Boston Tea Party, Park Street: Review

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1995. That’s when Boston Tea Party on Park Street – the first in the chain of cafés that now cover the South West and beyond – originally opened. It’s a bit of a Bristol institution, and a beautiful place to grab a drink or a bite to eat, with its seating areas on multiple floors, and its hidden suntrap of a back garden, too.

Recently, they’ve made some changes to their food menu, and we were invited in to give it a try. In all honesty, with so many new coffee places having opened up recently, it had been a while since we’d visited…could they still compete?

On the food front, the answer was a resounding YES.

Having ordered at the counter (after navigating the front steps with the buggy), we headed on through to the garden to enjoy the Saturday sunshine – and were impressed to see an additional cutlery/sauces/water station outside, to save having to go back in once the food had arrived.

 

Boston Tea Party Park Street - Garden

 

We started with drinks, though: two new smoothies from the Boston Tea Party cold drinks menu, in fact. The flavours sounded like just what was needed on a sunny day: grapefruit and pineapple for him, peach melba (a blend of peach, raspberry and apple juice) for me, each priced at £3.35.

They were the let-down of the afternoon, sadly: both were refreshing – the former mostly pineapple, the latter mostly raspberry with a hint of peach…and both far more juice than smoothie, with a large part of the glass taken up by froth.

 

Boston Tea Party Park Street - Smoothies

 

On the plus side, they do free babyccinos (essentially frothed warm milk) either dusted with chocolate or without, and we were offered one without asking to keep the small person occupied and happy. He enjoyed it – and it created a very fetching moustache.

 

Boston Tea Party Park Street - Milk Moustache

 

There are also a couple of different milkshakes and coolers now on the Boston Tea Party drinks menu, now that summer is on its way – while the food menu features a few new flatbread choices, along with new burgers.

There’s a plant-based option for vegetarians and vegans, but Chris (as I’d predicted) chose the Boss Burger (£13.95, served with chips and pickled coleslaw) as his lunch.

It’s essentially breakfast/brunch in burger form: along with the beef burger, there’s Emmenthal, a fried egg, a hash brown, smoked bacon, avocado, pickled red onion and a red pepper relish, all precariously balanced inside a sesame seed bun. It’s a big eat, there’s no doubt about it – and it was a big hit, too.

 

Boston Tea Party Park Street - Boss Burger

 

While the chips weren’t particularly warm, there wasn’t a great deal of cheese and the bacon could have been cooked a little longer, the rest was positive. The patty was well cooked but still juicy, the bun had a nice toasted crunch, and the combination of flavours and textures from the smooth and creamy avocado, the punchy relish and the tangy pickled onions went down well.

Feeling virtuous, I went for the super salad (£8.50), with added halloumi for an extra £2.50. And it was a beautiful plate of food – both in appearance, and in flavour.

 

Boston Tea Party Park Street - Super Salad

 

I’m pretty fussy about my halloumi, but BTP had cooked theirs perfectly, and there was a fairly decent amount of it, too. And again, it was a plate that was all about texture: the tender cheese, avocado and mango vying for attention with the crunch of the slivers of radish, the mixed seeds, the toasted hazelnuts and skin-on peanuts and the fresh, raw sugar snap peas.

With mixed leaves, sprouting seeds and a hidden mound of finely grated minted carrot to add to the mix, it’s fair to say there was plenty going on, but it worked. Proof that salads don’t need to be boring, and that they can taste fresh and light while still filling you up.

And the service? Friendly and helpful – right down to cleaning the depressingly filthy highchair before we sat Oscar inside. With a menu of decent food that changes regularly, a solid hot drinks offering and environmental credentials to boot (this is the brand that banned disposable takeaway cups and took a massive sales hit as a result), it’s no wonder they’re still so popular.

 

Please note: our meal at Boston Tea Party was received free of charge, but this in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.

 

 

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