Updated: May 11
Bristol is strewn with hidden gems. Small food businesses founded by talented folks are popping up here, there and everywhere, and it can be hard to keep up (though we do have fun trying!)
Creative chefs take up residence in pub kitchens, temporary spaces, markets (that's a whole post in its own right!) - but here are some places that have been around for a while, delivering excellent eats to loyal and new & curious customers.
While not all of them are open at the moment, some are open for collection and/or delivery only, so do pop over to their websites or give them a call to find out if you can partake in their yumminess and support them!
This tiny Indian takeaway in Montpelier stole the heart of tBFT co-founder Jo when she moved to the area 5 years ago. They serve up fresh and super tasty curries at fab prices, and have an entirely vegan menu to boot. Highlights are bindi curry (okra), gobi bhaji and the ever-satisfying saag bhaji. Mela is currently open for collection only on select weekends. Best to call ahead and speak to their lovely owner for up to date opening hours. 0117 924 9272
Simple and delicious Italian food that Nonna would be proud of! Alberto makes crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside farinata (a kind of chickpea flour pancake) stuffed with home made sauerkraut that's super satisfying and delicious. He also makes perfect focaccia filled with a variety of excellent Italian specialities from fennel salami with peppery rocket salad to their 'Evil Goat' - goats cheese with spicy Calabrian salami. Need more home cooking? Try the ultimate comfort food dish Lasagne, or home made gnocchi. And to finish? A portion of fresh tiramisu with a shot of espresso. La dolce vita!
Situated up Gloucester Road, Jean's Bistro serves outstanding Thai and Asian cuisine. After moving to the UK from Thailand, owner Jirarat had to cook the food she missed when she found that there were few places cooking - or doing justice! - to her native cuisine. She opened her own place after working her way up to head chef at another restaurant, and works hard to ensure that the food at the Jean’s Bistro adheres to original Asian recipes and that they use authentic ingredients to deliver a balance of distinct flavours found in Thai food.
Want to know where to find the best vanilla ice cream in the UK? According to the ICA Silver Cup Challenge (please can we be a judge at the Ice Cream Alliance?!), it's at Tarr's in Brislington. How exciting that this ice cream business is on Bristol's doorstep, and it's been family-run and Bristol-based for nearly 100 years. Founded by Alfred Tarr in 1920, Tarr's is now in its fourth generation and still making delectable ice cream. Our social media manager Shonette is a big fan!
We're sure that you've heard of Farro. If not, where have you been?! You've certainly not been following us on Instagram as we post about Bradley Trapp's fabulous pastries on a fairly regular basis! (Follow us here ;-) We feel he and his team deserve a little shout out. In these uncertain times, Bradley has been working hard to ensure that he can continue to provide Bristol with genuinely some of the best pastries, breads and viennoiserie to emerge from an oven. What Bradley says on his website speaks to how passionate he is about his mission, and we couldn't put it better ourselves so here's Bradley:
"In the process of chasing ever bigger margins [many big businesses] have neglected the whole point of feeding people. To nourish. By default, they’ve managed to lose all the flavour and diversity that comes from properly nourishing food.
Sometimes in order to move forward, you have to go back to the beginning where you started.
We’ve decided we’re going the long way round. No cutting corners.
We’re back at the beginning already, getting our bearings, gathering up the things that have worked and setting off down a different path. We’ve got an idea of what we’d like it to look like, where we’re headed, but its pretty early days, no doubt it’ll definitely be more delicious"