There are different ways to inhabit Bristol. First, at least in my point of view, there’s the student world that weaves together your friends’ Redland addresses, your Stoke Bishop or Clifton Village first year hall, the university precinct and your favorite/least favorite clubs on the triangle. There’s also artsy Bristol, centered in Stokes Croft and further afield in neighborhoods with cheaper rents. You find posh Bristol with its epicenter in Clifton Village.
Papadeli belongs firmly to this last Bristol. Despite being across from the mega-Sainsbury, the student’s food haven, it feels as if it should be tucked between mansions in Clifton Village. The shelves are cutely crammed with shelf-stable foods, mostly Italian but some French, all priced to make a student cry. Especially if they just spent a year abroad and could buy the likes of Macine and Baiocchi for mere euros.
I’ve passed by Papadeli every now and again during my years of university and, despite being curious, always had the sense that it didn’t exist as part of my Bristol and, thus, I shouldn’t go in. Suddenly, a few weeks ago, I had a reason: croissant. I was on my way to the grocery store and decided to pop in and check it out.
Unfortunately, I don’t think my wallet will be too happy when I return for some truffle-infused honey or a box of their celery cheddar crackers.
The morning was grey but sprinkled with Christmas cheer. I bundled myself up for the walk there and found the store pleasantly empty, blissfully calm. There’s an upstairs cafe, but I chose to sit in the window, looking at the Christmas tree sale across the street. Every now and then people passed by, too busy with their own Saturday routine to pay much notice to the girl photographing her breakfast.
The croissant wasn’t much to look at. I felt myself almost disappointed as I saw the slightly squished pastry placed before me. It looked like bread, nothing exciting. As soon as I bit into the end, however, I could tell that this croissant was better than it looked. It seemed dull, mono-texture. Yet the ends were crispy and the outside just a touch flakier than the inside. It was subtly buttery, as if an Englishman and a Frenchman has a long debate before deciding how much butter was appropriate to put it. It wasn’t sweet, nor salty.
The dense-but-light layers reminded me of Patisserie Claude. In fact, Papadeli’s was like its lighter sister. I ate my pastry and, while I wasn’t covered in shards of crust, I was entirely thrilled that I crossed the threshold of the posh Bristol world.
Papadeli, I’ll be back. For croissants, a slice of that brownie and some posh oils. Goodness help my wallet.
Is there any food item on which you particularly enjoy splurging on