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It was raining that oppressive English rain - to which Bristol has
long since become accustom - where the leaden sky wraps like a
mouldy shawl around the shoulders, washing pedestrians off the
streets and dampening their spirits. Sensing no relent we decided
to take make the most of the situation and stop for tea, whilst
taking shelter from the elements

The bold décor and topsy-turvy curves make Chickpea look like it's
been poured into a mould from a great height and affords a
quirkiness entirely in keeping with its image and very conductive to
an unconstructive afternoon. Its tea is promising enough and
there's a look-lively array of juices and smoothies but without
doubt it is the cakes and muffins which are worth writing home
about. There're big ones, fat ones, oat cakes, fairy cakes, all piled
up in irregular stacks on the counter. They're all veggie-friendly if
that sort of thing bothers you, and best of all, when you come back
the next day there'll be something different to delight you! I don't
think it was the weather that so firmly anchored the clientele
(ourselves included) to those ergonomic benches, discussing
crossword clues and dissecting an adventurous day's shopping.
There's a homebaked community here and it's captivating.

Several hours later - and long after the rain had stopped, for our
research had been exhaustive - we staggered out onto Whiteladies
Road once more. It's not a traditional tea shop by any means; it
doesn't claim to be seven thousand years old or the site where
Mussolini scolded his finger on a muffin but for us it encapsulates
a purposeful sense of individuality.
Cotham Hill,
BS6 6JZ.