Tag Archives: Hamilton House

Stokes Croft: why I love living in Bristol

15 Jul

Photo courtesy of heatheronhertravels.com.

Here’s a snippet of conversation I often find myself having. Person: “You work in Bath, so don’t you ever think about just moving there?” Emma: “Yeah, I do consider it.” Person: “Why don’t you just do it?” Emma: “I dunno. I still might one day. I just… kinda like Bristol.” And I think areas like Stokes Croft, which is about 20 minutes’ walk from where I currently live, are a big part of that.

Ignore what you’ve seen on the news – last summer just wasn’t a very good one, alright? Let’s not dwell – and Stokes Croft is a massively community-focused area, brimming with independent character. And it’s bloody great for eating out.

 

Photo courtesy of jontangerine.

Last night I went out to The Runcible Spoon. It’s a small, modern British restaurant that makes everything from scratch. It’s also a co-op venture, with a goal of keeping prices low. I had a starter of smoked and soused mackerel, followed by a main of saddle of lamb, lamb moussaka and broad beans. My friend and I shared a bottle of wine, and were given an appetiser of soup, plus petit fours afterwards. Including tip, I spent just £25. And it was all delicious.

 

Photo courtesy of stanjourdan.

Another favourite of mine is the Canteen. The menu changes daily (sometimes even on the fly throughout the evening) to reflect the emphasis on seasonal produce. The only feasible reason to be saddened by this is that you’re unlikely to be able to eat that really tasty thing you had last time – be it warm lamb belly salad, beef shin ragu or pan-fried duck breast with sweet-and-sour sauce – again. Again, the focus here is on reasonable pricing rather than big profits: mains are usually £7 or £9, with a free starter of soup and bread included. The bar staff are always thoroughly lovely, too.

 

Photo courtesy of jontangerine.

There’s also Cafe Kino. Their home-made rosemary tossed chips are possibly the best thing to happen to weekends since the invention of brunch. They’re one of the few places that actively offer mustard on a sausage sandwich, rather than just giving you a funny look when you ask for it. (Seriously, it’s not like asking for arsenic or rat poison – other places should take note of this.) It’s another co-op, “working to create an atmosphere of respect and understanding in which everyone is valued”. As such, you’re as likely to see families with kids as you are groups of punks. I only wish there’d been a vegetarian cafe like this in Exeter when I was a teenager.

And this is before I’ve moved on to the beautifully dainty macaroons from Patisserie Leila, the £5 halloumi and pine nut pizzas at The Bank or the fantastic atmosphere at The Social or The Bell on a weekend evening. Basically, it’s a chunk of Bristol full of great food and drink, served by people who really believe in and care about what they’re doing. How could I not love that?

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