It has only just opened its doors but Flip already feels part of the furniture in a corner of North Street that’s growing in popularity.
With smartly branded menus mounted on wooden boards, neatly stocked shelves of produce and a bold, modern logo, Bristol’s first vegan deli and cafe is professional through and through.
But the atmosphere is very much that of a local community cafe – like owner Sophie Fox’s other business, the cafe at the Create centre – where adults, children and dogs alike feel comfortable whiling away the afternoon.
“I didn’t realise it was a vegan cafe, it’s really good carrot cake,” says a man, who’s sitting in the corner with his baby, as he strikes up a conversation with a fellow diner.
A small dog roams the room, befriending customers as he keeps eyes peeled for scraps and a group of breast-feeding mums are happily putting the world to rights at another table in the spacious café.
The odd jug of fresh flowers add a splash of colour to the understated décor, but the eye is mainly drawn to the shelves filled with vegan goods and the counter, which hosts vast bowls of olives, salads and a variety of hummus, as well as quiches and ‘non-sausage’ rolls.
From a menu of all-day breakfast options, burger, quiche, salads and cakes, it’s not an easy choice, but the petite savoury tarts on the countertop look particularly appealing.
A veritable feast is soon placed in front of me: the tomato, basil and pine nut tart (£4.50) is the best I’ve had in a long time – vegan or otherwise. The delicate flavours of pine nut and basil are complemented by fresh, zesty tomato and the creamy texture of the topping sits on a base that is flakey and crisp in all the right places.
A crunchy slaw and chickpea salad (£5) prove worthwhile accompaniments, but they pale in comparison to the side of chips (£3.50), which arrives hot and glistening, each chip irregular in shape, perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Malt vinegar – fetched specially in a little pot from the kitchen – and a sprinkling of crunchy salt are the cherry on top.
The mojito smoothie (£4.50), a thick, green blend of coconut, cucumber and mint is refreshing and subtly sweet. Alas, it proves too much on top of everything else and could be a meal in its own right.
The fashionable paper straw predictably turns to mush half way through, but this does nothing to detract from a meal that is inventive, satisfying and packed full of flavour.
As Flip starts to empty, a local vegan comes in to excitedly enquire about opening times of the new café and deli, that looks set to be a hit in this neighbourhood.
Flip, 81 North Street, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 1ES