It’s been a couple of weeks since I returned from Plymouth, and after the essay I wrote about the Flavour Fest I thought I’d come back and write another novel for you. If I hadn’t made it clear the last time, I really love the place. Not only do I get to spend quality time with my best friend, but I also get the time to adventure around and sample life on the coast which is something I cherish (after all, I do live in the West Mids). So obviously this means getting in on all the food action, quite literally as we were pretty much planning our days around what we were gonna eat.
Barista Brothers is one of those little coffee bars that calls for you to come in and get cosy every time you walk past, and I think I’ve been here on every visit to Plymouth. This one is one of 4 branches (the others reside in Bournemouth, Luton and Wood Green if you’re interested) and it’s a really traditional, rustic coffee house serving a variety of freshly prepared sandwiches, pizzas, flatbreads, bakery products and one of the best collection of drinks I’ve seen. For example, Toffee Crisp and Milkybar flavoured coffee, Creme Egg milkshakes, every flavoured smoothie you can imagine and soda floats. Despite all this, I ordered my usual green tea because I wanted to eat and one of those drinks is a meal in itself for me. After standing in front of the sandwich selection for a good 10 minutes (because the choice was that good) I picked up a ham, cheddar and salsa panini, which was the actual size of a full on baguette, and plonked myself down in the little nook upstairs. It always looks like Sophie and I are on a date, always.
The decor is authentic and homely, with a variety of sofas and armchairs, all surrounded by deep red, mirrored walls. The service was friendly, and our food came pretty quickly too. I think I payed around £7 for my sandwich and drink which does sound quite pricey upfront but you get a dish of coleslaw and half a bag of nacho crisps with your sandwich as well. You also get TONS of filling in those badboiz, they don’t scrimp. This was a really good panini, and I know you’re all thinking how good can a panini get but this does good. It tastes super fresh, which it is because there’s only a couple of them prepared in each flavour and it filled me up. Which hardly ever happens. Sophie was pretty content with her meal too!
Like Barista Bro, this is always a highlight of my time in Plymouth and Soph and I like to visit numerous times and indulge WAY. TOO.MUCH. So much so that the staff remember us every year, probably by the amount of food that we order and consume. Surely this is just a sign of how good it is though? Yes, surely. Before I start telling you about this visit, i’m going to tell you about last year where we ordered some ice cream floats, egg mayonnaise rolls AND a high tea. They do a selection of ‘Catherine Howard’s Tudor Rolls’ which are served on either white or granary bread and quite a choice of fillings such as seafood, crab, prawn tuna, homemade fish fingers (you are on the Barbican FYI), Ploughman’s, BLT and finally egg. I’ve wanted to try crab for ages but I was scared I was going to die from an unexpected allergic reaction so I went for the safe option of the egg on granary which was super yum and came with loads of seedy bits on top. This would of probably been enough but we caught a glimpse of the high tea on the menu so it continued.
But anyway, bringing us back to this year, we decided to take a spontaneous visit after the heavens opened on us and it was the first place we came too after fleeing from the downpour. It was an excellent choice because inside there’s two tiny little rooms, jam packed full of rickety tables all adorned with floral spreads, and it was lovely and cosy. Cosy is what fueled our choice of food, after getting thoroughly soaked and being cold, we both went for the vegetarian breakfasts (served all day). For £5.95 you get 2 veggie sausages, an egg, hash brown, baked beans, grilled tomato, mushrooms, a piece of fried bread, 2 slices of toast and butter AND a pot of tea, so I’d say that was quite the bargain. The service is always delightful, the staff are really attentive and do whatever they can to help and considering how busy it was in there (I’ve never seen it remotely empty) our food was delivered promptly.
I hardly ever eat cooked, savoury breakfasts. In fact, the only time I do is when I’m on holiday or staying away and there’s some form of breakfast buffet. I’m never satisfied because I find them incredibly greasy and leave me feeling like a dustbin all day so you’d probably be a bit bewildered as to why I ordered it, I was too, but my body was just calling for it. I’m soooooo glad I did though, the sausages were really good, the fried bread and mushrooms weren’t greasy in the slightest (literally no sign of oil) and they made my toast exactly how I like it (deal breaker). If that wasn’t enough, we then ordered that beauty of a chocolate slice which was served warm, lashings of sauce and a cherry on top. Best chocolate slice ever.
We returned again later in the week for our obligatory high tea which comes with dainty cucumber sandwiches, a selection of cakes, a scone with clotted cream and jam and a pot of Plymouth tea. Now if you’re going to order this make sure you state it’s for however many of you there are. Both times we said we’d share it because it sounds like a lot of food but it isn’t, so we’ve had to order another one. The scones are my favourite thing on the high tea, they’re super soft and warm and you get sooo much cream and jam, and we also got a chocolate ‘bomb’ thing which was like a round brownie. This was really good too, but it kinda tipped me over the edge and so therefore could only take a couple bites from the coffee cake and had to abandon all hope at the sight of the carrot one.
On first glance this place looks quite unsuspecting, and I probably wouldn’t of took two glances at it from the outside unless Sophie had pointed out that it was new and she wouldn’t mind giving it a try. We took a look at the menu which they had taped up on the window and, to my surprise, served up some pretty good sounding sandwiches. They also did a high tea (high tea sucker), but it was their choice of teas which interested me most with flavours like chocolate flake and creme caramel. However, it took us until my last day to visit and I was a bit sad that we didn’t go sooner, just so we had an excuse to go again.
The cafe itself is set inside a warehouse-style building, with concrete floors and naked ceilings and is also home to an art exhibition which was due to open the next day. The decor is beautifully simple, an assortment of quirky but comfortable sofas, with knitted throws and big tables so it’s a good place to set yourself down for the afternoon. The tea is presented in pretty jars, and the drinks menu chalked up on the pillar next to the till which was home to a giant fish bowl. Every detail was exquisite, even down to the paper and wooden clipboard the menu was written on.
I went for the rooibos creme caramel tea which was served in this gorgeous blue and white china teapot and jewel encrusted teacup and Sophie chose the chocolate flake version. I’m not going to lie, I couldn’t really taste the caramel notes in my tea, but it was a very good rooibos all the same, and Soph really enjoyed hers as well.
The food menu is pretty simple, they serve a variety of sandwiches, salads and some bakery treats too. I wasn’t in the mood for a salad as it was raining outside and I wanted something comforting so sandwich it was. The fillings all sounded delightful, from cucumber and dill, pastrami and pickled cabbage to the egg mayo with paprika and cress, which is what Sophie went for. I finally decided to get over my fear of crab death and as it was my last chance to taste it fresh from the Barbican, I ordered the crab, mayo and egg sandwich. It was quite expensive for a sandwich but, by God, what a sandwich it was.
I’ve had my fair share of sandwiches, I’m talking sliced bread and filling here (no panini, baguette or wrap in sight), and this was by far the best I’ve had. I don’t know what magic is going on in that kitchen but I want in on it. I’m pleased to say the crab was deliciously soft and tasted lovely, and I didn’t pass away from an allergic reaction either. It was all enrobed in egg mayonnaise (real big chunks of egg), and cress and they weren’t stingy when it came to the amount they put on it which justified the £6 I paid for it. I had it on wholemeal bread which they had drizzled olive oil onto and seasoned with salt and pepper. Although this made it a little messy to eat, I couldn’t of cared less because it was divine and it’s a little tip I have taken home with me for sandwiches to come. I’d definitely recommend this place!
I’m going to apologise straight up for the lack of photographs here, also a lack of decent photos because I was very drunk at this point and I just wanted to eat some really good food. I know it was going to be really good food because this is one of my favourite restaurants ever, and every meal I’ve had here has been superb. It’s not just the food that I love though, It’s the whole vibe it’s got going on. It’s a tiny little place, It’s bright blue and garish from the outside and no less on the inside either. The tables are reallllyyy close together, and the bar is literally a few steps away from anywhere you sit, and most of the time I’d shy away from places like this because I get claustrophobic and I don’t like it people watch me eat but the whole place screams authentic, traditional Spanish tapas, so it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
Spanish will always be my favourite cuisine, and Lorenzos do all the best dishes like potata bravas, stuffed chilli peppers, pan fried chorizo and homemade meatballs in tomato sauce. The best thing is that they serve all these tapas dishes in English size portions (so they’re massive), but you can also get sharers and they do a brilliant deal where for £16 you can get 3 tapas dishes and 2 side orders too. We did this last year (photos above), alongside some Sangria and a beautiful Spanish man serenading us with some beautiful Spanish guitar playing. Because we’re on date night, remember?
This time we both ordered the tapas from the English sized menu so we could both try something different. As I mentioned, I was pretty sozzled and after looking at the menu earlier in the day and trying to make the impossible decision of what to eat (everything sounds amazing) I went for the most filling and comforting dish which was Lorenzos favourite, chilli con carne. It came in a little dish, and it was full to the brim of rich and tasty chilli which was then topped with sour cream, melted cheese, and jalapenos. I had the choice of bread, rice or chips to accompany it, and I went for the latter because I, of course, am a classy lady. It was brilliant. No other words. Sophie, rather regrettably, chose chorizo in a red wine lake with peppers which only fueled the volcano of alcohol we had already consumed and managed to get even more drunk. It was incredibly tasty though, I just recommend you eat this sober.
As it was my last supper, I wanted dessert so I asked the waitress to choose for me because I was in no state to make such an important decision so she picked the mango and coconut cheesecake for me which was as impressive as the rest of my meal. Good choice fine lady, good choice.
We ate plenty of other delightful things, including one giant ice cream cookie and popcorn sundae which left me collapsed in a heap on Sophie’s kitchen floor, to the award-winning fish, chip and mushy pea meal we had on the Barbican for brunch. Overall, it was the best visit to Plymouth I’ve had and It was lovely spending so much time with my best friend. I hope I’ve given you a little bit of an inside of some of my favourite places to eat and drink, but feel free to give me some of your own experiences so I can take them with me for next time.
Hope you’re all enjoying your week!