conscious thing, we have to be aware of the fact that when people think of twenty-somethings playing board games there are certain stigmas around it. People think it’s a bunch of dudes in a dark room with candles… And that’s not to say that this is a really poisonous image; fair enough if that’s what you enjoy, that’s just what you enjoy. But the industry has quite a lot of work to do around selling itself. People have played Monopoly, Cluedo and Scrabble but there are thousands of other board games and people just think ‘that’s not my thing. I like board games but I don’t like new board games.’ They see it as more of a nostalgic, family thing. But board games aren’t just something you have to be really into or passionate about.

How is Chance and Counters different from other board game cafés?

There are 50 board game cafés in the UK, so just about every city now has one. But we’re part of quite a small group that try to broaden the appeal and challenge the stereotypes. We try to give people who don’t self-identify as board-gamers a reason to come in; because we sell beers they have at bars that they love, or food that stands up on its own for example. We want to give them more than just the games as a reason to come in.

Do you know how to play all 650 of your games?

I do not. The Games Gurus do.

How did you find them?

All of our full time Games Gurus have worked for us since before we opened. They got in touch with us when they found out what they were doing. Our head Guru is a guy called Dickie, who Luke (one of the other owners) and I met when we were living in Birmingham.

Who owns the café?

The café has three owners; myself, Luke (who I grew up with in Cheltenham) and Richard who we met separately on Reddit!

How did you come up with the idea?

To give Luke his dues here, he has been into board games for longer than I have. He introduced me to board games through Settlers of Catan, which is a bit of a ‘gateway game.’ It’s a competitive but simple civilisation building game. So that’s kind of how it started, Luke hooked us all on Settlers of Catan.

What is your favourite game in the café?

I’ve got a reputation in the café for being the kind of guy who doesn’t like playing long games. One of my favourites is Scrawl; it’s like Chinese whispers mixed with Pictionary. So you basically start off by drawing something, then someone writes down what they think you’ve drawn and then the next person has to draw what they’ve written.

Who is your clientele?

We thought we’d get more students than we do, but we do get quite a lot of postgrads. The vast majority of our customers are about 25-35. And in the school holidays we get loads of kids, which is really cool to see. The bulk of our customer base is millennials, so it’s hard to say that the appeal of board games is necessarily linked to a sense of nostalgia. It’s a collective social activity when everyone is trying to catch up, we’ve had a few groups of old uni friends come in for example. It provides a talking point. We get students coming in with their parents, for the mid-term debrief. It provides a more fun alternative to a dry lunch. We get a lot of dates too.

What is the most popular board game in the café?

Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride get a lot of play, because they’re gateway games. But the bulk of it is probably games like Scrawl. There’s also a game called Rhino Hero which we’ve had since we opened, and which instantly became our go-to game to recommend to groups of two. It’s like reverse Jenga with a bit of Uno thrown in there. You’re building a tower out of walls and ceilings and you have a little rhino you put in it. It gets crazy amounts of attention.


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



Meet Jen from Poco

In an age where the UK is throwing away £13 billion of food each year, restaurants being a huge contributor, Poco in Bristol is pioneering for change.

Having started out on the festival circuit, Poco is now situated in Bristol’s trendy Stokes Croft. It is an environmentally-focused restaurant run by a team of three: Tom Hunt (Executive Chef, food waste activist and author of ‘The Natural Cook‘), Ben Pryor (Executive Bar Manager and forager) and Jen Best (Team Manager and all things business). Together the team runs a tight ship – fresh and seasonal dishes are coupled with attentive service and a visible passion for food.

Having tried and tested the Poco menu and intimate restaurant setting, Imogen Flynn caught up with Jen to find out the secrets behind their success on the food scene.

  1) Why is Bristol the right place for Poco? 

Our roots began in the festival circuit and so we were born out of a liberal, creative space. Bristol is a beautiful city with boundless free expression and a strong consciousness for environmental issues and social well being. This is what Poco is about, so it was a no brainer to make this city our home.

2) What do you think is different about Poco in comparison to other tapas restaurants in Bristol?

Our styles and our atmosphere. Our food is not authentic Spanish tapas, but tapas inspired by a wider Latin and Moorish cuisine – with a British twist. Our menu is made up of only the freshest seasonal produce sourced from local farms.

The atmosphere at Poco is full of warmth and carries an exciting buzz. We care about what we are trying to achieve and we’re careful to hire people with a true warmth and sincerity. We’re building a natural family unit, which, we hope, passes a whole lot of love onto our customers.

3) Would you say that Poco has a particular ethos towards food and the food industry? 

Most definitely. We’re passionate about minimising our impact on the environment and supporting the local economy as much as possible. Our food and ingredients are chosen for their traceability. We buy directly from farms and producers wherever possible, because of the close relationships and trust that creates.

Because of this, our ingredients are always evolving to reflect what is at it’s best and of the moment. Our menu is very much veg-centric but the meat and fish that we do buy comes only from ethical sources. Our meat will always be free-range and the fish we choose to put on our menu is graded ‘safe to eat’ by the Marine Conservation Society.

It’s not just about the sourcing of food, but what happens to it as a waste product. We weigh every single bag of waste that leaves the restaurant so we know exactly how many kilos of food waste we produce (which we split between prep waste and plate waste) so we can understand best how to reduce it.

Our chefs use a nose-to-tail and root-to-fruit policy in the kitchen to ensure the whole animal or vegetable is used. Our front of house team also advise customers on the appropriate number of plates to order and they offer doggy bags when guests can’t finish their meal.

4) Is sustainability important to you and how would you say you incorporate this into your business?

We were awarded Sustainable Restaurant of the Year in 2016 and we are constantly striving to improve our standards. We are trying to move on from just behaving sustainably, to behaving in a way that is regenerative for both the environment and society. We’re doing this by supporting suppliers with regenerative practices and supporting the local community to create positive change. Behaving sustainably is at the core of what Poco is about.

We obviously want to provide our customers with the tastiest food and drink and give them a space to relax, but every single decision that goes into making that happen is carefully considered to ensure we are reducing our impact on the environment. We monitor our sourcing, energy consumption, staff well being, and community engagement on a regular basis to ensure we are doing our best.

5) How did you come up with the idea? 

Tom had been running the festival stalls, Poco Morocco and The Shisha Lounge, for many years when Ben and I came on board to help with one year. We made a great team and decided to set up in bricks and mortar on Stokes Croft in 2011. We evolved the offering from the posh wraps at festivals to a style of tapas that was inspired by the same flavours but with strictly British ingredients.

6 ) Who is your clientele? 

As we’re placed in the bohemian quarter of Stokes Croft, a lot of our customers are local artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs. We have a beautifully romantic atmosphere in the evenings, so we do get a lot of people on dates. Now that we have been open nearly six years, we are now getting messages from people who had their first dates in Poco, telling us that they are getting married! Similarly, though, we have lots of big groups and a varied demographic. We try not to be exclusive with our offering or pricing, so our doors are open for absolutely everyone.

7) What is your most popular dish? 

Hmmm…perhaps the pork belly with lemon and fennel, or the Portuguese punched potatoes with harissa and aioli. These two have been on our menu since the beginning in varying forms and we daren’t take them off for the wrath we might experience from our regulars!

9) What would you say is the hardest thing about running a restaurant? Any tips?

Finding the chefs! We are quite lucky because we have a team that keeps together for quite some time, but there is a nation-wide chef shortage. This makes it very difficult to find replacements.

The restaurant industry doesn’t have the best reputation in terms of employee well-being, in particular due to the hours that chefs and front of house managers are expected to work. I think this might be putting a lot of people off training to be chefs.

This is why we cap hours at 48 per week for our managers. Any more than that and productivity and staff well being begin to diminish. We try to encourage a healthy life-work balance because simply in doing so you will have a happier and healthier work force!

 

A recipe tip from Poco….

Moreish Portuguese Potatoes

We par-boil them and quite literally punch or squeeze them so they break.

Once fried they are then tossed with lemon zest and coriander seeds and have the most delicious texture of crispy vs fluffy.

Dipped in our signature harissa or aioli sauce… so so good.


pocotapasbar.com

45 Jamaica St
Bristol
BS2 8JP

0117 923 2233



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