Despite opening in August 2012, it took moving to the area before I got round to visiting Cumberland Road’s Mud Dock Deli for the first time. Since the first visit, I’ve been multiple times for lunch and coffee, but there are still things that I’m not 100% convinced by…
Formerly the home of the Bristol Land Rover Centre – and previously part of the Old Gaol – Mud Dock Deli’s home is a beautiful building. Set over two floors, the food service area and some seating are downstairs, while upstairs houses overflow seating in a room that can be used for private hire in the evenings.
The bicycle theme has been transported here from Mud Dock’s first premises on The Grove, with table legs made from bike forks, cycling events often shown on the deli’s television screen, and regular bike-themed film nights taking place in the building.
Dotted around throughout the downstairs are the elements that give Mud Dock the “Deli” part of its name: boxes of fresh fruit and veg for sale by the door, a platter of freshly baked bread on the counter, various jams and chutneys on display and chiller cabinets stocked with “ready meals” to take away and reheat at home. They also offer milk, butter, beer and wine to take home, along with various coffee making equipment that is on sale.
It’s their coffee that I’ve taken advantage of the most – £2 for a decaf latte to take away, and convenient too, as the first part of my route to work is otherwise pretty barren. Compared with a lot of the decaf coffee that I’ve been served in Bristol, this stuff is pretty good…and the “buy nine get the tenth free” loyalty scheme makes it that little bit more affordable.
The deli lunch deal of a salad or sandwich, Tyrells crisps or fruit, a cookie and a drink for just £4 is not to be sniffed at, especially given the range of deli salads that you can choose. Expect the likes of potato and pasta salads, a sweet, spiced red cabbage concoction, giant couscous and more, with the selections changing almost daily. I’d definitely recommend their salads, which are filling and with a decent amount of variety, and very competitively priced!
Hot food offerings include fish and chips and pizzas, with dishes priced up to just £8.
We’ve also been in there for a weekend breakfast, with their full English competitively priced at £6 per head: a fried egg, sausage, half a grilled tomato, mushrooms, bacon, toast and black pudding, perfectly filling and very well cooked.
There are a few niggles, however, that could – if resolved – turn Mud Dock Deli from good to great. A few times when I’ve been in on my way home from work, stood at the counter for a few minutes while members of staff clean around me and am then told that the cafe is closed (most weeknights they now close at 4 rather than 6, as I found out in this way the other week!) Surely locking the doors rather than allowing customers to come in when closed would be more sensible?
Service has also sometimes been a little brusque, which can be offputting. And I’m not convinced by the display of pastries, cakes and cookies in the deli – while some of them are covered with glass domes, others are left completely uncovered all day – and right next to the customer seating area, which does put me off a little.
That said, it’s great to have a venue so close to home, in an area that is otherwise pretty quiet. With a large outside seating area, free wifi and a relaxed environment, I’m sure I will continue to head back.
Find Mud Dock Deli on the Bristol Bites Directory…