When I was in my first year of university my sister and her boyfriend (now husband) were living in Bristol, just down the road from where I am now. I walk past the road that leads to theirs on my way to work, and their bus stop, and the place we got our nails done for Emily's hen do. All of these memories from a time when I visited them in their one up one down, completely unaware of the life I'd be living in five years' time. Nostalgia is one of my favourite feelings - a funny combination of comfort, surprise and sadness.
One place that reminds me of Emily and James' time in Bristol more than anything is Deco Lounge. One morning we went along for brunch. I wasn't feeling well but I remember wishing I had the appetite to eat something – anything – off the menu. There was french toast, eggs and bacon as standard, but it wasn't just an ordinary cafe. It was Emily and James' place for breakfast on payday, a homely place where you can take your time and prepare for the day.
A few years on and I'm living here now and my sister and brother-in-law are not. I have't forgotten Deco Lounge though, just the name - and the location. But everyone here knows about it, and pretty soon I get to go back. It looks almost exactly the same, although I'm sure there was a chalkboard menu on the wall the last time I came here. For some reason it feels less independent, more like a chain, but my fond memories override any odd changes.
One of my absolute favourites, Anna, was visiting on this particular weekend. She used to live in Bristol (I think most people I know have at some point) and we were hungry. Food is the basis of all of my friendships. Anna and I both love pancakes so we both ordered pancakes. But before that I needed a drink. I asked for the watermelon iced tea but what I got was something that resembled more what was described on the menu as a 'lemon sherbet' – I can't put my finger on why I wasn't too keen, but Anna liked it, so perhaps you will, too.
Forever scouting out the next best place for pancakes, I was excited to try Deco Lounge's offering. What arrived was small in size but big on taste and texture. Let's talk about the fluff factor. These pancakes were soft, fluffy, melt-in-the-mouth, American-style-goodness kinda pancakes – I couldn't quite believe my taste buds. The bacon was streaky and delicious, and although I usually enjoy a touch more maple syrup, these were, overall, some of the best pancakes I have ever had.
But pancakes are nothing without a strong coffee. Deco Lounge is one of the very few places I've visited where they actually remember your coffee when you ask for it to arrive with your food. They always remember to come back and check that everything's okay (I've been a couple of times since writing this!) and I really cannot fault the service here, it's top notch.
Have you been to Deco Lounge? On researching for this post I found out that it is in fact part of a bigger company called The Lounges – and you can find out more about them, and see if there's one near you, here :)