February 2017 marks the sixth anniversary of my eating adventures and, as ever, I'm excited about what the coming months will bring for us foodies! In case this is your first visit (if not, welcome back), I'm a 30-something female with a very healthy appetite!...I promise to share with you my experience of each restaurant, café or bar in which I set foot...so, let's go out!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Chief Trading Post, Oldland Common, Bristol

Where better to spend lunchtime on a sunny mid-week day off than at the Chief Trading Post. This is a real gem of a find set between Bristol and Bath and a stones-throw away from the residential areas of Oldland Common and Willsbridge. However, once inside, the impact on your senses could take you anywhere within the limits of your imagination - let me explain…

Date and Time: Wednesday 30th March 2011
Name of Establishment: Chief Trading Post Ltd.*
Location: Barry Road, Oldland Common, Bristol
Reason for Visit: Day-off luncheon with The Boy

If you are a person, perhaps a little unfamiliar with Bristol outside of the City Centre, chances are you wouldn't have stumbled upon the Chief Trading Post (CTP) but trust me, it's well worth a visit. Although this venue is essentially a garden centre, it is also crammed full of unusual gifts, trinkets and stoneware as well as an exquisite range of solid-bronze creatures. It is the latter which greets you (in a big way) at the site's entrance and, in my opinion, ignites that initial curiosity at what this space will contain! However, unique as they are, this garden centre's wares are not what attracts me to visit time after time. Cross the quaint courtyard from the onset of the outside space to the tearoom and let the bustle, homely cooking smells and smiley service begin to explain why so many people (even those with no interest in gardening at all) flock to this venue on a regular basis.

You have three seating options here. Inside is warm, cosy and bubbling with voices - to me, it bestows the feeling of being in a friend's kitchen. The rich smells of ground coffee and toast fill the air which also never fails to create a homely ambiance. The decor is clutter-chic, there are comedy-placards on the walls, shelves of teapots and one-off pieces of furniture which could have been taken from one of the 'Narnia' films- think big cast-iron creations with intricately detailed features. The focal point though is the life-size bronze stag set above the fireplace, random yet strangely fitting in this space! Your second option is the courtyard area which is cobbled in places and dappled with sunshine. Visitors sit on large wooden benches laden with cushions and a real sense of tranquillity is created with pan-pipe music and sets of wind chimes. At the end of the courtyard there is also an usual pot-shaped capsule to sit in, strewn with fairy lights and guarded with charismatic tribesman statues - seeing is believing though so please refer to image below! Finally, the extended greenhouse area is tropically heated and colourful, decorated with stained glass windows and huge ceramic pots – perhaps suggesting an exotic Middle Eastern theme. Subsequently, wherever you opt to sit it certainly makes for an interesting experience!

After deciding to sit inside, The Boy and I both chose to have toasted sandwiches. There is also homemade quiche on offer as well as ploughman's lunches, paninis and jacket potatoes which hide beneath their ample toppings! You certainly get a lot for your money here and for £3.80 each, both toasties were brimming with good-quality fillings - thick-cut Wiltshire ham and melted mature cheddar in my case. The granary bread is cut into doorstep slices and garnished with a fresh, generous-sized salad and crinkle-cut crisps. After all of that, I was seriously full up so cake was out of the question on this occasion and yet, when it comes to CTP's cake and dessert selection I am something of an expert. I am particularly fond of the triple-layered, chocolate orange fudge cake which consists of light chocolate sponge sandwiching a thick, glutinous chocolate filling combined with orange zest and gloriously finished with Terry's Chocolate Orange segments.  What's more, for a couple of quid you are given what can only be described as a slab of cake and if that hasn't convinced you, other options include cherry and coconut, coffee and walnut, classic Victoria Sponge or such desserts as; white chocolate cheesecake (complete with Cadbury's flake) or apple tart tatin.

To wash all this down, CTP offer a range of teas and serve 'Costa' coffee, which is always expertly prepared. Cold drinks include all the favourites, fizzes and a selection of Orchard Pig juices.

It really is a treat to come here, there is such a relaxed atmosphere and food has that fulfilling homemade touch. To return to the beginning of my review, the impact on your senses is catered for from all angles. From the overwhelming amount of kitsch to take in to the comforting food smells escaping from the kitchen as well as the happy buzz of conversation and friendly service which is laced with the tinkle of chimes, I have no reason to doubt that you will leave CTP with a smile. And, as for that all-important sense of taste - one mouthful of that decadent chocolate orange fudge cake and you'll be back for more before you know it! Go on, give this intriguing haven a try - no doubt I'll see you there!

And now for a second opinion....
The Boy gave CTP a rating of 9/10 and gave a three-word review of, ''food never fails'...


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