10 Hot Things In Bristol

I was *so* excited when I heard Grazia would be doing regional specials, where readers could show off the amazing things in their city. I love finding new things to do in my city – I’ve been here 4 years, but I still feel like there is so much more to explore. As soon as I heard it was on sale, I headed to the shop, picked up a copy and flicked straight to the Bristol section.

Firstly, Bristol is lumped in with Bath. This isn’t unusual, but what was annoying was that the majority of places were in Bath. This unfortunately is also not unusual. Magazines like Grazia and Stylist prefer to talk about Bath because it’s just oh so quaint – Bristol has areas that are prettier than Bath, more varied than Bath and – look, Bath is nice for an occational visit, but Bristol is just a nicer place to be.

With that in mind, I thought I would put together my own list of things you need to visit in Bristol…

Best speakeasy
I’m going to generalise this as BOOZE EMPORIUM (because I like the word emporium) and say that my favourite place for cocktails in Bristol is, hands down, Goldbrick House. They have a decent sized menu of cocktails, and have a gin list of 16 different gins, which I think is a reasonable amount. It’s been my favourite place to go on Park Street for food and drinks for a long time, and their fabulous food nights are pretty brilliant too.

Best Pop Up
This heading was about shops, but what we do well in Bristol is pop up restaurants. 40 Alfred Place is a permament popup venue which I visited last month for Gurrilla Burger with some Twitter friends for sliders. Look at them! They’re so teeny tiny!

Best cup of tea
I don’t feel like I have found the best cup of tea yet. If you’re looking for somewhere with a huge range of tea though, Lahloo Pantry in Clifton Village knows their tea, and also has some pretty good cakes to go along with them.

Best denim
The heading was used to talk about a boutique in Bath, but there are *so* many good boutiques in Bristol. The two main areas to check out would be Park Street and Gloucester Road – perfect way to kill a few hours is just wandering down the road and popping into the interesting shops!

Best for mooching
Clifton Village is a good place to start for a mooch – I could spend hours just wandering around there! Quakers Friars is also a good place, although perhaps a little small for a proper mooch.

Best cakes
Oh, well, now – THIS I know. I mean, erm, this I need to do a lot more research on. Ahem. My favourite place for cupcakes has to be Swinky Sweets, who do things like these cupcake bouquets (you’ve missed my birthday, but I’m sure you can buy them for Christmas) but a very close runner up has to be Cordial and Grace, which had to be my favourite discovery of the cake crawl we did earlier this year.

Best Diner
Perhaps this one is a bit obvious, but ooh, Rocotillos at the top of Park Street has been a long time favourite with my friends and I. Sit in a booth, drink a chocolate and hazelnut milkshake (so thick that your straw stands up in it!), and eat burgers and cheesy fries. (If you can manage it at least – the milkshake fills me up alone!)

Best for a Sunday stroll
The Downs is a lovely area to walk, or for a short stroll (a lunch time one is good!) I love Queens Square

Best Supermarket
I know, a weird heading that obviously wasn’t in Grazia’s version. But how can I say what is awesome about Bristol without talking about the talking supermarket who is a little bit crazy (or the craymart, as I prefer to call it now)? Wai Yee Hong isn’t just quite good at the Twittering though, but also sells seaweed crack and will bring it’s own snacks to a restaurant. (NOM)

Best Social Media Experiment
We do social media here quite a bit. The best way to see what is good about Bristol though is to follow @bristol52, where one citizen takes charge of the account each week and talks about whatever.

So, thats a small part of my Bristol. I know I’ve left stuff out here (I didn’t even touch on Grillstock, my new favourite lunch place – pulled pork baps omg) so what are your favourite things to do in my beautiful city?

Pesto Scones

So a few weeks (months?) ago, I joined a few Twitter friends to go on a “Cake Crawl” around Clifton Village. We finished the crawl at Cordial and Grace and because we were all pretty cake’d out by that time, we went for the savoury cream tea option. We had pesto scones with cream cheese and a yummy chutney. I’ve been back a few times since, and had the savoury scones, but I haven’t seen the pesto scones since. I was thinking about an old cookbook this weekend (the only one I had growing up if you don’t count the half binder of microwave cooking magazine issues – which I do not) and one of the few recipes I remembered making was cheese scones. From cheese to pesto – it wasn’t too much of a stretch, and I thought it was worth an experiment. Its a simple recipe using all ingredients that you probably already have (and if you don’t…what do you have in your cupboards?!)

  • 225g / 8oz self raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 55g / 2oz butter
  • 90ml/3 fl oz milk
  • 3 tbsp pesto (well, I just added what was left in the jar I had, which was about 3 tbsp. I think I would have added a little more if I could)

Turn the oven on to 220C/Gas Mark 7. Mix together the flour and salt (already done in the ingredients photo) and rub in the butter – remember how you were taught at school? I hate rubbing in butter, normally I just chuck everything into my food processor.

Stir in the pesto and add half the milk. Mix it together to get a dough, adding more milk as needed. (My original recipe said to use 5 fl oz of milk, but I only needed 3 fl oz to make it into a sticky dough. Because the pesto is oily, its something you’ll need to judge yourself if you use more pesto)

Knead the dough on a floured surface to make it a bit more uniform (and a bit less sticky!)

Roll it out…

Cut out as many rounds as possible and put onto a baking tray. Knead the left over dough together and roll out again, cutting out more rounds until its all used up. The mini scones were cut with the smallest cutter – they do shrink a little. Next time, I think I’d use one thats at least 3 inches across.

Brush the tops with milk (if you remember…) and bake for about 12-15 minutes (depending on the size) until they’re well risen and golden.

I ate mine with Philadelphia and a caramelised red onion chutney from M&S that honestly, I would eat from the jar if I could. These are best eaten the same day you make them – they weren’t inedible the next day, they just weren’t as good. If someone is coming round, these would be so easy to put together – they took less than half an hour to make and bake.

A Very Modern Tea Room

Last weekend, as previously posted, a few girls and I took a delightful stroll around Clifton Village in pursuit of cake. I loved all the stops along the way, but the final stop at Cordial and Grace blew me away.

I really like tea, I really like cake, and I really like crafting. So its amazing to find somewhere in Bristol that not only does these things, but does them well. As so many of us mentioned, the cakes we tried were amazing -  I could only manage a few of the huge platter that was put together for us, but I would make the trek to Clifton for the peanut butter brownie alone – like a cakey Marathon (er, Snickers…showing my age there)

There’s a good range of teas and coffee available, or if you’re feeling a bit decadent/have something to celebrate/just like fizzy wine, there’s prosecco available too.
Downstairs, there are sewing machines and different fabrics, ribbons, etc for sale. Besides having the sewing machines available to hire by the hour, there’s also various workshops for all skill levels and ages.

I could tell you more about my favourite new find, but its so much easier to show you some photos…

Definitely one to visit if you’re in the Clifton area!

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