In the last school holidays I took a whirlwind trip to Bristol with my sister. With a few stops on the way to pick up a tiny accordion, have a salt-scrub and enjoy a large glass of rose on the wrong side of midday; we were perfectly poised for a relaxing jaunt to a city we’d never seen before. We arrived in Bristol just before 5pm and in the fading light and drizzle we did a little walk around to see where we might have dinner. Most shops were closing and our lack of umbrella meant that we didn’t go far, but luckily we’d booked a hotel in the Old City, a great area for food and bars in Bristol.
The abundance of good food and coffee in Bristol is not the only thing about the place that reminded me of Edinburgh, there was something about the layout, maybe the uneven layers within the city, the winding streets and lanes and old buildings. We settled on a Spanish tapas restaurant called Pata Negra for a sneaky wine before dinner. Dimly lit and beautifully decorated, Pata Negra on Corn Street in the Old City is one of the best tapas bars I’ve ever been to. They present their tapas in a stylish, but authentic manner and while they hadn’t set up the hot plates yet, we did order bar snacks of olives, chorizo and quicos. Judging by the quality of the glossy olives, the meaty chorizo bonbons and the crunchy fried corn snacks, I would highly recommend this place to anyone looking for a Spanish night out.
Because we wanted to make the most of our one night in Bristol, we tried somewhere else for dinner. On the corner of Corn St and Small St The Bristologist holds court, making it impossible to ignore. Serving some of the biggest and most indulgent burgers and hotdogs I’ve ever seen, this burger joint is a must for anyone looking for a sure thing. I would guess that no matter what you ordered at The Bristologist, it would probably be pretty amazing. While I question their exclusive use of Applewood cheese, I did thoroughly enjoy my burger and VC loved her super-mega hotdog and we both made the best of the four glasses of red that the waitress mistakenly bought us.
For breakfast, we skipped the chandeliered ballroom at the Grand Hotel and took to the streets – knowing we’d get something better. We only had to walk about 5 meters down Broad St before finding The IronWorks cafe. Run by a Sydney-sider, we felt instantly at-home and knew the quality we could expect. I’m pleased to report that they delivered in abundance. The coffee was insanely good and the meals were hearty and well-made. It’s risky to order scrambled eggs almost anywhere in the UK, but mine were amazing and VC’s avocado and feta on toast was piled high – a stupendous close to our overnight Bristol adventure.
I won’t regale you further with tales of our foodie discoveries on the journey home. While we did manage to see the home of Cheddar cheese and two major sites in quick succession, we were on a mission to get back to Maidenhead before peak hour. So instead of finding a charming pub and possibly enjoying a Ploughman’s Lunch, we hit the drive through at Macdonalds and rammed some fast food into our gobs before hitting the motorway, and hitting up the stereo with some golden oldies from ’90s. Road trip nailed.