Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, apparently. So what does that make brunch? Equally important if you ask us. There are few finer things that starting your day in sterling culinary style, whether it's a perfectly done full English from one of Bristol's best cheap eats or a long and lazy continental brunch at some terribly fancy restaurant. So go forth, feast and get your day off to a very good start indeed.
Bristol breakfasts and bunches
This small but perfectly formed café behind Whiteladies Road brings a slice of the Deep South to BS8, with blues on the stereo, friendly service and seriously good buttermilk biscuits (a sort of fluffy, savoury scone) stuffed with egg, cheese, bacon, sausage or all four. Their house baked beans - a sweet, spicy taste sensation so good we had to order a second helping - are very popular. The biscuits remain the main draw here but there’s also seasonal granola and sourdough or granary toast served with American-style toppings (peanut butter and jelly; sweet cinnamon butter).
This Italian neighbourhood restaurant is a firm favourite with the locals. Having won the accolade of best breakfast and best Italian restaurant in Bristol at the Bristol Good Food awards three years in a row, you can be certain the food here is good. Bacon butties (in a ciabatta, actually), full Englishes and their BLT are all superb, but it's Tommy's 1-Pan Wonder that really draws the crowds - bacon, mushrooms, onions and potatoes fried in a pan, with an egg cracked on top with grated cheese to follow.
The site of one of Keith Floyd’s former bistros is now in the safe hands of Liberty Wenham and Seldon Curry. The pair met while working for British chef Mark Hix, and have experience alongside the likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Rowley Leigh. It's well known for its seafood but breakfasts and brunches are very good too - go for the house full fry-up, or a very good eggs Benedict.
A Clifton institution: if you can find someone with a bad word to say about the Primrose, they’ve probably never lived in Bristol. Choose from a lengthy menu featuring cut-above fry-ups, bubble and squeak, waffles, mushrooms on toast and the world’s most indulgent hot chocolate, then place your order at the counter in the homely downstairs dining room. In fact, the only thing we can think of to complain about is how difficult it can be to get a table at the weekend; set the alarm early for prime positioning next Saturday.
Plates of food don’t come much more vibrant than those served at Souk Kitchen, which has succeeded in its aim to bring authentic Middle Eastern market dishes to Bristol. However, it’s not just exotic ingredients from warmer climes on offer here. The sausages are from Gloucester old spot pigs, and most of the bread is made by Mark’s Bread, only a few hundred yards away in North Street. Brunch, served only at the weekend, includes a particularly good Bloody Mary for £3.95 and a veggie fry-up for £6.80.
A showstopping all-day brunch menu, burgers, tapas and damn fine cocktails, all ordered at the busy counter and delivered to your table with a smorgasbord of sauces. The full English covers all bases with bacon, egg, sausage, black pudding, mushrooms, tomato and perfect hash browns, but savvy meat-eaters might want to add on one of the sweetcorn fritters from the equally impressive veggie version. Elsewhere there are pancake stacks, breakfast muffins and veggie kedgeree to get stuck into, all best accompanied by the well-spiced Bloody Mary.
Our favourite branch (the in-store café at indie record shop Rise) of Bristol mini-chain Friska is rammed at lunch, making breakfast the preferred time of day to sink into one of its coveted booths, watch the Queen’s Road world go by and sample their locally admired wares. There’s plenty to choose from: porridge, yoghurt, doorstep bacon toasties on Hobbs House bread and eggs five ways served in their trademark brown cardboard boxes. Early morning caffeine fixes are catered to perfection by Clifton Coffee.
The attention-grabbing pancake stacks (with blueberries, or bacon, or both) are top of the must-try list, with savoury and sweet french toast, bacon sarnies and eggs on toast following closely behind. Great for coffee, hangover obliteration and entertaining small children (there’s a brilliant kids’ play corner), there’s absolutely no requirement to join the queue for the giant dryer out back but should you feel the need laundry prices are reasonable and the service washes are life changing.