There are those times, when you unclip the tupperware and release the carrot sticks, that you know nobody really wants to eat them. There are also those times when you really, really would like to talk to your friend without being asked for raisins. And then there are those times when you look at your kids, and you think ‘I love you and you’re cool and I’d like to treat you to something you’re not expecting today’.
And so, we went to the Parlour Cafe on the Cheltenham Rd, right where Stokes Croft meets The Gloucester Rd, with our friends, for some ice cream. It’s one of those places you should go if you just want everybody to be happy, all at once, for more than five minutes.
It’s the sort of place children dream of. Actually, if you like ice cream sundaes, hot waffles with any kind of sweet sauce, or milkshakes taller than your kid, it’s the sort of place you dream of, too. And the sprinkles. The Parlour counts most things as a sprinkle. It wouldn’t have surprised me to see Nicolo, the lovely owner, sprinkling whole creme eggs on my ice cream and making it look delicate.
The Parlour is a family affair, with a near 50 year Italian heritage and family-made ice creams. The coffee is as good as the ice cream, thankfully. Nicolo had Tibbs up on a stool in front of the counter, testing spoonfuls of anything she liked the look of, as if she was a connoisseur choosing specialist truffles.
We were a chaotic bunch of toddler stickiness and baby feeding, and felt absolutely welcome and at home in the cheery cafe with its traditional red leather seats, vintage wooden tables and chequered floor. There’s a baby changing room with a comfortable chair for anybody who wants privacy to feed their baby, and plenty of buggy access. Nobody batted an eyelid when we deployed an emergency laptop to watch monster truck videos for ten minutes.
On weekends and school holidays, if I was an 11 year old again, I’d want to spend my pocket money here with my best friend. If I was pregnant again and wanted a dessert in the evening, I’d sneak down here. It’s such a traditional and fun place. If it wasn’t for the ever-changing Gloucester Rd landscape, you could imagine The Parlour had been there for many years, serving generations. It kind of made me feel a bit 1950s retro, in a way.
Nicolo has kindly offered readers a discount, so, if you order two child cones, you’ll get the pair for £4.00, if you quote The Bristol Parent. They are usually £3.00 each.
Put it on your list for a place to take yourselves for a special treat, or even a birthday party. We’ll be back.