In the past, food and drink on Whiteladies has summoned mixed feelings; high-street chains and dodgy kebab-houses spiraled the area into a state of purgatory that caused many of us to venture further afield for high-quality places. Recently however, it’s re-emerging as a great location to wine and dine. This food renaissance has been encouraged by an extensive collection of bars, restaurants and cafes that have driven the quality factor in the area to a new standard. From seasonal menus and locally roasted coffee, to oriental masterpieces and stunning sushi, there’s a real wealth of places that are worth trying. There really is no time like the present to pay Whiteladies a well deserved visit. So here’s our guide to the best places in the area that are sure to go down a treat.
The cake counter at Papadeli on Alma Road is something out of an Alice in Wonderland tea party – rose-scented and cardamom-infused truffles, proper treacle tart and rocky roads brimming with giant marshmallows. Looking great in its cramped and homely manner, with shelves piled high of tempting goodies and displays of lush looking salads and sandwiches, Papadeli is the deli on Whiteladies.
14 years old but still true to its roots in providing wholesome food to impress, Papadeli is full of local produce and, with everything made in small batches, you’re guaranteed some of the freshest food in Bristol. Rightly so it’s the holder of many fine food awards and in January last year, we even voted them Bristol’s Friendliest Business!
Super friendly service, stuffed ciabatta sandwiches and a delicious selection of teas and tarts in a light and spacious setting make for one of the best cafes to sit in and pass some time. Its success and popularity is probably a combination of all these things but it’s also more than that – at its core are staff who care and love what they do. If Whiteladies isn’t convenient try the branch at the RWA, and make sure to treat yourself at the cheese counter!
One of our more recent sign-ups, we say a very big and warm welcome to Mockingbird Café, a firm favourite of all of us here at Wriggle. It has to be one of Bristol’s best-kept secrets, so you can thank us later! Serving up Deep South delights, Mockingbird is the first venture for passionate and downright lovely owner Oliver. The menu is Southern U.S. style. Think sweet potato hash, pulled-pork buns and peanut butter, jelly toast, Mockingbird has created a relaxed haven with a fiercely independent character.
Inspired by his travels through the Deep South, Oliver has been able to replicate the genuine southern U.S. atmosphere here in Bristol. Bagsy the window seat and order their hugely popular special, the Southern-style buttermilk biscuit. You won’t regret it. Add toppings including bacon, sausages from the local Ruby & White butchers and gravy (trust us) and team with a homemade lemonade for the winning formula. Inviting, authentic and filled with delicious offerings, this café is a place to be treasured. With a new brunch menu launched in September, what better reason to get a Wriggle on!
Brew Coffee Company, at 45 Whiteladies Road, has values after our own heart. Their emphasis is on good, wholesome and homemade food. It’s not big or flashy but clean-cut, and spaciously designed with up-cycled mismatched décor. Owner Matt explains the extent to which Brew was a labour of love, telling me “we built Brew ourselves”: they painted the chairs and the tables each night and built the bar from a reclaimed snooker table.
Although still fairly fresh on the scene, Brew picked up the ‘Best café food’ award at this year’s Bristol Good Food Awards. Our Wriggle recommendation is the ‘Brewfast’, a slightly more innocent take on a full English fry-up – and even slightly may still be too generous given that it has layered poached eggs, avocados, bacon and relish on fresh, buttered toast. Other temptations on offer include slow roasted tomato or salmon quiches and my choice: the charred courgette, bacon and paprika salad.
Matt lists his key principles as sourcing locally, supporting the Bristol independent scene, recycling and making a conscious contribution to the community. A favourite with students and locals alike, Matt and his staff serve up the coffee and an atmosphere in which to hole up for a few hours. They’re chatty and genuine, and the coffee is fresh, rich and local (roasted by Andrew Tucker at Clifton Coffee), so what’s not to love?
Yume Kitchen has one hell of a menu – some cracking sushi and some of the finest Japanese dishes you’ll come across in Bristol. Here at Wriggle, we just can’t get enough. Our tip: try the exceptional Seafood Yakisoba with miso soup, teeming with prawns, squid and salmon. Having recently redecorated their premises and upgraded their menu, they do casual dining with such class.
Yume is all about authentic Japanese food and provides a delicious range of sushi, sashimi, bento boxes and endless noodle and curry options. It is the freshness that has the people of Bristol talking; fresh fish catches delivered daily to ensure the highest quality sushi and gyozas so fresh they are falling apart. But please, don’t come here and order your usual California Roll! That said, if you, like I, are a bit of a sushi-newbie, have no fear because the expert and attentive staff are on hand to answer all your sashimi/bento/teriyaki uncertainties. Set over two floors, Yume is light, informal and unpretentious with prices we couldn’t contest!
Bosco is a neighbourhood pizzeria inspired by the best pizzerias of Naples and New York City. Over the years, the owners spent many of their family holidays in Italy – getting married and having their children christened there. They fell in love with the Italian style of family dining and the incredible food that went with it. The produce was fresh, simply cooked and tasted amazing, but it was the wood-fired pizzas of Naples that really blew them away. They often wondered why they couldn’t get a pizza like this at home, so eventually they decided it was time to set about opening their own pizzeria and see what they could do.
From Italy, their research took them to New York and San Francisco where Neapolitan-style pizza was taking off thanks to renowned pizzerias such as Franny’s, Roberta’s and Una Neapolitana. They took a lot of inspiration from what these guys were doing but the key was to develop a recipe that was their own, so together with a bunch of like-minded friends they set about creating their perfect pizza. It was a long process, but the results are special. Although the intention was to serve just pizza, they also ended up serving other amazing dishes from their travels – with Bosco becoming a collection of their favourite dishes from travels around Italy.
A vegan hotspot, The Spotless Leopard is taking the Bristol street-food game by storm. Owner Louise Abel creates vegan deliciousness with enough punch to encourage any carnivore to shun meat once and for all. Often caught parked on the corner of Alma Road, the Spotless Leopard serves an assortment of dishes including the crowd-pleasing, rich and comforting macaroni cheese, seitan steak sandwiches and wholesome wraps filled with the freshest salads. Followed by a variety of imaginative vegan cakes and pastries, you’ll leave wanting for nothing.
The Spotless Leopard has principles and ethics that we just can’t overlook: a predominantly organic and local menu, biodegradable boxes and an innovative exploration into the world of vegan food. Louise says she built the business on a strong ethical framework and the belief that nothing should be compromised. When not in its usual spot, The Spotless Leopard frequently hosts pop-up restaurants and are available for event catering and custom orders.
Louise says, and we must agree, that it is such an exciting time for vegan cuisine (if it’s good enough for Beyoncé…!) and she hopes to dispel some of the myths surrounding veganism. The Spotless Leopard is on course for success; consistently delicious and consistently ethical, and with most dishes £5 or less, how could you resist?!
Since opening its doors in April 2011, Brace & Browns has been receiving excellent reviews as a destination venue in Bristol. With a warm and friendly atmosphere, their intimate restaurant area offers a relaxed and inviting dining experience, where you can enjoy an innovative and quirky take on tapas with a firm focus on British dishes with locally sourced ingredients.
The menu is prepared by their highly-talented and award winning kitchen. If tapas and smaller plates aren’t to your taste then they also offer a fantastic range of larger plates and – not to forget – their award winning sunday roasts, for which there’s now a loyal following. You can share and dive-in together thanks to the unique way it’s served – just like at home. They choose local organic meats including all the favourites, which come with an almighty selection of seasonal veg.
With an existing branch in Southville, Souk Kitchen is now gracing the shores of Whiteladies Road and we couldn’t be happier! Following a similar template to that of the café in Southville, the menu includes great, hot ‘n’ cold sharing platters, main dishes taking inspiration from all across the Middle East and extravagant desserts worth saving space for.
For flavoursome Middle Eastern fare in a quirky and energetic environment, you needn’t look any further. Our pick is the weekend brunch menu. Choose an exotic Bloody Mary and pair with a Shakshuka; a sure fire way to knock that hangover out of the park. Shakshuka, or “Moroccan Eggs”, is a great alternative to usual brunch eats and packs the flavour punch to challenge its more traditional rivals.
The menu is vibrant and exciting, and the staff, lovely. Better yet, Souk Kitchen are harnessing seasonal and local food whilst providing fantastic fare for the veggies and vegetarians of Bristol. Winning this years category for ‘Best Mediterranean’ at the Bristol Good Food Awards, Souk Kitchen really is nailing it.
Bravas serves simple, freshly prepared, high-quality Spanish inspired dishes intended to be shared along with a great selection of Spanish wines and ice cold beers in frozen glasses. The owners visit Spain frequently and are always amazed by the fresh, unpretentious, inexpensive food in local tapas bars. This is where the idea for Bravas came from; where customers will feel the welcoming atmosphere of a local pub but the quality of food you would expect in a great restaurant. A sociable space where people can feel relaxed and at home, coming in alone, with a partner or with friends. The menu changes daily, taking advantage of the fresh and seasonal products available, therefore using ingredients that are both at their best and good value.
Warm ambient lighting and an open kitchen where people can see, hear and smell their food being cooked are essential to the Bravas style. The kitchen is adjacent to and behind the bar with seating running the whole way along, giving people a front row view of the action; bright tins stacked on shelves, crates of fresh produce, wine bottles and tall shelves for hundreds of cookery books adorning the walls and with a tapas counter on the bar brimming with beautifully displayed food prepared that day.
The team behind Roasted Rituals coffee roaster and coffee van deliver coffee with character and fabulous food – all served in a beautiful, Scandi-style space on Whiteladies. Coffee takes centre stage; the house espresso ‘Highground’ is a seasonal blend crafted for versatility, with enough weight to punch through milk and complexity to shine without. They also offer a selection of rotating custom blends and single origins, each with their own distinct character and story.
Tradewind’s menu consists of modern cafe classics that changes with the seasons, prepared from the freshest seasonal produce, sourced from as close to home as quality allows – if they can make food from scratch, they will. Their own cakes, nut milks, preserves, chutneys, pickles, smoked and cured fish, salt beef and salads are vibrant, nutritious dishes that will not disappoint. As their menu continues to evolve, they’ll also be exploring more raw and wholefood dishes; food that embraces more organic ingredients and less processing to deliver pure goodness and true flavour.
Back in 2014, Bento Boss leaped on the Whiteladies scene and since then has been serving beautifully prepared pan Asian cuisine and sushi. Although it’s the first venture from Tracy Koh and James Fong, it really packs a punch; using a wealth of fresh ingredients and a plethora of sushi that’s prepared fresh to order, it’s a must for any Bento lover.
Whilst you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, we definitely recommend their delicate salmon Bento. Or if you fancy creating a masterpiece for yourself, their extensive collection of sushi is a sure hit. And there’s really no excuse not to check these guys out – located right beside Clifton Down station, the next train might take you direct to your Bento fix.
Have we missed any places you love off our guide? Send us a Tweet with our favourite places to @wriggle_bristol!