Earlier today I saw this tweet pop up from Ceres Cafe in Stokes Croft here in Bristol. It was refreshingly honest and reflects the troubling times we’re seeing at the moment with the closure of many places (both indie and chain) around Bristol. It coincides with a new initiative too, to name and shame those who book a table but don’t turn up. The Cauldron is doing it, for example, one of my fave Bristol restaurants, and so is Pasta Loco. I like this feist. Small business owners like the guys behind Ceres are opening up and sharing their problems with their customers to help us help them.
We’ve been open for about a month now for dinner, we haven’t promoted it very well, but we really need to push the dinners to survive. any help and support promoting this and telling your friends to give us a try will really help. pic.twitter.com/unjPRjA6ov
— Ceres Coffee (@CoffeeCeres) 4 March 2018
This tweet and the ones which followed made me think about a dinner I had at Ceres a few weeks ago with Dave and our friends Chris and Karis. For much of the night, we were the only people there and we enjoyed a really delicious meal for less than £25 a head.
I eat out a lot and don’t always blog it. Our meal at Ceres was really enjoyable but for some reason, was one of those which slipped through the net. And that’s a shame because my review could possibly lead to a table booking or two, for a small indie which needs it. On a later tweet, Ceres go on to say that the main reason they opened at night was to aid their survival, because actually, they are a daytime cafe, serving cake and coffee and brunch. That said, the food they are putting out in the evenings is far from cafe grub. It’s delicious and interesting.
Ceres has a pretty talented kitchen team and they are doing some interesting stuff. On the night we ate there, there was a small, very seasonal menu which included a spicy, Thai squash salad, pan-fried sea bream and most fascinating of all, a black ash rice pudding with fried shallots and grilled mango. An unusual medley of flavours which impressed every one of us around the table.
Their dinner service is also BYOB so it doesn’t even need to be expensive. We rocked up with a bag of Peroni from the corner shop down the road and they provided the bottle opener. Sorted.
We all eat in chains from time to time (myself included – I actually had breakfast today at Bill’s) but I think sometimes we forget how important it is to support our local independents. These guys are working to really tight margins in an incredibly competitive environment and honestly every penny counts. So go and support them, break out of your box and try somewhere new. And if it is good, tell your friends, tweet about it and leave a tip. You never know, you might just be pleasantly surprised!
Good luck to you Ceres, I hope you find the custom you need and rightly deserve. I will be back soon and hope that you survive. There have been too many closures (and announcements about upcoming closures) for us to lose another good one!