“ Cuisine: cafe / Location: Baldwins, 4 Baldwin Street, Bristol, Avon BS1 1RU „
We came here for breakfast having walked out of another restaurant with trendier aspirations. The staff were friendly and helpful - here we were made to feel that our custom was wanted. There was no problem moving tables to accommodate our large party. The food was quick, hot and well cooked. There was a choice of wholemeal etc. Overall, excellent value for money - much cheaper than the previous place, even though the food was better and more plentiful.
Yet another coffee shop has sprung up in Bristol, there is a whole plethora of them in the Centre as if people had nothing better to do then sit drinking coffee all day.
Baldwins is the newest coffee shop to sit in this particular spot. Visits to its predecessor, the Three Cooks, encountered high prices, awful staff and not very palatable food, culminating in a visit where a friend had to brush the mud off her jacket potato before eating it.
Well, its had a bit of a makeover now, you can see in the windows instead of encountering a huge ugly fridge. And a coffee machine! The Three Cooks did indeed tout itself as a coffee shop without something so earth shatteringley basic as a coffee machine.
And Baldwins have cottoned on to something! Nowhere in the surrounding area can you get a good old-fashioned English breakfast. Muffins and Danish certainly but not a good old-fashioned bacon butty.
On the day I went in practically everyone seemed to be ordering something bacon or sausage related. I like the way they arrange their breakfasts, you can have a 5,7 or 9 piece breakfast costing up to £4.39. I get fed up with ordering a full breakfast but with no beans or tomatos but an extra sausage please.
You choose exactly what you want. I though 5 sausages with 2 helpings of scrambled eggs was a bit excessive though, so I had a mix of sausage, bacon, egg, hash browns and mushrooms.
It was a nice breakfast though. The bacon was beginning to suffer a little from being on the hotplate for a little too long, but wasn't yet like cardboard. Sausages were nice as were the fresh scrambled eggs, hash browns and mushrooms (which there wasn't enough of) Lets get one thing clear, it was not healthy! The bacon and sausages may have been cooked in the oven instead of being fried, but they were still greasy, the mushrooms and hash browns were also fried. I suppose I could have had scrambled eggs and beans on wholewheat bread but what the heck! OOh and they actually have tomato sauce in bottles rather than those squeezy little packets that make a mess all over your fingers!
In some ways I wish I'd had the bacon sandwich my partner was chomping on. Hand cut crusty bread with real butter, plenty of bacon with fried mushrooms was almost making me drool. It looked and apparently tasted fabulous.
But breakfast aren't the only thing they do, they have a selection of pasties and savoury slices, of course panninis with all the fillings and baguettes with various fillings. The baguettes are cooked in store which means they vie for smell space with the sausages.
They have an extremely small selection of cakes,muffins, iced danishs, the sort of thing you have with a coffee. The majority of cakes, pasties and slices are cooked instore so nice and fresh.
I don't think Baldwins is there for the tourists or coffee shop crowds, there's no squishy sofas or the Independent to read. Its wooden sturdy furniture and the tabloid red tops. Thankfully they havent gone as far as those horrible old fashioned red and white lino like tableclothes. They also open at 7am, perfect to catch the construction workers on their way to building another monstrous block of apartments.
They also have an excellent offer at the moment, a mere £2.99 for a bacon baguette and a drink, including a super duper funky latte from the posh machine or just a bottle of orange juice. The prices are most definitely on the low side for the area where it can be £2 for just a coffee, speaking to the manager she said that trade had more than doubled over the first month. They do get horribly busy at lunchtimes, its a case of grab a seat before ordering, the staff are quick and efficient, clearing the tables constantly. I hope the success continues and I'm sure it will. Fingers crossed that it doesn't become bigger than it can handle as there's a bacon and mushroom sandwich with my name on it.