‘Flourish’ - Saltford, Nr Bristol
...with the rustic decor and renovated farm accoutrements, the first thing you see from the road is the large rusty water tank with the welded name across the front, reminiscent of a US cattle station.
Saltford is a neatly placed little village that welds itself between Bath and Bristol and is split by the A4 link road. A heavy flow of all sorts of traffic make it a great spot to have a business of any sort as out of town shopping becomes popular. Recent years have seen an explosion of farm shops or farm-style shops with fresh produce from local areas and farms that make one feel like you're buying the very best that our countries farms have to offer.
Flourish takes this model a step further with the addition of a substantial cafe come restaurant attached to the side of it and makes no disguise of the fact they are the "Hip" kids on the block of farm shops, with the rustic decor and renovated farm accoutrements being used to nice effect, in fact the first thing you see from the road is the large rusty water tank with the welded name across the front, it's reminiscent of a US cattle station.
you're made to negotiate the very lovely farm shop to get to the eating destination, you are taken past the magnificent butcher‘s counter and Deli which even has a salt cure room
Parking is easy and access is also is great, all brand new and well laid out. The frontage has a large patio area covered with the now compulsory stretch tent and there are tons of tables inside and out. As you'd expect you're made to negotiate the very lovely farm shop to get to the eating destination, you are taken past the magnificent butchers counter and Deli which even has a salt cure room with huge slabs of produce all being prepared for use. It’s impressive and no small change has been spent to set it up, reminiscent of Howser and Worth or even Glouster services it has an air of "smart business" going on as you work your way around.
...how long does it take to actually make those drinks? well it turns out that the Chef was able to cook two full breakfasts faster...
At this point it would only be fair to explain that this is not some small privately run setup. It actually has the punch of fine wholesale food retailer Cotswold Fayre behind it which leads us to explain that this is not our first visit here. The first some months earlier was - well a total disaster which we decided to put down in part to the newness of the place and the impact of Covid 19 on staff. We just didn’t deem it fair to review at that point, not least because that day we didn’t even get served so didn’t actually eat any food at all, having sat around for 30 mins waiting! So putting that aside we are back, and it’s for breakfast. The Covid situ is ok and this place we feel should have its ducks in order by now.
It’s busy! We like that, it really shows how they are managing the place. We had to queue for a short time but soon enough we are seated at a table in the hubbub of the restaurant. It has a big open plan kitchen, a deli style frontage showing off amazing bakery and bakery, behind all of that stands the whopping wood oven for pizza, which we will be back for at some point .
The breakfast menu looks good and we opt for a full English with one coffee, a pot of tea and two OJs. Given our first visit, we did set a timer as a measure to see how long this was gonna take… We‘re pleasantly surprised when our order is taken quickly - it makes us feel more confident that the issues from the previous visit were just teething problems. Staff are friendly and attentive so all is good so far, there is a great vibe to the place . However… how long does it take to actually make those drinks? well it turns out that the Chef was able to cook two full breakfasts faster, which is no mean feat, we are left waiting with no drinks for 20 mins. Not great. The food arrived at the 20 min mark and we asked where our drinks were, only to be told the staff are working as quickly as they can. I’m sure! but when you think about that, if you get the drinks served in 10 mins there is a good chance that the customer will ask for more when the food comes, and thats good business in a place this big. Anyway, drinks arrive just after the food. The breakfasts looked great and tasted fine - everything you’d want on a plate and well presented, lovely fresh on the vine tomatoes which explode with every bite, tasty sausages and good flavour to the sourdough toast, unfortunately the fried eggs weren’t runny and the mushrooms a bit slimy and not seasoned. No complaints about the tea - we like 'Brew Tea Co.' and the coffee was good too. The OJ was an expensive disappointment. For the same price as a glass in Flourish, you can buy a very good bottle in Waitrose, and that’s actually seen an orange, this stuff had cheap carton written all over it, yes they put it in an old milk bottle or something cool but style over substance for us ! Get a fresh orange maker if you can have a 20 grand pizza oven!
You should definitely take a trip to the loo, firstly because you'll brush past the amazing cakes that tempt you from the pass, but also because the toilets are simply stunning. Credit is due here, the finish is high and clever, in keeping with the over all style, they smell clean and fresh and when this place is really busy it's the little things like keeping those loos clean that can be really tricky and often get forgotten. Well not here ...take a look at the photo below, and go! very cool.
Outta Here ...
We have to say that we are pulling a 360 on our impression of this place since our first visit. We actually managed to eat some decent food, and enjoy the buzz of the place close to Christmas. We paid £32 for breakfast which is pretty standard in our experience. It‘s reasonable and with the exception of the drinks service we had no real complaints. The staff worked hard and were attentive to clearing tables and cleaning up and there was a feeling of effort being made here. The menu is not over complicated and it has a great atmosphere, the shop is lovely with some excellent produce well worth looking at.
If you have children or are a wheelchair user then it is pretty good, maybe a bit tight around the tables but the toilets are impeccable and easy to access plus there are plenty of options for seating.
While it didn’t quite blow us away, we are keen to come back again and check out that massive pizza oven, no pressure there! it had better be top notch.
HOW WE SCORED IT - OVERALL 6.63
Food score 6/10
Service Score 7/10
Comms Score 5/10
Disability Access 8/10
Sticky Table 7/10 (small)
Value for Money 5/10
What is cost £32.20
What it’s worth £30 (that OJ was not good)
Would we go back ? yes, for the pizza