Living in Bristol, I’m used to having numerous inventive and trendy new cafes and restaurants opening around the city. They come and go, hit headlines then disappear, enter quietly and become institutions, rule the streets then shut down faster than you can say ‘Bagel Boy‘. But I’m always looking for the best brunch in Bristol. Could I have found it?
While we love exploring the eateries of Bristol and munching our way through the brunch and roast lunch spots, the absolute goal would be for a special place to appear just down my road. I had seen Ceres had opened up in that patch of Stokes Croft where cafes and restaurants seem to be on constant rotation, apart from Pieminister (let me hear you cry INSTITUTION!). Without fanfare or fancy decor, it seemed to have snuck in and set up shop, with anyone hardly paying attention. Apart from my beady eye which had spotted ‘a Melbourne cafe’ as their tagline.
If you’ve been a loyal reader of this blog for a while (hi mum!), you would know that I treasure Melbourne cafes after living there for a few years and working in some top cafe and pub spots around the city. Not only is the brunch game HIGH, but there are certain cafes that you always make a beeline for and pray to the brunch gods that the queue isn’t too long. When I got a sneaky peek at the Ceres menu, I could see some Melbourne legendary brunch cafes had been used to name the dishes. I was both suspicious and dubious. Who dares take their names in vain?? So I had to go in. And eat. And judge with my pretentious ‘I worked in Melbourne dontcha know‘ hat on.
Ceres: The best brunch in Bristol?
My Kiwi friend, Gabby, and I finally hit up Ceres after discussing it for ages. it was a beaut of a day, back when summer was giving us a sneak preview and we were quickly trying to tick off her Bristol Bucket List before she had to leave the UK.
There were a few tables spare outside which is a rarity on a hot Sunday in Bristol, and we nabbed one made out of up-cycled wooden crates. The seats were cushions on milk crates – all SOOOO Melbourne. This guy had done his research. The furnishings were rudimental, simple and rough round the edges, but I don’t care – sit me on a barbed wire fence as long as your eggs are runny and your flavours make me drool.
The menu was simple and concise – about nine dishes all had brunch keywords that sprung out: eggs, fritters, avocado, wild mushrooms, sourdough, yes yes yes. And yes, each dish was named after a Melbourne cafe. It was bizarre to spot ‘Small Victories‘ on there as I had worked there for their first 6 months of opening, and I knew that the dish was nothing like what they had on their menu in Melbourne (in Rathdowne Village, if it’s still there and you fancy popping in). So I guess they took inspiration from Melbourne and labeled their dishes after their favourite brunch places?
Dishes that really got our tastebuds tingling was of course the smashed avo, feta and poached eggs (classic), but ‘Hawk and Hunter‘ (fat pancakes, praline cream, Anzac crumb and roasted pineapple) and ‘Proud Mary‘ (smoked streaky bacon, poached eggs, burnt butter hollandaise) were in the running too. We ended up both being seduced by the ‘Square Mile’: sweetcorn fritters, smashed avo, grilled haloumi and poached eggs. Yes, we got the same dish, but sometimes you just gotta go with your gut.
When the food finally came out, we were both incredibly happy with our choices. The stack of fritters were slathered in smashed avocado and cross-crossed with salty haloumi. Perched on top was a perfect poached egg that did the foodporn thing of popping soft yolk when prodded. The fritters were the perfect bread substitute, adding structure to the presentation and soaking up the runny yolk – they were mouthfuls drenched in happiness. The relish on the side added an appreciated tomatoey zing, and all in all it hit the spot without leaving us with stretched bellies.
It did take a little while for the food to come out, but the staff quickly apologised with a generous door wedge of carrot cake which was both marvellous but definitely pushed us over the edge into ‘I need a nap’. But no regrets – it was brilliant. Grated carrot frayed out the sides and the butter cream icing on the top and through the centre was incredible. Just an FYI, they didn’t bring the cake out because they knew I was a local blogger and could be blogging about it 500 years later. The friendly staff were so lovely and genuinely apologetic for the wait.
So yeah, this blog is super late about my first visit to Ceres but it was so goddamn good, I’ve been back three times since. I can safely say that whilst Katie and Kim’s on Picton St still holds a special place in my heart, Ceres really is the best brunch in Bristol that I’ve had. They’ve nailed Melbourne-style brunches and made it possible for me to be able to tell people “Melbourne has the best brunches in the world – don’t believe me? Go to Ceres in Bristol for a taste.”
Bristol cafes! Do some research into Aussie style brunches and start making it trending in Bristol please. I’ve had enough of these boutique burgers joints that keep popping up – just serve up some great brunches like Ceres so we can all live happily ever after.
All photographs by Sophie Saint.