“If you don’t know it, get to know it.”
Picton Street resident.

Picton Street is an unassuming little back street somewhere between Montpellier, St. Pauls and Stokes Croft and it embodies all that is wonderful about Bristol.

Walking down the street you feel as if you’ve been brought into the small circle of people guarding Bristol’s best kept secret. The residents of Picton Street (of whom I am proud to be one… nearly) are artistic, friendly and driven by a sense of community.

The joy of Picton Street as a modern consumer is made all the more relevant by the looming prospect of a new Tesco being built on the adjacent road to Picton Street. The Say No to Tesco group are tirelessly campaigning for Tesco and the Council to rethink the build, primarily in defense of our beloved local shops like those found on Picton Street.

So, why else is Picton Street such great place to live? Here is my rundown of why Picton is where it’s at…

The Bristolian

This lovely little cafe, at the top of Picton Street, is a great place to while away an afternoon supping on an all-day breakfast or munching on whatever delicious dish Cath, the lovely owner, has cooked up. Think great value soups and stews and happy food. The cosy, rather kitsch interior makes it a perfect place to go for a quick bite or an afternoon chill. They also sell beer. What more could you ask for?

Licata & Son

This place really is a gem. Founded by a Sicilian couple, you know Licata is going to be as authentic as it can get in drizzly Bristol. With their meat counter and selection of imported Italian cheeses (they have a really yummy pecorino), guaranteed stock of Peroni and more types of pasta than you shake a lasagne at, this is a real slice of Italy on our doorsteps. They also stock a huge range of fruit and veg, some locally sourced, at the most reasonable prices ever. A lot is sold by weight, so you never end up with loads of surplus. I happen to believe that I am in love with this shop.

Radford Mill Farm Shop

Although it’s inevitably a little pricey due to its dedication to ‘fine organic produce’, Radford Mill is an absolutely amazing place to go for high quality stuff, or if you fancy a treat. If I’m ever baking something a little special or I feel like making a top notch omelette, I head straight down there for some top notch eggs. Most of the produce they sell has been grown on the local farm and again, although expensive, sometimes it is definitely worth it. They are particularly good at catering for vegans so if you are one, this is definitely a place to pop into.

Galliford Stores

From the outside this looks like a fairly bog-standard corner shop, but it has a whole other section round the back which sells fruit, veg, a huge range of condiments and specialty flat breads for curries and the like. It’s sort of like a tiny little supermarket.

The Thali Cafe (pictured top)

This restaurant, though not technically on Picton Street, but only 5 seconds walk away, offers traditional Indian street food in a really relaxed atmosphere. Think fairy lights, sparkly cushions and colonial Indian memorabilia. For about £8 you have a choice of two or three curries that have been freshly made that day. They arrive on a metal platter divided into five sections generously filled with different dishes. Alongside the main curry with rice, I had a pumpkin curry (I went just after Halloween), a creamy spinach and panneer cheese curry, a salad with a yummy dressing and pomegranate seeds and a yoghurt dip. It was so good. Oh and I also had a Gin and Tonic with homemade tonic that blew my mind. The best thing about this place, so I hear, is their tiffin tins. As we were sitting in the restaurant, loads of people came to have their four tiered metal tiffin filled with all sorts of treats for about £8, which I am told is enough for two people.

La Freak Boutique

The clothes are only half the charm of this little vintage shop, because there are so many other little trinkets to peek at. On top of this, the people who work there are all so friendly that I always seem to end up chatting with them every time I go in. They also have a £1 box and some amazing vintage fancy dress stuff.

OK, so you won’t be able to buy trainers or iPods here, but that’s what makes the place so great. Picton Street is not the be all and end all of my experience as a consumer, but I love being able to pop down the road, buy fresh and cheap food, and know that I have supported local businesses. I have eternal love for my little Picton Street and am so glad I ended up living here. If anyone wants to tell me that there’s a better street than Picton, bring it.

Text and photos by
Olivia Bew Miller