In recent years Bristol has transformed itself from a down and out city, to a foodie destination. Food markets are opening everywhere, and pop-up food stalls now outnumber fixed premises eateries two to one on a Friday in the centre of the city.
The newest Friday food market at Finzels Reach has stiff competition from the likes of Bristol’s oldest Market; St Nicks on Corn Street, but despite being in its infancy it is already drawing in the crowds.
Less than a month after opening this market is already thriving, with 15 different food stalls which vary from ice cream to crispy squid, bao to baked goods. A large amp is set up under the overhang of Bridgewater House pumping out feel good background music that matches the upbeat chatty nature of those milling around contemplating which of the lunch offerings they will purchase. The seating that lines the corridor where the market is located is perfect to allow those eating to stay around, not only making this a very sociable lunch time meeting spot, but also meaning that it increases the potential sales of these outlets, with people searching for desert as well as their main course. And that has got to be good for the local economy.
For those who do not know, Finzels Reach is situated at the end of the new Bristol Bridge that curves its way across from Castle Park to the development surrounding the Bristol Brewery site,. This weekly food market is the perfect complement to the edgy new living and office spaces (once they are fully built of course) and is fast becoming a focal point amongst Bristol legal and office district, as well as helping to rejuvenate what was an abandoned part of the city.
Any concern that it’s out of the way location may not attract the crowds of its rival on the main through fare of Corn Street/Wine Street must have been allayed immediately, as already it is a hive of activity over the lunch period. Perhaps, once the nearby Redcliff development is finished with its food court, this will cause the market to quieten, but the reality is that there are a lot of hungry office workers in the area that are willing to treat themselves to good quality, freshly cooked food. In fact so far nearby eateries, such as Friska, Cafe Matariki and Pret all offer freshly prepared lunchtime choices, that are packed with flavour; a similarity shared with all of these market retailers, are noticeably quieter on market day.
One of the most interesting points, one which seems to be purposefully made by the markets management, is that the stalls change around regularly, meaning that although the favourites are available most week, there is always something fresh and new to try. Such a great concept!
Talking of the favourites, clearly the crispy squid stall is a winner (crispy squid and chorizo with salad – £7) and people are happy to queue for some time just to get their hands on the beautifully presented food. Other great options are the Thai Street Food stall (Yellow Thai Curry/Green Thai Curry/Sweet & Sour Chicken Balls with rice or noodles – £6), and the Gyozo dumplings from Eatchu (5 for £5).
Fancy trying Finzels Reach’s food market? Follow the signs from Victoria Street every Friday 12-2pm.
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