It started with a toastie.
Actually, a lot started with this toastie. Mainly the conviction that I can’t keep eating all these amazing things and not writing about them. Being whisked around the finest coffee haunts in the south west courtesy of my partner's coffee habit, it occurred to me that neither of us were talking about the food. And dang Bristol, you do food well. So sorry all, I’m starting a food blog. It was always going to happen. I don’t know why I denied it for so long.
My first blog post is to shout from the rooftops the virtues of Bristol’s Hart’s Bakery. Seriously, listen up because this place is banging. Being pretty housebound at the minute due to tedious back issues, I was driven to Hart’s Bakery last weekend for a small brunch outing – one of the best kinds of outing in my opinion. I had heard a rumour that Laura from Hart’s Bakery does the best custard tarts in town so I was prepared to be pretty happy at the end of my visit. Well, I was (and pretty laden down with various bread and pastry based items too).
Hart’s Bakery is in an archway underneath Temple Meads station. Easily missed if you’re not looking for it apparently as I’ve always waltzed straight passed the signs. But this weekend morning it was really busy and it was obvious that I was pretty late to the party. We ordered what we wanted and were asked if we wanted to set up a tab. This is ingenious. Yes, yes I do want to set up a tab in a bakery.
The coffee (supplied by Extract coffee roasters) was excellent and we were soon brought over our cheese and ham toasties. Yeah it’s just a toastie. So what? I’ll tell you what. This was 2 slices of in-house made sourdough bread with West Country cheddar and pulled ham hock. This was how a toastie should always be. It was even better than the ones I used to make as a kid on our toastie machine that I crammed full of chopped up frankfurters.
As we burnt our mouths on our toasties, I watched the place really fill up. Families were settling down with various pastries, couples stealing a bit of sun on the tables outside. One guy was obviously buying for a cycling picnic as he had muddy legs in tiny shorts, and a variety of Ordnance Survey maps in a waterproof sash around his waist. It was so popular, and I loved being able to watch the kitchen work as we ate. New items were being brought out straight from the oven and it was hard not to go back for seconds, thirds and fourths.
When we eventually left Hart’s Bakery, we left with a sausage roll, a custard tart and a brownie. It will come as somewhat of a shock to those of you familiar with my culinary habits, when I tell you that the brownie had prunes in it. Prunes that had been soaked in Earl Grey. I really think this place has changed my life because I am actively seeking out dried fruit additions to my meals. The sausage roll was destined for tea but only made it half an hour after we got back ("It'll be a shame if we don't eat it warm"), and was obviously also excellent.
And before you ask, yes the custard tart was amazing. And here is a sort of Instagrammy photo of it. Needless to say it didn't last long.