The Kitchen, Silver Street: Review

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The Kitchen - Exterior


The Kitchen, located within the old fire station on the city centre’s Silver Street, has been open for a while now – but with a recent revamp and a change in their food offering, what better reason to head in for a midweek lunch?

This “ethical cafeteria” has become a popular haunt, not only thanks to its varied and affordable meal options, but also because of its commitment to providing volunteering opportunities, training and employment for young people who have faced difficulties in life.

There’s also a focus on local suppliers, with the likes of Extract Coffee, Pukka, The Severn Project, East Bristol Bakery and others all name-checked on the regularly changing menu.

It was pretty busy in there on the lunchtime of my visit: some customers dining from the lunch menu, others having a coffee with friends and some popping in to buy food and drink to take away. If you’re looking to somewhere relaxing to sit and eat, The Kitchen is a great choice: its blend of industrial styling and retro shabby chic give the place a laid back vibe. The huge fire station windows let in plenty of natural light, while seating comes in many guises: long tables with mismatched chairs, old frayed armchairs and low tables, and cosier tables for two.

It’s clear that children are more than welcome, with a big basket of toys in one corner near the counter, and a stack of highchairs too.

Since my last visit, the refurb has meant that the counter has grown in length, meaning that The Kitchen’s food offerings are all out on display and it’s easy to see your choices. Not so easy to see, though, is the menu, which is scrawled on tiles on one side of the counter: standing there to browse the menu meant that I felt like I was disturbing the customers seated at the table right next to it.


The Kitchen - Counter 1


Gone are the burgers and falafels from The Kitchen’s previous menu: instead, you’ll find a selection of three different salads (order all three for £4.25), two different sandwich options, along with a choice of a meaty or a vegetarian hot main course. You’ll also find a choice of four “light lunches”, including tarts, pizzas, soup and frittata, which change on a regular basis – along with a choice of chips (£2.50), cheesy chips (£3.50) or Pipers Farm crisps for those wanting something extra. With lunch options ranging from around £4 to £7, it’s a pretty affordable option for those looking for something more than a standard sandwich.

What I didn’t like was the fact that the salads, tarts, pizzas and frittatas were left uncovered within such easy public reach, though – from a hygiene point of view, I don’t agree with this at all. I’m not denying that they looked beautiful, though – and it made it easy to see what you were actually ordering.


The Kitchen - Counter 2


There’s also a wide variety of cakes and traybakes on offer, all lovingly baked and delivered by Danielle Coombs of Bishopston Supper Club fame.


The Kitchen - Counter 3


Food orders can be washed down with one of a selection of cold drinks, an Extract coffee or a Pukka tea (hot drinks are priced between £1.70 and £2.30), or a glass of water from one of the jugs by the window that customers can simply help themselves to.

Fancying a hot lunch, I went for the beef hotpot, served with all three salads of the day for £6.95. The portion was enormous.


The Kitchen - Beef Hotpot


Large, tender chunks of beef had been slow cooked with tomatoes, whole olives, root veg and chickpeas, and was topped with the thinnest slices of potato: those at the bottom lovely and tender, those on the top nice and crispy. Rich, warming and full of flavour, it was a great choice for a cold February lunchtime.

The hotpot was served with generous portions of three different salads, including a wonderfully fresh combination of mixed salad leaves from The Severn Project. I found the crunchy cabbage and toasted seed salad to be a little bitter – I think they’d overdone it slightly on the tahini dressing- but absolutely loved the combination of spelt, cashews, raisins, quinoa and roasted carrots that made up the final salad: a stunning combination of textures and flavours.

While I loved the mezze plates that The Kitchen used to offer, I was impressed with what I tried of their new menu: there’s more choice available to customers, and the fact that the dishes have been pre-prepared means that you’re handed your plate of food while you’re still at the counter. With good food at good prices, their support of local and independent producers and their commitment to furthering the career prospects of young people, The Kitchen have a winning formula. I’d still like to see the foods on the counter covered up, though…


One Response to The Kitchen, Silver Street: Review

  1. I like places that have a laid back atmosphere and make children feel welcome too, nice touch with the toys!
    The menu sounds lovely and very good prices too!
    I do agree with you when it comes to food being covered!

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