Girl in Bristol visits Souk Kitchen’s new venue on Apsley Road for a Middle-Eastern style breakfast … 

Most Sundays, we face the same conundrum when rolling out of bed in the morning.

Am I hungry? If so, can I be bothered to do anything about it? Where is the closest pitstop? Is it worth the effort of moving to get there?

Chances are if a brunch-serving restaurant are worth their salt, they are worth waking up for. And, having heard great things about Souk Kitchen, I went with a friend to Souk Kitchen’s Clifton branch at the ghastly time of 10am. Her suggestion. She’s one of those early birds.

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Souk Kitchen are not your average brunch/ tapas serving joint, boasting large English breakfasts and every kind of eggs on toast. Rather, they serve a more exotic Middle Eastern menu which covers everything from Shakshouka to courgette, cheese fritters and Morrocan chilli jam breakfasts. Although there is a more familiar ‘local’ option which is basically an English fry up but with sautéed potatoes for those who prefer to stick to what they know.

The décor is pleasingly bright and open. A large foyer based at the front of the venue is simply decorated with exposed light bulbs, wooden panelled flooring and an exposed brick wall at the back. The inner part of the venue is much darker with Middle Eastern themes visible in the brightly coloured murals which lurk behind some cushioned bench seating. There’s also the odd plant dotted about which gives the place a nice ‘earthy’ touch.

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One thing I noticed quickly when receiving Souk Kitchen’s menu is how reasonably priced everything is. Nowadays, it is rare to have a proper cooked breakfast and a coffee which is less than a tenner. At Souk Kitchen you can get a HUGE cappuccino (£2) and a plate of their trademark dish, Shakshouka (5.70) for £8 which in my books, is pretty good. Although you do have to pay extra for extra feta, spinach or merguez sausage. We both went for the Shakshouka (without extras) which comprised of eggs baked in a tomato sauce with peppers, onions and other spices, served with warm herby flatbread. It arrived in a rustic black saucepan with the flatbread served on the side to scoop up those remaining juices.

I’ll admit, when the dish arrived 20 minutes later, I was a little disappointed. Though beautifully presented, I was expecting a dish which was bursting with flavour from the Middle Eastern spices used. What I got was, basically, baked eggs surrounded by a mound of chopped tomatoes which required a lot of salt and pepper to give it more taste. Admittedly I didn’t have the extra merguez sausage which everyone said I should have. The flatbread on the other hand, was well seasoned and perfectly baked.

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Souk Kitchen has had a wealth of good reviews, so I am keen to give them another go. And next time, I’ll definitely be doing it properly and ordering all the Shakshouka extras!

SOUKITCHEN Café and Supplies, Apsley Road, Clifton

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