Martin Booth, the author of ‘111 Places in Bristol That You Shouldn’t Miss’ gives us his top food and drink picks from the book for this week's #FoodFriday. Find out more about where and how to get your hands on a (perhaps signed) copy of the book below. Over to Martin...

Martin Booth with book and daughters

Image: Martin Booth with book and daughters

It was difficult to pick just 111 places in my new guidebook, ‘111 Places in Bristol That You Shouldn’t Miss. Our city has so many fantastic things that I wanted to tell people about, whether you are a first-time visitor or a long-time resident. But – challenge accepted – I whittled down a shortlist and teamed up with the brilliant photographer Barbara Evripidou to write the book. The aim of this global series of books is to write about places not usually featured in guidebooks; and slightly contrary to the purpose of this piece, there are not too many food and drink selections among the chapters.

Bag of Nails

I could not leave out my local, however, with the Bag of Nails on St George Road providing me regular liquid refreshment for many years, as well as an opportunity to smooth their collection of cats. As the pub has understandably got quieter post-lockdown, landlord Luke Daniels’ moggies are even more likely to be found lying on the bar or even on their own feline-sized chaise longue. My choice of beer here changes every week depending on what Luke has on cask or keg, but this is always a pint of whatever new ale St Werburgh’s brewery Masquerade has produced if it is on tap, as well as other Bristol favourites such as Arbor, Lost & Grounded or Moor. My trip to the Bag of Nails is most often accompanied by a visit to Chai Shai almost next door, which I will tell whoever is listening to me serves the best Indian food in Bristol.

Bag O'Nails - image credit Barbara Evripidou

Image: Bag O'Nails - credit Barbara Evripidou 

Incredible Edible

One important aspect of the book is to go off the beaten track, so you will find chapters on places in the likes of Avonmouth, Knowle West and Speedwell, as well as in the more familiar tourist locations such as the Old City and Clifton. By itself, Incredible Edible is dotted around the city and I recently found one of their vegetable patches in Lockleaze as I was cycling to watch Bristol Rovers play at Lockleaze Sports Centre. (Up the Gas Girls!) More than 50 edible gardens have now been planted by Incredible Edible volunteers and partners. The food is free for anyone to take as well as providing meals for pollinators, birds and other creatures who are part of Bristol’s ecosystem. The Incredible Edible team are currently crowdfunding to buy a new polytunnel and more tools, gloves and equipment.

Incredible Edible - credit Barbara Evripidou

Image: Incredible Edible Millennium Square- credit Barbara Evripidou

Psychopomp

If you ask Psychopomp’s Danny Walker when his distillery began, you get two answers. Officially, gin was first distilled at these premises on St Michael’s Hill in 2013. Unofficially, production started several years earlier as Danny began to perfect his craft in the basement of his co-founder Liam Hirt’s home in Montpelier. Woden, the pair’s first gin – a classic London dry with juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root, cassia bark, fresh grapefruit zest and fennel seed – is still made all year round. Seasonal varieties, named after Norse gods, are produced for two years before being replaced by a new recipe. During the 2020 pandemic, the team used gin botanicals to make hand sanitiser, and livestreamed cocktail-making masterclasses.

Psychopomp - credit Barbara Evripidou

Image: Psychopomp - credit Barbara Evripidou

About the book

‘111 Places in Bristol That You Shouldn’t Miss’ has been two years in the making and I am absolutely thrilled that it is now available in shops and online. I recently popped into Waterstones in The Galleries to sign a few copies, and there are more in bookshops such as Max Minerva’s in Westbury Park, Storysmith on North Street and Stanfords on Corn Street. Last week I organised a little treasure hunt, leaving copies of the book in places featured such as Cheers Drive in Speedwell and the water maze in Victoria Park, revealing clues on my Twitter account, @beardedjourno. The legends at Out of Hand have even provided some of their poster sites across the city, showcasing Barbara's brilliant photographs in all of their glory. I hope that everyone reading the book will be able to discover even more fascinating secrets about our city, food, drink and much more besides.

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