I set out from the city centre this morning in an attempt to find a coffee and somewhere suitable to read a newspaper. From Colston St, I ventured to the Galleries where I bought the FT Weekend. I thought I’d try the Bordeaux Quay and strolled across St. Nicholas Market where most of the stalls were closed over the holiday period (the Cheese stall doesn’t reopen until the 8th of January).
Down Corn St and past Start the Bus, I passed the fountains and became reluctant to do something familiar so I turned off towards Park St instead. The Folk House looked closed and Boston Tea Party looked busy. Through the Clifton Triangle I barely gave Costa Coffee a second glance and decided on the Clifton Lido. The atmosphere was so nice when I last ventured down there but when I got closer I couldn’t make myself go in. The little area was all in shadow and so quiet. I circled down Oakfield Rd and then walked up Whiteladies Rd with some faith that I would stumble upon something nice. I was even willing to cross over on to Gloucester Rd if there was nothing immediately obvious.
Luckily I didn’t have to. I hadn’t visited Papadeli for a while and I had never had a coffee there before.
The downstairs space is a delicatessen where every nook and cranny is full of food ranging from dried pasta imported from Italy, to Greek Eleon olive oil, coffee beans (organic and not), Lahloo tea, chocolates, biscuits, olives, capers, artichokes and various other antipasti. There are many varieties and I won’t attempt to describe even half of them so I would recommend visiting for a browse if nothing else.
There is a cafe upstairs which I didn’t visit, there are three tables (wooden, sturdy, medium-sized that seat three people perhaps) downstairs and two (metallic) tables with chairs, outside on the narrow pavement.
I ordered a black americano coffee but the menu offered a whole range of options – soup (de jour); sandwiches made on ciabatta (£5.95); salads from the counter (all made on the premises) £8.95; nibbles – including bread with olive oil for dipping (under £3.50); and a whole host of sweets including chocolate brownies (huge), cakes, warm croissants with jams and various other bits and edible pieces.
Two thirds of the way through Dan Washburn’s Planet Golf: Letter from Hainan I realised that my mellow, but aromatic and slightly bitter, coffee had long gone cold but I was happy to let it finish rather than refresh.
I went up to the counter to pay for my americano (£1.60) and couldn’t resist some of the food on offer. I ended up buying a selection which included marinated artichokes, red peppers stuffed with goats cheese and some olives with peppers. It all looked amazing.
I said no to the offer of another coffee and reminded myself to investigate the word ‘telegenic’ which I hadn’t come across before and whose origins I couldn’t quite fathom. Washburn writes in the FT Weekend that ‘[i]t is all remarkably telegenic, and by design’ when referring to the Mission Hills Hainan in China, the multi-billion dollar construction project of what will be one of the largest collection of golf courses in the world.
The deli around me makes quite a contrast to any large scale development. The space is small and is more functional than aesthetically pleasing. The large collection of freshly-made, colourful and occasionally imported food items is pleasing and cosy and cluttered. All very tempting and while not necessarily designed to look good on television it was just right for reading a paper and drinking a coffee.