This #FoodFriday, acclaimed filmmaker writer-director Niall Johnson gives us the lowdown on his favourite places to eat and drink in his home town of Clevedon, located about half an hour’s drive away from Bristol city centre.

Niall is the writer-director of Mum’s List, Keeping Mum, The Ghost of Greville Lodge and he wrote Hollywood horror White Noise. His latest film is epic star-studded western The Stolen, which is out now.

Niall Johnson

Image - Niall Johnson

For coffee

I still have a young-ish family, so my main use of Clevedon’s offer is its coffee, with the occasional eating out as a treat.  As with most towns these days, you’re spoilt for choice…

Coffee 1’s arrival in Queen’s Square several years back revitalised the town centre for me. Its coffee is arguably the best in Clevedon.

I’ve had a quiet working coffee now and again at the Old Street Pantry, one of a few smaller eateries dotted along that stretch of road.

My other favourite is the Teatro Lounge: part of a chain that has grown substantially in the last few years, but this one feels unique because it’s built within part of the town’s historic cinema, the Curzon.  The Lounge’s house style is already eclectic, but here that means making use of some of the old film projectors that were part of the cinema’s exhibition. It feels utterly and genuinely ‘Clevedon’ and it’s a pleasure to sit in there knowing that no other place like this exists. The other great thing about Teatro is that it serves food at all times of the day: I’ve used it for an early morning coffee, a get-together brunch, a working lunch, an afternoon meeting, an early tea with kids, and a drink and bite to eat with friends in the evening—not in the space of a single day…but now I’ve mentioned it…!  

Clevedon

Image - Clevedon

For Chinese, Indian and pizza

The lower part of town is where you’ll find a run of really good Chinese and Indian Restaurants, and I can recommend Monsoon and Bengal Spice. Also, Opulentia, which serves a great artisan pizza.

For sea views

As to be expected, there’s a range of restaurants along the seafront. Another place I visit regularly for coffee is the wonderful 5 The Beach. Great coffee, really friendly service, and gorgeous views to the pier and beyond.

Clevedon Pier is Britain’s only grade-1 listed, and it houses Tiffins restaurant, another eatery unique to the town, sited in the new glass visitors’ entrance. It serves picnic-style food in the day and then transforms into a full-on fish restaurant in the evening. 

Over the road from the pier stands an empty building that used to be Campbells’ Landing Pub. It’s a prime spot for a great restaurant, and plans have indeed come and gone to make it so. I really hope somebody bites (pun intended): it would be a cornerstone of the town’s transformation.

Clevedon Pier

Image - Clevedon Pier, credit Liz Milner

A short stroll from the seafront

Up from the seafront you’ll find Hill Road, with an array of restaurants to choose from, including Murrays, which has been a feature of the town for over 30 years. Still run by the Murray family, its restaurant sits within its Deli. Their lasagna is to die for.

Over the road and further along, Scoozi's Italian restaurant offers a really family-friendly venue, and then there’s Junior Poon, another of my family’s favourites and long-time feature of that street: they pride themselves on not being gimmicky, and they get it just right: classic good food and friendly service.

Along from there is another coffee haunt, Baristabarber, a small unit with coffee shop one side and barber the other—who knew that was a thing, but the coffee’s great and the haircuts are too!

Further along, you’ll find two bars: The Limehouse, and then The Fallen Tree Micro-Pub, which is the newest addition to Clevedon and the first of its kind in North Somerset, I’m told. The guys behind it run the local micro-brewery Twisted Oak.  It’s a lovely, small, intimate place, with a really great range of beers and ciders: both their own (recent winner of a SIBA regional gold award) and many rotating guest beers. They’re moving into local gins too!

Last but by no means least, back at the sea-end of Hill Road, is my top favourite: The Cellar wine bar and bistro. Great food (their tapas is excellent), small and intimate, and really friendly service. It really is unique: it’s sited in what used to be an old chemist, so it’s made excellent use of the original wooden shelving and drawers. And if I fancy a diverse range of live music at close range, I’d pick a Tuesday.

Clevedon pier

About the author:

Niall Johnson is a British filmmaker writer-director who lives in the seaside town of Clevedon. He is best known for the 2005 comedy, Keeping Mum starring Rowan Atkinson, Kristin Scott Thomas and Dame Maggie Smith. Of his home town he says, "Clevedon is far enough from Bristol at one end, and Weston-Super-Mare at the other, to make it have very much its own personality, and I love it for that. It does things its own way - always with an eye to its history, but increasingly now with a creative, contemporary edge". His latest movie, The Stolen is out now on DVD and Digital http://amzn.eu/chwiF2k

Alice Eve and Niall Johnson

Image - Alice Eve and Niall Johnson filming The Stolen.

The Stolen

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