Cafe Matariki, Finzels Reach: Review
Cafe Matariki, on the ground floor of The Brewhouse at Finzels Reach, isn’t easy to find. At the time of writing, you needed to walk down the gangway by the river next to Italian restaurant Bella Vista on Victoria Street, before being faced with the entrance in the picture above – the café is located within the Pacific Yoga studio, and opened its doors for the first time in early January 2017.
The team are looking forward to the new footbridge opening, as they say it’ll be easier to find…all I can say for now is that if you’re looking for somewhere with healthy, exciting lunch options as well as a great range of cakes, then I definitely recommend making the effort to find this place!
Walk through the front door, and the café is straight ahead of you: it’s a place with a light and airy feel with chairs in different colours, a good number of tables and a welcoming counter with an open plan kitchen area in full view of the café. There are menus both at the counter and on the tables, where you’ll also find jugs of water packed with plenty of fresh mint for added flavour.
The speciality at Cafe Matariki is their Pacific Bowls, which change on a regular basis and are inspired by cuisines from all over the globe. There are both meaty and vegetarian options available, as well as a small range of other dishes: soups, a meat dish, a vegetarian dish and a topped toast: it’s a short menu, but you know that you’ll have something different on offer each time you visit.
On the drinks front, things are kept local with tea from Bristol Tea Company and coffee from Little and Long, along with organic smoothies and fresh pressed juices.
I decided to order a green juice (£4) to sip before my lunch arrived – an organic juice consisting of kale, apple, ginger and lime. I loved the way it was presented in a mini milk-style bottle with a straw. The juice had an amazing zing from the ginger, with plenty of refreshing apple and lime – the kale flavour wasn’t that pronounced (which I’m glad about…), but gave it a lovely, vibrant colour.
Food-wise, I went for the paneer Pacific bowl (£8.50) – and while the price is higher than what I may normally pay for a quick lunch out, I’d definitely order again. It was a generous lunch, and, like the juice, was presented beautifully. Flecked with toasted cashews, a tangy minted yoghurt packed with plenty of mint and sliced fresh red chilli, there was a real feast of flavours going on in this single bowl.
Sharply pickled shaved carrot sat alongside half a boiled egg, its yolk still slightly soft. Baby spinach leaves added a fresh green flavour (although they were a little too salty), while the roasted cauliflower still had a nice crunch and the accompanying chickpeas were soft and tender, both with warming curry flavours. I loved the pineapple kachumba – a blend of pineapple chunks, cucumber, red onion, red chilli and nigella seeds – which was sweet and spicy but also refreshing, and the paneer was beautiful, pan-fried in cumin seeds and ras el hanout, giving it a sweetly spiced flavour and a lovely golden brown exterior with a slight crisp to it. All of this was served on a bed of herb and onion-flecked rice – plenty of different flavours and textures, and a lovely, filling meal.
The Pacific Bowls on offer at Cafe Matariki vary all the time: previous incarnations have been Moroccan-inspired, Oriental, super green, North African, beef or bean chilli-based…you’ll find regular menu updates on their Instagram feed. If healthy yet hearty (and with a side of cake) is your thing, I definitely recommend paying Cafe Matariki a visit – you won’t be disappointed…