There was a time, a few years ago now, that I had a half day on a Wednesday. Without fail, I would leave work and take the bus to the bottom of Stokes Croft, alight by the Motorcycle Showroom and queue for my lunch at Katie and Kim’s horsebox. From this tiny space, they would serve the best home-cured bacon sandwiches; chorizo wrapped in puffy flatbreads; soups; stotties; scones and golden Portuguese-style custard tarts with just the right amount of wobble. When they shut up shop, it’s no exaggeration to say that I felt bereft. Yes, really.
After spending some time doing pop-ups, catering for Qu Junktions events and also winning the British Street Food Awards (2013); Katie and Kim have finally found a spot to open a kitchen. Next door to the Radford Mill Farm shop on Picton Street, separated only by coral pink frontage and saloon doors, Katie and Kim’s Kitchen feels like a cosy extension of the horsebox I so missed.
Inside, salvaged floorboards have been riveted to create a large communal table and benches, at which to sit. Stacked on wooden shelves, boxes of citrus fruit, avocados and eggs join bottles of homemade syrups, preserves and pickles. To one side, a large coffee machine steams and sputters and from what remains a small, open plan kitchen area; fabulous food is cooked and served.
I could spend a whole day here, picking my way through the concise, seasonal menu. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the arrival of mini-Mustard, this is exactly what I would plan to do over the summer. Starting with their sourdough toast and marmalade for first breakfast; the loaves proving alongside a large bucket of bubbling starter are baked on site. For second breakfast, I’d go for one of their scones topped with poached eggs and streaky bacon. Milky sweet yet savoury and with a resinous hint of rosemary, these cheddar scones are the business and you won’t find better in this town.
Lunch, late or otherwise, would be one of their specials. This winter, ham and barley soup with tender vegetables, topped with large spoonfuls of aioli and hot buttered scone was one of my best meals. During blood orange season, an onion and Stilton kind of Croque Monsieur, topped with orange segments and ribbons of basil made me quite forget that I was meant to be avoiding unpasteurised cheeses and blue.
Right now on the menu, they have sourdough toasts with thick slices of avocado, poached eggs and salad leaves, topped with spoonfuls of pumpkin seed pesto and aioli. It’s exactly the taste of green I crave this time of year. Coupled with a glass of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and rhubarb syrup, summer feels like it is just around the corner.
Caramelised, crisp and vanilla infused; the Portuguese-style custard tarts remain a joy. This, with a flat-white would be the way I end my day, along with being forcibly ejected for loitering. Warm and welcoming, even when people try to pay with half a pack of chewing gum and a smile; Katie and Kim are back and on Picton Street.