Growing up in New York, I have a variety of fantasies about what living in a small town is like. Now, keep in mind when I say small town, I mean anything smaller than New York. A bit close-minded perhaps, but New York is my default sized city. Just like anyone else, I judge everything off of my hometown. I’m sure you can relate.
Bristol, going on this line of reasoning, is a small town. Sure, it is technically a city thanks to the cathedral, but the ambiance doesn’t have the hustle-and-bustle that screams city! to me. It’s a bit sleepier. This isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, but it does mean that I’m constantly let down by my fantasies of what it means to live in a small town. It is nowhere near as idyllic as I think it should be.
Except, I may have found the place that made all of my small-town fantasies come to life: Primrose Cafe.
Primrose Cafe is situated in the lovely Clifton Village area of Bristol. Bristol has the reputation of being quite posh, pretty much exclusively thanks to this darling quarter. The houses are a mix between quaint British cottage and grand mansions, both of which are completely entrancing. There are small, independent and expensive stores lining the streets among which there is no shortage of cafes.
The cafe opened in 1993 and has become a Bristol institution ever since. Even on the rainy Sunday morning when I went, it quickly got quite crowded. The acclaim is completely understandable.
I’m hesitant to sing my praises about the croissant because I feel that much of my appreciation of it comes from the fantastic setting. The wooden bench seating, the rickety old tables and huge windows that all came together to create a space that feels both intimate and happening.
The croissant looks pale and it was. Perhaps the lack of a beautifully browned exterior was its biggest disappointment because despite appearances, it tasted quite nice. Though there wasn’t a pronounced butter smell like Cafe du Jour, the hint was there, enough to create a pleasant ode to laminated pastry.
Where this croissant really sang, however, was in the layers. The outer-shell was delightfully crispy and broke into satisfyingly large pieces as you pulled each layer apart. Inside, the croissant was buttery, but didn’t stick together in a congealed mass. It wasn’t perfect, I would have preferred layers that were a tad bit more defined, but it was probably the best specimen I have had to date in Bristol. The word “bread-y” didn’t even come to mind.
Even the ends, my personal favorite part of a croissant and consequently the part which I judge the hardest and am most frequently disappointed in, were bright, crispy and buttery.
So, will I be back? Most definitely yes. Perhaps for the croissant, but perhaps to try some of their other meals on offer, which all look delicious.
Would you rather live in a small town or a big city? Why?