In the over-saturated cut-throat business of serving coffee and sandwiches to office workers and passers-by how do you stand-out above the crowd?
You don’t. You simply drive an adorable-looking vintage Citroen H van around them and park up where you’ll grab attention. I give you: Ward & Williams – Purveyors of Fine Scoff.
First impressions count. Here is this quirky looking fan, clean and tidy looking with paintwork matching the colours of the business branding. Small things that make an impression on the brain. They’ve parked up along the cobblestone area of Narrow Quay, opposite The Watershed. The area is a mix of quaint and corporate. The sun is beaming from a blue sky but the majority of Narrow Quay is smothered in shadow this early time of day, except where W&W have parked their van…. this exact spot is benefiting from the way the canyon of tall buildings directly in front of them is channeling the sunlight down like the Solar Rays at the Temple of Abu Simbel (apols, artistic licence!).
It creates a pool of warm and pretty light where you would fancy sitting down on one of the several collapsible chairs they have placed outside the van; again, chairs and chalk boards are all in matching branded colours. Small things. Big impression. And I haven’t even spoken to them or seen their food and coffee yet. But I am already intrigued and anticipating something special. I am not disappointed. Two very lovely women inside. Hello Sarah Ward and Tina Williams. Happy smiles. It is their business, started only a month ago. Their chalkboard messages, quirky and super friendly match the style of their service – this van and the business is driven by them. It is personal and personality. I ask what kind of sarnies they have. A quick glance at a post-it note whilst serving other customers (a lot of suits are lining up for coffee and cakes). I see the post-it note with 4 items hand-written on it. I extend my paw with a smile, “Here, show me.” She hands me the note. I read ham and pickle , followed by three more unusual combinations. Falafel with crispy cabbage, carrot, spinach and yoghurt grabs my attention. I grin and tell them, “I guessed you would be a little different.”
The bread is good – they have avoided ridiculous doorstep wedges of artisan bread that just overwhelm your mouth and taste buds with granary goodness, and the filling… tasty, fresh, very enjoyable.
I’m deep into a sabbatical, working on my books, so am getting used to the idea of being in the city during week days. Discovering you’ve not eaten enough food whilst jangling on too much caffeine really cramps the creative flow; like a spanner going into a washing machine. Abrupt distraction, concentration crash and primal urges for food drag me away. This place, Ward & Williams has become a favourite oasis of quick and easy sustenance.
And their coffee is local – Bristol Twenty, a subsidiary of Portishead-based Roy Ireland Espresso Services.
Narrow Quay, Bristol
Mobile (orders and queries): 07437 356946
Living in Flames – an ancient Evil is stirring beneath Bristol’s streets – click