Since lockdown begun we’ve been unable to venture out for a coffee, cocktail or some food – with alcohol consumption coming in the form of a few glasses of wine or a few ciders at home and the closest thing to a meal out being a takeaway in the garden sunshine.
Over the last few months I’ve seen countries such as Spain allow people back into restaurants and bars, whilst England was still in a woeful state of chaos. In comparison I’ve ordered the odd takeaway but have just been outdoors for exercise so I don’t go entirely mad.
However, this changed a few weeks ago as Boris announced that food, beverage and hospitality venues in general could reopen again with social distancing being relaxed to 1m instead of 2. Now, I am an absolute sucker for a barista coffee (as much as I love my espresso machine at home) and for a delicious meal out but I surprisingly wasn’t the first of my friends to venture out.
I think I was still a bit cautious and a bit dubious – I’d been to some clothes shops four weeks or so ago, but I went at 9am and there were all of about 6 other people in there with me so I felt pretty safe. Yet going to a pub just seemed different – drunk people absolutely cannot social distance and let’s be honest, they lose a bit of common sense. So, for a bit, I refrained from venturing out – until this weekend!
Visiting Cargo Cantina in Whapping Wharf, Bristol
This weekend a friend asked me if I wanted to meet, and so we decided to meet in Whapping Wharf in Bristol for some coffee and cake – yes!
The weather was glorious, and Bristol felt a little more normal than before but not as busy as a regular warm sunny day would be down by the water. Coffee and cake quickly turned into a 5-hour long catch up, which saw us pop to the Arnolfini outdoor bar for a cider and a Pimms… and well, that’s when we started to get peckish. After a few texts to our boyfriends, and some scouting of nearby food places, we had managed to set up a little dinner date (don’t panic, we kept a good amount of distance) with a plan to have some margaritas and some tacos at Cargo Cantina.
Cargo Cantina is an adorable little mexican restaurant that is housed in one of the cargo containers in Whapping Wharf. Their menu is simple and they offer tacos, nachos, burritos and sides which can be washed down with a selection of margaritas, beer, or soft drinks. Firstly, the service was great. We didn’t book, but Marcus was on the door and made sure we had some drinks brought to us whilst we waited for one of the outdoor tables to become available.
We did have to wait 45 minutes or so, but the weather was nice, the view was nice and we were able to stand with some drinks and chat whilst we waited. I had a classic margarita to begin with and oh it was good, however the hibiscus margarita that I had with dinner was a stunning pink colour and was even more delicious than the classic!
Next, the food. Cargo Cantina have a simple menu, but the food was delicious all the same. I had the pork tacos with a side of chorizo, whilst my boyfriend had the pork AND chicken tacos. Personally, I wouldn’t bother with the chorizo again as it didn’t do much, was a bit dry and was lacking in flavour a bit but the tacos were awesome! The filling was delicious and hearty, and you get a selection of salsas too which suit those who prefer mild flavours to those who like it hot.
Cargo Cantina also offer a couple of vegan options, so it’s a nice place to go with a mixed bunch of people.
Overall, the atmosphere was lovely, the food delicious, the drinks spectacular and the service top-notch. I would highly recommend Cargo Cantina to others, as I think it’s a great place for some tasty but fuss-free al-fresco food.
What was it like being out post-lockdown?
I had a lovely weekend overall, it was lovely to be able to meet up with others outside of the house and to have the luxury of grabbing a coffee and a slice of cake which I didn’t have to make!
Whilst I was still wary/cautious of people, it was nice to have some form of “normal” back. Bristol was not busy, but there was a buzz of happiness and of life. There was laughter and there were people sat enjoying a drink in the sunshine catching up with friends or family.
The coffee and cake from Mokoko was takeaway only, but was enjoyed by the water. The afternoon cider at the Arnolfini was enjoyed in their outdoor bar/seating area, where they were cleaning all tables, using disposable menus, offering table services only, had hand sanitiser readily available and had tables adequately spaced.
Cargo Cantina and the whole upstairs deck where it is placed was busier, but lines were marked out and groups of people were being sensible enough that you didn’t feel too worried that people were getting too close or were being reckless.
In all honesty, it was nice to see people laughing and enjoying food and drinks. It was nice to see people supporting small businesses and the city felt alive again. Whilst I do think we all need to be considerate still and ensure we keep our distance and act responsibly, I didn’t feel as anxious as I expected and I every place I went had staff who were making an effort to ensure customers felt safe and happy.
Have you been out anywhere since rules were relaxed? Let me know in the comments!