Bristol has had a good year - to put it mildly. The rest of the country has looked on as accolades and awards have been thrown at the city like confetti. Various media outlets have heralded its culture, expansive diversity, welcoming nature, and varied architecture. Amongst the awards has been a significant whiff of appreciation towards its burgeoning food scene, and critics have travelled far and wide to unanimously nod with edible approval.
Independence has been key to the city’s success and the Wapping Wharf development has led the way for supporting independent businesses. Continuing this trend is the latest extension of the development, Cargo 2. The first stage of the expansion, Cargo 1, saw a collection of retail and food and drink operators located in a stack of shipping containers.
These steel boxes have become quickly adored by the city so the extension of the containers has brought a palpable sense of anticipation. The host of new arrivals bring even more choice to consumers and the Harbourside is quickly becoming a sought after location. But who can we expect to see amongst the confines of this corrugated steel city?
First up, and looking to get a slice of the Bristol pie again is Russell Norman, who only recently opened Polpo in Bristol last year, and has chosen Cargo 2 for his second Spuntino branch. The laid back American-Italian mash-up serves small plates and cocktails, as is the biggest trend of most modern eateries. Whilst this may appear against the grain of the independent grain, Norman has been welcomed into the Bristol fold.
Keeping it local and with a much more carefully crafted product is Tare. Much like the critically-acclaimed BOX-E at Cargo 1, this restaurant will be serving a tasting menu and beautifully crafted plates of food. The team have strong credentials already and have worked in some of Bristol’s favourite food spots including The Lido, Wilsons, and Riverstation.
More local food support at the containers comes from Gopal’s Curry Shack who are well known for their Indian street food in the Bristol area. Their dishes deliver a myriad of flavour and colours, and the menu highlights include their onion bhaji scotch eggs, masala dhal, and samosa chaat.
Mexican food devourers will be pleased to know Cargo Cantina will be throwing up all manner of tasty tacos with beers, frozen margaritas, cocktails, tequila, and mezcal. The team behind Bristol tapas restaurant Bravas are running this operation so standards will no doubt be high and delightfully tasty.
The second London establishment travelling into Bristol is Greek street food outfit The Athenian. You only need a cursory glance of their website to get the taste buds tantalised for their souvlaki, gyros, oregano fries, and dips.
Those of you with a sweet tooth and a weak heart for dessert will be gladly welcomed by Oliver’s, who will be serving liberal scoops of ice-cream and sorbets. Flavours on offer are extensive and enhanced by local produce, even managing to create a West Country cider sorbet. Gert Lush.
Another favourite West Country product is cheese and The Bristol Cheesemonger takes cheese appreciation to the next level. Run by Rosie Morgan, this cheese shop has already become well known in the city in its previous incarnations. There is much more than just cheddar to be tasted and your wildest cheesy dreams will be pandered to here.
It’s not all just food in the steel city either. Stressed workers will find harmony in the new Pure Yoga studio who’ll be running classes, or if you prefer to not perspire during your de-stressing then Loop Massage will be on hand to give you a rub down.
At the retail end of operations is Mabboo who have a plethora of bamboo produce, using the material to make everything from watches and sunglasses to t-shirts and even keyboards. More fine produce will be found at John Kelly 1880+, with a collection of jewellery, silver, and metalware.
Wapping Wharf and its shipping containers have already become one of the favourite destinations for people in Bristol and with similar schemes like Boxpark elsewhere in the country, it seems the future may very well come concealed in a steel box.
*Cargo 2 officially launches on May 26th.