I’ve been living on the historic (it goes back a few hundred years) Bristol Harbourside for more than a year. Recently it was announced in the ‘papers that this is one of the best places to live in the UK, which would make it pretty good worldwide, in my book, especially in the summer of 2018. I’m still not quite sure I want to live anywhere since my Janet let me go, just a year and a half ago.
Still, as I dodge the bemused tourists, phone zombies – available everywhere – jogger packs, (no, it’s because it’s flat, not because it’s interesting) kamikaze cyclists, bemused + lost tourists; avoiding as far as possible the tedious aquatic activities (frequently ending in fireworks during the summer), I have to admit that living on the old dock does have some charms.
Food is not generally one of those delights (this is still Britain, after all), although there are some exceptions. I haven’t counted the number of places to eat around the harbour, but in a year I have sampled them all, some several times. The nearest to where I live – Baltic Wharf housing estate – is the Cottage Inn. Between me and them is The Baltic Wharf Caravan Park, (those travellers get everywhere – fill in according to prejudice) which is busy all year round, mainly with camper vans, and is a welcome bulwark. The dingy yard is next door. So The Cottage has easy pickings, (tourists and sailors being known for their thirsty ways) which is more than you can say for the food they serve. Take the ‘Beer Battered Fish (not Cod you will observe) n’ Chips. Fine if you enjoy batter and hate fish, you won’t be disappointed, other than with the ‘mushy peas’ which accompany the said batter and semi-frozen chunky-style chips; although they are actually garden peas served in a rusty enamel mug and stirred up with a fork, a bit.
The mash potato is a revelation, any old pots will do it seems whether they are suitable for mash or not, unadorned with herb, milk or butter, dropped onto the plate with all the care of an old-time boatman casting his slop pail into the aforementioned harbour.
Recently, feeling rather thirsty – it is the nearest by several feet – I stopped in for a libation and was informed by the landlord that I would, have to join the queue, over there, mate. Charm personified.
Moving on rapidly past the Harbour Master’s office one arrives at the ‘historic’ – it’s been there a while – Underfall Yard, a small working doc and associate cafe, which is licensed, possibly it’s best feature. Strange, over-sized sandwiches await the wanderer, which is good for the sea birds and pigeons I suppose. A few overpriced metres further on is the Nova Scotia, overlooking the Cumberland Basin locks, sluices and swing bridge. A working pub with a tourist input, the Nova Scotia boasts a chef who enjoys cooking, and a long-standing rather wonderful folk night, Mondays. Food is quite good, especially the cauliflower cheese and the excellent value sirloin steak. Avoid the veal, unless you have your good teeth in.