Food trends can have a pretty divisive effect, typically splitting those of us who notice their ebbs and flows into two camps. For some, a food trend is a faddy waste of time, often dismissed as more style than substance, more waste-of-time than damn-that’s-fine. For others, food trends can be a fabulous way to discover and scoff even more delicious food than normal, often from the many incredible, independent pop-ups which bloom and flourish in abundance in a city like Bristol.
Well, there’s no prizes for guessing which camp Wriggle stands with. A dedicated gang of guzzling, greedy gannets, we bloody love a food trend. Whilst you certainly won’t catch us slaving for hours to create those perfectly iced cupcakes that look deceptively like succulents (just why?), or waking up early to prepare an immaculately presented, oh-so-instagrammable smoothie bowl, we here at Wriggle HQ love nothing more than eating our way through the results of a properly tasty ‘food trend’. These trends encourage culinary creativity, allowing a city which already spoils us with its excellent, varied food to continue exciting and delighting with new and delicious treats. What’s not to love?
So, let’s take a look at the some of the amazing food and drink trends that rocked Bristol in 2017, and the places that did them best.
Let’s start with a big one, shall we? You probably don’t need us to tell you that burgers were EVERYWHERE this year in Bristol. Like, literally everywhere. These days, you can barely walk five metres in our fair city before a wonderful, towering stack of succulent deliciousness, extravagant sauces and outrageous garnishes, all sandwiched between glossy, brioche buns is calling your name, summoning you in off the streets with its siren call of ‘EAT ME, EAT ME!’ Some places really upped the ante, though, raising the Bristol burger game to a whole new level. Particular Wriggle favourites included Asado (Colston Street), Smoke & Glaze @ Pipe & Slippers (Cheltenham Road), Oowee Diner (Picton Street), Squeezed (Wapping Wharf), and many, many more. The burger trend shows no signs of dying down, and we couldn't be happier about it.
We don’t always wanna stuff our faces with fistfuls of juicy burger goodness, though. Sometimes, we want to indulge in our delusions of grandeur, and enjoy something rather more sophisticated. Cue the espresso martini, the best caffeinated cocktail in the world. Our more sophisticated friends over in the Big Smoke may have been drinking them for years, but it’s taken a while for the trend to float its way down the River Avon into Bristol. Luckily, 2017 was the year of the espresso martini, with To The Moon and Little Victories leading the charge. We are delighted to see that Little Victories are even including their fabulous espresso martini in their New Year's Eve event - we're hoping that this means our fave cocktail will carry on trending into 2018.
We know, we know: we talk about Sunday roasts a lot. And we're not trying to imply that the Sunday roast is a 'trend', as such - it's obv a timeless classic, beloved by generation after generation. But the thing is, in Bristol, there's been a lot to talk about on the subject this year, so we're keeping it in this list, thank you very much. Whether it's Steam's dreamy combination of bottomless booze and Sunday lunch over on Whiteladies Road, Broken Dock's amazing roast platter for two to share against the backdrop of an incredibly picturesque waterfront setting down on the harbourside, or the excellent Robin Hood roast, over at St Michael's Hill (featuring the best goddamn cauliflower cheese we've ever sampled), Sundays in Bristol were quite simply made for roastin'. We recommend spending the next couple of months working your way through our low-down of the best roasts around. Winter is coming, and the night is dark and full of roasts.
Sunday roast extravaganza for two down at Broken Dock.
Not so much of a trend, but more of an ever-evolving constant in the lives of all good Bristolian foodies, is that wonderful weekend phenomenon, the hybrid meal that we call brunch. We don't like to get too hung up on the technicalities of what defines 'brunch' - essentially, here at Wriggle 'brunch' simply means anything that you eat before the evening. What we do like, though, is how our city really turned up the heat on creativity, variety, taste and style this year. From At The Well (Cheltenham Road), a fully functional laundrette that serves the most beautiful waffles and coffee, to the Australian-inspired, ever-so-picturesque Ceres cafe in Stokes Croft, to Pipal Tree (Easton) and their incredible Punjabi-British brunch fusion dishes, one thing you can be sure of in Bristol is that when it comes to brunchin', you won't be short of tasty, unique places to indulge.
There are so many different styles of brunch in Bristol, too: whether you want a riotous, raucous bottomless booze-filled brunch at Steam, or a quiet, cosy morning of you-time in our favourite newcomer, the effortlessly chic and beautiful East Village Café over on Boyce's Avenue, Clifton, with its luscious veggie and vegan offerings of cardamom and orange French toast, shakshouka, and savoury corn and quinoa waffles, Bristol has something for everyone. Our city has been serving us trendy brunch realness all year, and this is one food trend that we hope never dies.
If there's one trend that really took off in Bristol this year, it's melty, oozy, creamy, delicious mac'n'cheese. You might have spied our video of the cheesiest cheese dishes in Bristol a while back, and the dish that seemed to tickle your collective fancies the most was unquestionably The Urban Standard's incredible mac'n'cheese. We can't blame you - this soft, creamy comfort food is like getting a hug off your oldest friend - it's reassuring, it's warm, and it's just the best thing ever. The Urban Standard guys take mac'n'cheese very seriously, paying homage to the fromage each Wednesday night, when they dish out the cheesiest, meltiest plates of the good stuff. We particularly love the classic truffled mac'n'cheese, but we're also quite partial to the dirty mac. Beat hump-day this week by setting aside your Wednesday night for the best midweek munch around. Yum.
The crispy, crunchy, tactile taste sensation that are tacos have also been rocking our Bristolian food world this year. Antojitos @ The Love Inn led the pack, serving up the flavours of Mexico to the streets of Stokes Croft. We here at Wriggle HQ went particularly loco for the panko and spice dusted shrimp taco, but they were all bloody lovely. Feeling tempted? Fret not, young Wriggler, because you too can still try out this tasty trend for yourself. Bag yourself a Wriggle code here, then taco yourself on over to Love Inn and enjoy. You're welcome.
The Plumed Serpent have also taken up residence at Small Bar, where they are dishing out some proper Mexican street food realness. We absolutely adore their deep-fried fish offering, but to be honest, it's all lush. Try it for yourself here and here.
I mean, just look at it!
You may have spotted our article about the best Bristolian donuts a while back on the Wriggle magazine, and we don’t want to labour the point too much, but we couldn’t really talk about Bristol food trends without mentioning these stodgy, sugary delights. We don't know exactly what it is that's made our city go so nuts for the (do)nuts this year, and we don't quite know how to handle the fact because of the trend, we're all ending 2017 with an extra belly roll (itself vaguely reminiscent of a donut), but we do know that we love these circular sweet treats. So, in the guise of a conclusion to our round-up of our fave trends of the year, we’ll just leave you with a few pictures of our favourite deep-filled delights.
Pinkmans Bakery - don't miss the sticky toffee pudding flavour one.
Donuts, we gotta hole lotta love for you.