The first word that springs to mind when describing the Primrose Café in Clifton, is established. The young, old, men in Lycra (a common sight in Bristol), women in active wear- showing no sign of exertion (becoming a common sight in Bristol) and families all congregate here for a single purpose. Brunch. I admit, it does also have an extensive lunch menu, but here, the breakfasts and brunches reign supreme.
“piled high with chunks of ripe, verdant avocado”
The interior reminds one of a countryside kitchen tumbled with a coffee shop- tucked away in the heart of the Cotswolds, or Yorkshire, or anywhere really with a vast expanse of countryside. The stairs, chairs and tables are all rickety. Not through poor upkeep but through love, the wearing away of something that happens only through extreme over use. The queues are long here for a table.
Looking at the cake selection alone is enough to add an inch to one’s waist. They echo the countryside décor, and undoubtedly a few will be family recipes handed down. No soggy bottoms here, though they are not beautiful works of art either, no ludicrous towers of spun sugar. They are as cakes should be, homemade, warm and inviting.
Today though, we are not here for cake. We find a table (eventually) and build our nest. I opt for the smashed avocado and poached egg on sourdough toast. Please don’t accuse me of being ‘2015’, I happen to quite like the combination.
It arrives, conversely to the cake selection- an absolute work of art, and as the photograph shows, Instagram ready. A cross of toasted sourdough piled high with chunks of ripe, verdant avocado, a handful of crumbled goat’s cheese and a scattering of harissa spiked cherry tomatoes. All topped with a near perfect poached egg. I break into the egg and the yolk is lustrous, enchanting. A rich, deep sunburst yellow and an orange gleam at the edges.
Missing the vital component of ground black pepper I quickly remedy this with a few cranks of the mill found on the table. I love to see salt and pepper mills on tables. I admire a chef who understands they don’t know everyone’s seasoning preferences and tastes better than we do ourselves. And I dig in. The toast, egg and cheese are faultless, though I would be worried if one mucked up toast. The tomatoes lacked the harissa kick I’d been hoping for, and sadly the avocado was fridge cold. A sin perhaps, I prefer mine at room temperature. The brunch quickly disappears without much issue.
I leave on the whole feeling satisfied and well looked after. I can live with refrigerated avocado, it’s a bustling place.
1, Clifton Arcade