Bedminster has no shortage of wonderful restaurants and North Street proudly gleams as the jewel in its foodie crown. Recently opened, The Malago (previously Zazu’s Kitchen) has pride of place in the centre of things, making it a prime spot to stop for brunch, dinner or cocktails. Or all of those actually, I do enjoy a brunch time cocktail. We strolled down on a particularly wet Sunday to admire the amazing street art created during Upfest (find out more here – LINK) to try it out.
Run by brother and sister team, chef Helly Highland and front of house John Carnegie, The Malago put its focus on friendly service, local suppliers and modern British cuisine. We ventured in during one of the rare breaks in the rain and were immediately warmly greeted, seated and given water and menus to peruse. Already this was winning for me, so many restaurants fail to do one, or all, of these basics. We had the option of the brunch menu (served 9am – 3pm), lunch (12-3pm) or the outside BBQ running all day during Upfest. The BBQ smelled incredible and we were salivating over the choices, especially when the waitress described in detail the options. I won’t even attempt to recreate that here as I won’t do it justice but it was just like one of those M&S food adverts where everything goes a bit slow motion and it’s not just any BBQ… this is a Malago BBQ…
The tempting brunch menu proved too hard to resist however (though the last time I had a brunch at Zazu’s kitchen it took 90 minutes and when it eventually arrived I was informed they had run out of bacon so had substituted it for a tomato… of such things brunch dreams are not made!) and I was torn between the American pancakes with streaky bacon and maple syrup or ‘The Malago’ which was the full works. Mr TGE had no such indecision and went straight for that and, knowing I would have chronic food envy if I didn’t, I followed suit. We were apologetically told that there was about a 45 minute wait on food, which we expected during Upfest weekend, but they would try to get it to us faster. We weren’t in a rush and were happy to sit back, relax and enjoy the coffee. As the heavens opened again the restaurant flooded with more customers and soon there wasn’t a seat left with families, couples and groups of art fans clustered around tables.
As it happens we didn’t actually have to wait that long, 25 minutes later a beaming waitress proudly delivered our two heaving plates and apologised again for the wait. We really weren’t bothered but the staff clearly were which I think speaks very highly of them, they seemed genuinely interested to see that we had a lovely time with them which we appreciated. The brunch itself was an absolute winner. Thick cut bacon, plump flavourful sausages and a cheeky little bubble and squeak meant I knew I had chosen the right option. When in doubt go for everything – and it really does contain everything – poached eggs, sausage, bacon, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomato, bubble and squeak and finished off with toast. What a start to the day!
I was halfway through before I noticed that I was actually missing the black pudding element – however Mr TGE had such an almighty slab of it he was happy to go halves rather than request any more. We happily munched our way through the plate, occasionally nodding and smiling at each other before returning to munching; this was truly a well brunched morning. When the waitress came to clear the plates we commented on how much we had enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. She nodded enthusiastically, telling us that she had never worked somewhere with quite such lovely people. And do you know what? I can believe it. If ‘friendly neighbourhood local’ is the vibe they’re going for they’re definitely succeeding. Leaning in closer in a conspiratorial fashion the waitress asked us if we’d been here for dinner yet… we replied that we hadn’t and she shook her head. “You need to come for dinner” she insists with a slightly dreamy look, “it’s just… so good. It’s real fine dining and it’s just… so good!”.
I’m absolutely sold, make that dinner for two please!
See the Malago’s full menu here
Added bonus of the week: If you’re ever in Coventry and in search of a decent pub dinner, check our The Greyhound Inn . We stumbled across whilst desperate for an early dinner and trying fervently to avoid the Frankie & Bennie’s that had been so highly recommended from the car salesman – and thank goodness! Great food, much better than your standard pub grub!