Bristol, the largest city in the south west of the UK, is home to a fantastic selection of restaurants, parks, and cultural venues. With two buzzing universities, galleries, gorgeous Georgian architecture, Banksy, plus Brunel’s iconic suspension bridge, there’s plenty to see and do. All that exploring requires lots of energy however, so read our updated guide to where to get the best breakfast or brunch before exploring Bristol.
The Brasserie at Bordeaux Quay
Brasserie, European, $$$
Bordeaux Quay is a massive restaurant complex on the heart of Bristol’s waterside, an area jam-packed with cultural hot-spots and must-see places. Bordeaux Quay itself comprises a bakery, a deli, a cookery school, a fine-dining restaurant and a more informal Brasserie. The Brasserie serves New York-style food all day long, but the breakfast menu features an array of classics fit for any brunch. These include poached eggs, full English breakfasts and more. These can be washed down with freshly squeezed juices or, if preferred, a selection of ‘restorative’ cocktails.
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A French-style eatery on Bristol’s upmarket Whiteladies Road, Café du Jour serves a selection of mainland and European specialities to the busy, cosmopolitan people of Bristol. Similarly, Whiteladies Road is a beautiful area to take in some local culture, with wonderful buildings lining an avenue populated by beautiful conker trees. Brunch and breakfast dishes include steamed scrambled eggs, served on toast with ham, salmon or bacon. Healthier options such as muesli or porridge are also available for those watching what they eat, with toppings such as dried fruit, maple syrup and honey also on offer.
Straight from Hotel du Vin & Bistro comes the gift of Le Brunch – a combination of classic Sunday roast dishes, mixed with additional French flair. While not cheap, the exciting choice of fresh seafood, crustaceans, charcuterie, pâtés, rillettes and a selection of salads and vegetables, Hotel du Vin is a must try for every seasoned brunch lover. For any foodie, a serving of fantastically prepared French food and additional jazz music is perhaps the perfect way to start the weekend.
The Mud Dock café is all about brunch. From their award-winning bacon baguettes to the selection of freshly made pastries, or even the toss-up between a bloody mary and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, this typically Bristolian deli (and bike shop) exports a whole new meaning of the word ‘brunch’. Situated in the city’s busy docks region, Mud Dock takes influence from Spain and its love of markets to inspire an original and exceptional brunch menu, prepared by chefs of from all over the globe. Guests can either relax in the rustic Spanish-themed café or nip downstairs and wander through the bike shop.
Sat in the middle of Bristol’s multi-million pound shopping centre, Cabot’s Circus, Harvey Nichols dominates the skyline. As well as being famous for fashion, this iconic shop also houses a fantastic restaurant, complete with brunch and breakfast staples. The Bristol restaurant is situated on the second floor, and offers stunning views across the city, where guests can while away a few hours before being served food by award-winning executive chef Louise McCrimmon. Dishes include sardine and tomato crostini, buttermilk and banana pancakes, and grilled chorizo with beans and a deep-fried egg. There is also a selection of great cocktails to wash down these delicious dishes with.
More than anything else, Rocotillos (situated on the Clifton Triangle) is famous for its indulgent milkshakes, some of which are so thick they could be used to build houses. With both a bar and booths, it is often populated by hung-over locals who are intent on recovering from the previous night’s excesses. Brunches are cheap and large, and include the Ten Gallon Tex’s serious fry-up (a gigantic steak) and follow it up with a Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough or Phish Food milkshake. There are also a selection of top-notch burgers, sandwiches, and side dishes, which are bound to satisfy all appetites.
A relatively new venture in the heart of the city, Rosemarino in Clifton is the first of two family owned cafes that serve great brunch and breakfast. As well as food, the café puts on art exhibitions to show off the best in local artistic talent, with the current exhibit including work from Kelly Stewart, an artist who uses her time in Bristol to sketch local landmarks. Dishes include poached eggs, granola, and a ‘legendary’ one-pan wonder. This includes a number of breakfast staples, including bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes, topped with two fried eggs and melted cheese. For the exceptionally hungry, toast can be added for a little extra charge.
Situated in All Saints Lane, near the famous St Nicholas’ Market, is The Rummer. Hard to find, The Rummer has a dedicated clientele that regularly fill its low vaults and art deco dining room. Originally a rough around the edges skinhead pub, the venue is now one of the South West’s most upmarket places to eat and, as such, the brunch is a must-taste experience. The brunch menu includes eggs Benedict, Royale and Florentine, as well as kedgeree – a dish of rice and kippers – and, of course, the obligatory full English breakfast, complete with bacon, sausages and rich blood pudding.
Being the capital of the West Country, perhaps it is not surprising to find a farm bang-smack in the middle of Bristol. This City Farm Café also has a plethora of fantastic brunch options, due in part to the steady development that has taken place over the last 34 years. As well as serving great food, the farm has served the local population by offering work experience and volunteering opportunities for people from deprived backgrounds. The award-winning café at St Werburghs City Farm includes a delicious wholesome brunch that is organic and fair-trade, including eggs, meat, vegetables and salad from St Werburghs City Farm.
When is a brunch bar not a brunch bar? When it is also an independent cinema. The Watershed Café Bar is one of the city’s most popular venues, perched above the floating harbour, a wonderfully bohemian chance to take in some great brunch dishes. The cinema opened in 1982, and is a cross-artform venue that produces, shares, and showcases exemplary cultural ideas and talent. The Watershed’s cultural programme of films, events and festivals means there is always something going on to break the boundaries of imagination for any avid cinema-goer and brunch-eater. The café and bar is joined by three cinema screens, with excellent food in a family friendly environment.