Girl in Bristol reports on her first lunch at Workhouse Cafe at the bottom of St. Michael’s Hill …
You know that place at the foot of St. Michaels Hill?
The one with the chalkboard looking exterior?
Well after walking past it every day on my way home from work, I finally found the time to venture in on a sunny Monday afternoon. And mate, the Bristol foodie gang weren’t wrong when they started hooting about how good this place is …
The Workhouse Café are pretty minimalistic. Their décor, keeping things cosy inside with just a handful of tables and some stool seats which are placed by the windows for those who enjoy a bit of people watching (i.e. everyone). Although having said that, the bar does give the café a quirky edge. The long row of animal figurines lining the very top of the bar and the various shelves decked with bottled beer, fruit and a tiny bit of a tree branch, giving each customer something to gaze at as the sip their coffee.
Given the size of Workhouse, they have a rather extensive menu. On the drinks front, they have over 20 types of tea alongside the standard coffee choices which are sourced by Clifton Coffee Roasters. There are also eight types of hot chocolate to choose from (my favourite beverage for this time of year) and a mouth-watering selection of smoothies which vary between fruit, yoghurt or ice cream based options, all £4 a glass. I finally settled on the matcha and ginger white hot chocolate (£2.90) whilst my companion went for a good ol’ English breakfast tea (£2). I’ll admit it was weird to be handed a green hot chocolate – but it did taste frikkin’ awesome and sweet.
The food menu is also just as diverse. Divided into breakfast and lunch options, Workhouse serve the full works for breakfast if you’re feeling ravenous. Their full breakfast (which also has a veggie option) comprising of free range meat alongside the usual trimmings (£8/ 7.50). There are also eggs on the menu which come anyway you like them – poached, scrambled, fried or with hollandaise sauce.
As we arrived around 1pm, we were swayed by the delicious homemade sarnies which were sitting in the glass cabinet below the bar, all labelled from 1 – 4 which made ordering much easier. My companion went for the free-range roast chicken baguette which was filled with homemade BBQ sauce, mango, spinach and honey dressed red cabbage (£4.40). I chose the roast cauliflower, rocket, halloumi and hazelnut dukkah grilled panini (£5.50).
Whilst we did get a glimpse of our upcoming sarnies beforehand, we weren’t quite expecting the monsters that came to our table. Crammed full with delicious ingredients, most sourced from Workhouse’s own allotment, our sourdough wrapped sandwiches were substantial enough to fill us up until the late hours of that day. I’m not even kidding. The sauces ensured the sarnies were moist and tasty and we were pleased to see the chicken in the baguette was the proper ‘off the bone’ stuff and not some wafer-thin measly alternative. And, whilst I’ll happily devour anything with halloumi in it, the combination of textures and flavours in my panini made for an immensely pleasurable lunchtime experience. After munching down the first half I was feeling pretty full but I still have never been so sad to see an empty plate. Of course, if you’re not much of a sandwich person there are also soups and stews available to warm you up.
Whilst the cakes on the bar did look scrumptious, we couldn’t quite find the room on this occasion. Although, I’m not at all worried because I know Workhouse is definitely somewhere I’ll be revising, save for the fact it’s only a ten minute walk away from my house. Score!
With friendly baristas and a chilled out atmosphere, despite the number of people passing through, I highly recommend Workhouse café. It’s decent in price and the food is of sterling quality. Be sure that next time you’re on Perry street, you don’t miss this real gem on the corner.
Perry Road, Bristol, Avon BS1 5BG