The pandemic has been devastating for the hospitality industry but one positive is that it has encouraged tonnes of innovation as resilient restaurants owners seek ways to survive the crisis.
One amazing example of that is Breaking Bread, a pop-up environment on The Downs in Bristol. It is home to several of the city’s best independent restaurants and bars and has directly supported hundreds of employees, producers and suppliers.
Review of The Pipe and Lovers at Breaking Bread, Bristol
Among the tipis on site is The Pipe and Lovers, a collaboration between two pubs, The Pipe and Slippers and The Love Inn.
We first visited on a chilly evening last October and had a great time. Breaking Bread has been a huge success and it reopened this year so we were delighted to be invited back on a much warmer day for a complimentary visit to see what has changed.
Breaking Bread is much more than a couple of tents in a field. It is made up of high quality tipis and it feels like a proper bar and restaurant rather than a temporary venue.
The pop-up also covers a large area of The Downs with lots of seating both outside and under cover. Although restrictions have now eased, it means there’s still plenty of space for social distancing.
The menu is much more extensive than when we last visited. Back in the autumn it was burgers and hot dogs but there’s now a bigger selection of choices. We opted for the onion and courgettes bhaji burger served with paprika fries, herb yoghurt and mango chutney, Cornish seaweed breaded cod with fries, tartar sauce and curried pears and a Greek salad with kalamata olives, Homewood feta cheese, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and lightly picked red onions.
All of it was superb. The bhaji burger was super tasty and the paprika fries were perfectly crispy. The fish was one of the best pub fish and chip dinners I’ve had in a while and I just loved the touch of the seaweed on top. I’m not usually a mushy pea person but I liked the curried peas. The Greek salad was yummy too with quality ingredients. It’s a very generous portion which could be a sufficient main course for some people.
For drinks, we had a couple of pints of one of our favourites. We’ve become huge fans of Bristol brewery Lost and Grounded over lockdown so were delighted to see the tasty Keller Pils on the menu.
Breaking Bread is a brilliant example of a pandemic pivot. It provides a genuine drinking and dining experience with quality food and great service but it is also making a real difference to local people. As well as the employees, producers and suppliers it has supported, there’s also Team Canteen, a social enterprise providing work opportunities for young people and a central base for the production of emergency meals which the restaurants have been providing throughout the pandemic.
If there’s anything that sums up that Bristol spirit of independence, innovation and community, it’s Breaking Bread. Give it your support.
This visit was provided free of charge but all views are our own. Tables for Breaking Bread can be booked here.