To celebrate harvest season, Bristol food illustrator and keen allotmenteer Emma Dibben tells us where she most likes to enjoy veggie food in Bristol...

Bristol illustrator Emma Dibben on her allotment next to some sweet peas

Image - Illustrator Emma Dibben on her allotment 

Breakfast is a meal I love to cook myself as I’ve not found a nettle scramble anywhere else in Bristol, and I’ve got to get my weekly nettle fix! I harvest my nettles on my allotment, well away from any roads. I gently cook the nettles in a little butter, seasoning with salt and pepper. I then pour in a mixture of hemp milk and two ducks eggs out of my veg box from our local Leigh Court Farm. Scramble gently and add hot smoked paprika to taste. Serve on seedy sourdough-rye, freshly baked and drizzled with olive oil and a pinch of Maldon sea salt (Catalan style). Lightly cook some cherry tomatoes as a side, seasoning with za’atar and fresh Basil. Afterwards, I go for a mocha at my favourite local cafe, The Eating Room on Wells Road. I can’t wait to try their vegan burgers too!

My friend Mike who is an amazing chef gave me his sourdough recipe and my starter. Mike also introduced me to St Paul's Cafe in the St Paul's Learning Centre. It's run by Surplus Supper Club, the catering arm of FareShare South West - a charity which aims to reduce food poverty and food waste, redistributing food that might have otherwise gone to landfill to where it is needed. The cafe is a simple canteen style place serving exceptional and good value food (£3 for a main), and supporting a great organisation.

It’s difficult to choose my favourite eating places, being spoilt for choice in Bristol, but another new favourite for lunch is Emmeline’s on Cheltenham Road. They do a wonderfully varied fresh and hearty salad to take out, including three different salads, mixed leaves, jalapenos and sourdough toast. I bought a gorgeous flowering succulent plant for my studio there too as they sell a few plants and flowers alongside the delicious cakes.

I’m going to mention award-winning Poco as both a lunch and dinner favourite… (well, breakfast too actually!) Right next door to my studio on Jamaica Street, it is hard not to be tempted inside at any time of the day... They do superb breakfasts and delicious tapas, with all ingredients being locally and ethically sourced. Plus the best iced coffee in Bristol, my definite 3pm place to go!

Another favourite for dinner is vegetarian restaurant Flow, tucked away in an unusual spot in the Bearpit next to Jake’s Bikes. They have created a great ambiance there, it’s something very special with food to match. The whole menu makes my mouth water, but you have to try their goats cheese and apricot risotto balls with basil and spinach pesto… 

In the evening, back in Totterdown, a great place to catch the sunset is from the tiered garden of The Victoria Park Pub & Kitchen. Another great place to eat, as well as have a quiet drink. (The potato gnocci with kale, hazlenuts and parmesan is incredible!)

About the author: Emma Dibben is a Bristol illustrator based at Jamaica Street Studios in Stokes Croft. Catch her at the bi-annual Open Studio events (the next one will be at Christmas). She specialises in drawing food and loves Bristol for all its local and ethical eateries, food festivals and gatherings. She especially loves spending time on her allotment, growing and drawing fruit and vegetables of all descriptions, and cycling out into the surrounding countryside.

For more of Emma's recipes and to find out what she is up to on her allotment and in the kitchen, check out her blog: