In a landscape seemingly dominated by Costa and Starbucks, it’s always good to see independently-owned coffee shops opening up in Bristol. Carla Swift’s Spicer And Cole is one such new venue, which opened on Queen Square Avenue in July 2012.
Remnants of the old The Avenue brand could still be seen on the windows when we visited, but the new look of the venue has given the place a contemporary, relaxed feel that is underpinned by great food and drink.
The cafe, on the corner of Welsh Back and Queen Square Avenue, has a modern, slightly industrial feel with exposed metalwork, low hung lighting and a mix of wooden tables and chairs and more comfortable seating areas.
The long white counter hosts a tantalising display of sandwiches, salads, pastries and other sweet treats, while the wall behind it, covered in blackboard paint, details the hot drinks available and the price of various food options to eat in or take away.
It’s good to see local brands being represented, with soft drinks from Barrow Gurney-based Lovely Drinks, six varieties of Lahloo Tea and various coffee options from Extract priced at between £1.95 and £2.75.
Those wanting to head in for breakfast (they’re open from 7.30am till 4.30pm on weekdays, and from 9am – 4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday) can enjoy a sausage bap or bacon buttie (both £3.25) or choose from a range of pastries.
Both of my visits so far have been on lunch breaks from work, when I’ve enjoyed sandwiches from their varied selection, all priced at between £3 and £4.50. On my first visit, grilled veg and goats’ cheese on ciabatta, on my second, a smoked salmon, cream cheese and rocket bagel – both perfectly tasty, the one minor complaint being that the bagel had started to become a little stale on the outside after being left uncovered.
Lunchtime diners can also enjoy a slice of tart or frittata with a mix of salads for £5.95 (£5.20 to take away), or a salad plate for £4.50/£4.20. The soup of the day was tomato and basil on the day of our first visit – a huge portion deemed to be satisfying and well seasoned by my lunch partner.
Sweet-toothed visitors have a vast amount of choice available, including cookies, brownies, flapjacks, polenta cake and more, all priced at between £1.50 and £2. The blueberry crumble muffins were particularly tempting on my second visit…
With so many office buildings in the area, the cafe has seemed to be doing pretty well on the day of both of my visits. Judging by conversations I’ve seen and been involved in on Twitter, it seems that Spicer And Cole has already built up a bunch of regulars, and I’m not surprised. It’s a great little hub in which to relax during a busy day at work – and the food and drink’s not bad either. Recommended.