Whiteladies Road and its adjoining neighbourhoods seem to have finally picked up after what can be described as a rather grim period of inactivity – its new-found 'token' Wetherpoons gleaming amidst the sporadic sociability of this once-popular uptown 'strip' and the rumoured re-launch of Henry Africa's intending to increase the traffic towards the venue where Sasparilla once stood; reopening its predecessor somewhat unapologetically in its wake. However, the predominant pull-factor, for me at least, is Lily and Boo's; a cutesy 'cupcakery' at the foot of Cotham Hill; an establishment set to satisfy my sweet tooth and then some...
Date and Time: Wednesday 7th November 2012,14:30
Name of Establishment: Lily and Boo's Cupcakery*
Location: 2 Cotham Hill, Cotham, Bristol
Reason for visit: A celebratory sugar hit with the Best Foodie Friend (BFF) in light of discovering that I had been short-listed in the 'best blogger' category as part of the Food Magazine's Reader Awards.
Occupying the former stomping ground of Deli Delish - at the base of Cotham Hill and just a stones-throw away from Clifton Down's shopping centre - Lily and Boo's is a cosy and appealingly candy-coloured establishment in which pink décor is punctuated with larger-than-life gingerbread-men and the 'summer-house' style seating is plumply arranged with vintage-effect scatter cushions. Feel good tunes play-out idly overhead and the general ambiance is relaxed and warm. I was also lucky enough to meet both Lily and Boo upon my arrival; their collective friendliness really sealing the deal when it comes to welcoming visitors into their fold – you might say even creating a sense of popping to a mate's gaff for a cuppa’! The pride that they express in light of the sugary haven they've created is crystal, and rightly so; the attractive assortment of cupcakes - thoughtfully arranged upon silver stands beneath the glass of the counter – also seeming to hint at the level of care that has encompassed their design.
There is an ample range to choose from too; each novelly branded and served upon pretty pastel-coloured plates so to be visually enjoyed before the first mouthful is taken. I struggled to choose between The Velvet Elvis (due to my profound weakness for peanut butter) and The Rocky Road (which comprises a winning combination of marshmallow and candied popcorn); opting at last for the latter and, it has to be said, enjoying each and every mouthful! The daily specials are especially innovative; the BFF choosing the 'Harry Potter' inspired 'Butterbeer' cupcake which was fun and vibrant yet she mooted, an acquired taste! One might also suggest that the portion sizes are not to be sniffed at; the cake-to-topping ratio commendably well-executed. I noticed two chaps on the next table to us, gingerly cutting their cupcakes into manageable mouthfuls whereas the BFF and I ploughed through our indulgences in their entirety in the most unmannerly of fashions! Thus, although so often cupcakes look the part but fail to deliver in terms of both texture and taste, this is most certainly not the case at Lily and Boo's as a light and suitably aerated consistency has been deliciously achieved; the sponge harbouring a subtle sweetness so not to detract from the hit of the frosting whereby butter-cream equals melt-in-the-mouth delight!
|The 'Butterbeer' Special|
|The Rocky Road|
There are other edibles to choose from and yet, why someone would choose to venture into a cupcakery in search of a savoury muffin, I’ll never know?! Other confectioneries are a nice touch but, in my view, not particularly necessary. Though that said, I also just *had* to sample the macarons which, really rather pricey at £1.35 each (and for what decidedly constitutes just one mouthful), were disappointingly average – the texture overly crunchy, bordering on stale if truth be told. This was a shame as the flavours had been thoughtfully constructed; particularly in terms of the strawberry and vanilla macaron which captured the intended contrast between sweet and tart to perfection.
To wash down one's nibbles are all the usual suspects; hot drinks are blended with semi-skimmed milk as standard but soya is available upon request, (which is of significance if you're a fuss-pot like me when it comes to the white stuff!) The BFF reported that her latte had been well-made and yet, the mocha that I had ordered was pretty much chocca given that the coffee element had been somewhat lost in translation. Nevertheless, this was a satisfactory beverage which suitably warmed the cockles...Notable too is the tea-cup size (oo er) which amounts to what my mum would refer to as a 'swamper' – thus constituting great value for money as we're talking a mere £2.40 for a positively generous serving. Though with all that fluid comes a slight spanner in the (water) works as Lily and Boo's do not have any customer toilets...we later discovered that they share the facilities located within the pub across the road which isn't ideal but not particularly problematic either - especially once you know that they're there!
In conclusion, this is a great addition to the city's café culture and one with which I am hoping to become increasingly well accustomed (trust me, I've already bagged myself a loyalty card!) Incidentally, you may be interested to learn that Lily and Boo's will be officially launching on Friday 23rd November 2012 on which day, from 10:00 – 15:00, the public will be treated to samples of their wares – do go and see what you think...! I felt that although the cupcakes were unimpeachably of a very high standard, there are other aspects of the menu letting the side down – the stale macarons proving the main offender on my part! Arguably, this would be a first-rate establishment if the focus remained on their best-sellers and I would suggest that if Lily and Boo are to explore other avenues, that they do so with caution - so not to put their customers off the main event!
And now for the second opinion...
The BFF gave Lily and Boo's a rating of 8/10 and in three words, summed up her experience as 'sweet, sweet, sweet'.
*There is a fundamental lack of online presence in regards to this establishment – though watch this space as I will add any details should they become available.