Boston Meat Party

I’ve had a few conversations with friends about whether they could become vegetarian or whether it is a commitment they are not ready for. In response, I’ve had some shrugs and replies that they’re verging on it anyway, and others reply that they are hard-line carnivores and meat features in almost every sitting. I admit, I like a bit of meat in my life, but I am a happy veggie muncher.

When I say I like a bit of meat in my life, it should not be taken solely in its literal sense. I like people to have some heft to them. I personally don’t care if someone’s shoes are the latest ‘thing’ or if their eyelashes are as long as my fingernails if it’s all a show of aesthetics with no message behind (but maybe that’s because my fashion sense is either inspired by mythical creatures or a duvet day). I like a book that changes some small mechanism in my thought process, leaving me prodding my mind repeatedly rather than one that smugly self-asserts and tells me what to think without saying why.

I went to Boston Tea Party when I was in Bristol visiting pals. It has quite a pleasant heart within its blue exterior: its ambition is not to appear on every single street in the UK but to be a “one-off, cherished local”. How realistic a goal this is for a café that is in several cities is perhaps debatable, but they also “dream for a better world” and I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and appreciate that. I also like the allusion to the 1770s political protest that defied the Tea Act. BTP has also expanded its lunch menu to include rather tempting delights such as mezze and pittas, and my two friends who snaffled the enchilada taster outside said it was delicious.

We were intending to for brunch, but the chorizo and white bean stew drove all the way up my street so I went for that. We sat and closed our eyes in the magnificent sunshine and before you knew it I had a bowl filled to the brim of steaming red soup before me. The white beans were firm enough to bite into but then broke apart, like indulgent milky buttons, to feathers, streaked with hot chunks of chorizo in a vigorous sea of tomatoes, refreshing celery and porky juice. It was a delicious soup. My main gripe was the bread: the only white bread I tolerate is in baguette form, but I really never ever eat it otherwise, and when my friend asked for a brown alternative they gave her one slice of each, which I thought I would be served too. Instead I had two hunks of white bread that may have been homemade, but it was toasted a while ago and was cold so it made it seem stale. The butter was yellow and yummy but I have to say, the bread was a letdown.

I like the café and it has got some guts to it, as did my soup. It needs to up the bread game, and then I’ll be back.

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