This week's #FoodFriday tale comes from poet Beth Calverley, Chief Operator at The Poetry Machine. She's had no trouble putting how she feels about her favourite Bristol eateries into words...

Food Friday Beth Calverley

Image - Beth Calverley, credit Tim Lo

Souk Kitchen

Souk Kitchen is my favourite place to take my Mum for tea. The flavours are inspired by the foods of the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa. I inherited eyes wider than my stomach from Mum, so we both like ordering plenty of mezze to share, which land on our table in rapid succession on tiny plates piled high. We love the atmosphere: warm and earthy as terracotta. My Mum and I are both busy people, so we usually arrive for dinner with growling stomachs and fiery fuses. At Souk, we know we'll be fed soon and go home happy. If you would like to hear more about my Mum, here's a poem I wrote for her.

Tobacco Factory Market

I live in South Bristol, so my next choice is in Southville too. There is no better Sunday morning activity than wandering up to Bristol's iconic Tobacco Factory for the beautiful retro market. From Scotch Eggs boasting yolks as runny as sunshine, to muffins dripping with bacon jam and pulled-pork, to Pip's notoriously gorgeous hot chocolate, the market is a revelation. On special occasions, you'll also see me tapping away on my vintage typewriter, creating personal poems for people in the moment. I'll be at the Tobacco Factory Christmas Markets on 9 and 16 of December so come and say hello!

The Old Market Assembly

This is the perfect place to put away a pizza before seeing a spoken word or theatre show at The Wardrobe. They even bring you little plates of bread and balsamic to tide you over before the pizza arrives, which helps me to resist gnawing on the table.

Falafel King

So many happy memories here! After performing at Harbour Festival this Summer, I was low on blood sugar and feeling a bit faint in the roasting heat. I grabbed my friends and we pushed our way through the crowd to Falafel King's famous van. Within five minutes, we were dangling our feet over the river, gobbling down Laffa stuffed with crisp, sizzling falafel, delicious clouds of sharp halloumi and masses of vegetables. It's also my favourite post-drinks treat - fairly healthy and kind to the wallet.


Cotham Hill's mouth-wateringly cool tapas hang-out, Bravas, is my favourite place to go for a grown-up birthday date with my partner. Simple yet stunning, every bite of cheese, cured meat and marinated veg sings the golden taste of Spain in summer. Their gin-grias (refreshing take on the traditional sangria) are inspired. I'd recommend booking because this is not Bristol's best-kept secret. 

Sonni's Corner Shop

After a morning spent bouldering at Bloc Climbing Centre in St Werburghs, the ultimate reward is popping to Sonni's Corner Shop for lunch. This is not your typical grab-a-pint-of-milk-and-loaf-of-bread kind of place. Instead, there's a counter dedicated to fresh wraps, dripping with tender lamb or rainbow veg cooked while you wait, and baskets of samosas as big as your hand. I love sitting in the park after a long climb, clutching a wrap between chalk-dusted hands: the definition of smugness.

About the author

Beth Calverley is a poet, producer and workshop leader who was recently published on a list of 24 most influential young Bristolians. As Chief Operator of The Poetry Machine, Beth tours festivals and other events speed-writing personal and perceptive poetry on her vintage typewriter. She hosts workshops that help people to put their own stories into words, collaborating with businesses, charities, hospitals, and universities across the country. Beth co-produces Milk Poetry, a nurturing platform for established and emerging poets in Bristol. This year, she became the inaugural Gloucester Regional Roundhouse Slam winner and went on to compete in the final in London.

You can keep up with Beth on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram or check out her website, The Poetry Machine.


Tobacco Factory Market
Outdoor Market
Tobacco Factory Market

The Tobacco Factory Sunday Market takes place every Sunday in the car park of the Tobacco Factory, Raleigh Road, Southville.