St. Nicholas Market: Variety is the spice of life…

After some particularly extravagant months at the end of last year I have had to unfortunately put some restrictions on how much I go out for lunch. However, you have to have something to get you through the working week and consequently my ‘work wife’ and I have a rule: Friday is lunch out day! This is the only thing that stops us throwing our usual bland soup-based lunches on the floor in frustration. πŸ˜‰

Luckily, I am one of the fortunate beans to work just a stones throw away from the wonders that St. Nicholas Market has to offer of a lunch time. Not sure what part of the world you would like to eat from today? Then this is definitely the place to go. For those who have never been, I thought I would give a little run-down of what temptations they have to offer. I have to admit, I have my favourites and some bias may show – I am only human! There are a couple I am also yet to try so will have to draw on tales from friends. It will however give you an indication of the whole experience and leave the opportunity to go and find your own preferences. I will warn you now – some of them are addictive!

Sketch of the layout of St Nicholas Market
Really quick sketch of the layout of St Nicholas Market

THE LEFT SIDE

1. Sourdough Cafe

So close to being a full cafe, this place brings me much inspiration and ideas for my future teashop. The offerings are fairly simple: a variety of sourdough toasties; my personal favourite being the goats cheese and beetroot (I admittedly have quite a serious addiction to goats cheese). If you are not restricted too much by your lunch hour you can also while away some time on their little benches, drink from a variety of teas and coffees and eat one of their scrummy cakes – often with dairy and gluten free options! πŸ™‚ I almost squealed when I noticed a chocolate and orange cake was dairy-free!

2. Eat a Pitta

A new addiction of mine. On a recommendation from the brother (who went there FOUR times in their first opening week) I had to give it a go – and I can confirm they are delicious. The food is falafel based – cooked fresh in front of your eyes. I particularly enjoy the fact they provide tasters as you wait in the queue – probably to appease the drooling people waiting. There are then two main options: with just salad or in a pitta salad. I would recommend going for the pitta -much more satisfying. The final choice is what salad you would like and sauces. I would advise caution with the lemon and olive oilΒ  – it can get messy. Oh and I would try not to eat this in front of anyone you are trying to impress – the portions are extremely generous and if you are anything like me you will have salad falling down your chin through most of the eating experience. Mmmm…making me crave a pitta now!

3. Caribbean Wrap

I have so far only eaten here once; not because it wasn’t totally delicious, just that I get a bit stuck with my favourites and have to make a special effort to stray. Here you can find a variety of deliciously spiced curries and caribbean (obviously) inspired food. The salt fish fritters were also yummy (I have a problem restricting myself to just one main meal and am regularly tempted by sides).

4. Pieminister

Who is not completely addicted to these? I work on the assumption that most people have tried a wondrous pie from the locally based Pieminister and therefore should not bore you with too much detail.With their wonderful ethos of everything being locally sourced, if you have not tried one then it should be on your list of things to do for the upcoming week. I am a massive fan of the Heidi Pie with minty peas and gravy. Droool… Pies can be bought hot / cold, on there own/ with a variety of sides. They have also recently expanded into the sweet pies – if you have room for a desert πŸ˜‰

5. The Real Olive Company

I don’t like olives and I must have bought food from here approximately 20 – 30 times. The main reason? Their chicken wraps and vine leaves. Mmmmm….. Your key choices are koftas in flat bread (lamb / veg) , wraps or salad boxes. Do not think of your Harvester salad bar here though – think stuffed peppers, couscous, butter beans, red cabbage, etc….. OH and of course a vast variety of olives! Haha! I am yet to try the ‘eat 12 olives and you will love them for life challenge’ (or is it 10? or 8) but one day I will give this aspect ofΒ  The Real Olive Company a go.

6. Italian (I couldn’t see a name…)

With my intolerance to dairy I have so far avoided this place. The temptation to eat cheese would be too great and I would have to spend the rest of the afternoon fighting a dairy induced coma (it makes me incredibly sleepy and face itch – odd reaction I know.) However you will often smell the aroma of their lasagne and garlic bread meal deal, accompanied by a lot of ‘mmmmm’ noises so I can assume this is quite the treat. Also hear they are amazingly good value for the portion sizes you get. Give them a try and please feed back your thoughts! πŸ™‚

AND BACK ALONG THE RIGHT SIDE

7. Juice and Smoothie Bar

The perfect place to go to get that ‘I’m so healthy’ smug look on your face. Here you can choose from a variety of deliciously healthy and freshly made juices and smoothies. Not sure which one to choose? Well luckily they come with little descriptions of what ailment they can help with (energy booster, hangover cure, stopping the dreaded cold and flu, etc.) Extra booster shots of things I can assume the super health drink can also be added or drank alone – anyone brave enough to try a scarily green coloured shot of wheatgrass?

8. Moorish cafe

Transport yourself to the delicious flavours of Morocco! I am yet to actually visit Morocco (it is on the very long list of countries I would need to go to) so for now eating here will have to appease me! Hehe! Snuggle into their cosy seats and enjoy a cup of deliciously spiced mint tea. YUM! Big fan of cous cous and houmous so this place is a particular favourite of mine – I just do not go there enough!

9. Bristol Sausage Shop

Oh the sausage man – providing me with the best comfort food on cold or hangover days! For this I thank you muchly πŸ™‚ A variety of sausages can be chosen from, in a massive baguette or with warming mash and gravy. This place is an absolute must for those having a particularly fragile feeling day!

10. Portuguese Taste

Hidden away and could easily be missed, again I have only tried once. Jogging the memory though – the food was lovely and very tasty! Will return again soon to update this further…watch this space.

11. Grillstock

Cheese has gone 😦 BUT in its place brings the legendary Grillstock bringing is year-round BBQ goods – immense! I am currently addicted to the pulled pork bap – piles of deliciously moist meat in a bap with coleslaw and a choice of sauces. This has recently gone to a whole new level as part of a meal deal that includes a drink and BBQ beans (a concoction of meat, beans, peppers, raisins and BBQ sauce (disclaimer: I do not know the recipe)).

A thing of particular note about St. Nicholas Market: Everyone is incredibly friendly and chatty. I have never had any rude service; in face I would describe them all as positively smiley people that seem incredibly happy to be serving us their favourite types of food! And I am always incredibly happy to eat it. πŸ™‚

They also all take the Bristol Pound! πŸ™‚

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