Street food is sweeping the UK at an alarming rate. Bristol just happens to be one of those cities at the epicentre of this movement. St Nicholas Market is a spot in the heart of this huge city where the top traders operate, we just had to check it out.
Finding our way to the market was a daunting task as we came to realise quite quickly how big Bristol actually is. A walk from Temple Meads train station is probably easier than the route that we took from the northern point of Cabot Circus but we made it in the end.
Many users on Twitter had recommended this area for a decent lunch. On our arrival the area was busy with the lunchtime crowd forming around the stalls inside and out. I say inside and out because the market is split into two sections.
Outside, there are stalls lined up in a row offering cuisines from all corners of the globe. Caribbean, Japanese, Indian, German – you name it, it’s more than likely here. Inside, there’s a very popular Middle Eastern place along with falafels, posh sausages and a whole lot more.
We couldn’t resist the aromas coming from the outside stalls, so we headed there first. A Thai place called Niangs Thai Snacks was our first port of call. The options here are plentiful when it comes to Thai curries.
I was taken straight away with the Panang Curry. The choice is either noodles or rice with the curry all for £6.50 – the portion barely fitted in the styrofoam tray! Great value and easily enough to share between two people.
The curry was insanely good. Eating it on a fold out picnic bench on the street side just added to that authentic feeling, it was like being back in Bangkok again. The flavour of the curry was so intense, not so much spicy but really full on delicious. The noodles also tasted like Singapore noodles with a good helping of curry powder, fantastic food.
In truth, the curry had filled us up more than we had anticipated. We had to try more though, we couldn’t come all this way and turn down food of this quality. Next up we headed next door to the Thai stall for some Indian food.
Again, you can indulge yourself in some wonderful curries here. After the onslaught of the magnificent Panang number, we were after something a little more simple. I have never had a Bread Pakora before but as I examined the ginormous stack of these snacks piled up to the max, I decided to change that.
Fans of a bargain will be delighted to know that these are on offer at two for £5 or individually at £3, a good deal if ever there was one. I have to say that eating this was a bit weird. It’s the kind of thing that would be appealing after a heavy session on the beer in the early hours of the morning.
That said, it was very tasty. Chicken and spices inside two slices of bread, a heart attack sandwich if ever there was one. I have to say that I did enjoy it but I wasn’t regretting turning down the special offer – mainly thanks to the Panang Curry.
We couldn’t leave without having dessert (how are you managing all this?!). Inside we went to the covered stalls to try some ice cream with a difference. Brozen inventions specialise in liquid nitrogen made ice cream. Taking a leaf out of Heston Blumenthal’s book, these guys pack huge tanks of this stuff in the back to prepare ice cream in seconds.
Sadly we didn’t get to see any of the ice cream making in action but we did manage to spot the flavours on display. We went for a combo cup of Salted Caramel and Peanut Butter at £2.90 for a ‘twin’ size.
The stall also do crepes and savoury pancakes – but forget those! This ice cream is superb. West Country dairy products are renowned for being different class and this certainly follows the trend. The texture is rough on the spoon but smooth in the mouth, unlike anything we’ve tried before.
There are some weird flavours in the bunch to choose from (olive oil, anyone?) but I would firmly throw Salted Caramel out there as my favourite. Many shy away from ramping up the salt element but this balance was just sublime. Easily one of the finest ice creams outside of Italy, the Peanut Butter wasn’t bad either.
We were fully stuffed and ready to head for the exit, a good thing really as the market was becoming very busy. When in Bristol, or anywhere in the surrounding area, you must make a stop at this market. The food is superb, the locals are friendly and the price is right.
Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 0930-1700
Nearest Train Station: Bristol Temple Meads