Sunday, 14 March 2010

Café on the Square, Grove Avenue, Bristol

Internal and external shots of the Café on the Square, Grove Avenue, Bristol.

The Café on the Square in Grove Avenue, Bristol is a fantastic place for the simple reason that it has that added something that elevates its status from 'caff' to small restaurant – although it is not open at night. I liked the place the moment I peered through the window and noticed the brightly coloured tablecloths – they were enough to draw me inside where I found a friendly environment and helpful staff too.

Another good thing about this place was that it took credit cards, unlike most places of this sort. It would have been even better, of course, if I hadn't lost my credit card – or rather I had, unknowingly at the moment I entered the restaurant, left it on the floor in my hotel room. Naturally, as soon as I had confirmed that I could pay by card, I started to fumble around in my wallet to find it, only to discover (after emptying all my pockets and turning my wallet inside out) that I didn't have it. I began to panic, ordered my food anyway and paid cash and then sat there fretting.

I won't bore you with all the details, but it turned out that I had inadvertently left it on the floor in my hotel room – all was right with the world again, but it still managed to ruin my meal at the café – Napoli chicken in a rich savoury tomato and basil sauce with red onions and peppers (£5.25) – plus a cup of tea for £1. The total bill was £6.25.

Blackboards on the wall offered grilled paninis (£3.90); a range of home-made pasta dishes (£5.25); jacket potatoes (£3.80 to £5.25); full English breakfast (£5.50); a vegetarian breakast and a Mega breakfast (£5.50 and £6.50 respectively). There were some interesting specials too: chicken rogan josh at £5.50, a home-made beefburger (£5.25) and field mushrooms stuffed with goat's cheese (£4.90).

Oddly, the café sold a range of 'gourmet' potato chips (or crisps) rather than just one variety. Customers have the choice between Real, Tyrell's and Kettle – what is known in the potato processing industry as 'gourmet' potato chips as opposed to more standard products from the bigger brand names we all know and love.

Fortunately, I left the café more elated than when I walked in; my credit card was safe and all I had to do was walk back to the hotel to retrieve it; this done I headed for Templemeads and a train to Liverpool Lime Street via Birmingham New Street.

Café on the Square is well worth a visit if you happen to be in Bristol, not only because of the excellent food but also the friendly staff and the pleasant environment.

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