Bakers & Co has recently been the name on everybody’s lips because of their new supper menu, which follows a similar small-plates style to owners Kieran and Imogen Waite’s tapas restaurant, Bravas. Yet over the past two years Bakers & Co has forged its reputation not on supper, but on stellar brunches. It was this far-reaching reputation that led me to visit Bakers’ yellow awning on my very first day flat hunting in Bristol and has seen me make the trip up Gloucester Road on several mornings since.
The open kitchen is at the centre of the cafe, a layout which reflects that cooking and baking everything in-house is at the centre of Baker & Co’s ethos. Diners can perch at the counter overlooking the chefs or squeeze onto tables that flank the kitchen and stretch back into a long, light corridor behind. Bright yellow coffee cups, hanging baskets and sunny artwork add touches of colour.
The eponymous Baker's Breafast, a tower of dry cure bacon, fennel sausages, morcilla, thyme roasted mushrooms, pinto beans and fried duck egg, is always popular. Yet the huevos rancheros commands an equally strong following, at least if the frequency of admiring Instagram shots is to be believed. To this traditional tomato and chilli stew, the Bakers also add pinto beans - cooked until just collapsing and turning creamy - and a hot salsa whose fire and freshness works well to cut through the richness of the fried eggs. A soft, warm corn tortilla is on hand to mop up any leftover yolk-streaked sauce.
Sweet breakfasts are equally tempting. The simply named of the ‘Morning Toast’ belies the trruly decadent nature of this dish. Torrijos - bread soaked in eggs, milk, honey and spices before being fried - are coated in orange and cinnamon sugar, then topped with grilled banana or bacon, crème fraiche, almonds and maple syrup. On a recent visit, the daily special presented an equally indulgent treat. The skillets once used for baked eggs had been transformed into homes for giant ‘Dutch baby’ pancakes, somewhat akin to a sweet Yorkshire pudding, filled with yogurt, fruit and granola.
I have yet to succumb to the charms of the cake counter but, for those who believe in the concept of breakfast dessert, a buckwheat friand with raspberry and chocolate crème would make a perfect end to the morning meal. Or perhaps one could take away slices of spiced apple bundt, of banana loaf and of pistachio, lemon and poppy seed cake to sweeten the parting from this breakfast haven.