Lahloo Bristol comes up trumps
November 2, 2012
12 Kings Road,
0117 329 2029
As the city of Bristol boomed in the 19th and early 20th centuries, largely thanks to industrialisation and the trade people and commodities, so the doomsday-book village of Clifton swelled in size and in opulence. Today it’s home to some of the smartest shops and addresses in the city and is a likely place as any to find the finest tearooms. Of all of these, Lahloo Pantry, named after a Chinese tea clipper, is perhaps the very finest of all.
Given its unpropitious position (by the bins around the back of WH Smith) and demure frontage you could be forgiven for missing it entirely but in the year since it started trading in 2011 it has established an enviable reputation among the good folks of Bristol. Hopes raised, and bellies rumbling we were the first customers in on Saturday morning.
The décor is minimal but inviting: bare wood, warehouse lighting and casually stacked tea chests and paraphernalia, amongst which you perch on high stools. The menu is funky and economical. The service is sharp without being pushy. The anticipation is unbearable.
Many tearooms face the problem of how to enforce appropriate brewing times upon their impatient clientele. Some provide little egg timers and a strainer; others (like the Attic Tearoom) opt for ingenious mechanical gizmos which drain the liquor off the leaves at the appropriate juncture. At Lahloo they take the attitude ‘why risk it?’. After all when the tea is that damn good why not let the pros decide how and when to serve it? So tea comes served in a small cast iron pot, pre-infused and ready to roll – the coffee in rather scientific-looking conical flasks. Both were astoundingly good, in fact we’d put our necks on the line here and say possibly even The Best.
After that they could do no wrong. For Lily: delicious savoury scones with homemade chili jam. For Amos: a selection of cakes and patisseries that, days later, still send him into little reminiscent spasms of pleasure. It is very seldom we enjoy tea as much as we did in Lahloo, and unprecedented that we should order second helpings to go.