Quick bite Fresh and organic food at a sensible price
It hasn't been a good year for organics. Not only have sales of organic products nose-dived during the recession, but a new study says that there is still little evidence that eating organic food is more nutritious than food grown conventionally.
This weekend should have been the annual Organic Food Festival in Bristol's Harbourside but for the first time in its 12-year history, it isn't happening for reasons that aren't entirely clear.
Undeterred, Phil Haughton, the man behind Bristol's Better Food Company's organic supermarkets in St Werburgh's and Clifton, has decided to hold his own mini festival.
From September 22, the Better Food Company will host a week of organic events, including a magical mystery bus tour of local organic farms, talks, cookery demonstrations and a "meet our producers" day at the two shops.
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Haughton's brother, chef Barny – himself an organic ambassador – will also be hosting a pop-up pasta restaurant at the Better Food Café in St Werburgh's on September 28.
The café is open all week for breakfast and lunch and it's a light and airy place with mismatched, reclaimed furniture and an open-plan kitchen. I visited on the day the new nutrition study was making the headlines, but the fact that the café was pretty much full went some way to show that organic followers – in St Werburgh's at least – are still voting with their Mexican sandals.
All meat, vegetables and dairy products on the menu here are organic, much of it local from named farms and suppliers.
At lunch, there is a soup of the day (summer vegetable and cannellini bean on this occasion) for £3.95, salad plates, jacket potatoes and sandwiches, plus plenty of healthy options for children.
The short specials board might offer a garlic Cheddar, chutney and tomato panini (£5.50) or, for the same price, a mezze of rice salad, pea and mint hummus and olives with a choice of any two of the Indian-style snacks that day (the lime and coriander aloo comes highly recommended).
I went for the frittata of the day (£5.50) – a warm, deep, satisfying wedge of egg-bound celery, green pepper, sun-dried tomato, potato, onion and garlic served with a well made rice salad and well-dressed salad leaves.
I followed it with a slice of moist, springy carrot and ginger cake (£2.50) and a strong, bitter double espresso (£2.20) made using Origin coffee roasted in Cornwall.