Last Monday, making the most of a weekday free of work (it was half term), Lucy and I went for a spot of lunch at one of Bristol’s many, many cafes. Recently, my love of food but distinct lack of cash has found me frequenting (almost exclusively) places with a good Wriggle deal. On Monday this meant a trip to the Workhouse Kitchen on Perry Road. I had visited before (thank you Wriggle) but Lucy had not.
The first thing to say is that the food was delicious. We both had the Workhouse Bagel – toasted wholemeal bagel, white bean, spinach and almond hummus, sweet beetroot, toasted hazelnuts and local leaves. You can add mackerel or feta and I went for feta, Lucy keeping hers as it came. It’s what I had on my first visit and I was pretty excited about having it again. They were beautifully presented and the flavor lived up to the aesthetics. The hazelnuts were a master stroke, adding an unexpected taste and texture. When they arrived Lucy asked, a little bewildered, how we were going to eat them as, to be fair, they weren’t going to be easy to pick up. It was most definitely a knife a fork job. We munched away merrily and agreed that it was a top notch pile of food and extremely satisfying
To wash it down we each had a smoothie. Lucy opted for the kiwi, mango, coconut, lime, spinach and poppy seed while I went for the raspberry, cherry, lemon, mint and passion fruit. They were icy cold and delicious. Just like the food, the drinks looked great and felt like a real treat. We asked for no straws and unlike so many places, they didn’t forget in the time it took to make the drinks – hurrah!
Workhouse Kitchen itself is a funny place. I want to say that I love it – and there is so much about it that’s really great. The items on the menu all look interesting, well thought out and, judging by what I’ve tried there so far, probably taste amazing. But the menu itself is written in a slightly peculiar way. It has a pretty long foreword by the owner, detailing his ‘mission statement’. As primary school teachers, we found ourselves wincing and itching to get out our correcting pens, it’s so oddly put together. The gist is that the foundation of Workhouse Kitchen is plant based. Meat and dairy are very available though. I think they are aiming to be inclusive but the claims of vegan ethics and beef sandwiches on the counter may not be to everyone’s tastes. Personally, this didn’t bother me. The interior is casual, stylish and somewhat cramped but had a good busy buzz with people squeezing in on benches to enjoy their lunches. The staff were neither friendly nor unfriendly. I don’t think anyone smiled at us (and we’re quite smiley people) but no one was rude to us either. Make of that what you will.
Bottom line – the food was great. I’ve had cake there in the past and that was seriously good too. I would definitely recommend dropping by, even if just to read the menu…
While your in the area I passionately encourage you to explore it! This small patch of Bristol, know as the arts quarter, is criminally underused and underappreciated. If you’re heading to Workhouse from the center, I advise that you walk up Colston Street and check out the smattering of independent shops you pass on the way up. These include a funny little antique and coin shop called Potters, a sliver shop, two craft, card and gift shops (Blaze and Makers), Bloom and Curll – an adorable book shop, Les Fleurs (hosting a beautiful array of succulents and other floral delights) and Rag Trade – a high-end second hand clothes shop for the fashion conscious. After your food/drinks/confusion about grammar at Workhouse, pop along Perry Road for a look in Bristol Hand Made Glass and a poke around the ceramics in Potters (another one). Finally, amble down Christmas steps and marvel at the charm, which surrounds you. Go and rent a DVD (like the old days!) from the fantastically well-stocked 20th Century Flicks and stroke one of their cats. Top it all off with a pint in The Christmas steps pub or a game of scrabble at Chance and Counters, safe in the knowledge that you’ve supported some amazing local businesses.