From delightful hot plates to explosive new flavours, Bristol’s culinary scene offers a myriad of sensational tastes. Diverse, exciting and colourful was a taste of Bristol that we got from our morning tour with Brian of Eat Walk Talk Bristol Food Tours.
Eat Walk Talk Bristol Food Tours: The Experience
From small eateries to container stalls, fancy restaurants and traditional pubs, Bristol offers a delicious globally inspired culinary scene. I am a huge fan of food tours, first of all not only do you get a local insight into the city’s hidden gems but you also get exposed to a bit of history as well as fun facts along the way. The best experiences are based on stories, combined with delicious food makes it a day well spent.
We met Brian at Bristol’s railway station, having just arrived to Bristol from Athens the night before we were ready to learn from the locals. The slightly grey sky and occasional drops of rain did not affect our appetite nor curiosity, per se.
First stop was breakfast — at the renowned artisan Hart’s bakery which specialises in sourdough, handmade pastries, seasonal cakes and savouries. The place gets very busy, there are tables inside but you must be lucky to find a spot.
The queue was all the way towards the entrance door, — well we kindly sneaked up to the front to take some photos of the lovely pastries and breads. Brian had already used his connections to get us a box of freshly baked, hot cinnamon buns — they are a hit apparently and there’s no doubt about why.
Leaving the bakery we walked passed some street art, which is very popular in Bristol and can be found in various areas of the city.
We briefly stopped at the St. Mary Redcliffe, an Anglican parish church built between the 12th and 15th century. The gorgeous Gothic church has managed to preserve some of the original medieval stained glass and the highly decorated vaulted ceiling is one of its remarkable highlights.
Our next stop was at the Queens Square which was originally constructed to be used as a residential address for the elite, today most of the building here are used as offices.
The centre of the square is dominated by an imposing equestrian statue of William III completed by John Michael Rysbrack, a famous 18th century Flemish sculptor.
The most talked about project in Bristol, the Wapping Warf is a new quarter which has been developed in the heart of the historical and cultural Bristol.
A place where locals and visitors alike can live, shop, eat and mingle. The exciting culinary innovation which can be found in the heart of Wapping Warf is the CARGO — a retail yard made out of shipping containers. Creativity has no limits. We made a few food stops here and after passing a charismatic butcher wearing a stylish fedora hat and photographing a bunch of his hanging game, we came to our first stop, the Pickled Brisket.
The Pickled Brisket
Don’t leave Bristol without trying a salt beef sandwich at the Pickled Brisket — trust me, I have witnesses who can back my word.
This small container stall run by husband and wife, Robin and Flora Slater is one of the best discoveries of Bristol. The beef is locally sourced from a farm on the Somerset Levels and the bread that it’s served on comes from a family owned bakery.
There is a selection of hot salt beef treats, we had the Southerner served with house slaw, blow torched Monterey Jack cheese and chipotle ketchup. Yes, you can actually watch the cheese being melted with a blow torch.
A few stairs later we reached the top level of Cargo — a sustainable concept called Root which incorporates vegetables as the main ingredient on the menu.
A project started by one of Bristol’s star chefs Josh Eggleton, Root serves numerous small vegetable plates as well as fish and meat to create sensational side dishes.
We tried the refreshing Beetroot made with hazelnut, blackberry and seaweed, delightful potato gnocchi mixed with chestnuts and Brussel sprouts, and sensational oysters with ginger and sweet chilli. We also savoured Cornish sardines which are served grilled.
Bristol Cider Shop
When in Bristol one of the things you got to do is try the cider, if you want to get more involved in the cider culture there are hundreds of local artisan ciders you can try and learn about. Next on our food tour of Bristol was exactly that — a cider tasting at the award winning Bristol Cider Shop.
Here you can find over 100 type of local artisan cider each individually bottled and promoted. We tried three different types of ciders — light, medium and strong. We topped off the experience with a Cider Brandy which is distilled entirely from Somerset apples and matured in small oak barrels.
Gopal’s Curry Shack
After our cider tasting we switched to vibrant Indian street food. The Gopal’s Curry Shack serves aromatic, seasonal vegetarian and vegan dishes all infused with the spices of India.
We tried one of the highlight dishes which is the creamy coconut & seasonal vegetable curry which is prepared with chickpeas and pomegranate seeds. This was the first time I tried such a refreshing and healthy curry dish.
We then crossed the harbour, passed the landmark M Shed museum of Bristol and took photos with the statue of John Cabot a famous Venetian Navigator and explorer who was involved in the mission of discovering the coast of North America.
We also entered the Bristol Cathedral which stands in the heart of the city and is the Mother Church of Bristol.
The sixth spot of our Bristol food tour was at the famous artisan gelato shop Swoon which is apparently the best gelato store in Bristol.
All the gelato are handmade with love and there are different flavours introduced depending on the season. Since I am a huge fan of pistachios, I tried their Pistachio gelato. The pistachios are grown on the fertile volcanic slopes of Mount Etna at Bronte in Sicily and are the main ingredient of this gelato’s rich flavour.
Just a few steps down the street from Swoon we admired the famous graffiti stencil art by Bansky the Well Hung Lover which was created in 2006 when the building was used as a sexual health clinic.
We then ended up in the central covered market place — the St Nicholas Market which is a very vibrant square and one of the oldest and most famous in Bristol. The market is right in the heart of the old city and is surrounded by charming Georgian architecture.
This vibrant market place is home to about 60 stalls selling everything from a variety of foods and goods. Just off one of the side streets on Exchange Avenue we ended up at a small store making the perfect Japanese gyoza.
Founded by husband and wife, Vic and Guy in 2016 their delicious handmade Japanese gyoza instantly became a big hit. Made with various fillings like chicken, teriyaki beef, pork, tofu and mushrooms the gyoza is served with a choice of toppings and extras.
A portion consists of 6 pieces and then you can add toppings like seaweed furikake or shichimi chilli sea salt just to name a few. Although we already had plenty of food before we came here, the gyoza was just too amazing to resist. They just melt in our mouth —absolutely sensational.
The Strawberry Thief
The final eighth stop of our Bristol food tour was at the Strawberry Thief an elegant bar which specializes in Belgian and local beer. This beautiful bar with a charming central fireplace is set in the heart of Bristol’s old city.
Here you can find over 50 Belgian beers including Larger Pilsners, Amber, Darks, just to name a few. They also serve a variety of 20 or more UK and local crafted beers. There is also a food menu with a selection of starters, mains, puddings and cheese boards.
Taste Bristol Food Tour was a fabulous way to get an introduction to the history of Bristol, to experience the city’s bustling and modern culture as well as to experience some of Bristol’s finest local producers, delicacies and flavours. In the 3.5 hour food tour you are guaranteed to have a great time and enjoy plenty of mouthwatering food. Have you been on any Bristol Food tours?
Bristol Food Tours details:
Duration: 3.5 hours
Times: operates at 11am Tuesday to Saturday
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