Monthly Archives: August 2018

A wet Bank Holiday Sunday @ Bunce’s

The tiny cafe at 100 High Street Marlborough has been through various guises as an eatery. Let’s support the current folk – Bunce’s – in making it last. Why? Well, for starters, because the grub is bloody marvelous.

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Bunce’s own photo from

I am slowly working through their attractively limited choice menu. This takes a) discipline because the want to return to a previous dish is strong and b) money. Where the (most excellent) coffee is priced as per’ the food menu is (relatively) expensive.

Context: we are within 30m of a den of guilty pleasures (aka Greggs). 
But then we are also across the road from a Rick Stein's...

Savoury portion sizes are adequate at first sight yet here I am an hour later still sated. Funny creatures the dining public: how come we put up with meh food for a fiver, baulk at nirvana for £7.95 yet splurge £20+ for something no better?

So despite my long pockets, short arms fiscal leaning, indulging in a Bunce’s Mushroom on Toast has made me ever so happy. Especially on a classically British late-August Bank Holiday Sunday. IE: It’s pouring with rain where a belly full’o’food is just the thing. Mushroom on Toast? Really. Yes, really. Eggs and sour cream also joined in, as did parsley. All good quality. Although if I could make such workaday ingredients sing like this I’d never leave my own kitchen, lost in a food-porn dungeon of my own design. (See also their Hash Benedict and Trout on Sourdough.) Congratulations Bunce’s on sticking to a few oh-so-high quality dishes instead of resorting to popty ping cookery.

Don’t take my word for it; give them a whirl. Help them thrive as a classy, friendly, viable, independent, vibrant business. Don’t force them to dumb down, needlessly expand their menu nor accommodate your fussiness go with their minimalist menu and prepare to be delighted.

And I haven’t even mentioned the cakeyness.

Ooooh, the cake.


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Hammams of the world #27: Bristol Lido

#27 in an accidental series of deliberate visits to pools/spas/bathhouses

Brizzle Lido

“Hidden within the residential Georgian streets of Clifton,
our urban retreat is open to the elements, and to everyone, all year round.”

Okay, so it’s got a big – pleasingly retro – LIDO sign outside but you’d not stumble on this place by accident: a hidden gem and no mistake.  The Bristol Lido is, let’s face it, an indulgence, not to be confused with a municipal swimming pool. More than that though, it has a place in the canon of human washeries around the globe: from Istanbul to Reykjavik to Kanazawa. Hammam, Spa, Onsen: it’s all about havin’ a bath in some sense of the word.

The ‘Lido has delicious food and luxurious “treatments”, but since our surname is not Rockerfeller, we opted for the merely eye-watering minimum self-indulgence option*.

How to Lido (as chalked on the board):

  1. Properly wash yourself. The chlorine levels are kept low thanks to this ‘wash naked’ policy and bespoke Lido Spa products in every shower cubicle. (Why does it seem odd to us Brits to wash properly before a dip? Let me know in the comments section.)
  2. Enjoy!

There was a middle step; a forgettable locker procedural.

And there we were, crisp and clean and fresh in the cool pool. We steamed, we sauna’d, we hot tub’d, we swam and we smiled. Juuust enough people to give it an atmosphere whilst still feeling exclusive. Top marks to staff and punters for genteel, collegiate, rubbing-along, grown-up behaviour. (A counterpoint later in the day at the mosh-pit-zombie-feeding-frenzy that is Za Za Bazaar: “Bristol’s finest fixed-price buffet dining restaurant.” Like a scene from the Walking Dead only with limitless “global cuisine” and more screaming kids. Never again.)

It’s 24 hours later and – if I take a moment to breathe deeply and centre myself – the sense of inner smugness of spending a weekday afternoon in a spa is tingly-fresh in my mind. (Nearly 24hours later and I’m still full of all-you-can-cram junk food too.)

Oooh look. Photos.

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*I dropped none-too-subtle hints for a possible Mr & Mrs birthday return for a more splurge laden visit when a big birthday presents an opportunity.

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