News and views from north Bristol's urban village

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Shopping for Greener Food in Bristol - part 2

First stop, North Street Ashton. I know people want to call it Southville or Bedminster but it’s not. It’s Ashton. That’s the same place as the Bristol City Football Ground, Greville Smyth Park and Winterstoke Road. It’s Ashton. I have a theory about why there is a groundswell of opinion wanting to describe North Street as Southville, but that’s for another post. Suffice to say here that such people are misguided.

North Street (Ashton) is home to the rather fine but puzzlingly-named Southville Deli, a clean, friendly food store with aluminium tables and chairs on the pavement outside. I was pleasantly surprised at the prices of the pulses and stocked up on my soup ingredients and Herbert’s bread before heading up the road to the Ashton Fruit Shop, a fine example of a retail establishment that knows exactly what it sells and, important in this instance, where it is.

Neither lemons, satsumas or English apples were on my shopping list, but all made their way into my basket, along with a lettuce for 35 pence, the largest cucumber I have ever purchased and some nicely priced root vegetables. For £5 I reckon I bought enough veg for winter hot pot for 6. That's right, count them: 6 people live in my home – no we’re not a commune, we’re a biological family plus a Taiwanese lodger.

Next stop, and a long walk to the other end of North Street, was Masalas. Call me old fashioned, but for some reason with a name like that I was expecting a shop with at least a hint of Asian influence. What I found was a western hippy food store and cafe – complete with a pungent aroma of joss sticks, a white-haired man sitting in the window and assorted individuals lounging on sofas and chairs at the back of the shop. It wasn’t clear to me whether they were customers or staff.

The environment took me back to a restaurant my father used to take me to in Exeter when I was a lad. The Iron Bridge, between St David’s Station and the main shopping centre was a haven for Exeter’s long hair community in the 1970s and was, incidentally, the first place I ever tried nut roast.

The woman behind the counter at Masalas was a little unsure of the price or contents of the various home-made food stuffs on display. Despite or because of that, I came away with 6 pitta bread for 99 pence and a carton of vegetable curry for £2.95. Both were delicious and, when I added rice and salad at home, fed four adults.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Just wanted to try and ease your puzzled state re the name of my shop. Southville was perceived as up and coming, at the time the shop was being set up, and the rest Bedminster was not.I wanted to give the shop the best chance I could. I would agree that our part North Street is in Ashton - but Lime Rd & Gathorne Rd which form the corners of the block of shops I'm in, are definately shown as Southville on maps old and new. So, my backyard abutts Southville! If you still have a Southville Deli carrier bag to hand you will see our address quite firmly says Bedminster, as Ashton, Southville, Totterdown and Bedminster itself all fall in the parish of Bedminster.
Kind regards

Paul - Southville Deli

atlanticwriter said...

Rarely have I heard it explained so clearly!

Thanks for dropping by and may your lovely Deli go from strength to strength.


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