The Bristol Magazine takes a stroll over to the trendy new development at Wapping Wharf to visit a few of the businesses already settled in, and discover some of what’s still to come
During the latter part of last year there developed a rather big buzz around one particular part of the city – an area largely ignored and somewhat derelict until it got itself a brand new, multi-million pound development to go with its enviable waterside location. Opening up a handy new walkway cutting through from Cumberland Road to the docks, Wapping Wharf’s tree-lined hybrid residential-retail quarter is home to an array of quality independent retailers and stylish apartments – with even more to come this Spring.
Following on from the success of Cargo, a cool little crop of converted shipping containers featuring everything from a barbershop to a selection of bistros, Cargo 2 will continue to showcase some of the exciting culinary creativity happening in the city. So, if you live there or have plans to, let it be known that we’re positively green with envy – but in the meantime, if you’re planning your first visit, here’s a little heads-up on just some of the super little spots you’re going to want to stop in at. We recommend a crisp waterside walk with la familia before a little shopping, and a crawl around the small but perfectly formed food and drink joints.
Award-winning, down-to-earth chef Elliott Lidstone presents British cooking at its best, with an ever-changing menu revolving around local produce. Expect the likes of spelt risotto, hake with wild mushrooms or gin-cured salmon – as well as their special panna cotta, which was paired with pinkest rhubarb spears and gold dust on our last visit. We positively fell in love with the curried butternut squash, Devon crab and yoghurt soup, but if indulging in such delights isn’t enough of a treat for you, you can perch amongst the bustle of the kitchen and watch the master at work too.
Bristol Cider Shop
Christmas Steps favourite Bristol Cider Shop upped sticks in favour of a bigger venue at Wapping Wharf, and now has a brand ‘tasting room’ where punters can sample the products, try new pairings and learn more about how cider is made. If you’re craving proper job, hand-picked bottles of the West Country’s favourite tipple, look no further – and if you fancy something a bit different, they’ve also got a fine selection of perry, cider brandy and ice cider – a must-try!
MasterChef fans will recognise the brains behind this operation as finalist Larkin Cen, who has put together a fresh Asian menu of bao, noodles and all sorts of other little nibbles, perfect for consumption in a snug shipping container. A darn sight more wholesome than your typical takeaway (though they do food to takeaway) yet still offering goodies like spring rolls, crispy duck noodle salad and aubergine green curry, this oriental gem is a great option for a quick lunch.
With a special menu dedicated to different variations on the negroni in one hand, and one full of finest sourdough pizza in the other, you know you’re in for a good night at this charming eatery based in The Old Gaol Stables – the one with the canary yellow doors. Fermented for days, the dough is to die for and toppings include creamed nettles, kiln-roast salmon, braised fennel and beets. They also make their own bread, salad and gelato too.
The younger sibling of Small Street Espresso in the Old City, this is one of our favourite places to catch up on emails when we’re out and about – watching the Wapping world go by and nibbling on a sweet treat or sourdough sandwich. Catch us there in the early evening and we’re likely guzzling coffee-based cocktails, a craft beer or glass of organic wine alongside small cheese and charcuterie plates.
Soon enough, in keeping with the eco-friendly, sustainable vibe at Cargo, new-butchers-on-the-block Story will arrive, with organic, free-range, locally sourced meat that’s bound to win over welfare-conscious carnivores. With a strong focus on authenticity and traceability, Story will be working closely with small family farms, resulting in an impeccable ‘nose to tail’ menu to enjoy in store, as well as cuts to cook at home. We hear there’ll even be a meat-related musical soundtrack!
Cargo 2 is set to welcome another compact fine-dining experience as Bristol foodie veterans (Riverstation, Lido and Wilsons have all had the pleasure of their company) Jes Rowly and Matt Hampshire prepare to present their promising new 18-cover restaurant. With the offering set to include four and seven-course set menus – available as individual plates for lunch – tasty food, best produce and a well-balanced drinks selection will be the name of the game in Tare’s cosy space.
Salt and Malt
No waterside development would be complete without a suitable place to pick up a plate of fish and chips, and Josh Eggleton’s gluten-free fare and wonderfully fresh seafood is sure to hit the spot. This will be a far cry from your local chippy though, with options including salmon en croute, braised squid and a bountiful breakfast selection. The Chew Valley branch was recently awarded the title of ‘Best Fish and Chips in Bristol’ by the Bristol Good Food Awards, so if you need us this summer, we’ll probably be kicking back on the sun terrace with some sustainably sourced scampi.
Specialising in prawns (hence the name, sí?), as well as other seafood and authentic Andalusian tapas, Gambas is the planned sister venue to one of Bristol’s best tapas joints, Bravas on Cotham Hill, which means we’d put our money on it being pretty darn good. After being bombarded with requests from their regulars to open another site and expand their seafood offering, the team, who love the buzz of Wapping Wharf, have promised an open kitchen grilling sustainable seafood sourced direct from Cornwall, counter dining, a vibrant atmosphere, signature G&Ts and great Spanish wines.
Ready yourselves for a burger-fries-lemonade extravaganza: because Rebel Roll founder and chef Alex Hayes is preparing to pool his experience into a Cargo 2 container filled with filthy food (in the best possible sense, of course). Shelve the diet just for a moment and enjoy Alex’s unique take on classic refreshments including homemade lemonade in a range of new flavours, and a series of trademark experimental burgers – his ‘St Werburger’ was voted best burger in Bristol by Wriggle, so we can only imagine what treats he’ll rustle up for this venture. We’re hoping a ground-breaking, visual creation à la Beyonce’s latest album will be in the mix…
These guys are no strangers to our great city nor the cargo box concept, with a quirky shipping container at Cabot Circus and a more conventional little shop on St Stephen’s Street. East Asian-inspired noodles sit alongside an impressive menu of ‘bubble teas’ – an unusual combination of fresh tea leaves, milk and ‘pearls’ of tapioca, with flavours including bubble coffee, matcha, mango milk and juicy winter melon.
Pizza is a universal language, perfect for any occasion and available in infinite variations. We know it, and Pizzarova knows it, having refined the art of their distinctive sourdough pizzas at weddings, events, their Gloucester Road restaurant, and the perfect pizza hub at Wapping Wharf. Play it safe with a classic margherita, choose your own toppings (goat’s cheese, courgette, chorizo, feta, the list goes on) or go gluten-free, and keep your eye out for the coveted pink card giveaways they sometimes do – free pizza for life, people!
I wanna be a part of it, New York, New York…you know the rest, but if you really do want a part of it without the time-consuming transatlantic travelling, Spuntino will be the place to go when it opens in May this year. Bristolians looking for a taste of Italian-American cuisine can pop along to the diner and enjoy buttermilk-fried chicken, lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a raft of other city-inspired comfort foods and classic cocktails. In other words, it’s an occasion for our stretchiest trousers…
There’s been a lot of talk about the food offering at Wapping Wharf, and while it’s set to expand considerably, that’s not all that’s planned. Cargo 2 is bringing a place to work off some of the calories and improve your wellbeing – all within your lunch break. Pure Yoga will offer early morning and evening Hatha Flow yoga classes alongside their ‘express’ lunchtime sessions, with owner Amelia Hodge envisaging “a hub of healthy activity including meditation groups, yoga classes for all levels, mindfulness workshops and teacher training”. Sign us up!
If you’re lucky enough to have bagged one of Wapping Wharf’s lovely apartments, after you’ve eaten your way round the place you might like to get yourself some suitably unique decorations from the pocket-sized interiors emporium due to arrive. Specialising in hand-curated, European contemporary interiors and gifts, Fig. 1 stock a range of exciting brands including Nkuku, a fair-trade UK home interiors company with a Scandinavian feel; quirky, colourful melamine homeware by Danish designer Rice; and a range of Bristol-based makers and artists.
Mabboo has got more bamboo products than you could shake, well, a stick of bamboo at – selling everything from super soft t-shirts to trendy sunglasses, calculators and toothbrushes. Why bamboo? It’s eco-friendly, biodegradable, sustainable and versatile – founder Ed reckons Mabboo will be the perfect fit alongside the independent, ethical, and local retailers already in situ at Wapping Wharf, and we’re pretty excited to see the unique bamboo-themed interior he’s got in store.