Grounded is a pillar of the community, writes James Howells
The zen that a cafe encompasses seems to have been lost in the hustle of our everyday lives. What was a place away from home to recharge and refuel has now become another automated task in the working day. Formerly a destination for mothers to meet, children to eat and wanderers to wander into, now it is more of an in-and-out affair. Still, in this bleak early new year there are places where one can find solace. Places that care about the people who come in and more importantly, care if they come back.
Grounded have destinations like this all over Bristol. The cosy empire spans across most of Bristol (and even one in Wiltshire) so whether you are in Bedminster, Brislington, Corsham, Fishponds, Henleaze, Horfield, Keynsham, Melksham or Redfield you can ‘take a seat’ as their slogan so comfortably puts it.
The interior is warm and familiar with sat-in leather sofas and likeable tables and chairs. By the till is an adored coffee machine neighboured by the enticing sheen of delicious baked goods. The cafe is open for breakfast through to dinner with food being offered all day. The menu is vast, and in its vastness is a selection of home-style comfort foods to satisfy every palate, which is due to its immense hospitality towards families.
They offer games and colouring books for children, book-swap shelves and actively welcome breast feeding. All the cafes are incredibly welcoming and honest from the free Wi-Fi available to the use of totally biodegradable coffee cups.
The food is unpretentious. It is not a fine dining restaurant and they know it. They know exactly who they are, which is surprisingly difficult in the hospitality trade. In keeping with the friendly atmosphere they offer a selection of small plates (all under £5) to share.
Included are wonderfully messy (and big) sticky chicken wings (£4.95). Warming piri-piri prawns and toasted focaccia (£4.95) grace the menu as well as classic pub all-stars breaded camembert with cranberry sauce (£4.95), and salt and pepper calamari (£4.95). Noticeably crisp was their garlic pizza bread (£3.95), a whopping great portion of thin garlicky slices, which is made from the same dough as their pizzas. Speaking of which, and keeping in-line with the concept of sharing are a plethora of pizzas complete with pun-names, which is nice to see in a world where dishes are simply named after the ingredients in them and separated by commas.
It is incredibly refreshing and inspiring to see an establishment acting as a pillar for the community in the way they do. The tables are swamped with happy families, young couples and more than a couple of girls-nights-out. Everyone is smiling, and everyone is enjoying themselves.