Tag Archives: Flinty Red

Best cafes and best places for coffee in Bristol

Top three best places for coffee (with a dash of bias towards soy milk)

1. Small Street Espresso

The place with the best coffee in Bristol is definitely Small Street Espresso on Small Street. They serve excellent coffee (and not Extract with all its bitterness, thank God) from Clifton Coffee and other sources such as a new Swedish supplier.

The cafe itself is small but feels spacious. In what looks no bigger than a wardrobe, the space has been arranged so as to fit up to 12. When I visited with a toddler and a friend I felt very comfortable and I am not a fan of being crowded.

There is no vintage, no shoe shine, no tea cups with flowers, just good (excellent) coffee and wonderful Hart’s bakery treats alongside very tasty cakes.

Billions of bonus points for not only knowing how to treat soy well (lovingly and sweetly) they also have special import Bonsoy milk which so delicate and light that it makes your heart swell and face tingle with pleasure and even with physical delight. I have only had a soy flat white this good before at Flat White in London.

From Bristol Culture who voted it "Best new cafe of 2012"

From Bristol Culture who voted it “Best new cafe of 2012”

2. Flinty Red

Breakfast at Flinty RedWhen they have soy milk: they make the most excellent coffee with the best pastries in Bristol. Harts Bakery do the best custard tarts and pretty great everything else but Flinty Red do exquisite and delicious, delicate but sumptuous pastries that are fit for celebrating the beginning of the most beautiful love affair let alone the start to a day. I am not exaggerating, try them.

And to continue with the love affair motif, I once saw Tristan Sturrock walk by while I sipped my black coffee (no soy milk) and ate my most delectable apricot danish with its wonderful sweet glazing and delightful icing. The Old Vic setting on King Street has some heart-skipping benefits.

3. Rubicon Too.

Really nice soy latte, cheap and tasty. Untitled

Comfortable and spacious and pleasant.





4. Cafe Kino in Stokes Croft

Excellent soy lattes.

Some places that seem to be nice cafes but …

1. Birdcage

No, never. See article.  Also: “vintage”.

2. Papadeli

Excellent in everything apart from soy milk for their coffees (please try Bonsoy and note the instructions on the pack).

3. The Bristolian

Not only are they bad at soy milk but I actually received a lecture about how good quality coffee makes the soy milk curdle. The first soy latte I requested came with dairy milk; the second was curdled and I had to listen to a lecture; the third coffee was black at my request and it was too bitter – Extract coffee.

A big no for the Bristolian. Mark Taylor from the Bristol Post – the best food reviewer in Bristol – also gave a thumbs down to the Bristolian coffee. On the day I went, admittedly their opening day, they also had decaf coffee from Tesco. I don’t know whether they have updated their selection.

4. Spicer and Cole

Three visits. Two curdled soy lattes. Indifferent service.

5. Mud Dock Deli

Great location, two curdled soy lattes. Terrible and indifferent service. The first time I visited it was in the afternoon, people were sitting at the tables outside on a sunny day, the doors were open and my toddler and her father went to sit down while I ordered.The woman at the counter saw me look at the menu, look at the food and then wait for her while she was cleaning for at least five minutes before telling me they were closed.

I am tempted to say that this was the best service I have had from them but that’s probably being unkind. The tables also have too many sharp edges at toddler-head-height and I always feel overcrowded in there.

6. Lashings

Quite nice. I have been to a few and when I had a terrible curdled soy latte at the one on Lower Redland Road from a yawning barista, the other barista noticed and brought me a second one for free.

Nice place but feels overcrowded.

7. Lounges – (pick one, any one – Deco,Tinto and the rest)

Excellent Irish coffee. Terrible brownie covered in an unpleasant chocolate sauce when I visited last Sunday. Not a top choice.

8. Lahloo Pantry
Excellent tea. Magnificent cakes. Superb service. But this tea shop has only Hasbean coffee which is a non-coffee and too bland for me. They do make a wonderful soy matcha latte however.

Flinty Red at the Bristol Old Vic

On a Tuesday morning, before swimming, my little girl and I went for breakfast at the Bristol Old Vic. We ate at Flinty Red on the first floor. The divine restaurant from Cotham* Hill has in the three years since it opened up earned a bib gourmand and joined forces with the oldest theatre in town.


Some doubts were raised by the clinical looking first floor with its blue office building floor and the business-meeting appeal of the furniture. A shame of a setting for the most perfect food and coffee. I mean just that particular section because the newly renovated Old Vic is surely lovely in all other ways.

The soya latte was excellent. I mention it here first but I drank it there last as it is the one beverage in Bristol that is sure to disappoint. The homemade granola was delicately flavoured and crisp hazelnuts were a tasty accompaniment to my daughter’s favourite food, bananas (for an additional 30p). Our pastry was fresh and tasty and sweet and covered with a light apricot glaze and icing.

We then picked up our things and went off to swimming. A quick and lovely breakfast as a treat to start our day. Not open early enough for the pre-work crowd (yet?) but just right for us.

Flinty Red is open from 9am for breakfast and then continues for the rest of the day to provide food for lunch and dinner as well. It is one of the most wonderful restaurants in Bristol but until they renovate the restaurant area it is not a setting for special memories so hold off on the wedding proposals until you’re in the theatre.




*rhymes with Gotham

Fork 50: Restaurant Guide

Fork magazine have produced a restaurant guide of the top 50 places to eat in the South West. The twelfth edition of the magazine was published this month and the editor is seasoned reviewer Mark Taylor. He tells us that this guide is the first of a regular series of similar guides covering the region and beyond. This guide lists restaurants from Dorset to Cirencester including a few in Bristol and Bath.

The River Cottage Canteen, Flinty Red, Glassboat, RockFish Grill and Three Coqs Brasserie are just some of the restaurants listed. In case you haven’t had the chance to pick up a copy I have created a Google Map with all of the locations http://bit.ly/91HAK6.


Flinty Red, an adventure

I don’t even know why I was so excited about Flinty Red but I was nearly tripping to Cotham Hill last night. Admittedly, half the semi-skips up Park St were shuffle-and-hops to keep up with my longer legged companion, he of the “are you sure you don’t want to go to Nando’s” wit. He was joking of course and in fact the restaurant was his selection. However, I had read some great reviews of the food and I couldn’t wait. If he hadn’t been joking I would have chosen the restaurant over him with little hesitation.

Flinty Red was a subtle, intriguing, exhalation of understated elegance. The table had a dark chocolate polished surface that was almost, but not quite, warm to the touch. The wine glasses were clear and large enough to allow a fair measure to be poured, whilst leaving enough room for the wine to be gently swirled. The setting was quiet and we were the only two people in there for most of the time. We were dining on a Monday, however, and two days previously they were fully booked for Saturday night.

The menu was divided into categories such as raw/pickled/salad and cured/smoked/preserved. We had tapenade and toast from the first group a salchichon Iberico with nutmeg from the second. The dark olive tapenade was light and delicious with flecks of caper, and an accompaniment of fragrant garlic-flavoured oil on toasted bread.

I understood little of the food menu and even less of the wine one. Since the owners also run Corks of Cotham, the independent wine merchants just a few doors down the street, the selection was vast and fascinating (no Merlot in the condensed list that I saw). This dinner was much closer to an adventure and the waitress was more than helpful, and definitely necessary, in explaining different dishes and providing a recommendation for the wine selection. The Portuguese red Dos Roques (£25) was a pleasure to drink and a lovely accompaniment to the five dishes of various sizes. The plate of salchichon Iberico and nutmeg was a delicacy and the incredible pumpkin and chestnut ravioli was served in a portion of three with a butter sauce.

The grilled beef dish was presented sliced and with colourful swede, and hispi cabbage accompaniments. The meat was served so rare that the dark hue was not unlike the fresh pomegranate presented with a separate quail dish. All of it was wonderful and the olive oil served with the bread was peppery with a deep flavour while tasty enough not to need a balsamic addition.

I chose the crème brûlée for dessert while he opted for the forced rhubarb, meringue and Seville orange curd. The crème brûlée’s vanilla cream was thick and silky with a delicate crispy burnt sugar covering, while the rhubarb treat was sweet, sharp and heavenly. The dinner experience made me feel like a tourist and the service was discreet and friendly. This wasn’t an inexpensive dinner but the price was evident in the quality of the food. As my beautifully eloquent companion phrased it, “it’s not beans on toast, is it?”. Not even close.

You’ll find the restaurant at 34 Cotham Hill, Bristol, BS6 6LA.
Telephone number: 0117 9238 755, email: info@flintyred.com, http://www.flintyred.com/