My home town Bristol is building the coffee scene nicely with a couple of coffee roasters – Extract and Roasted Rituals to name a couple. I don't get back as often as I should and when I do it is often a brief catching up with family and friends. I have been freeing up more time recently and going on excursions, I have really enjoyed going to different places and experiencing what is happening in the specialty coffee world and how it is changing and developing. People fascinate me and this is a great way to test different coffee, see how the place works, what they offer and meet different people.
So, I only had a quick hour but managed to stop at two centrally – The Crazy Fox and Small St. Espresso.
I started at The Crazy Fox. An independent open since 2014, more recently expanded their food offering by the looks of it looking around their website and social media with fresh salads and food offering increasing but kept fresh and looking delicious. I turned up Saturday morning and started with a Piccolo. I am unsure if the coffee is by Roasted Rituals, Full Court Press both I have seen mentioned in the social media sites, or someone else. I should also ask more questions! Apologies for lack of detail – MUST TRY HARDER… What I can confidently tell you is, it was delicious.
The coffee shot was pulled with care – the flavour was vibrant and bright with orange fruit notes on a sweet milk chocolate base. The milk was stretched nicely with a good micro-foam to compliment and finish off the coffee. It was so good I ordered another plus a little sausage butter muffin. The second was as consistently good as the first coffee, a slightly prettier pattern and the milk slightly more silky.
The coffee bar overall had a great relaxed feel, welcoming and warm. The staff were attentive and knowledgeable. I would like to visit at busier times and when other food is out to try everything served. I love food – a Labrador at heart myself. Speaking of which, Cooper also enjoyed it. He is very different to when at Coopers. He is more excited initially and wanting to check everything out – which is why he stays on the lead. It’s only Coopers he is free as he is so used to it and knows where he can go. He was well received and very welcomed. So very much a dog-friendly place which is always useful for us.
Would I recommend? For sure. One of the best coffees I’ve had out and about generally.
The Crazy Fox
Address: 34 - 36 The Arcade, Bristol BS1 3JD
Phone: 07939 574153
Next stop I popped to Small St. Espresso. Quite different in feel, it is more hip and industrial in feel. Warm and welcoming even with Cooper taking up a fair bit of space as it is a fairly small coffee shop, but it’s adorable.
Here their house roast by Clifton Coffee is served. Tasty and hit the spot even being the third in pretty short succession. My slight uncertainty is whether it's the coffee, the barista skills or machine (which I really like and we use at Riverlight in Bourne End Marina - La Marzocco FB80),that holds it back from jumping out at me as top choice coffee purely in comparison to other specialty coffees I’ve tried. It could be purely down to my palate as they seemed to care and extract the shot properly. It was more of the darker chocolate cocoa flavour with dark caramel praline notes. A very good coffee but I am personally really drawn to those with a bright fruit tone as well.
I took some cakes from here – locally made. This was because I ran out of time to make pud for the Sunday lunch – a big reason I was heading home was to make a roast Lamb Sunday lunch for the family. I wanted to make dessert too, but had no time. I bought 4 cakes from this lovely little place so I could chop them up and each have a taste of them all.
The chocolate brownie: fudgy, gooey and very rich. Yum. Lemon & Pistachio gluten free slice: Great zesty flavour. Pecan pie tarte: full of caramel pecan nuttiness. Finally Bakewell slice: Delish, great balance of sponge, jam and one of my fave flavours… Almond. All were tasty and it depends on what you normally love, or like me what you fancy at the time. As I love nearly all food types. These were also worth the visit!
I will go back and try it again and definitely recommend it if you are near and prefer this type of slightly ‘deeper’ flavoured coffee.
23 Small Street, Bristol, BS1 1DW
If you have anywhere you love and recommend I'm all ears.
Over & out, for now.
James & Coops