On first glance, St Werburghs could be any other community nestled on the outskirts of any city centre, but on closer inspection, it is an area of stark contrasts. It is situated between a wealth of allotments and a busy motorway, on another side is an out of town retail park, on the other a community run city farm. It is connected via a wildlife corridor that stretches out to the countryside while it retains its Bristolian charm.
There are many things I love about St Werburghs, including the fantastic pubs, but what really stands out for me are the shops, cafes and take-away restaurants found on its little high street. For such a small high-street, a large variety of cuisines are covered. Included are: Simply Spiced takeaway joint which offers great, value for money, well made curries; Napolita Pizza which offers fresh wood-fired pizza (including Halloumi Cheese pizza: inspired); Biblos with fantastic mezzes and wraps; a fish and chip bar and; a Caribbean take-away…
What really stands out for me is Sonni’s Food and Wines convenience store. If there was any shop that is a true reflection of the area it serves, than this is it. Like many other local unchained shops, Sonni’s could have really suffered thanks to the huge Tesco based under a mile away. But this family-run business has nothing to worry about not just because of its loyal fan-base and its brilliant customer service, but also because of its produce.
Sonni’s has a large range of fresh fruit and vegetables, much of it organic and locally sourced. And what’s more, it is all very reasonably priced unlike the organic supermarket, the Better Food Company, which is based around the corner. While I do also love the Better Food Company, it is out of many people’s price range when it comes to buying everyday groceries. Sonni’s has so much you could possibly need, from toiletries, plants, tinned food, herbs and spices and wine.
It is just so different to other disappointing local stores you can get in the UK. There aren’t many that stock fresh figs, mung beans and olives alongside everyday bog-standard needs such as cereal, bread and milk.
Another reason Sonni’s has achieved local acclaim is because by the side of the till is a little tray with rows of paper bags filled with freshly made pakora and samosas, made in store. The samosas in particular are truly lovely; the potato filling is almost creamy and rich with spice while the crunchy pastry is fresh and moreish. They are so popular, that the local indoor climbing centre and the Miners Arms (pub), both down the road, stock these treats for customers.
Sadly, many people in Bristol use the St Werburghs area as a rat-run, and you often catch cars speeding through the narrow streets in order to shave seconds off their arrival time. So please, next time you make your way through St Werburghs, slow down, have a bite to eat and make sure you stock up with some samosas from Sonni’s.