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There are few things I love more than wine and cheese. In my list of favourite things they’re pretty much at the top, along with cats, Major Lazer, Bristol and tacky jewellery. So when Bar Buvette popped up out of nowhere in one of my favourite disused buildings, a stone’s throw away from my office, it seemed like a sign – I must go and consume cheese and wine immediately! Needless to say it didn’t take much persuasion to get a little crew to join me for wine and cheese. So, on a chilly Friday afternoon off we trotted to see what was going down.
Bar Buvette has taken over what used to be Photographique, or what was more recently No 31 Urban Graphic, on Baldwin Street. Personally, I always found the building, with it’s high ceilings and original features, a bit wasted on a shop, as nobody ever really stopped to appreciate it fully. However, now that Bar Buvette lives there it seems like the space has finally found it’s calling – you actually have time to sit and marvel at what a beautiful space it really is. The team behind Bar Buvette have also done a stellar job of making the most of it too, and have kept everything, from the decor to the menu effortlessly simple.
The main focus here is wine, and not just any wine – natural wine. Now despite having a very deep, enduring relationship with wine I won’t pretend I know anything about it – in fact I’m so crap that I forgot to make a note of what it was we ended up drinking but luckily owner Peter Taylor was on hand to advise us on what to choose. If like me you thought wine was inherently natural because it comes from grapes (great logic, I think you’ll agree) then here’s what make’s Bar Buvette’s wines different – they’re organic, they’re made with natural yeasts and they’re much lower in sulphur than your average bottle of plonk.
I’m ashamed to say that I’m such a pleb that I couldn’t really tell you what sets the wines we tasted apart, but I can tell you they were delicious – really light, fresh and incredibly reasonable. Peter is clearly very, very passionate about his wine, so if like me, you tend to apply the “Buy whatever’s on offer in Sainsbury’s” approach to wine you’ll be good hands when it comes to choosing a glass of something tasty you’ll enjoy in Bar Buvette.
So how about the food? Well luckily for you that’s an area I’m much more adept at talking about! The menu here extends no further than bread, meat and cheese and quite honestly when you do those three staples so well why bother faffing around with anything else? Top quality bread from Bristol’s very own Harts Bakery and a small but perfectly formed selection of cheese and charcuterie, and if you’re feeling fancy you can even have cheese IN bread in the form of the best cheese toastie that has ever passed my lips. Served with leeks (genius idea), mustard and teeny cornichons these toasties were enough to silence our whole table for all of five minutes – a mean feat on a Friday lunch time when you’re a glass of wine in!
Whether it’s the food, the wine, or the wonderfully attentive service, Bar Buvette does something different that’s had me raving about them for weeks now. Word on the street is they’ve managed to extend their license until April, with hope to one day have a permanent license, but I’d highly recommend getting down there sharp-ish just in case they disappear.