Yesterday I went to London for a meeting, commuting for my job in a way I haven’t done for over a year. I was excited for the usual reasons a working mum would be: an unusual day of being solo, a train journey with just myself to take care of, and, for me, a welcome return to the London I miss from time to time.
It also gave me an excellent opportunity to go to Harts Bakery, somewhere I have really wanted to visit since first walking by Temple Meads and smelling the wafting bakery whiffs early in the morning.
Hart’s is situated under one of the arches under the station approach, a tiny and essential detour for anybody interested in a delicious and original breakfast or daytime snack. I arrived at about 7.20am. Bread was still coming out of the ovens. The staff were very friendly and helpful despite the early hour. The shop itself was nicely lit, spacious and a few early birds were dotted along the seats, enjoying their breakfast and coffee.
Everything available is piled up invitingly on the spacious counters for you to choose from. It goes without saying the smell is fantastic. I chose a pain aux raisin and a gluten free lemon and poppyseed cake. Both were so tasty, a good size, and a good price. My flat white coffee was creamy and the perfect takeaway temperature.
Children would love the opportunity to ‘see where bread comes from’ and you can see folks making and baking in the background behind the counter. The ovens are right there to see, too, as well as large trolleys of fresh bread, waiting to be sent to some lucky location. There’s plenty of space for buggies if you wanted to eat in.
My Dad is a miller. He’s made flour and other milled products all his working life. I’m always very very proud to tell people that, especially as his flour goes into some of the breads and crumpets we all enjoy from the supermarkets. At home, we used to sometimes have brown sacks of breakfast cereal to dip our bowls in. My pony always had good quality bran and oats. Going somewhere like Hart’s Bakery reminded me of how important small enterprise baking and bread making is. The art, the skill, the care that goes into it.
Harts Bakery is a Bristol gem, literally feeding its goods into some of the coffee shops and eateries we all know and love, such as FCP Coffee, The Bear Pit Social and Brewdog. It was great to meet Laura Hart herself, hard at work, making things happen. I found it very inspirational, being quite timid in my ambition it’s always cool to meet women who’ve really made it happen. And Hart’s seems to be thriving.
I’m looking forward to my next visit already, and perhaps giving Tibbs a taste of what Bristol baking is like.