So you may have noticed that we’re big fans of Bristol here at LWT. I’ve been living in Wiltshire for five years now and one of my favourite things about living here is how easy it is to jump on the train and head off and explore one of the UK’s most vibrant, interesting cities.
One of the best areas in the city is the Harbourside, where Bristol’s maritime history comes together with modern restaurants, museums and attractions to create a fantastic place to spend the day.
Wapping Wharf is the latest addition to the harbourside area – in true Bristol fashion the retail units here are only available to independent businesses, leading to it quickly growing a reputation as Bristol’s newest foodie hotspot. So one rainy Sunday, I went along to a blogger food showcase to see what all the fuss was about.
Foodie highlights of Bristol’s Wapping Wharf
1. The Wild Beer Co.
Our first stop was The Wild Beer Co. For its latest venture, the Somerset-based brewery’s cosy, relaxed bar highlights its unique range of drinks. Here, up-to-date techniques sit alongside production of some of the world’s oldest beer styles, alternative fermentations and unusual yeasts (including their own wild yeast captured in a nearby orchard) to give a diverse range of drinks.
There are 22 beers on draft and a range of bottles and cans from both their own collection and favourites breweries across the country (and beyond).
And if you’re peckish, you can enjoy a fantastic range of fishy treats with a menu developed in association with Hook of Camden, who has been providing London with the best of innovative, fresh and sustainable seafood for the last five years.
Try this: With beer combinations like Yuzu, buckthorn and seaweed (Yadokai) or chocolate, espresso and vanilla (Wildebeest) you’re guaranteed to find something adventurous that suits your mood. I went for the Pogo – a 4.1% pale ale stuffed with tropical flavours of passion fruit, orange and guava.
Food-wise, go for the classic fish and chips or the fish tacos. If you’re not sure what to pick, the seafood platter – a mix of seasonal fish and wild foods – is perfect. Ours contained sea bream, haddock, smoked salmon, samphire, crab and a range of dips.
After spending years developing the perfect sausage, Bristol-based The Jolly Hog have opened Pigsty – their Wapping Wharf restaurant for all things pork.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Pigsty cover all of your meat-eating needs, serving everything from bacon sandwiches to burgers, slow roast pork belly and their famous scotch eggs.
Try this: Want a burger? Try a Pig Mac – a pork patty served with pulled pork , cheese, and their homemade baconaise in a brioche bun. The soft bun makes it a bit tricky to eat but it’s worth it. If you’re hungry, go with the Pig Board – an absolute monster of a platter containing a little bit of everything from their menu. From sausages to pulled pork to roast pork and their superb pork shoulder hoguettes with baconaise, it’s all present and correct. Prepare for the meat sweats…
3. Bristol Cider Shop
The Bristol Cider Shop has been providing Bristol with the best local ciders for over five years , winning multiple nominations for UK Retailer of the Year. Its moved to Wapping Wharf to give it a little bit more space – including room to develop its tasting sessions. The shop offer a range of classes including an introduction to cider and cider and cheese pairing sessions.
Its stock of 100% apple ciders (or pear in the case of perry) comes from small batch producers within 50 miles of Bristol and is regularly rotated – giving the perfect excuse for a return visit or two.
Try this: Take your pick from one of the hundreds of ciders on offer! If it’s a bit chilly, ask for a glass of their warm, spicy home-mulled cider. And if you fancy something a bit different, try one of their cider brandies such as Somerset Royal – still 100% apples, this distilled cider is a great aperitif or after dinner drink.
4. Little Victories
After the success of Small Street Espresso (which was recently listed as one of the top 30 coffee shops in the country by the Independent), owners John and Chris decided it was time to add a new challenge into the mix. The result is Little Victories – where you can get coffee, cocktails and light bites sourced almost entirely from Bristol suppliers.
During the day, you can enjoy great coffee, sandwiches made with bread from Harts Bakery, cheese from a local cheesemonger and a range of delicious cakes and snacks. And Wednesday to Saturday, later opening brings craft beer, organic wines and their own range of coffee cocktails, including espresso martinis and negronis.
Try this: During the day, coffee and cake is where it’s at. My cake highlight is their soft, sweet cinnamon buns but the salted caramel brownie runs a very close second. And at cocktail time, go with the Orange Negroni. Here the gin is replaced with cold brewed coffee produced over 6-12 hours, leading to a unique cocktail that tastes like orange at first, quickly followed by a coffee hit.
5. Chicken Shed
At Chicken Shed, the emphasis is on fresh chicken from birds raised to the highest of welfare standards. Organic chickens are sourced from Wood Green Farm which has its own abattoir – meaning the chickens don’t have to be transported for miles – and is powered using solar energy making it almost 100% carbon neutral.
As well as their crispy fried chicken legs, roast chicken and chicken in a bun, their ethos of sustainability and eating ‘from beak to feet’ means you’ll also come across some more unusual dishes including chicken liver and hearts.
Try this: The Chicken Shed’s southern fried chicken is miles apart from its fast food equivalent with the quality of the meat making a massive difference to this classic chicken favourite.