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The Panel: Your Favourite Breakfast Cafe?


Steven Lamb, River Cottage 

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I love going out for breakfast – more so than any other meal. My appetite is wide awake in the morning and ready for almost any combination of flavours. My taste buds feel more adventurous and I like the pace at which you can eat, chat, read, drink and eat some more. There seems to be more choice combinations. I wouldn’t think twice about having something hot alongside something cold, smokey with fruity, savoury or sweet. I also think that you take more notice of your surroundings, taking it in with each bite. The possibilities are endless, it could be a roadside café, upmarket hotel or street vendor. But my favourite place for breakfast is a place I have just discovered. It is the Soulshine Café  in Bridport. You walk in to what they call the front room shop which has a counter selling pastries with a long window table in which you can sit and read one of the many unique magazines, journals and indie comics. If you venture towards the back of the café it opens up into a large, light room of designer tables and comfy chairs with a wall of glass separating you from the sun trap garden outside. It has a children’s den underneath the stair recess. The walls are adorned with cool graphic artwork and there is even a small annexe where they grow their own herbs. I’ve recently dropped the coffee for herbal teas and you can get any combination of self-concocted brews which are served on a tea tray with beautiful china cups and funky teapots that pour without dripping. The food is fresh and varied – the staff are into what they are doing. It’s the sort of place that you can stay long enough to warrant asking for the lunch menu.

Lottie Storey, Bristol blogger at Oyster & Pearl  

Lottie Storey

Breakfast with small children is a fraught, bleary-eyed affair: functional, and something to be endured rather than enjoyed. Going out for breakfast, however, is far more civilised, particularly if the brekkie destination of choice happens to be the The Lido in Bristol. The peaceful tranquility of the pool water lapping the sides combined with the hiss of a coffee machine and the chink of a china cup hit just the right buzzy balance for brunch o'clock. Fresh juices or thirst quenching coolers are a good way to begin proceedings, followed by toasted fruit bread, granola with yoghurt and fruit, or sourdough toast with homemade jams. The coffee is always perfect, and there are enough interesting alternatives on the menu to satisfy the uncaffeinated. Watch the swimmers glide through length after length, and before you know it, it'll be time for lunch. In fact, it would be much easier to stay all day.

Laura Campbell, stylist, writer and DJ

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It’s always a treat to go out for breakfast, even if it’s just an almond croissant and barista-made cappuccino. There’s something deliciously decadent and decadently delicious about eating perfectly poached eggs cooked in a place you don’t call home. Of the many cafés I frequent in Bristol - The FarmSpicer + ColePrimrose Café, The Lido, among them, all of which are in Clifton - there’s one I have yet to visit. It has long been mooted as the most popular place to start the day. Lockside which is in a perma-portacabin on the waterfront is something of an institution, having been going since 1963 and the site of Sid’s Café in Only Fools & Horses. It’s best known for serving up delicious French toast with maple syrup and strawberries and quality smoked salmon with scrambled egg and bagels. Bakers & Co on the Gloucester Road is another busy local favourite. How about kicking off the day with banana & cinnamon loaf with maple butter or sourdough toast, salted chocolate spread with fennel seeds & hazelnuts? Deeper into the heart of the SW, I like The Curator’s Café at the bottom end of Totnes high street. The Italian boys who run it serve up the tastiest coffee in the ‘hood which is accompanied by melt-in-the-mouth homemade cake. Down the road, away from the urban buzz in an extremely tranquil location is one of the nicest cafés I know. Tucked away by a river and a steam train (which chuffs by and will take you from Totnes almost to the door) is the Staverton Bridge Nursery Café where you get to sit at mismatched wooden tables in garden sheds, summerhouses or in among the pots, plants and greenhouses. It’s heaven and the food, all local and served on vintage china, is up there with it.

Pearl Lowe, designer

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I head to the Garden Cafe in Frome whenever I can. I love this place, it's like an oasis, an organic, vegetarian cafe with a garden at the back. They grown their own vegetables and sell amazing artisan bread. I love John, the owner, he's such a sweetheart and I always have a soya latte and some of their incredible wheat-free pancakes. There's nowhere better for breakfast. ​

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