I thought about where I should start my blog...there are, of course, my usual haunts, places where the staff know me by name and venues that I return to time after time when only the best will do. But, we will come to all that later and for now, let me start with a review of my current location...'un peu de la France' on Whiteladies Road!
Date and time: 6th February 2011, 16:00
Name of establishment: Cafe du Jour
Location: 72 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol
Reason for Visit: It's proximity to 'The Boy's' workplace
Looking in from the outside of Cafe Du Jour, it looks typically 'Clifton' - minimalistic and chic yet not particularly original in its set-up and style. Although upon entering, I was pleasantly surprised by its charm. The decor is almost Gothic in places with black swirls on the aubergine-coloured walls that your eyes want to trace and chandeliers that boast a certain grandeur as well as making the space light without being overpowering. My first thought however was how Cafe Du Jour had not just adopted a French-name to appear chic, but that there actually was an authentic French feel to it which I really enjoyed. Their website states; 'we want our guests to genuinely feel The Cafe Du Jour is their neighbourhood cafe, as it would be in Paris' and from the generous choice of filled baguettes on offer, to the well-made coffee and even, I realised after listening for a while, French radio* that played in the background, they have committed themselves to getting this just right.
As I only had a short time at this venue on this occasion (due to a looming hospital visit), I sadly did not get to sample as much of food on offer as I would have liked. Although, I did have time for a piece of home-made lemon meringue pie which was recommended to me by the staff. It was presented on a square white plate and was ruggedly cut, the filling was a pale yellow and the meringue on the top looked crispy and appealing. The lemon filling had an almost cheesecake-like texture, perfectly zesty and with the thin pastry crust on the bottom and crunchy meringue on the top, it was not too heavy - in fact, I managed every last bit without any help from 'The Boy'! It was certainly different to other lemon meringue pies that I had tasted due to the consistency of the filling, but refreshingly so in my opinion. I ordered a skimmed cappuccino to wash it down which had a freshly-roasted taste and just the right amount of froth - though with no chocolate sprinkles on the top (at my own request)!
Despite being pretty quiet at the time of my visit, I can imagine that Cafe Du Jour gets pretty busy in the week - with comfy seats, free wifi (plus payable computer terminals if you wish) and reasonably priced food which is well-presented you can't go far wrong. I was also impressed with the speed and quality of service, cleanliness of the facilities (always important as grubby toilets can really let a place down) but most of all, the relaxed atmosphere that the staff have achieved. I will definitely return to Cafe Du Jour, though next time, for something savoury from their menu. the food envy I felt when the couple next to me were given steaming bowls of the 'soup of the day' must be remedied…and soon!
And now for the male opinion…
'The Boy' gave Cafe Du Jour a rating of 7/10 and when asked to describe it in 3 words, chose 'tidy little joint!'