I was steadily losing hope. The Harbourside area of Bristol has plenty of places to eat, but it seems that most of them are of no use to you unless you like pork and you like it pulled. (As an aside, there is a vegan pulled pork alternative made from Jackfruit. Doesn’t sound promising I know, but it tastes like the real thing, honest.)
So, stomach rumbling, I was passing the chain pubs and restaurants where the best I could hope for was a disappointing salad, when I happened across No 1 Harbourside, which not only had vegan options as part of its main menu, but vegan beer too! I’d hit the jackpot.
The picnic-style benches outside had all different decorations, one with chess boards and snakes and ladders, another with some kind of emperor in glorious robes. The huge indoor space was welcoming, despite its size and had plenty of interesting decor to gaze at while waiting on your food to arrive. A sizeable collection of books was in one corner, striped pillars and fun blackboards elsewhere.
One of the blackboards outlined the restaurant’s commitment to sourcing produce locally and even had a map drawn out. The bar area itself seemed packed with liquid options and inviting bar stools were there for anyone just popping in for a quick drink.
Particularly luxurious for me were the beers and ales on tap that specified quite clearly that they were vegan, and they were all from different breweries too. No more guesswork as you hesitate to give a local brewery beer a try. The ‘Spun Gold’ and ‘Funky Monkey’ caught my eye, but I could not go past trying the ‘Why Kick a Moo Cow’ pale ale, as I have family connections to New Zealand. It was a cloudy, pleasant ale that I happily sat on for an hour or so.
In each category of food there seemed to be at least one gluten free choice as well, so I was impressed that they seemed to be catering to a wide range of culinary requirements. Vegan options when I was there included: Lentil and quinoa BB ‘meatballs’ on toasted ciabatta, sweet miso slaw, Severn project salad; Farinata, carrots with cashew dip, pickled vegetables, hummus and fava tagine; Spiced potato fruit and nut brik pastry, dukkah salad, rhubarb and beetroot chutney and (what I ordered) Orzo pasta salad, summer radish, red onion and chilli, pesto and nut crumble.
I also ordered a side of Jersey royal potatoes which, although they came with butter on the menu, were very easily veganised, with no fuss.
I absolutely adored the food. Every mouthful was bursting with flavour. With vegans having to compromise so much when eating out sometimes, this was a blissful experience. I devoured the lot, which is not to say I didn’t savour it. With no room left for a dessert, I didn’t enquire after one, so can’t tell you if there were vegan options there too.
The staff were very friendly but left me alone to read and eat and just generally take the place in.