Bristol has made quite a name for itself in the ethical eating stakes; with restaurants from our fair city winning “Best Ethical Restaurant” at the Observer Food Monthly Awards over the last few years. Among those that have been recognised for making some outstanding efforts is Poco on Stokes Croft. Reading their story, you can quickly understand why they won the award: they use local suppliers and growers for 90% of their ingredients; recycle 95% of their waste (working towards a zero waste policy) and ensure all fish is sustainably caught. Impressive.
The key thing to know about Poco though is that their food and drink offerings are epic. Having ventured there a few times now (when I make it over to the other side of town) my favourite experience began with a casual catch up with a cocktail which turned into an afternoon of working our way through the gin options on the cocktail menu and grazing on items from their tapas menu. Spontaneous evenings are always the best!
The menu changes depending on the time of day, and also with the seasons. My tip is to go with people who love to share food and try as much as you possibly can (I once had brunch followed by sharing some tapas for pudding. That was a good day). Here are a few of my favourites:
The tapas menu is inspired by tastes from their travels, but with a British twist. The great thing for me is they always seem to have Rachel goats cheese on the menu: one of my favourite cheese options ever. You also need to try their saddleback chorizo in red wine (combining some of my favourite things in life) and the fava bean hummus with crusty pieces of sourdough to dip in. Delicious! Note, the full menu is only offer from 6pm, but a selection of tapas are available at lunchtime.
For me, there is very little that tops going out for brunch on a weekend. Sitting with the weekend papers, a coffee and some sort of dish based around pork and eggs…Bliss. At Poco you could opt for a lighter option of homemade granola and yoghurt; but who is going to do that when there are options such as Moroccan scramble: spicy chorizo sausages with scrambled egg and harissa (for that extra kick) on crunchy sourdough. This is pretty beautiful.
To top off the experience, they also have four types of bloody mary, ranging from the classic, or try with Beetroot or Oyster. I am a big fan of a weekend bloody mary (even if it is a momentary pain release, it makes a hangover feel so much better). This time I went a little off-piste and tried the Beetroot version: a lighter and more refreshing option and packed with antioxidants this is practically a health drink!
One of the best thing about the cocktails for me is that they are naturally sweetened . No refined sugar means that I can sit and drink the majority of their cocktails all day long. (I am not meant to eat sugar – it is not because I am health obsessed). It also means they are healthier…right? We managed to work our way through most of the gin based cocktails in an afternoon; some of the favourites included:
- Thyme lady Garden: Thyme gin, forced rhubarb, amalfi lemon and egg white. This is dangerously light, you can sup it down too easily.
- Rosemary Gin Fizz: Boxer gin, amalfi lemon, rosemary and soda. I have recently recreated this at home, it is so refreshing. The perfect summer drink.