With table legs made out of bicycle suspension forks, Mud Dock Deli could only be a second outpost of Bristol’s bike shop-cafe-restaurant-bar, this time in deli form in the barren wasteland that used to be a prison, has plans in place for a large housing development and now is a car park behind M Shed.
Mud Dock Deli is housed in what was originally the workshops of Bristol’s New Gaol, of which from the original building only the gatehouse now remains.
Thanks to the fascinating Know Your Place website, it is possible to discover that the building which was most recently the headquarters of the Real Olive Company (who referred to it as the Old Gaol’s stables) was built sometime between 1855 and 1874.
But back to the present day and a building that is rock solid from the outside and warm and welcoming on the inside, with plenty of reclaimed wood forming the counter and a treat table nearby, housing cookies and flapjacks and cakes, and many of the walls painted a Mediterranean orange hue.
Yesterday afternoon, the flatscreen television downstairs was showing cycling from the Olympic velodrome and an always-smiling Jessica Ennis in the Olympic stadium.
It may be called a deli, with chutneys and jams for sale, but this is not what Mud Dock Deli is actually about.
Instead, it’s a place for breakfast, lunch and supper, to eat in over its deceptively spacious two floors or out on the large patio with panoramic views over Bristol.
The menu is written on boards hanging above the bustling counter, everything from pastries and muffins for breakfast or brunch, sandwiches and paninis from £2.50, a selection of cakes and salads, mains including fish and chips (£8) and a meat or cheese board with bread and chutney (£5), and pizzas, £4 for small and £8 for large.
For drinks, coffee is from the Clifton Coffee Company and there is a selection of Bath Ales bottles, Sagres and Corona in the fridge, and wine by the glass, bottle or carafe.
This new deli has been in the planning since last year and it has been well worth the wait. It is already attracting plenty of visitors in its first week of opening and is ideally situated for those walking into the city centre from Bedminster, its front door being metres away from the Spike Island side of Gaol Ferry Bridge.
It may not be a typical deli, but Mud Dock Deli is a triumph and in a building with centuries of history is the most exciting new opening in Bristol this year.
Mud Dock Deli, Cumberland Road, Bristol, BS1 6DS. 0117 929 2141.