The Bristolian

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2 Picton Street,

07866 911423

The ViewBristol Review

Review byLucy Duggan28/10/2008
For chilled-out, daytime eating with friends, there isn’t anywhere quite like The Bristolian.

The Venue
At the entrance of pretty Picton Street in Montpelier, a quiet residential road with a sprinkling of retro-clothes shops and delis, The Bristolian is overlooked by higgledy-piggledy houses up on the hill overhead.

Across the street, in this most bohemian little corner of town, is the Magpie Art Squat with its surreal display of outdoor sculpture, bric-a-brac and colourful murals. On the cobbles outside The Bristolian are a few little tables and chairs, plus a pub bench ��� when it’s sunny it’s a lovely little street-side spot to eat.

The People
The first things you see when you walk in the door is a tatty, comfy, low, orange sofa and a tall serving-counter behind which all the cooking and food prep takes place within full view.

Manned by a handful of hard-working members of staff, the immediate impression you get is that this place is run by people who put their hearts, not to mention their backs, into it. It gives it a really personal feel, like you’re eating at a friend’s house.

Frequented by broadsheet-reading lefties, artists, students and locals, it has a laidback yet stimulating vibe which is conducive to good conversation, provided their customary dub reggae isn’t turned up too loud.

The place feels light and airy, even on a grey day, thanks to tall windows topped with stained-glass flowers and festooned with plants which run across the shop front. The black and white checked lino floor tiles along with the kitsch prints of Spanish senoritas hanging on the walls give the place a subtly retro feel.

There’s a shelf of paperback novels and books on subjects as diverse as angling and antiques, plus a little tray of odds and ends to keep young children occupied.

There’s only one small, unisex toilet, but what a toilet it is. It's shocking pink, decorated with fifties prints, mosaics of broken tiles around the mirror and the piece de resistance: a toilet seat of encased broken mirror shards.

The Food
The menu is limited but effective; it’s good for breakfasts and lunches (they close at five). All the meat, veg and bread is sourced locally and they cater for vegetarians and vegans. Sandwiches come on granary bread, served with coleslaw for £3.50.

You can mix and match your fillings from a choice of salami, ham, cheddar, brie, smoked salmon, tuna, hummus and avocado. They do a large and lovely Greek salad for £5, decent quality cooked breakfasts from £4.50 to £6, depending on the size, and daily specials such as (the very tasty) Thai chicken curry or vegetable chilli for a fiver.

The Drink
For only £1, they do the biggest mugs of tea in Bristol. And not just normal tea - they have more varieties of tea on offer than you could shake a stick at. The coffee is good too, with the full fresh range available: macchiato, mocha, Americano and so on. It’s slightly more expensive than the tea: £1.60 for lattes and cappuccinos.

For the health conscious they do freshly blended smoothies for £2, although they are a little on the small side. Definitely worth trying is the Fentman’s botanically brewed soft drinks range - the Dandelion and Burdock has to be tasted to be believed.

The Last Word
A trip here is guaranteed to perk up the most miserable day. It’s simply a nice place to spend time, chatting, reading or just tuning out the worries of the world. A place to come if you’re after inexpensive food and drink in a lush setting.
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Content updated: 27/12/2011 02:06

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