Last Saturday we went for breakfast at Josh Eggleton’s new Chew Valley Lakes cafe, Salt and Malt.
We’ve never been to the lakes before, and when we arrived, the water was choppy and iron grey, with the hills behind it and a lovely waterside, fresh smell. There are a lot of aquatic birds nesting and sheltering there, so much to see.
The Cafe nestles into a sheltered group of trees on the edge of a pretty large car park, and as you’d expect with a view like theirs, has floor to ceiling windows on as many sides and possible, and lots of outdoor seating, which is good, because dogs can’t go inside, and there are loads of hungry dog walkers in the Chew Valley from what we saw!
When you go inside Salt and Malt, the whole balance alters a bit. From the outside, I doubt the view has changed for years. Inside, Salt and Malt is bang up to date and has the chalky-painted maritime look of a cafe in Rock, Salcombe, St Ives or Fowey. In short, you’re on holiday as soon as you sit down.
I know Salt and Malt is getting a great reputation for its fish and chips, and rightly so, because the menu looked absurdly good and promised to be fresh. However, we were there for breakfast, which is collectively our favourite family meal of the day. Before we barely had time to take the lip off our way-above-average cafe coffees, our food arrived. It was mega.
I’m just going to let the pictures do the talking. But the crispy, tasty sausage and the golden, perfectly runny egg were my favourite bits.
Price wise, for breakfast given the touch of a Michelin starred chef, it was real decent, under seven quid for a full fry up.
Afterwards we headed outside for a play on the pretty cool little adventure playground, which, if you had older kids, you could watch them play whilst you sat inside or outside Salt and Malt. The lake is fully fenced off so they can’t just wander in, although there is a busy road running parallel to that side of the lake. It’s not a ‘feed the ducks’ place, more a ‘watch and learn what ducks are really like’.
I was going to be interviewing Josh about Salt and Malt and had lots of questions for him about his childhood and growing up in South Bristol (he’s from near Whitchurch and his first food job was in a chippy there). We also seem to share a local from what I’ve read which I was proud to read (any excuse to shout out our neighbourhood!). Sadly, we couldn’t make a time work in the end, he’s so busy. What I really wanted to ask him was about how important family is to him, because, from the casual observer’s point of view, all his projects (Pony and Trap, Salt and Malt, Eat Drink Bristol Fashion, to name a few) are really family-friendly and make it really easy for kids to enjoy really top class food.
For anyone reading this without kids, or wanting a meal without kids, don’t mistake family-friendly for family-focused – none of these places are a pit full of kids, they are just well-balanced and make it easy to eat out with children, which is the dream, isn’t it? Anyway, I digress. Give Salt and Malt a whirl. We’ll be back there for some sunset chips in the summer at the very earliest opportunity, to get back in the holiday mood.
PS – Salt and Malt is fully booked for Mother’s Day, I just saw on their FB page