BOSTON TEA PARTY, BRISTOL

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The uninitiated could be forgiven for thinking that Boston Tea Party is a pop-in, sandwich shop but the airy upper floor and the secret garden tucked away at the back make this lovely restaurant a worthy destination even amid fierce, foodie competition.

I had never visited Bristol before but high praise all round from those who have meant I was pretty excited. It’s a beautiful higgledy-piggledy mish mash of off-beat and classic architecture set straddling the….. If we’re talking food, I suppose you could say the scene is similar; Age-old taverns neighbour ramen joints, seafood restaurants front bento bars. Take your pick. You can mix and match to your heart’s content, and that’s precisely what we did.

Sometimes it’s only when wandering the hills and backstreets with no definitive destination that you stumble across a gem and we lucked out with Boston Tea Party.

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What is clear upon stepping across the beautifully-tiled threshold is that you’re in for good food. The open-fronted fridge with drinks and pre-prepared sarnies may be reminiscent of a Costa or Starbucks but there’s no confusing the contents with the sorry sandwiches in such places. At Boston tea party they bulge with tasty fresh fillings the likes of smoked salmon and chorizo. Their enticing counter is a wonderland of thickly-frosted tray-bakes and appealing patisserie.

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If you can resist snaffling a croissant for long enough to have a peruse of the breakfast menu then you can pick from an array of dishes all boasting some classy credentials; free-range, line caught, organic, it ticks lots of sustainability boxes.

No surprise I opted for a steaming bowl of soy porridge topped with roasted nuts and compote. If I had one quarm, the Porridge itself, was a tad heavy but the toppings were fabulous. The aroma of roasted hazelnuts was a welcome surprise. It’s not often you can tell they’re freshly toasted but it made the world of difference, as did the tart cranberries in the compote which was a lovely deviation from the super-sweet berry kind (I do love that too).

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Clacking cutlery and satisfied noises bore testament to the fact that the chorizo hash was a runaway success. The mushrooms, I’m assured, were particularly good and the eggs, poached perfectly.

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The price tag is a bonus – I’m reminded how inflated my expectations have become living in London. The only hint that this place is part of a wider chain is the slickness of the operation which, when you’re waiting with a rumbly tummy for your breakfast, is the icing on the cake. Chain has become something of a dirty word of late with food snobbery on the up but to dismiss Boston Tea Party on such grounds is short sighted. Their mission statement holds sacred independent spirit and our experience suggests this is very much alive.

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