Is there a more decadent meal of the day than brunch? Well, afternoon tea is up there too, in all honesty – but for me, a lazy morning (not a lie in – turns out you don’t get those when you have kids) followed by a long, drawn-out meal that combines the first two eating times of the day into one feels like more of a treat than an evening meal, sometimes.
So what better treat on my husband’s birthday weekend (and one that I could enjoy too) than a decadent brunch out?
We wanted somewhere within walking distance, somewhere with a mix of lighter and more robust dishes on the menu, and somewhere that caters for kids, too. And with Chris’ love of surfing thrown into the mix, there was only one place to choose: Quay Street Diner.
This Californian-inspired diner is owned by Grillstock legends Jon Finch and Ben Merrington, and there’s still a nod to their BBQ heritage on the menu. In the open-plan kitchen, they’ve even got their own custom-made charcoal grill – and the menu is packed with everything you’d expect from a Californian diner. Think burgers, tacos, salads and steaks – and a separate veggie and vegan section on the menu, too.
And the weekend brunch menu (a new menu which launched in mid-February) is pretty similar. There’s fried chicken, there’s bacon and eggs, there’s huevos rancheros, there’s pancakes…and there’s even bottomless prosecco or Bloody Marys at an extra £15 a head.
And it’s child-friendly, which I now need to think about too. There’s a separate kids’ menu, they have highchairs, and they were really accommodating – even down to the choice of table, which had enough space to park the buggy next to it without encroaching on anyone else’s personal space.
Weekend brunches are served from 9am to 4pm on Saturday and all day on Sunday. There’s a smaller brunch menu served Monday to Friday, too, but head down at the weekend for the full experience. Just be sure to book, as the team had to turn away a number of walk-ins while we were there.
In all honesty, Chris found it pretty hard to decide. In the end, he left the fried chicken and waffles for another day, and instead went for the Quay St Big Breakfast (£10.95). And big it was: so much so, in fact, that it ended up being his only meal of the day.
Non-greasy hash browns, richly spiced Mexican black beans (a nice twist on the classic), grilled tomatoes and two perfectly fried eggs made up the non-meaty portion of the plate, along with a thick wedge of liberally buttered toasted ciabatta to mop it all up with. The real stars of the show, though, were the meats: two incredible pork sausages that were peppery, firm and delicious, and possibly the best bacon I’ve ever tried. It must have been at least four times the thickness of your regular supermarket rasher (and with well over four times the appeal).
Me? I went semi-healthy, choosing the huevos rancheros (£8.95). Well, I say healthy and £8.95…but when you have the option to add bacon for an extra £2, it’s a no-brainer.
The Quay Street Diner kitchen team were liberal with the bacon, too, which was nice to see. Honestly, I could eat that stuff all day – it’s addictive. The tomato sauce was lovely and fresh, the eggs, thankfully, baked with no runny bits in the white (one of my pet hates…) and the slices of fresh red and green chilli added a punch every few mouthfuls that woke me up more than a morning coffee ever could. I’d have liked a little more feta, but I quite happily used as much of my toasted ciabatta as I could salvage from the baby’s sticky hands to mop up every last drop of the sauce.
Talking of the baby, he had a choice of cheeseburger, veggie burger, vegan burger, chicken burger or cod bites. The kids’ meals (designed for under-11s) are £6.50 each and come with fries, plus either fruit juice or milk, and an ice cream for dessert.
As Oscar only has one and a half teeth so far, he’s been working his way around Bristol’s cod goujons/fish bites/fish fingers offerings, as we know his little gums can cope with them. Sadly, the Quay Street Diner cod bites weren’t the best we’ve found – the tempura batter was a lovely change from the norm, but it was far too thick, not light as it should be, and pretty greasy as a result. He’s clearly less critical than me, though, as he demolished a fair bit of it…
In all honesty, I think it was his decision to order churros (£3) for dessert that tipped Chris over the edge and rendered him ridiculously full for the rest of the day. But I understand – that combination of deep-fried dough, cinnamon sugar and rich chocolate sauce is pretty hard to resist…
And they were fantastic. Light, fluffy, slightly crisp on the outside, generous on the cinnamon sugar, not so generous on the chocolate sauce (a separate pot of it for dipping would’ve been better, I think) – and a decent portion for the £3 price tag.
If anyone wants to babysit next time so we can indulge in the bottomless booze, get in touch…because we’ll definitely be going back to Quay Street Diner. A decadent and well-priced menu, quality ingredients cooked well, fantastic friendly service (including washing up the baby’s plate and spoon we brought with us – a lovely touch) and a central location where you get to watch tourists on street art tours passing by every so often (along with a man in a gimp suit, bizarrely…) equalled a lovely way to spend a Saturday late morning/early afternoon.
Please note: our meal at Quay Street Diner was received free of charge (although I booked fully intending to pay, they cheekily comped it when I asked for the bill), but this in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.