It seems apt to begin this blog with the place of food and drink that is closest to where I live. The beginning, you could say. The chosen title of the blog tries to leave it open to not just cafes, bars and restaurants, but wider cultural bites I come across during my time as a student in Bristol. To start with, it will probably stick with gastronomic delights, and then sprawl out to the delights of all senses!
Either way, I thought it was about time to make a record of all the gems of this wonderful city, because I don’t think I can keep it to myself anymore.
This lovely little Italian is somewhat off the beaten track of the yuppie Clifton scene, although not to be missed. Snuggled in on the corner of Lansdown road and York Place, it accompanies The Muset and The Lansdown pub in a trio of eateries acting as the stepping stone from my house to the hubbub of the Clifton neighbourhood. Also en route to Uni, it is both a great pleasure and pain to walk past it every day and look in longingly to see a few 25 or sos catching up, or a retired couple relaxing over the paper and a coffee - an extremely well made one at that.
My relative poverty is a challenge to any trip for a drink or eat ‘out’, but Rosemarino doesn’t make it difficult. The prices aren’t Spoons (perhaps a ‘Spoons register’ will become a regular guest on this blog), but, in both cases, you pay for what you get for. In fact you get more than you pay for in the case of Rosemarino. The menu is unpretentious, seasonal and small enough to show the obvious care and personal attention that goes into all the food there. Last time I went I had a light seafood pasta dish and Dad took its carnivorous equivalent. Both were simple and delicious and their serving sizes worked out perfectly for a late lunch. A ‘small’, what we had, at about £5.95, left us both pleasantly full, a ‘large’ might be if you were having dinner, if you felt like a gorge or you were sharing with a salad on the side. Either way, the no-nonsense approach was great, rather than faffing about with lots of different sections to the menu, and made me wonder why more restaurants didn’t work this way.
Rosemarino’s interior matches its menu, the walls painted an airy, calm and refreshing blue with rustic, simple wooden tables and local art up on the walls. It’s an extremely welcoming place, with friendly - although not in your face - staff, and papers and local magazines strewn on a bench at the entrance under the windows. Light was obviously really important to the owners Mirco Bertoldi and Sam Fryer when they were doing the place up two years ago. Windows make up two whole sides of the upstairs, making it incredibly open, natural and inviting, with a more cosy downstairs that has a sneaky view into the kitchen.
Something I love about the place is that it’s totally casual - if you just want a coffee or a cuppa that’s fine (or a very affordable glass of wine for that matter!). I once sat in there for about 4 hours with a cappuccino doing some work - and it was perfect. The waiter left me to it although managed to seamlessly re-fill my glass of tap water multiple times without me noticing, to my great appreciation. Perhaps he knew reading Chaucer was thirsty work.
At Rosemarino, the simple pleasures of great tasting food, friendliness and a peaceful environment hit just the right spot.