Wondering where to go for your next mid-week brunch? Food Editor Jane Cowie reviews the classic student haunt Bakesmiths
Bakesmiths has become a favourite to all coffee and bread-lovers alike, since its opening on Whiteladies Road in Spring 2016.
Planted in a perfect location, it’s located just up the road from some of the top brunch spots in Bristol, from Brew Coffee to Brace & Browns. Luckily, Bakesmiths does not fall into the shadows. It stands proud, offering an incredible variety of breakfast and lunch options, coffees of all shapes and sizes, as well as boasting a delectable variety homemade treats by their co-company Cakesmiths.
Bakesmiths specialises in artisan breads, with a variety of the freshly baked loaves decorating the large windows that surrounds the exterior. Should you simply want to drop by, grab the finest quality loaf, and purchase a coffee, Bakesmiths are sure to provide you with the finest quality in the area.
If, however, like me you want a place to meet with friends over a coffee and brunch, or spend the day working, Bakesmiths is the perfect go-to. With high ceilings, simple rooms, elegant yet understated décor and enormous windows, Bakesmiths has a relaxing, airy atmosphere that allows you to take in the food and your company in all its glory.
One of my favourite attributes to any restaurant/ café is an open plan kitchen, and Bakesmiths does so with class. The kitchen is the first thing to be seen as you swing open the front door, allowing onlookers to look in on their majestic creations, from sourdough loaves, to cinnamon swirls, to chorizo sausage rolls.
Last week I had brunch with a friend, and we entered full of anticipation and enthused to try out new dishes we had not yet had the pleasure of trying. We chose our seats, upstairs in the room next to the ‘private conference room’ they hire out, a room that is a bit quieter than downstairs, yet similarly light and airy.
After closely inspecting the menu, I (being the meat-eater I am) opted for the Famous Dirty Beans (£8.00), and a matcha latte with oat milk. My friend opted for a veggie-friendly option, going for the grilled cheese toastie (£7.00) with a black americano.
Our drinks were prepared, and whilst the coffee was made to perfection, I was slightly let down on the matcha latte: Bakesmiths only offer cow’s milk, soya or oat, and the texture was rather watered down rather than creamy. Nonetheless, Bakesmiths have an amazing variety, offering anything from chai lattes, to turmeric and black pepper lattes.
It should be noted that the food arrives as soon as it is prepared, rather than together. This is something I am fond of when it comes to cafes, as I don’t mind waiting for my meal should it take longer, but I’m aware everyone’s tastes are different.
The grilled cheese toastie came first, an enormous few slices of sourdough packed with perfectly melted cheese (and plenty of it), fried onions and marmite. There were a few crisps on the side, to finish off the dish. If you’re a bread and cheese lover, look no further. Score: 9/10.
The famous dirty beans came next, in an aesthetic looking skillet, presented on a wooden board with thick sourdough slices with it. The portion was sizeable, but not too big. The perfect size for someone who’s looking to be full, but not bursting at the seams.
The beans are made ‘dirty’ by smoked bacon lardons, spicy chorizo and slow cooked pulled ham. This is the perfect choice for the meat-lover, however if you’re not a fan of a dish that is rich in meaty flavours, I would suggest this is not the one for you.
The only criticisms I could give would be that it could have been slightly spicier, as the chorizo’s heat did not come through, and that if served with some crème fraiche or natural yoghurt, and some coriander, the dish would be complete. Score: 8/10.
The two of us were too full by the end to try the cakes, which I think is a good thing. If you’re looking for the finest artisan bread, and a most satisfying, comforting, warming brunch, then look no further. Bakesmiths, with its grand variety for meat-lovers, veggies and vegans alike, should be on the top of your list.
Featured image credit: Jane Cowie